Thursday, August 28, 2014

Moses is 4

Man. We’ve had a tough year, Mo and I. We’ve not always been besties, a fact he’s enjoyed pointing out to me every now and then (he does love Daddy and Hazel, though, he informs me). There’ve been tantrums and yelling and crying and tongue-poking, and Moses has been just as bad (AN OLDIE BUT A GOODIE). This year our delightful boy has been regularly abducted by aliens who replace him each time with a crazy, cranky version of Moses. This one thrashes around and loses all ability to reason and screams about things that only minutes earlier he appeared to be coping fine with; I know very little about psychopathy or multiple personality disorder, but they’re the kinds of words that spring to mind in moments like these. 

(It’s possible that inside my 31-year-old body lives a 3-year-old child, and Moses and I are having an extended version of one of those “There’s only room for one preschooler in this house” showdowns I’ve heard about parents having with their teenagers. I prefer the alien theory, though.) (To be fair, it’s been a big year for Mo: Hazel was born, Alan changed jobs and was away from home more, we moved house, and Mo started preschool, all within 6 months.) (I should also mention that the last month or so has been a very good one for Mo, with only one or two alien visits; I’m hoping this lasts, and that age 4 is a far smoother ride than 3 has been.)

It’s not the chirpiest of introductions to a birthday post, but I felt it would be deceptive to launch into all of the adorable and lovely stuff without making it clear that the adorable and lovely stuff is only half (sometimes a third) of the story. I have lots of photos and notes to remind me of the fun half (/third), though, whereas I rarely feel compelled to pull out my camera to document myself ageing during our painful “Okay, Mo, time to put another mouthful in”-seventeen-hour dinner-eating ritual, or to grab the nearest pen and paper so that I can scribble down the different things he regularly does that make me want to give him away. Below, therefore, is the stuff I do want to remember. 
Last year I said that 2 was the age that took the last of the baby out of Mo, but I look back on the photos from him in that post and from earlier this year and I still see baby. Now he’s definitely a little boy, with no baby left in him. (Next year I’ll look back and see baby in these photos, too. I apologise in advance.) Moses is his own little person now; it weirds me out to think that four years ago he looked like this:
Mo with Uncle Chris
And three years ago he wasn’t talking! And two years ago he still pointed out dog poo while we walked! And this time last year he couldn’t ride a bike, or write ‘Mo’, or put Lego together by following the instructions, and he didn’t yet need to know how to avoid having his eyes gouged out by his little sister. And now he’s FOUR. 

Heres a little of what hes like, and of what he likes...
Moses is a fun-loving entertainer
Mo loves telling his favourite joke (What did the dinosaur eat after he went to the dentist? The dentist!) whenever he has a captive audience. He loves boasting (and demonstrating) to everyone – family, friends, complete strangers, etc. – about how high he can jump and how fast he can run. He’s a character. He loves making other people laugh. He loves dancing. He’s the embodiment of the start of Mary Poppins’ Spoonful of Sugar: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun, and snap! The job’s a game!” (And then the game completely distracts him from the job. Thanks, Poppins.)

It’s well-nigh impossible to get a photo of Moses pulling a regular face these days. As soon as the camera comes out he’ll put on every face but a smiley, normal one.
Moses is sensitive and thoughtful
Mo’s a human being with deep feelings, who… feels things deeply. I may have scarred the poor child for life by introducing him to Finding Nemo recently (the start of it, at least. When he broke down sobbing for the second time, I skipped to the end, showed him Nemo and his dad reuniting, then put on Bob the Builder instead and cuddled him for a very long time). He ticks many of the HSP boxes. The other afternoon he asked if he could use my phone to call Daddy, and I walked into the loungeroom after a bit to hear him explaining to Alan that Hazel kept biting me and I wasn't coping very well.“ (I was getting grumpier, but I wasnt that bad.)
He’s also a thinker, and therefore also an asker of many (many many many) questions. Some of them are easy to answer (Do doctors eat breakfast? Do frogs do poos?), and some of them make me thankful that the internet’s a thing (Why is the sun round? What is smoke?). He enjoys preschool, although it took him a little while to warm to it. He started when Hazel was still quite young and we’d just moved house; it was a month or so before we were able to convince him that taking him there was for his sake and wasn’t just our sneaky way of nudging him out of our family. 

