I find it very difficult to believe that Thane turned four today. Not because it’s impossible that my little guy is so grown up! No, but because it seems implausible that he hasn’t been four for quite some time. Thane is so big, so capable, and so unbabyish that you could say he was turning five and not bat an eyelash. Fortunately for me, four it is.
Thane’s life has been marked by series of obsessions. I wrote about this when he turned three:
One of the key attributes of Thane is his sequential obsessions. They started, I think, with cars. Following cars were stickers. Then we went to dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were replaced by puzzles (my favorite – he spent long periods quiet and was a puzzle-savant doing 60 piece puzzles at two and a half years old). Puzzles promptly fell out of favor, to be replaced by Scooby Doo. I sense Scooby Doo is waning, but have no idea what will replace it – awkward timing what with the birthday and Christmas buying spree forthcoming.
I was wrong, by the way. Scooby Doo is still one of the great joys of his life. But it has been added to by, oh joy! LEGOS! The sun rises on Legos and sets on Legos. Thane patiently coaxes his fingers into practicing the fine-motor gestures required, rebuilding over and over again what his chubby digits break. He clutches the instruction manuals to his chest in his sleep, surrounding his bed with crinkled booklets like votive offerings. He stares at the instructions, willing himself to learn to read so he can master them. (Seriously, Grey is a wizard, but I have to work HARD to put together the kits!) But you have never seen a kid, on the day of his fourth birthday, spend as many happy hours with tiny plastic blocks as Thane did today. (If you gave him something else at his birthday, have no fear! He also had a blast with a bunch of the other things! I think I’m jealous of some of that great loot!)
Of course, this mono-maniacal intensity comes with a downside. I wanted him to, you know, play with his friends at his birthday instead of demanding to know whether they’d brought little Legos. (Ah birthday boy etiquette! So hard to teach! So important!) And getting him to do things like brush his teeth often get barricaded behind a never-ending litany of “Just let me fix this first”. (Hint: it will NEVER be fixed to satisfaction. That’s the fun.)
I love listening to him while he plays. He tells these lovely little stories. Sometimes he sings – sweetly – to himself. The worlds he builds in his mind are vast and beautiful.
Lest you start to wonder if he’s an autistic savant, I’m here to reassure you that in his non-Lego-obsessed moments (granted, a minority this month), he continues to be a very fun and engaging kid. He has some great friends at school, about whom we often hear. He and Grey have been bound tightly by their shared interest. The difference between the kid brother who breaks your Legos and a brother who looks at you with hero-worship in his eyes while he asks you to assemble his birthday Legos for him is the difference between a rocky relationship and a very solid one. I find them often, heads together, in shared conquest. (Not that they’re never fighting and tattling on each other… just less often.)
Thane likes granola cereal, yogurt (he still eats his first-ever solid food, whole yogurt mixed with unsweetened applesauce, nearly every day), bananas, cheese sticks, and macaroni and cheese. This would be his entire dietary intake if it were left up to him. He likes to lead off our dinner prayers, often starting us on the Doxology. He is determined to capture your attention, and will often persevere gallantly to get it, but isn’t so good about doing anything useful with your attention once he’s gotten it.
Thane is now 42.5 inches tall, which is about three and a half feet. He’s a solid (but unknown) weight. He’s extremely physically durable. When he falls down, he picks himself up again and moves on – sometimes even when he probably should get a bandage or something. He dresses himself, takes care of his own toileting (alleluia!), carries his dirty dishes to the counter, and feeds himself unending supplies of bananas when he’s hungry.
Thane is completely fearless. He is not afraid of the dark. He is not afraid of the high swings. Rarely does he cling or shy away. It’s almost a bad thing, how bold and confident he is. His balance, for example, is well behind his belief that he can safely walk on a wall like his brother does. He’s also very emotionally durable. He rarely “breaks down” and holds himself on a relatively even emotional swing. This is not to say that he takes thwarting well, but rather that he is steadfast in his desires and emotions.
There are still some small traces of my baby left there. He has not foresworn cuddling, and is possible cuddlier than he was this time last year. He gives me sweet kisses and hugs. He still sleeps with his best friend Puppy close at hand, and sucks his thumb. He will sit still in my lap for hours if I am reading to him (although we argue about the books: he wants Scooby Doo and super heroes, I want anything OTHER than Scooby Doo or super heroes). Tonight, he laid his tired, curly blond head on my lap while we watched a movie together, and laced his fingers in between mine. He grows up so quickly, and so well, that I treasure these times we share.