I love to watch Louie's face when we're all singing happy birthday to him. He is just so sweet and bashful, sometimes with a wry smile always with his head turned downward. If he dares to look around and not down at the table he will still avoid eye contact. I get it. It's exhilarating but also uncomfortable to have so much attention on you, to have so many people smiling at you and watching you, waiting expectantly for what you're going to do next. I cherish that nervous and proud little face, and oh gosh I adore this child.
Here he is with that face I love, at his ZOO BIRTHDAY! party with his little friends.
And on New Year's Eve, his actual birthday, being sung to by his wild, giant, noisy extended family. Many heads got in my way, so this was the only partial shot I got of that nervous face.
Oh my goodness.
Last year, when he turned three, same face:
(I clearly have no idea how to appropriately use the focus on my camera.)
At his 2nd birthday party his bashfulness came out in him sticking his tongue out while we all sang. Still with that same proud little smirk.
And when he turned one, he basically just looked shocked and a little concerned by the bizarre attention and sudden communal singing. (Also, whoa, looking a lot like Olive here.)
So this guy of ours turned four years old, amidst all the craziness and extra family time and weird schedules that is our life over the holidays. I'm sure someday we won't get it right, at some point he's going to realize and potentially resent the fact that he gets the shaft by having a birthday that is not only 6 days after Christmas but also lands on a day that people all over the world like to celebrate for something else entirely. Eh. We'll continue to do our best to make sure he feels special, if anything over-compensate for this lot in life that he was given by being born on New Year's Eve.
I can't believe he's four. I just... where in the world does time go? Such a cliche, I know. But man, his baby and toddler years were gone in such a flash and I can already tell the preschool years will also be quick.
Our baby Louie.
He was beautiful and scrumptious and relatively easy on us exhausted parents back then, and that hasn't really changed. He is still a pretty easy going kid. And he's still darn gorgeous if I do say so myself.
He's funny, precocious, articulate, goes with the flow but at the same time can be very moody, as kids his age tend to be. Kid can get HANGRY real fast, and then things get scary.
The best way to combat the hangry is with a sandwich. He loves meat
sandwiches, of almost any kind. Cheeseburgers, sloppy joes, pulled
pork, turkey sandwiches, Sausage McMuffins... The way to Louie's heart is through some kind of meat stuffed between some kind of bread.
He is a snuggler and a sleeper. Lately he's been falling asleep whenever we're in the car in the afternoon, which makes me worry a little that he's not getting enough rest. The poor kid could probably use a nap every day but we'd really rather he and Gus be on the same schedule, and he has shown that he can do without. Still, every once in a while it's a good idea to get this kid a nap. One day over the holidays when we had some sort of party to go to in the evening and I laid with the boys to get them to take a mid-day nap (Gus was furious about this, by the way), Louie cozied up to me and whispered, "Mom, I love sleeping, I love taking naps and snuggling with you, and I'm really tired. Gus never wants to take naps but I want to all the time."
Louie is also a bit of a brown-noser, did I mention that? As his mom, it's kind of awesome and I have to assume it will serve him well in life. ;)
Despite his love of sleep, he is an EXCESSIVE bedtime staller, almost to an impressive degree, and he drives us batty with his frantic needs just before/at/after/or during the bedtime process. His tactics are pretty standard... he needs a glass of water or a last minute bathroom run. He's suddenly hungry for the dinner he stuck his nose up at 2 hours earlier. Sometimes he has forgotten one of his (twenty-some) stuffed animals downstairs and he just CAN'T go to sleep without it, or his pillow isn't cold enough and needs to be flipped, he needs his back rubbed, the blanket is twisted around his legs and needs to be fixed. I could go on and on. As sleep deprived and over-taxed parents this bedtime stalling can be frustrating, even down-right infuriating, but it also feels like a part of his lore, one of those stories we will tell about Louie when he's a teenager or even a grown man himself with his own insane preschooler with absurd demands.
He's still obsessed with animals, (thus the zoo birthday party), and has been since he was a baby so this isn't just some passing phase. He tells me he wants to be a "boy zoo keeper" when he grows up, hilarious that he feels the need to emphasize his gender. He LOVED getting this gigantic giraffe for Christmas from Nathan and Eric, and we tried to make him keep it in his bedroom but the next morning at 6:30 AM he insisted on dragging it down two flights of stairs so he could watch TV with it. So in our basement this massive giraffe has found a home. Temporarily, if I have anything to say about it.
Louie, you are a DREAM, just the most joyful little boy, you radiate sweetness and silliness. You are always talking, always, essentially narrating life as you go about it. If I'm being honest it can be a little exhausting, but it's also refreshing to have so much insight into what you're thinking. You don't like to be alone, don't like to feel alone, and you refuse to go to the basement or up to your room to get something without someone coming with you. That, is something I think we should work on, now that you're 4. ;) Maybe your first New Year's resolution?!
Preschool is your jam, little guy. You love it. You love to learn new things, you love to play with other kids, and you love to impress your teachers with your manners and kindness and eagerness to please. You still have one more year of preschool after this one, before Kindergarten, but dare I say it you are so ready for "real" school. I will have no reservations when the time comes, other than just typical mom sadness over the bittersweet passage of time. Because really you were just our baby, like yesterday.
Happy birthday, my darling boy. Do not ever stop being you, you are a
shining star, you light up our life and make every day better than the
last. I will never stop loving you, sweetheart.