And now you are 4!!

And now you are four, Kieran.  What a year this has been!  You had a lot of firsts this year – some good, some bad.

The week after your 3rd birthday, you moved from your converted-crib toddler bed to an actual twin-sized bed!  You started in the lowered trundle bed from Grandma’s room, and within a month had moved to the full-sized, full-height twin bed.  A month later, we re-painted your room a bright orange color called “Cheese Puff” and turned it into a Space room complete with planet and rocket wall stickers, and a ceiling FULL of glow-in-the-dark stars! The rocket-themed quilt you got for your 1st birthday from our friend Kym Jensen is the centerpiece of your Big Boy room.  (We were surprised to learn that you figured out how to use the tool to pry open the full paint cans just before we started painting your room – which explains the 2-foot-diameter orange stain on your carpet…  you have a rug there to cover it up now!)

Last summer you went to your first movie theater movie: Planes!!  It was pretty loud, and you spent the movie trading between Daddy’s and my laps… but you loved it all the same.  We went and saw Frozen just before Christmas and you LOVED that movie!  We’re looking forward to taking you to see Planes: Fire & Rescue next month when it comes out – it’s two of your favorite things: helicopters and fire trucks!
You started official pre-school in late August, and have been learning SO MUCH this year!  You love to be a helper to your teachers, and have really improved in making good choices and following the classroom rules.  You count up to through and into the 30′s (although we have heard 28, 29, twenty-ten, twenty-eleven….. a time or two.)  You know EVERY color that gets thrown at you.  Your vocabulary is off the charts.  (Really, you surprise Daddy and me multiple times a week with 3 or 4 sylable words – we’re shocked at what you know and how well you articulate yourself!)  You LOVE to count – you count everything you see, and you’re ALWAYS looking for patterns.  You love to make patterns – it’s your favorite game to play at school, using the little rubber vehicles to match color and number patterns on the cards.  Your coloring and writing has improved so much – you write your first and last name clearly and without assistance!  You color beautifully within the lines, and have finally learned to use more than one or two colors!  You draw with such imagination – firetrucks, helicopters, guinea pigs and Batman are your usual subjects.  But my favorite drawings are the ones you draw of your family.  My office is decorated with your drawings and pictures.

Speaking of family, yours got smaller this year.  In October 2013, your PaPaw (Mama’s Daddy) died.  It wasn’t your first time dealing with death though – our beloved Boxer dog Kishou died in January 2013.  You called it “Heaven House” – the place where Kishou and PaPaw are now.  It was hard for you to learn why Kishou wasn’t coming home again – but you understood that Kishou was old, had too many owies inside her and the doctors couldn’t make her better again.  So when PaPaw died, you told me “PaPaw went to Heaven House to play with Kishou.  And it’s OK, we still have Grandma!”  It’s been a hard thing this year, but you’ve been a comfort to me when I’ve been sad, Kieran.  And your PaPaw loved you so very much.

We got a new dog just before PaPaw went to Heaven House – a black and white rescue pitbull mix that you named Hera, since you told us Kishou sent her from Heaven to be our new doggie.  (Hera is the Queen of Heaven from Greek Mythology.)  She’s a good doggie who loves her boy so much!

You had your first real Chrsitmas this year too!  You were SO excited to see Santa and tell him about the “Blue Helicopter with grey rescue hook” you wanted for Christmas.  We made cookies for Santa and left carrots for his reindeer too!  Your big gift was a big boy bike, since you’d outgrown your Strider running bike.  (Oh, and the helicopter too, of course…)

But probably the biggest thing for you this year was your first visit to DISNEYLAND!  We went in early February, accompanied by our dear friends Sean & Kristy Mayo.  They’re like godparents to you, and we have a sneaking suspicion they love you nearly as much as we do.  You loved holding Sean’s hand and riding on his shoulders, since he’s so much taller than the rest of us!  You were thrilled at riding your first roller coaster wtih Daddy – and we thought you would never stop shreiking in glee from riding the Radiator Springs Racers ride in Cars Land at California Adventure!  We spent three days at the parks, and had a ball.  You loved riding the old-fashioned fire truck up and down mainstreet – and meeting Mickey and his friends!  You got to meet TowMater and Red the Firetruck too!  It was a magical week for sure.

