Friday, December 7, 2018

Happy Birthday James!

Dear James,

Happy birthday, sweet boy!  I can’t believe you are five.  You’ve grown into such a little man this year:  thoughtful, focused, imaginative.

It’s been so fun to hear you learn to communicate even more this year.  You have a grown-up voice that you use for explaining things; you love to tell us about what you’re doing.  You make up so many words, though, that it can be hard to figure out what you mean. You build amazing things out of duplo--for a while it was saws, now it’s ferry boats.  It’s been the year of “Why?” You love to learn how things work and ask lots of questions, sometimes even in the middle of a story I’m reading. (When you’re curious about something or asking “why” you tend to scrunch up your nose.)  

I love your imagination.  One day this summer you threw a stick in the canal and watched it float down: “da freighter is on a hunt!  It’s a find da bad birds and kill da birds.” Another day you were spraying the lattice around the patio with the hose, and you and Emily were yelling: “Spray dem!  Spray da bad sojers in da fence!”

You’re fascinated with lawn and yard care.  We moved this summer and you’ve been somewhat alarmingly enthusiastic in trimming (or removing) bushes and trees.  I’d give you an assignment and you’d come back and ask “What you don’t want next?” You enjoyed the garden this summer, especially harvesting peas and digging holes; you really loved getting to tear out the corn when we cleaned everything out after frost. You quickly discovered that there’s a small tree here that you can climb; for most of the summer there was some assortment of tools, ropes or buckets in and around it.  Daddy built you a sandbox and you spent many happy hours there. The little pool went by the wayside when you figured out that you could fill the sandbox with water.

You got to help a little with the house remodel and since then you’ve been fascinated by tools, measuring tapes, anything building-related.  You observe so carefully and are really good at imitating what you see. You love getting to help Daddy and building things together. Daddy’s taken up archery and you have joined him; he built you your first bow early this year and you’ve gone through a few versions since them.  Once I showed you a new arrow: “Oh. (long pause) It’s most amazing.”

One day you asked Daddy “Do you know know to build a battery-powered weedwhacker out of playdough?”
Joe: “I’m not sure how...”  James: “You will have to check on your phone.”

You’re a sweet affectionate boy, regularly asking for “mummy hugs and ‘nuggles”.  I love seeing you and your sisters grow in your relationships; you and Emily are learning to get along quite well.  You’re so protective of Maddie; “I’m consterned about Maddie and the stairs!” was a fairly common line before Maddie learned to navigate them.  She does frustrate you when she wants to be in the middle of your toys, or the hole you’re digging (she thinks holes are for climbing in), but you go to her for hugs when you’re sad.  

You say thank you and no thank you and are so grateful if we get you something fun.  Recently I gave you your dinner plate before I dished up salad and you said “Sanks for giving me no salad, Mom!  I really don’t like salad.” Once I called out the window to check on you and you said “Dere’s a beautiful rose I wan’ show you!”   This summer we were out for ice cream and when we were going to leave you said to me “I’ll carry your water…(I reached for my purse)...I’m gonna carry your purse too.

Lots of imaginative play from you and Emily this year; favorites are either pulling all the cushions off the couch to make something or other (I think it’s a ship today, based on the bomp-ing sounds I hear) or playing moving truck in your room.  Many times I’ve come up to find your bed full of all kinds of things, stacked precariously.

Still my music boy: “I will play the trumpet when I get big. Now I play the broom.” (I think it was a bassoon.)  One morning this year ago you woke up, sat up in bed and started playing scales on the kazoo. For a while everything was a drum set--boxes, food, overturned crates, sideways tricycles, etc.  Daddy made you drumsticks out of dowels to spare the Lincoln logs. You improvise songs very loudly, with made-up lyrics about whatever you happen to be thinking about; sometimes you accompany yourself on the piano with equal vigor.  

If we are rehearsing you’re usually on the sidelines, playing or conducting.  Your musical interests tend follow along with whatever Daddy and I are doing. For a while choirs were the thing; you built risers out of blocks and marched all your people up and down over and over.  You also set up at least one orchestra in the living room, with chairs and (toy) instruments on each one. You’re also quite fond of coats and ties; clip-ons, bow ties, real ties. You’re the only four year old I know who can correctly tie his own tie (thanks uncle Michael).

We’ve started doing a bit of school together; letters and numbers, mostly.  You’re picking it up quickly and I enjoy hearing you talk about things: “what plus is dis?” or trying to figure out the letter sounds in a word.  Not long ago you came to me and told me seriously that Monkey’s numbers inside him were going backwards (I think this referred to his age, since we’ve had more than one talk about why you aren’t going to be a baby again).  We do Bible time together most mornings. You’ve memorized a handful of Psalms and other verses just from repeated reading, and you ask for your favorite Bible stories; lately Noah, Saul, and Jesus stories. I love to see you slowly grasping more and more spiritual truth.  

You’re such a big little boy.  I am so glad that you still love to snuggle and am treasuring these days.  You’re a wonderful gift to us, James. We’re so glad we got you.

Love you forever,