Moses: Why do I have to go to preschool?

Me: To learn new things.

Moses: But I already learned new things.

He loves it now. It’s strange but mostly cool hearing Mo come out with things he’s learned at preschool, like making one soft toy say to another, “Ciao, Georgia!” I say mostly cool, because he’s far more excited by the idea of “baddies” and jail than I’d like him to be, although it has raised some interesting discussions on the nature of good and evil, and whether or not incarceration is the best way of dealing with all criminals. (When we talked about the latter recently, Mo decided jail wasn’t a great idea, and when I asked what we should do with those people instead, he said, “We should just ask them to be good.” I asked what would happen if they said no, and he replied, “Well, we’d just be good to them and then they’d be good.” We left it there.)

Mo enjoys learning about letters and numbers, and making pasta and bead necklaces, but mostly he loves the chance to hang out with his little gang, Henry, Jarvis and Cooper (I think Jarvis is the leader because he’s FIVE, and therefore AWESOME). Henry went to Kerry’s with Mo back at our old place (his family moved here not long before we did), and having a familiar face at preschool was hugely helpful for Mo adjusting to all of the newness. Henry and Moses have become even better buddies this year; they tackle each other, and cuddle, and tackle each other for cuddles. Its very sweet. 

Speaking of sweet...

Moses: I love you, Mum. 

Me: I love you too, buddy. 

Moses: Why do you love me? 

Me: Well… I love you because you’re funny and fun. I love you because you’re creative and I love that you’re kind. I love you because you’re my son, and I’ll always love you! Why do you love me? 

Moses: I don’t know.

Moses is a chatterbox
He loves talking. There’ve been fascinating weeks this year when we’ve seen the process of him shedding old ways of talking and starting to say things correctly for the first time. He’s currently working on pronouns (he says things like “She poked sheself up she’s nose!”). There are many words he mispronounces that I hope he hangs onto for a while because they’re so cute and remind me that hes still so small, despite the fact that he often acts like a teenager. My favourites are pushion (instead of cushion), foots (instead of feet), chicken muggets, and Fruit Injure (you do slice the fruit with a sword in the game, and that’s gotta hurt). I also love hoottie (instead of hoodie), snuffling the cards, and “Mum, can you do me a flavour?” He also says “That’s not there” (instead of “That’s not fair”) and Alan and I tell him that sometimes life’s not there, and then we look away and titter. Mostly I understand what he’s saying, but sometimes it’s confusing. Like the night I went to Mo in his room after he called out (he’d been in bed for a little while):

Moses: I found this knot! 

Me [taking it from him and trying to see it in the dark]: A knot? Where did you find it? 

Moses: In my nose.

Moses (whispering): There’s a gecko in here! 

Me: Is there? Where? 

Moses: Listen! HELLO (Hello hello hello)

Moses is creative
He loves building things, whether it’s a crazy house made out of Duplo or a swamp made out of mud or a garage made out of books or a volcano made out of sand. He loves to draw. He loves cutting things out and sticking things together. He loves decorating things, from the fridge to his fingernails. When we found a stack of coat hangers after we moved, Mo suggested we hang them all from a hook in our dining area as a funky mobile.
I want to say so much more because I know I’ll forget it all in years to come (I read back on previous birthday posts and realise how glad I am I wrote it all down). Moses is an impressive sportsperson, a caring big brother, an affectionate friend, and an all-round gorgeous kid. He knows how to tell it’s 9am on the clock because that’s morning tea time, and morning tea is the best time of the entire day. His favourite movie is either Toy Story or My Neighbour Totoro, he can’t decide. His favourite TV show is Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. He loves reading (fiction, finally), and has enjoyed so many books this year he couldn’t choose just one as a favourite (we get a new batch from the library every couple of weeks). He says his favourite song is Twinkle Twinkle (we’ve been singing it a lot - Hazel commands, and we obey), but we’ve had lots of fun dances together to this one, and it makes a better end to this post:

Moses, life is better with you. We love you, little dude. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!



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