Around the same time we went to Disneyland, you started talking about wanting a Guinea Pig for a pet that you would name “Street Sweeper.”  We let you talk about it for a couple of months to see if you were really serious – and it turns out you were!  So this spring we added two more pets to our family: Street Sweeper and Car Wash.  You love to talk to your guinea pigs – you make a perfect piggy “EEP!” sound (although you had to learn that it wasn’t a good choice to make that sound during circle time at school…)
Your most recent adventure was to Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona at the beginning of this month.  We went with Sean and Kristy, who like to dress up as superheroes!  Kristy made a Robin costume for you with a cape and everything!  You got to meet Batman and Superman and Spiderman!  You even met The Joker and had a talk with him about making good choices.  You’ve been exploring the world of Superheroes for the last two months – and Batman is your favorite.

So let’s see… about you.  You’re growing into quite the sturdy little boy.  You’re 37 pounds (down from 41 pounds before you got a fairly awful tummy bug last week…) and 42″ tall!  You’re wearing 4T pants still, but you’re about to break into the 5T ones.  You’re wearing size XS or S shirts in the Big Boys sizes though – so I’m shopping on both sides of the aisle for you!  Your feet are holding steady at 10.5-11 (There’s nearly a half-size difference between your feet though!)  There’s nothing ‘baby’ about you anymore to look at you… but that doesn’t stop me from calling you “Baby”.

You are still super picky with your food, but you’ll eat crumbly-breaded chicken nuggets and fish sticks with ketchup.  You love hummus, guacamole, Greek yogurt with honey, orange cheese, and peanut butter.  Daddy makes you graham crackers with peanut butter, chocolate chips and whipped cream often.  We’re working on expanding your palate, but we don’t push you.  We just keep offering what we’re eating.  You won’t go to high school eating like this, we know.  You’ve recently added grilled cheese sandwiches, PB&J, and toast to your repitoire!  You drink your milk and take your vitamins just fine, so we’re not worried.  You sleep great at night, from around 8:00pm to 6:00 or 7:00am!  You nap occasionally, not as often as you need to.

You talk ALL.THE.TIME.  Your favorite words are all about emergency and rescue vehicles.  I’m pretty sure “Heticopter” is the most commonly-spoken word in this house.  You talk about “Amboolence” taking people to the “Hostiple” all the time.  When you go to bed, you call out to us “Don’t let the Frostbite” from Frozen – although you don’t quite get the joke.  We tell you “Don’t let the Bedbugs bite” in response before closing the door.
But the best part of you talking incessantly?  You say “I love you” all the time.  And this week, you told me “You’re the sweetest Mama” which absolutely melted my heart.  You’re so kind and loving, Kieran.  I hope that continues – Daddy and I are trying to raise you to be kind and generous to everyone you meet.  We (try to) give you 100 kisses a day and at least 17 hugs.  Some days you’re up for it.  Some days you’re not.  But we love you through everything, and help you get in touch with your emotions to deal with situations when you’re angry or sad.  We assume from the comments we get from friends, family, teachers and strangers that we’re raising you right.  Most of all though, we just want you to be happy.

As I write this on the morning of your 4th birthday, you’re still wearing the Elsa shirt we got you for your Frozen-themed party yesterday.  You requested (and got) your fingers and toes painted with sparkly blue nail polish.  And Elsa herself visited your party and brought you a stuffed ice friend!  But best of all, you inherited a huge stash of LEGO bricks, courtsey of Daddy and Uncle Sean – they gave you the LEGO that they played with when they were kids.  Our friends and family added to your collection with new LEGO sets.  The train table I built for you almost two years ago has been re-christened a LEGO Table.  You are SO happy to have all this a year earlier than Daddy and I have been telling you that you could have it.  (We did make you step on a LEGO brick yesterday though, so you could see how much it hurts and impress upon you how important it is to clean up your bricks so nobody steps on them, and Hera doesn’t eat them.)  I think I’ll go join you and Daddy in building a (wait for it…) Batman Helicopter.

We love you so much, Kieran.  You make your Mama and Daddy so happy every day.  Happy Birthday, Buddy.

Someone snuck a kiss on Queen Elsa at his 4th Birthday party!

Someone snuck a kiss on Queen Elsa at his 4th Birthday party!

And now you are Three…

And now you are three.  What a year this has been, Kieran.

