Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Cooper - 4 Years

January 7, 2016

I'm a month late in writing this, but it's been weighing on my mind ever since you turned 4!

I felt really pulled to write today, after a little bit of a rough afternoon.

It's actually February 2nd, and we just had the biggest snow storm I've witnessed since living in Colorado. It didn't get the news coverage that the East coast's latest storm did, but it's still huge for us. The past two days have been snow days for you and your dad at school, so it's been fun to have everyone home together. During the school year, mommy has to work every weekend so I am able to be home with you and Natalie during the week while daddy is at school - which leaves very little family time! But, usually, before we know it, the semester is over and our routine is changing a little more.

Anyway, I felt like today you defined your personality in such a perfect way - so perfect, that I wanted to write about it. Because people just don't understand what kind of child you are - and I guess I can't expect them to. But I also don't want the advice or fake sympathy from someone who doesn't understand or have a child like you. Obviously, there is no one else like you in this entire world!

You are so intelligent that sometimes I forget you are only 4. I feel like I am negotiating a hostage situation with you on a daily basis. It is a constant struggle for control. More often than not, I give up, because in my mind, it's just not worth the struggle. But, it took me about 3.5 years to realize that this was only going to have negative effects in the long run. Now I am determined to be in charge.

So today. On snow day #2, Dad made us all pancakes. You asked for…rather, demanded…strawberries with your pancakes. I cut some up and put them on your plate. You never touched them. When I asked you to finish them, you refused. I informed you that you would eat them with your lunch.

We came in from playing in the snow, and you asked for your normal hot chocolate with marshmallows. You asked to help stir it, and I obliged. You asked for the lunchable with the chocolate chip cookie, and I obliged. I gave you the strawberries, and you pushed them away rudely. I reminded you that you needed to eat at least 2 of them with your lunch or I would have to confiscate your hot chocolate. You threw a fit. I took the hot chocolate.

Eventually I set the timer for 15 minutes for you to finish eating your lunch or you'd have to go to your room. You had already been there for 20 minutes. Ample time to eat lunch. Instead, you were fidgeting and squirming and playing around. The timer went off and you weren't finished which bought you time in your room. Finally, when the time out was over, I asked you one last time if you'd eat those strawberries so you could have your hot chocolate or was I to just throw it away? Throw it away, you said.

You came down and begrudgingly finished your lunch. And watched me throw away that hot chocolate because you refused to eat two strawberries. These weren't even whole strawberries! They were cut up!


I feel like this defines your personality in so many ways, Cooper! What kind of child would watch their beloved hot chocolate with marshmallows get thrown away? Why not just eat the strawberries?

The same kid who would rather sit in time out to be sure they were still in control of their situation. The kid who could care less about missing out on play time or circle time or whatever it may be. Natural consequences don't seem to work with you. You are much more concerned about being in control of every situation and in charge of everyone else. We're pretty sure you've inherited this from your grandmother.

I try to remind myself that these qualities will be so useful when you an adult. You will be so successful if we can channel this energy in a positive way. If we can teach you empathy and respect. If we can teach you how to put others first, and to think before you speak.

You are so smart, and intuitive. You remember everything we tell you, whether you act like it or not. You love to learn new things and teach others what you know. You love to be in charge, in the lead, and are rarely shy. Generally, you are very tender and sweet to Natalie. You two have gotten in to it before, but mostly you like playing with each other. You're still learning how to play with a toddler and share with her since she just likes to knock down your buildings and snatch your cars.

You can write most of your name, and draw self portraits. You love to build with your magna tiles, and play with your hot wheels cars. You know how to dress yourself, and pick out your own clothes…much to your mothers dismay. Your favorite show is Paw Patrol. The only thing you seem to eat these days are chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and fruit. You will eat cucumbers and carrots with ranch, but that's as far as we can get with the veggies. You love milk and water.

You are in preschool three days a week and love every second of it. Your teachers love you, too. It took a couple months for you to warm up to the schedule, but you are having consistent good days now.

You continue to be my sweet boy, my most favorite 4 year old in the land. You and I have a bond like no other. You love to snuggle every night and every morning. You are still sucking that thumb. We are challenged by you every day, and I know it's making us all better people, and a stronger family. We love to watch you grow and learn new things every day. You amaze us daily.

Keep questioning the world, sweet boy, it's yours to conquer!