Tag Archives: BirthdayLetters

A letter to our Six Year Old

Dear Michael,

Today you are six! SIX YEARS OLD! For your birthday you got books and when you received a fiver in the in the mail from Auntie Rachel, you asked if you could buy more books. We went to Barnes and Noble and you spent all your cash within an hour of opening the card. In case you have forgotten, you bought Inside Hurricanes. You don’t have the complete Inside set but you have a pretty good start to your collection. You can’t read the books on your own yet but you are starting to pick out familiar words and I know that you are so very close to starting to read on your own. Your dad always tells me, “When he learns to read a whole new world will open up to him and we will never see him again!” I think your father is right so I am going to savour every minute of reading to you about tornadoes, volcanoes, hurricanes, weather and any other book you bring to me. I will admit I do get weary of answering all the questions you have all the time about everything, but I am working hard to be patient just like you work hard to be patient while I Google the answers to all your questions.

You love books. You love books about anything science and you love the Magic Tree House series. Your dad is the official reader of all Jack and Annie stories because they drive me nuts, but he loves reading them so it works out well. Right now you are reading one about serpents I think. Every night after putting you to bed your dad walks down the stairs following his nose to his dinner plate all the while smiling and reporting to me about you and your brother during story time. He loves reading to you and your brother.

Besides books you seemed to have found your body. This may sound weird but watch your Dad walk up the stairs a few times. You and your Dad are so much alike in so many ways. Your Dad doesn’t always know where his feet are and there is a spaghetti stain on the carpeted stairs to prove it. You are the same way. You seem to trip over nothing, but sometime in this past year you have really gained much more control of your body. You can do things now that you would not have attempted last year. Now you can ride a bike, cross monkey bars, jump on one foot and so much more. And just as I typed “so much more” I can hear your wise 6-year-old voice in my head urging me to add, “AND HANG ON TO THE TROLLEY UPSIDE DOWN!” (all caps because even in my head you talk at a level 4!). Yes Michael, you hang on to the trolley with your feet swung straight up in the air. It is quite impressive. Everyone thinks so. We often applaud you and you smile a big goofy grin and are quite proud of yourself as you should be. Like I said, you have come a long way in a short time.

Swimming is another area where you have grown a lot. I am surprised, more than I should admit, that I am even able to write about your swimming skills. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure you would ever get past swimming 2 feet, let alone diving for toys at the bottom of the pool. You were in the Pike level swimming class three sessions in a row. We set up the pool in the backyard and within two weeks you taught yourself to swim and are diving for toys like it is your job. You have even mastered a one-handed hand stand. That takes skill kid, and you got it!

In just two months you will be starting full day Kindergarten. I can not believe that you are old enough for Kindergarten. You will do great. You already know more about clouds and weather patterns than I did in the fourth grade. I have no doubt that you will be one of the smartest kids in your class. Whether or not you can sit through a whole class period, on your bottom, without bothering someone or interrupting the teacher is another issue, but I have faith that with time all the social skills that come so naturally to Patrick will become just another set of rules that you have mastered. Patrick will have to work to learn letters and numbers where all of that came so easy to you. You and your brother make quite the pair and I have no doubt that you could rule the world if you chose to do so. Your Father would prefer you to expand your love of weather to a love a space. He is really counting on hitching a ride with one of you kids on a rocket ship one day. My bet is on you Michael. You are so smart and if the Inside series of books had a book on How to Fly to Space, I am sure you would have it memorized with in a week.

You and Patrick are best friends and you both are quick to say that you miss each other when you are apart. We have all known that for a long time but this year you and your little sister have grown together and formed quite the tight bond too. She worships you and will do anything you say. She mimics every thing you do (good and bad- so please be good!) and wants to be just like you. In return for her eternal devotion you have offered her protection and friendship. You two often play together and you are always her first line of defence when she is doing something dangerous. You are patient with her when she ruins your plans, crashes your towers or topples your marble run. You are a wonderful big brother to her and she and Patrick are lucky to have you.

Your smile melts my heart and your meltdowns break whatever strand of sanity I have remaining. You are a looker and are so very handsome. You were blessed skin that tans instead of burns (maybe it skips a generation) and your blonde hair has bleached to white in the summer sun.

You are my first and I love you for being my test dummy. You have been incredibly resilient while I have learned to navigate parenting and I thank you for that.

I love you Michael. Happy 6th Birthday!

more pics here. 

To Patrick on your 4th Birthday,

Today you woke up to balloons. I don’t know what your reaction to them was because you ran downstairs to see if presents were ready to open before even stopping by our room to wake us up. I love you for that. You and Michael played in the balloons and searched for presents while Dad and I gathered up your sister and the pile of presents we hid in our room.

When we came down stairs you did your signature Joy Dance. I love when you do this because I know you are happy and we have done something right. The pure excitement and joy you are feeling can not be contained and you do your little jig. I goes a little something like this: You gasp, your eyes grow to the size of flying saucers, every muscle from your toes to your nose flex tight and then in one quick explosion of joy you hop in place three time while clapping four times.

After you do you your dance you always look a little sheepish. I don’t know why because it is the sweetest thing and nothing makes me happier than to see you do that hop and clap combo.

You are our middle child but there is nothing middle about you. You have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and you swing between those extremes like Tarzan through a jungle. You are sensitive, so very sensitive. However, you are not sensitive in a way that makes you weak. No, that is so far from the truth that it is laughable. You are sensitive in the way that allows you to read your audience and work them like a puppet master. You can manipulate everyone around you with a look.

If I was a pageant mom you would already have film credits under your belt. Your big and expressive eyes and notorious furrowed brow belongs center stage. You make me laugh like no one else can and you infuriate me in a way that makes me angry to the core of my being but all of that makes me love you even more. I don’t know how you do it but you have manipulated me too!

Your manipulation is topped of with a sweet shyness that allows you to get away with it all. This sweet shyness helps you get away with the worst of crimes with just a time out. For example, when you took a seam ripper to our sectional and “sawed” it to look like prop in a slasher movie. I have no proof (because you are THAT good) but I am sure that you are behind 90% of all the devious acts that you and your brother commit.

You are 5 weeks into preschool and I feared that your sweet, shy, master manipulator personality would be perceived as a Dennis the Menace class trouble maker but yet again you have surprised me and proved me wrong. Your teachers love you. They call you their little helper and that you have stepped up as a leader in the classroom. This makes me more proud (and relieved) than you will even know.

You and Michael are inseparable and you make such a great team. Michael and you have a give and take, leader and follower, teacher and student relationship that is so simple and complex at the same time. Some how you two are able to the best of friends and still swap roles of leader and follower seamlessly. On almost a daily basis I am asked if you two are twins. You look nothing alike but you get along like you can’t function without each other. Seeing you step up and become a leader in your Preschool class proves how strong and what a great kid you are.

One of your best qualities is generosity. When we were collecting toys to take to the youngest of the flood victims in Minot you didn’t hesitate to hand over some of your most prized toys. You understand beyond your years what others are feeling. You can empathize in a way that most adults can’t. You don’t like to see people hurting and you seem to know just how to remedy that hurt be it a cuddle and a smile or a favored toy. You giving spirit is unparallelled.

I love you Patrick James you are growing in ways that baffle me everyday. You are becoming a boy. You are not a toddler. You are far from baby. You are transitioning out of little boy faster than we can buy clothes for your long legs. I can’t believe that you are four years old.

Happy Birthday to my master puppeteer, my sweet shy boy, to my middle son that has no middle ground. Happy Birthday Patrick James. I can’t wait to see what year four brings. I am braced for anything because with you that is the only way to get through the day! I love you buddy.