Friday, June 22, 2012

The Big 4!

Well, yesterday was Jacob's 4th birthday.  As you may have gathered from yesterday's letter, his birthday dinner was a little on the challenging side.  Fortunately, the lure of gifts was enough to get us through the morning routine with minimal resistance.  I always remember waking up the morning of my birthday and heading into my parents' room to open my gifts.  I'd like to do that with Jacob someday, too, but our morning routine is pretty tight on time so we had to get ready first and open gifts last, as long as there was time.  And there was...

His first gift was an Otto the Orange (Syracuse University) Pillow Pet!  He's always admired Pillow Pets in stores, and he loves SU, mostly because of lacrosse.  I happened to find this one on major clearance at Walmart and snatched it up for a third of the normal price!
HUGS!  He loves him!
He also got some Legos that Craig bought a while back and had been holding onto for the right moment.  It's Lex Luthor, his giant robot, Superman and Wonder Woman!
He also got some Mega Bloks.  He got a big box of them last year and enjoys building stadiums with them.  Then I happened to win a Mega Bloks prize pack through a blog contest, and decided Jacob could have the big pack of blogs to allow him to build even bigger!  The other two prizes are waiting in the wings, either for another baby or a gift.

He also got some cool clothes.  My theory on clothes at this point is that anything that he would have an interest in can be a gift, whereas boring old clothes that he needs are not given as gifts...yet.  I feel like it's my job as his parent to provide the functional clothes, so they're not really gift-eligible.  That may change, but right now he's totally disinterested in anything not sports or superhero related, so there's just no point in wrapping them up.  But things like the soccer jersey shirt (with a 4 on the back!) and the Gorilla lacrosse shorts I randomly found at Children's Place last weekend are totally fine to give as gifts. 
Man of many sports...
He also got an inflatable basketball hoop for the pool, as motivation for him to actually want to go swimming.  We got him cool Superman trunks last weekend, and coincidentally yesterday his new floatation device arrived--a Puddle Jumper, which many of my Facebook friends swore by.  Since we didn't have time after dinner last night to swim, we did make it out there tonight.  Jacob LOVED it.  It probably helped that the pool was so warm (almost 90!) and he discovered that his Puddle Jumper helped him float pretty well.  He's still got a long way to go to learn how to keep himself balanced and try to swim, but he had a blast in the pool and kept talking about doing it again tomorrow.  Such a far cry from a couple weeks ago, eh?  Thank goodness.

As for his day at daycare, I opted to buy his classmates each a cool funky straw water bottle.  He's got numerous allergy issues in his classroom--no nuts at all in the whole center, a couple classmates with egg allergies, and one teacher with celiac disease--so food treats are tough.  I'm not really a fan of the goodie bags full of crap, so instead I wandered around the dollar store and Walmart with a budget of about $1 each (there were 17 kids, after all).  In the end I thought the water bottles were the best bang for my buck (or 98 cents, actually).  They went over well, at least with the teachers! 

We went to Red Robin last night to get Jacob's free birthday meal, because it's his favorite place to go.  He loves their corn dog (I know) and mandarin oranges.  He was quite difficult to get ready to go, and then gave us fits in the restaurant.  Makes me miss the days of high chairs, let me tell you.  What I wouldn't have given for a strap-down seat last night!  Despite all of his antics, he ate his dinner like a champ and eagerly awaited his birthday ice cream.  I was primed and ready with the camera since I regretted missing the big grin on his face last year.  And a year later, here it is...
Happy boy who loves being the center of attention!
He ate his ice cream all by himself, and insisted that while he wouldn't share his, he wanted to share mine on my birthday!  Hmmm...not sure I like that deal!

So...now we have a four year old.  An energetic, enthusiastic, stubborn, athletic, defiant, enigmatic, curious, talkative, determined little four-year-old boy.  He keeps us guessing and doesn't make it easy, but he also brings us a lot of joy and keeps things entertaining.  It's been four years since we've felt well-rested, since we've eaten meals in peace, since we truly slept in, since we've had abundant free time, since we realized how a baby really does change everything.  And aside from the aforementioned selective listening issues, we wouldn't change a thing.  Happy Birthday, buddy.

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