Can you believe that this little baby….
…has grown into this little boy?
Alexander of course would tell you that he is NOT a LITTLE boy. He is a BIG boy. He is FOUR. FOUR is BIG.
Alexander’s current favourite conversation starter is to announce “Hi! I am four!”, as though this critical piece of information will assure his audience that he does indeed have the necessary credentials to carry on a discussion. And, oh, what discussions there are to be had! The questions, the insight, the reasoning that goes on inside his head. It’s so fun to see Alexander thinking and learning and growing.
In addition to his morning pre-school activities, Alexander has been doing gymnastics twice a week since January, and we’ve been going to Music Together with Suzanna, Katie and Owen once a week for the past couple of months, so that keeps him occupied for a few afternoons of the week.
He’s really taken to the gymnastics, and seems to revel in the running, jumping, bouncing around aspect of being at the gym. He can do several basic moves – a decent forward roll, a very nice bridge and a messy sort of cartwheel, plus all sorts of trampoline bounces and some basic bar work. Of course, it’s hard to tell what he’s really capable of, since anytime we go to watch him at the gym he acts out to ‘impress’ us.
Music Together has been a fun addition to the family. Alexander likes to use the drums/maracas etc and he also likes to dance around. The boy has moves :). At first, Alexander didn’t sing much in class, but as time has gone by I can see he is participating more. He likes to listen to the CD in the car, and every now and then he will break out and start singing some of the songs we’ve learned in class. That makes me happy.
Around the time his 4th birthday arrived, Alexander gave up his afternoon nap. He’d been showing signs of letting the nap go, but would still fall asleep and sleep soundly for an hour or more most afternoons….however, the afternoon nap started playing havoc with the evening bed time, with Alexander repeatedly coming out into the living room after lights out, still awake hours after lights out. So we gritted our teeth and pulled the plug on the nap. He still does ‘quiet time’ most afternoons, and he still naps most weekends (because everyone else needs a nap!) and that seems to be working out well.
For his 4th birthday, one of his friends gifted him his first Real Book, EB White’s “Trumpet Of The Swan”. This lovely book has brought some big changes to Alexander’s reading habits. We are no longer restricted to endless re-readings of “What Do People Do All Day?”, but instead are encouraged – no, *required* – to read a chapter from his latest story book aloud to him at bed time. So far, we have read him “Trumpet Of The Swan” and moved on to “Wind In The Willows”. He is totally absorbed.
Alexander himself is not reading yet, but the seeds of interest are there, and I’m sure they will grow in their own good time. He’s pretty good with his numbers from 1-20 now, and can tell the time with reasonable accuracy (which means he can tell me whenever it looks like we might be running late….which is most of the time..). He draws the occasional pictures of people, but his preference is for modern art masterpieces created with smudgy textured paint. He regularly brings home artwork that he describes with titles such as “Big Fireboat Under Attack” or “Tsunami Eats Trucks”. And, yes, he knows what a tsunami is. And he knows about earthquakes and volcanoes. After the Japanese earthquake, we spent a lot of time discussing the basics of plate tectonics. He had a lot of questions. He has a lot of questions about everything.
Of course, not everything is such smooth sailing. We have our challenges with Alexander, right alongside our joys. It should be no surprise to anyone that Alexander is opinionated. Opinionated and stubborn. Opinionated, stubborn and argumentative. He likes to do things the way he likes to do them, and in his opinion, his way is the ONLY way. Trying to coax some flexibility out of him can be so difficult; infuriating and frustrating for all involved. And he gets frustrated with Suzanna – she touches his toys, messes up his blocks and lego at any opportunity and doesn’t understand when he uses all his magical power words/phrases that are so effective on kids at school and on grown-ups (“Please don’t touch that. It is mine.” “You are making me frustrated!” “I need a pathway!” etc) . She seemingly “gets away” with all sorts of mischief that he *knows* is not allowed, and since he tends to see the world in black and white with no shades of gray, he fumes at the injustice of it all. “Baby Suzanna needs a time out!”. I can understand how the difference in expectations must seem dreadfully unfair. Being the oldest sibling is tough like that. I remember it well. And yet…this is life. Got to learn to deal!
Overall, four is such a fun age, and Alexander is a great kid. He has a total cheeseball sense of humour, and nothing is funnier than the words “poop” and “butt” in his world. He teaches me things almost as often as I teach him things, and being with him makes me more aware and attentive to the world around us. Best of all, Alexander is a cool little dude who is fun to hang out with and interesting to talk to. I like him.