You’re not a baby any more at all.  You are a big boy – and you’re proud of it.  You just potty-trained yourself in about two weeks after going to San Diego for Uncle Oin’s wedding.  You had your heart set on some “Mater Underwear” (Tow Mater from CARS) and we told you that once you were doing all your business in the potty that we’d get them for you.  You already knew how to tinkle in the potty – you just didn’t want to for a long while.  But the first morning we were home from Oin’s wedding, you pulled back the curtain when I finished my shower and announced “Mama!  I go tinkle in the potty!” and you were off!  It took about a week before you could poop too – and you still usually request a treat (lollipop or chocolate) after each success.  I imagine we’ll phase that out once the current bag of lollipops is gone.  You’ve been dry every night but one since you started this too, much to our surprise.  All year we’d been telling you that you weren’t a big boy because you didn’t use the potty.  Well, now you are.  (You’ve been quite vocal about it to anyone who will listen – even complete strangers at the store commenting on your lollipop.)

Speaking of strangers…. You make friends wherever you go.  You’re friendly to everyone, waving and saying “Hi!” as we pass people at the store.  You love to ride in the big part of the cart – or even more to help me push the cart when we’re grocery shopping.  You are my little shopping buddy – when I have to go to the store without you, I’m lonely.

You talk all the time now, narrating your play with your toys.  You still love everything Fireman, but space shuttles, pirates, construction, and dinosaurs are steadily making their way into your world as well – frequently all at the same time.  You’re so sweet, even when you’re playing with your toys – they all say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ for being rescued or flown somewhere in the space shuttle.  You love a baby toy that you call “Puppy” – a Baby Einstein dog with teething feet.  Puppy sleeps with you every night, and you use him to comfort yourself when you’re scared or upset.

It’s very hot here in Las Vegas right now – and you’re loving spending time in Oma and Opa’s pool.  You’re learning the basics of swimming already, you’re quite the kicker in the water with me.  You love to jump to us off the steps in the pool.  We’re going to teach you to swim this summer for sure, either on our own or with lessons.

You’re doing well at school too.  You know your colors and you count to 15, although usually you leave out number 6 or 8.  Your vocabulary is off the charts, and you impress all your teachers (and the directors) at school with how well you speak – beyond your age, they tell us.  You know your first and last name, and your right from your left.  You have trouble following the rules sometimes, especially when you would prefer to run around.  You’re a leader in your class – which can be good and bad, depending on whether you feel like following the rules that day, or leading a parade at circle time.  We think you’re a little bored and mostly a little boy, so we’re not concerned.

You’re curious about everything, asking “Why?” about all that you see.  “Why are you doing that, Mama?” is a question I answer a dozen times a day.  So far it’s not getting old – although I turn it around on you when I run out of answers “Why do you think, sweetie?”  Daddy and I do our best to tell you the truth and explain whatever it is you’re asking about.  We don’t dumb things down for you.

Oh, and speaking of pet names: you don’t like them most of the time.  If we call you “pumpkin” or “sweetie” or even just tell you that you’re handsome, you reply “No!  I not pumpkin!  I just Kieran!  Kieran Gorman!”  Daddy calls you Superman though, and you don’t seem to mind.  I call you Buddy.

You’re growing like a weed, although thankfully not as fast as when you were tiny.  Shirts you wore last summer in Philadelphia (when you went on your first plane ride to visit our friends Peter, Kelly and Kara) are now hanging on as PJs – although they’re almost too small for that even.  You’re wearing 3T pants and 4T shirts.  You’re all torso, but your legs are trying to catch up.  You’re one of the tallest kids in your class, and you tower over your cousin Grant.  You weigh about 34 pounds now.  Heavy enough to make our arms tired, but not too heavy to actually put you down.  You love to be carried still – and I love to put you on my shoulders.  Daddy is too chicken to do that often, but I do it as much as you’ll let me.

I’m not sad to see your birthday this year, Kieran.  There’s no mistaking you for a baby anymore.  You are my little boy now – charging ahead into this big world.  I can’t wait to see every day what you’ll learn.  Seeing the world through your eyes is such a joy.  You are so happy, so loving, so curious.  I can’t wait to see what this next year will bring for us all.  Thank you for holding my hand as you charge along.  Mama loves you, Buddy.

Birthday Boy2

And now you are Two…

(I wrote this a year ago in 2012, but for some reason never published it.  I have every intention of writing a letter to Kieran every year on his birthday – and what better place to keep them than here?)

