Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dear Hayden,

This month you turned 56 months old. You are such a sweet, loveable boy. Recently, at one of the 17 birthday parties we’ve had over the course of a month at The Little Gym…I was washing your hands and you looked up at me with your big blue eyes and said in your syrupy sweet voice, “you’re one sweet mom” in such a nurturing way. It’s almost like every now and then, a 30 year old steps into your body and takes control for a few seconds.

But during the other 23 hours of the day, you’re a normal 4 year old boy. A boy that I have many goals for this summer. The goal at the top of the list is to convince you that raising your voice a full octave higher does not help you get what you want. Whining is without a doubt one of my biggest pet peeves right now, and is also what lands you in time out most often. I don’t know why kids are born innately with the thought that if they speak slower, louder, and in a higher tone, that their every wish will be granted. But no worries, I think another 78 minutes (over time, of course) on the time out step will cure that.

The other goals include climbing the rock wall at Dick’s Sporting goods, finishing your swimming lessons with a bang, and taking the training wheels off of your bike.

I took you to the rock wall the other day. You are an inch or so too short for the wall, but I am a big fat liar and told the high school kids working the counter that you had done it before. That did the trick and you didn’t die, so all was good. The good news is…you absolutely loved the rock wall! The bad news is…at this point, it looks like you may fall easy for peer pressure. You climbed to the exact rock that the 4 kids who went before you did. So my theory I need to test is that, if I can find someone a little braver…a little more daring… to go ahead of you next time, will you follow suit?

Last week you started swimming lessons with Ms. Janie. She was your teacher last year and you don’t forget a thing. After the first day, you asked me where the boy who wears a camouflage bathing suit was. I could only speculate that he didn’t sign up this year and wonder how in the world you remembered that. Last week was quite busy because it was also the first year you were old enough to go to Vacation Bible School. The schedule was hectic, to say the least…30 minutes at school…then 3 hours of VBS…then back to school for another 30 minutes (which you were thankful was too short of a time to be forced into taking a nap)…then whisked away by Mimi who took you to an hour of swimming lessons. All day long, you were learning new things, but if we asked you about your day, you’d insist that you “don’t want to talk about it.” Unless of course, it was 8:15 p.m….when the only alternative to sleeping is talking. That’s when I found out that you went to a petting zoo, learned about Jesus walking on water, jumped in a bounce house, played with the boy in the white shirt, won a pizza party after raising money for the kids in Romania, floated like an air mattress in the pool, and rode a train in the parking lot of the church. It made me yawn just hearing it all. Over the last several months, we have started an allowance program with you. You have the ability to earn 50 cents per day. However, you’re content with just earning 20-30 cents a day. The tasks are simple, but if someone were to ask you, you’d probably argue they’re impossible. You get 10 cents per chore / task.
  • Listening ears is the first “chore” and you typically lose that money before 7:30 a.m.

  • Eating your dinner is another “chore” and I use the term “chore” loosely since we all know how hard it was for me to concede that you should get paid to do this. If I got paid for eating dinner, I’d be rich.

  • No potty accidents is another “chore.” This one is easy for you now. I guess it is sort of like your fixed salary. Unless of course Bonkers the Clown is visiting your school… although I wouldn’t consider it so much of an accident that you had the other day. It was much more of a deliberate act, since you later admitted to your teacher that you didn’t want to miss anything in the show. I am sure you did the cost-benefit in your mind.

  • Getting dressed by yourself is the fourth “chore.” Most days, this could also be considered part of your fixed income. You’re getting pretty good at it. Except you hate it when I make you wear a polo shirt.

  • The last chore is cleaning up your toys. I think in your mind, you’ll choose to do this only as a last resort. Like if both Dad and I lose our jobs and you need to put food on the table or something. You’re okay with not earning this money and seem quite content with a messy house. And quite frankly, so am I.
A couple of weeks ago, you began begging us for a Ben-10 Omnitrix. Since you had accumulated quite a bit of money over the course of a few months, we took it as an opportunity to show you just how much money $19.99 + tax really is. We poured out your piggy bank and began counting the mound of pennies, nickels and dimes. You looked at the heaping stack of coins and agreed that you still wanted it. So that weekend at Walmart, you bought yourself your very first toy.

In the weeks that have followed, it’s been interesting to watch how differently you treat this one particular toy. It doesn’t go in the regular toy box with all of the broken partial transformers that are impossible to transform. Instead, I’ve seen you hide the toy under our bed. Or under the guest room bed. A few days ago, I noticed that I had not seen the Omnitrix for a while. Fearing you had lost it already, I asked you where it was. But, you knew exactly where it was… “behind the decoration shelf in the living room”, you said. This is when I realized that even at age 4, you can realize the value of a dollar. Or at least that your dollar is more valuable than mine.

You’re becoming even a better big brother than last month. You and Davis are friends. Although you love to irritate him and casually mention 400 times that today is your bike day and not his, you still love him. You love to wake him up in the morning. You love to play swords with him. You’ll even step in and help Dad and I by making him a glass of water, or helping him put on a costume, or fixing his transformer an infinite number of times.
I also think you and I are developing a closer bond than we have ever had. There have been too many mornings to count when you have climbed into bed with me and gently touch my face. When I open my eyes, there you are looking back at me with this gentle smile you give without showing any teeth. In front of your face, you’re holding up your right hand and signing “I love you.” It’s our special thing.

Hayden, I can’t believe you’re almost FIVE. Slow down!

~signing~ I love you!, Mom

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