Every year I think I'm not going to be wistful and nostalgic and kind of bittersweet at your birthday, and every year my heart is squeezed a little bit more thinking about how quickly you're growing up. Today is your 4th birthday. It feels like a big one, for some reason, and we can tell that it's big to you, too, because you have been arguing with us that "Yes I AM four already!!" for a few weeks now. You're not a baby anymore, you're not a toddler...you're officially a Little Kid.
Little Kids like you run, and jump, and turn in circles until you're "bizzy," and purposely slide in your socks on the tile floor, and do herky-jerky Little Kid dance moves (cute), and run up behind me and punch me in the rear end with both fists shouting "BOOTY!!" (not so cute), and try to jump down into the living from higher and higher up the steps (downright scary).
Little Kids like you can turn on the computer, boot up the "Kids" user (password and all), navigate to your favorite website, and look like a little gamer playing Team UmiZoomi and Curious George games. You pretend to play Madden Football with Daddy on the PS3, telling him which plays to pick and shouting funny things like, "Get that guy! Throw the football at his head!" This is the first year where we've had to limit your computer use because you are so good at it and already addicted to the screen (a little like your mommy).
Little Kids like you suddenly started really reading a few months ago, pointing out a headline on the newspaper I was reading and saying, "Hey! That says the word 'explore!' And that says the word 'cars!'" It was like the scene from The Miracle Worker; I could almost see the wheels turning in your head as you realized that you could recognize words without us telling you what they said. And like me, you are a voracious reader - you're so happy to get new books, and I often find you sitting in the PBK chair in your room reading out loud to yourself and sounding out the words you don't know. I can't tell you how proud I am that you like reading.
Little Kids like you are obsessed with numbers, to the point where our friends have started to call you "Rain Man." You've memorized the numbers on the houses of all of your friends and daycare and even the office manager at my job whose house you only went to TWICE for a Christmas party and to pick up some supplies. One day you told me you saw a car like Daddy's but you knew it wasn't Daddy's "because it has a different number on it," and then you proceeded to tell me the license plate numbers of both of our cars. You have over 100 Hot Wheels cars, and ever since the day you noticed that alot of them have racing numbers on the side you've started identifying them by the number: "Where's my 40 car? I made a bridge for the 59 car. Mommy, I need a 31 car to go with my 30 car." When we listen to music while we're driving somewhere you've memorized the track numbers to all of your favorite songs, to the point where now I know which song you mean when you tell me "I want to hear Mickey Mouse 21."
Little Kids like you are sweet, and kind, and still generous with affection for Mommy and Daddy. You tell me all the time that you love me, or that you missed me during the day, or that you love your little brother. The more things you learn to say, the more I love listening to you.