Posted by: Kate | July 29, 2008



Oh, my sweet boy.


You’re four. Somehow the earlier birthdays don’t seem like such landmarks, such divides between yesterday and today. But four comes along, and somehow you just catapult from Toddler to Little Boy.


You’re such a stable, solid little presence in the house.  Your sister will scratch, claw and spit to get to center stage, and now we’ve got little X, ready to screech, scream, whine and generally create a cacophony if anyone dares glance in a different direction.  And meanwhile, you’re there.  You find things to make you happy, you ask for help when you need it, you sometimes reverse your M’s and N’s and I absolutely refuse to correct it.  You’ve just got such a centered, contented sense of self.  Where on earth did you find it?


You never read the What to Expect books, and Dr. Sears doesn’t hold a lot of personal relevance to you, at least when it comes to developmental milestones.  You never crawled; you sat and watched and thought, and then you stood up and walked across the room.  You never baby-talked; you sat and listened and thought, and then came out with complete sentences.  You will not be moved at one millimeter per second faster than you’re willing and ready to go, but once you’re ready, you move with a steadiness and surety that astounds me.


You’re so smart, in the simplest, most basic sense of the word.  Your brain works quicker than your mouth can keep up, sometimes, to the point that your “Um, uh,” start to most sentences has become a trademark.  You think things through, and your memory is so strong. “I know things all day long,” you told me not long ago.  But that knowledge doesn’t come out in the form of bossiness or demands, and you’re not a know-it-all.  You just know what you know, without any need for competition or ingenuous validation.


It’s important, that intelligence.  But what I love more, what I think will take you farther in life, is your basic, inherent sweetness.  You get mad, you yell, you even occasionally gnaw on your sister’s shirt when she’s making you insane, but you don’t hurt people.  You don’t push just for the sake of pushing.  Your anger is always legitimately triggered, and you let go of that frustration just as soon as the situation is resolved.  And most of the time, you have such a precious sense of goodwill and optimism.  I don’t know how to teach that and I don’t know where you learned it, but I am thrilled beyond words at how easily you roll with life’s punches and how genuinely kind and thoughtful you are.  It makes life easier for me, of course, but even more important, it will smooth out the edges for you.


I’ve had some one-on-one time with you this summer, and we’ll continue to have our Mondays and Thursdays during the school year.  Those quiet afternoons are a precious commodity for a second child in a busy household, and I try hard to treasure them without getting so caught up in the moment that I lose the moment.


Things are going to change a lot in the next year.  L and X are going to stay with us for a while longer, and then they’ll move out.  We’ll be moving, too, and this time you’ll be a lot more aware and verbal through the process.  Who knows what else is waiting just around the corner for us?  All I’m certain of, right now, is that you will still be your same, sweet, unflappable self.  You will still eat anything we serve with equanimity and will pick at the bug bites on your arms until they bleed.  You’ll sneak into bed with me at night and snuggle into the crook of my arm and snore, and you’ll use your allowance money to buy a new Matchbox car every single time, regardless of the millions of other toys in the store.  And I will love you so much that my heart hurts and I have to sneak into your room and whisper it to you after you’re sleeping, just to make sure you can soak up that love even in the middle of the night.



  1. Oh, so beautiful!! Happy 4th Birthday you sweet boy!! The world is lucky to have you in it!!

  2. And now I’m crying. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful, sunshiny little soul. Happy birthday, J!

  3. *sniffle*
    What a lovely tribute to a sweet little boy! The world is better for having him in it.

  4. What a darling boy. What a touching post! Save this somewhere for him…as a grown-up he will treasure it.

  5. What a beautiful post. I hope you print this out and save it for him to read some day.

    The sweater is beautiful. I can’t thank you enough. Even Jim commented on how pretty it is. We’re settling back in from our last trip. I’ll get a picture soon for you.

  6. Love those photos and your words! Happy 4th to the little man!

  7. Awww, he’s beautiful. Looks like we were both loving our little boys on the blog today. It sounds like they would make great friends!

  8. Happy birthday, Jacob! :heart:

  9. Happy birthday!

  10. Happy belated birthday Jacob!!! I wish you all the best (you already have the mom & dad!)

  11. Happy Birthday Jacob! I can’t believe our babies are getting so grown. He looks so grown up 🙂

  12. Where does the time go?

    Happy Birthday Jacob.

  13. Happy Birthday Jacob!!!!! No fair growing up on us!

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