Four… It really does feel like a milestone. You’ve been with us for four whole years. Four years since you came screaming into the world, while the rest of the country was watching Super Saturday in the Olympics. Four years of seeing you grow, learn and develop. Four years of seeing you laugh and cry. Four years of watching you create, imagine and dream. Four years of being your mummy.
It’s been a good year, three. Forget ‘threenager;’ this has been the year I’ve loved the most so far. You’ve become good company. You’re genuinely interested in the places we go. You can (mostly) be relied upon not to throw a temper tantrum or a strop. You’re kind to others and, while you sometimes have your head in the clouds, you tend to make friends wherever we go.
You’ve become a brother this year. You have absolutely amazed me with how you are with Samuel. If I’m honest, I expected you to be difficult: jealous and demanding after 3 years of being the only child. But you’ve been incredible – full of love from the moment we brought him home. It has been amazing watching you with him as you’ve shown kindness and thoughtfulness that I honestly didn’t expect. And he loves you so much in return – watches you wherever you go, misses you when you leave and rejoices when you come home. I’m really looking forward to seeing your relationship with him develop and change over the years to come.
We’ve been able to go places together this year. We’ve both loved me being off work, having the time to spend together properly. Yes, you’ve enjoyed preschool, but 15 hours a week was enough. I feel like we’ve caught up this year. After a year where I struggled with working full time and you being in nursery full time, we’ve been able to make up for it. You’ve had swimming lessons, taken Gym Tots classes, visited different places, had friends round to play. We’ve made new friends and found new places (including McDonalds). We’ve built Lego models and vast train tracks. We’ve done the normal mummy and son things that I didn’t have the time or energy to do while I was working full time. It’s been great.
I’ve loved watching you grown in your understanding of faith too. At Easter, you really understood the crucifixion and resurrection. You’ve learned how to pray, and often, your first instinct is to pray if something goes wrong – I know I should learn from this. You prayed for your broken Buzz Lightyear to start working again, and then, when it did, you accepted it as you had prayed for it. When it stopped working the following day, you had a bit of a crisis, but that’s completely understandable – I think that’s part of how we get to know God and ourselves better.
And now, at 4, you’re ready for school. You’ll be one of the very youngest in your class, and I’ll always worry about that. You don’t appear young – you’re one of the tallest in your group at preschool, your vocabulary is very good and you’re generally quite confident – but I know you still struggle emotionally. But you’re excited about school. You enjoyed your taster day, and you’ve got two friends going with you from preschool. You’ll be fine. In fact, I think you’ll do really well and you’ll enjoy it.
I’m so glad we moved. When we put in our applications for school, I had a first choice, but I knew that any of the schools we applied to would be good. I wouldn’t have been able to say the same if we hadn’t moved. And now we’re much more at home here. In fact, soon, you’ll have lived here longer than we lived in Manchester. You don’t really have a Lancashire accent and you say “bahth’ and “barth” interchangably, but I’m sure that will change soon. (You used the word ‘interchangeable’ yourself the other day – you had learned it from YouTube.)
So the preschool years are over. I swing from thinking that you’re really grown up and responsible, when I have to remind myself that you’re only little, to thinking that you’re still my baby boy. You are sometimes desperate to grow up and do things that older children do, and sometimes you want to hold on to the things of babyhood.
You have obsessions which are all-consuming – you’re currently really into The Avengers, and remember things in obsessive detail. You claim to have an ‘Invincible World’ (I think you’ve mistaken ‘invincible’ for ‘invisible’), where all sorts of things happen, and you sometimes talk about ‘Ojo’ who may, or may not, be your imaginary friend. Ojo, you claim, sometimes comes and takes your place in the car while “Ben is going to the shops.” I love this imagination, and I love your memory for details as well. You amaze me with how long you can remember back, to things that happened over a year ago.
So, to me, you’re a pretty special little boy. The weight of responsibility of the next few years is heavy over me, as I know we’ll have to teach you to understand a complicated world. We’ll not be able to distract you from things and we’ll not be able to protect you in the same way. But I am really looking forward to it as well. I think we’ve got lots of adventures ahead of us too.
Happy birthday Ben,
love Mummy x