Daniel at Four

Daniel is four today. He went to science class this morning and made a model of an alien (I would much prefer them to be looking at plants and actual science in science class but I suppose aliens are cool). He's had such a packed weekend with his brother and his friends that I think his birthday celebration has been a great success. And he got to go to Disney of course last week.

So who is Daniel at 4?  Well that's quite a hard question to answer. He isn't transparent I know that much. He's the reason I get books on child-rearing out of the library and the reason I ask friends for parenting advice. Not in a bad way you understand, but just because he's so different to his older brother and so much more independent and hard to figure out.

It's been hard for me to accept that he doesn't want to be around us all the time, or play with his brother or friends on command. He genuinely enjoys playing by himself sometimes and he doesn't like to be bothered by people when he's in that mood. I get comments from other parents at pre-school about him. They'll say "My son talks about Daniel all the time! He's such a great friend!" and I think "really? Daniel's never even mentioned your child". That sums him up - an independent little soul. He does have a couple of "best" friends of course, like Ryan and Michael-Lewis.

It's also difficult for me to accept that he's going to fight me on a lot of issues because I am a control freak. He has been unbelievably headstrong and independent since the day he was born and so he will dictate when and what and why. He also dictates what he eats (though that is something I never give up nagging about). I am secretly proud of how strong he is though. How much he knows his own self and won't budge. He never tattle-tails or runs to me for help at the playground - he just kind-of does his own thing. I think those are great traits to have, being so strong minded. Of course sometimes we clash and it results in a huge meltdown on both our parts. I'm as guilty as him when it comes to the power-struggle game.

And yet he is so gentle and loving. There isn't a mean bone in his body. He doesn't hit other kids or take things away from them and say mean things. If his brother wants to take one of his toys, he's the first to say "okay, you can play with it for a while". I've never had to worry that he might slug someone at the park. His voice is adorable (he has a lisp) and he tells us he loves us every day. I think he will be fiercely protective of his family and friends.

He loves cars, play-doh, pirates, puzzles and games. He loves his quad bike and bicycle. He loves bubble baths, though he hates having his hair washed. He loves his teddy bears and his blankie (he's had it since he was born and is very attached to it). He does not like to play video games but he likes to watch them. He loves to have books read to him. He loves to play ball games. He plays imagination/pretend games with his brother where they fight "bad guys".  He does not like "new" scenarios or situations and takes a long time to warm up to people and places. It'll be interesting to see how well he does with organised sports this year. Will be join in the soccer team? Will he listen to a swim instructor?

This will be a great year for him. We'll be signing him up for sports and he'll been joining a new classroom (with new teachers) at pre-school, so he's going to have to overcome his fear of new things. He'll also be doing some travelling and spending lots of time at the pool again. I hope he overcomes some of his fears and learns to interact with us all a bit more. And maybe this will be the year he decides he like vegetables.

Happy Birthday my Darling Boy


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