You’re TWO now, Kieran.  Did you know that?  Does it feel like such a big change to you, like it does to Daddy and me?

You really are an incredible little man, Kieran.  This last year has been so wonderful.  Don’t get me wrong, your first year was amazing – watching you go from a tiny squishy baby to an almost-walking curly-haired little guy was incredible.  Our miracle baby.

But your second year – WOW.  You have become your own person – someone Daddy and I are loving getting to know.  You have opinions and aren’t shy about sharing them.

You love rockets and fish and balloons and trains and fire trucks.  You love to color, but you go on jags where you’ll only use one color of crayon.  (Recently it’s been brown and then black.)  You don’t like to be messy, which makes typical toddler activities of finger painting and exploring new foods a bit of a challenge.  You are the only kid I’ve ever seen to ASK for a napkin so you can wipe up during your meals.

You are a whiz when it comes to the iPads (which you’ve taken to calling “My iPad” of late.)  You can pull up your favorite games or your favorite shows without help from us.  You color with the coloring apps, and enjoy the Elmo Potty app quite a lot these days.  Our phones present no challenge to you either.

Speaking of Potty – you’ve decided to take a whack at that now as well.  You’ve been off and on for a few weeks now, but you tinkle in the potty really well.  Daddy and I don’t mind changing your diapers though, so we’re not going to push you on this.  You tell us when you’re ready, OK?  Mama has cloth training pants all ready for you.

You talk, son.  You are so much like me right now in that you never stop talking, much to Daddy’s chagrin.  You tell us stories.  You talk (and SING!) to yourself.  You tell us about your friends at school who are riding on your trains and where you’re going (usually to space!)  You’re using full sentences, and asking questions.  This morning you saw a picture of cookies on the computer and you told me “Mama, go in kitchen.  Make cookies for Kieran.”  Cheeky little monkey.

You’re growing so fast too.  Not as fast as you did when you were a baby – but I’m afraid you’re going to outgrow your 3T clothes (that you got in right after your birthday) before it cools down enough for your (mostly long-sleeved) 4T clothes.  We swear we can hear you creaking in bed at night as you stretch taller and taller.  (I just made you a huge ruler so we can track your growth at home.)  You can reach things on the counter and flip light switches without a stool now.  But if there’s something on the counter you can’t reach – or you want to help me make something in the kitchen, you know to go get one of your stools or chairs and bring it over.  You’re a good helper in the kitchen, helping me pour, and crack eggs, and stir.  You like to watch me make dinner.

My favorite thing you do right now?  You sing with me, especially at night before bed.  We sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” as we look at the stars on the ceiling and play ‘Hide the Moon’ with your light-up turtle.  We sing “You Are My Sunshine” just because you are my sunshine.  And then we sing your lullaby – a song called “Godspeed” that I’ve been singing to you since you were born.  You don’t know all the words, but you sing along to parts of it – and your little voice is so sweet.

Kieran, I hope you know how much you are loved.  We’re always kissing you and hugging you and asking for hugs and kisses.  (You’re usually pretty good about giving them too!)  I worry that we’re going to spoil you, because you’re an only child.  But I’ll never worry about loving you too much.  You are the best thing Daddy and I have ever done.  You make us so very happy, just by being you.

I know this year is going to be amazing for us all.  Thank you for being such an incredible little boy.  I am so lucky to be your Mama.  I love you so very much.

Philadelphia, July 2012

 

Valentine’s Day

kj-heart

I am of late relishing when I’m allowed to cuddle my guy.  He *just barely* still fits in my lap, legs draped around me and hanging off the side of the recliner in his room; but when he wants to snuggle to sleep he can melt into a surprisingly compact form.

His head fits differently on my shoulder, in the hollow above my breast.  He smells different now, of little boy and frequently of peanut butter.  But his hair is still so soft, and his cheek (the only thing that speaks to his remaining babyhood) invites kisses that won’t get wiped away.

He isn’t my first love, that’s saved for his Daddy.  But he will always be my sweetheart and my Valentine – for no one will ever know him for as long as I have, or loved him for as long.  He knows what my heart sounds like from the inside, every beat saying his name – before I even knew what it was.  He shows me every day what Love is.

Happy Valentine’s Day, buddy.  Mama loves you.