It's funny how it happens - one day you're three, and then you wake up the next morning as a newly minted four year old. The whole day is a celebration of you and you, beautiful boy, reveled in it.
After I got a birthday smile out of you (it's not hard - saying "stinky ____" usually does the trick, because you're you and you think talking about stinky things is just the funniest thing ever), I tried for a quick photo of all three of you. Amidst all the squirming and blinking and grimacing and fooling around, I managed to get this one. Your sister is actually looking at the camera, your brother is doing his very best to look and smile and not move a muscle, and you're just patiently smiling away. You know this is your day.
As group pictures usually do, the chaos soon morphed into your sister sitting on your lap trying to rip your jaw off while you laughed and laughed. She loves you and you are endlessly patient with her. Good thing, too, since this sort of thing often happens.
Then we took some selfies. Because selfies are cool, yo.
And yes, I'm wearing a scarf. Our new house is freezing. I miss the gas fireplace in our old house. The lovely husband laughs at me for wearing a scarf in the house, but I'm warm and he's cold so who's laughing now, huh? I knit that scarf a couple of years ago and it is the softest smooshiest thing ever.
Birthday pictures taken care of, you and your brother went off to play. You came out a few minutes later, having been transformed once again into a princess. Sometimes you're a knight, sometimes a princess; it's all good with you.
I snapped the picture, you gave birth to a baby, your brother caught it ("It's a girl!"), and the two of you ran off again. Congratulations on your new bundle of joy.
You came back every half hour or so to ask if you could pleeeeeease just open one present, but I made you wait until your daddy got home from work. Sorry buddy. We went to IHOP for lunch because that's what you asked for, then came home to wait out those last hours until you could finally see what was in those wrapped packages.
At last it was time.
You were thrilled to get the Lego Mirkwood Elf Army from your grandma. Lego and the Hobbit, two of your three favourite things.
Your daddy read The Hobbit to you guys as a bedtime story last year, and you soaked it all up. Now he's reading The Lord of the Rings - you three are nearing the end of The Two Towers - and none of us expected how head-over-heals you would fall for that world of elves and wizards and orcs and men. You know details that I don't even know, talk about it all the time, pretend to be Gandalf or Boromir or any of your other favourites. Nearly every day you come up to me and say let's talk about Lord of the Rings! or do you want me to tell you who I like best in Lord of the Rings? and I listen and nod and tell you my favourites too (Aragorn, without a doubt, and Gandalf too).
Your love for that world is so strong that there is, of all things, a Gollum hanging on our Christmas tree. I just never in a hundred years would have expected that, but there he is, swinging away next to my 1983 Baby's First Christmas bulb. You saw him on that day when we were choosing this year's Christmas ornaments and there was no budging. Gollum or nothing, that was your stance, so Gollum it was. Thanks, Hallmark.
You also loved the costume your Oma made for you. The accompanying card said that opinions varied as to what exactly it was - possibly a bear, a wolf, or a even beaver - but you didn't hesitate. "It's a Minotaur!" you roared, and you gave us an appropriately frightening growl. Minotaurs are your new favourite mythical beast, so sure, we'll go with that.
You had already received most of your birthday gifts when we celebrated your half birthday, because you had to wait an extra week past your due date and placed your birthday precariously close to Christmas, with its own influx of gifts. Still, your daddy and I couldn't resist the one present that was sure to earn us that long-lashed wide-eyed grin and squeal that we love so much.
Hockey shirts. Four of them, from four of your favourite hockey teams. When I said Lego and the Hobbit were two of your three favourite things, hockey would be that missing third.
"Winnipeg Jets!" you shouted, except that you pronounce it "win-a-pig", always, every time, no matter how many times I try to correct you. The Jets were followed by Chicago Blackhawks (and a little squirm of joy from you), Buffalo Sabres, and Nashville Predators. The teams that will never make it into our house if your dad has any say? Boston Bruins (the "big bad Bruins"), Ottawa Senators (this is a Toronto Maple Leafs home, thankyouverymuch), and Montreal Canadiens.
After a dinner of your requested birthday meal, salmon and rice, it was time for cake. You asked for a strawberry cake with pink icing, so I found an appropriate recipe and gave it a go. You were pleased, at any rate.
You blew out the flickering flames and started licking the icing off the candles.
Then you licked the icing off your slice of cake and declared yourself full.
A birthday just wouldn't be complete without one more little surprise before bedtime. Sparklers on the balcony were just the thing, I thought, and you and your siblings agreed.
The only birthday wish you didn't get? There was no snow for the snowman you'd hoped to build. Well, there's nothing a mother can do about the weather...but you just never know what God might have in store for you the following morning.
Happy fourth birthday, my beautiful boy. Two days ago you were my favourite three year old. Now you're my favourite four year old. I love you.