Elliott is turning 4.
A two year tumultuous infertility journey has somehow rapidly shifted gears into a four year adventure that has led us here.
Now nearly 4 – our boy – is his own person blossoming with his own thoughts, beliefs, and a timid but certain voice.
He’s still a thumb sucker – there is certainly no denying that – but regardless, somewhere in the last year, he has morphed into a mini man.
Elliott has spent the last nine months learning and growing expansively in a local Preschool program. At the time of enrollment, he was completely uninterested in anything scholastic. We knew he needed a program like this to get him ‘school ready’ and the exposure to the whole ‘small fish in a big pond’ phenomenon, as well as the socialization with peers he really needed.
Spending the last nine months facilitating this transition has been joyously rewarding. He still has difficulty recalling the daily events to report about it at the dinner table, but hearing him tell me about the friends (most of whom still remain nameless) he played with all day is just enough to ignite the heartstrings. Pre-preschool he was social – yet shy, intelligent – but hesitant to try, curious – but cautious, so our in home childcare situation was really holding him back from experiencing life the way its intended. He needed that push so-to-speak to force him to take responsibility in this integral learning phase. And so, this journey began. He has mastered his color identification, he can identify and mostly spell and write his name, he struggles with the alphabet but there is marked improvement. He plays blocks, and does crafts, and is friendly with the kids in his class. Just the other day, we were making a quick errand run through Walmart, and as I thoughtlessly rushed my son down the aisles, he was calling after me “Mom… mommy!” When I finally caught wind of this and turned to see, he was pointing out a school friend, the pair of them so excited to find a friend in-the-wild, neither of them able to recall each others names. It was exciting none-the-less, and neither of them wanted anything more than to remind their mothers that they know people outside of their family dynamic. It was just the sweetest thing to witness, and in that moment I kneelt to the floor and held my nearly-four-year-old in a deep embrace and told him how proud I was that he was building friendships with these kids.
His teaching/learning journey has always been a struggle; he was slow to talk, hesitant to walk, he resists sitting in quiet study <Where he shines is on the physical experiences of life hands-on, tactile play, and the arts, and sports.> Do I wish he could just learn with ease? Sure! Would I change a single thing about him? Absolutely not!
Elliott loves bumble bee (as in the yellow Camaro that transforms into a robot), he is obsessed with everything superhero, and we get a daily dose of hero dramatics every single day (aren’t we lucky!). He is into planes, and trains, and automobiles, and now that he has been provided with a kid-leveled bookshelf you can find him curled up with a book just about anywhere. His love for hockey has remained unchallenged, though, he has expanded his love to pretty much all sports and remains active outside (or in) day-in and day-out.
Elliott doesn’t want to turn 4.
He has resolved to stay 3 because it’s his favorite number, or so he says.
I can’t blame him, I am not so fond of him turning 4 either, it’s one of those difficult transitional ages, he will suddenly be swept into the responsibility of the educational system, and miss out on all the 1:1 time he got with family. That’s a tough transition for any age.
At home, this past year he has been such an admirable big brother. He is thoughtful and encouraging with every interaction he has with Oliver. His only fault is that he worries to much about his reckless counterpart. We honestly couldn’t have asked for a better mentor as a big brother. He is everything we wanted and more. Some mornings the kids wake on their own, and without even coming in to wake us, they get straight to business together cooking a breakfast on their little wooden kitchen set all the while chatting together like old comrades. It’s just the bees knees!
If there is anything we are most excited about in this past year, as far as milestones go, its that Elliott is a swimmer now. There was no lack of effort on his part, he hustled hard. It isn’t so much that he succeeded that we are so excited, although that is certainly a bonus, but that he worked so tirelessly to achieve it. He fought about as hard as his little body could fight to get here, and earned the reward to swim 6-10 feet without a life jacket because he developed that skill from the ground up.
If you were to ask Elliott now what he thinks of himself he would tell you that he is Smart, and brave, and nice. These are how he chooses to define himself at this ripe old age of 4, and I am one proud mama, that those are the only qualities that matter.