Alden at Four Years Old

Alden. It feels like you’ve been three forever. It’s been a bit of a rough year for us, figuring out who you are and what you need. I think you’ve felt it too. Frustration and confusion. But there have been so many good moments this past year as well. So many things about you worth celebrating.

I think my absolute favorite thing about you right now is your laugh. It’s positively infectious. A rolling, rollicking giggle. You are playful and silly by nature, and love any opportunity to revel in that state.

You are also a snuggler. You loved to be loved. I think this world can be so overwhelming to you, and you feel safe and peaceful when you are snuggled up next to my side with my arm around you, your blanket in hand and your thumb in your mouth. Yes, you still suck your thumb, mostly when you’re tired. I’m in no hurry to stop you. You’ll stop when you’re ready. Right now you still need the calming familiarity of it.

Your love of trains and construction trucks borders on obsession. You are positively fascinated by them all. Cars and other big trucks, like garbage trucks and firetrucks, also interest you, but it’s the trains and the diggers that captivate your mind and heart.

Green is still your favorite color. Cats (“kitties” as you call them) still your favorite animal, by far. You like most animals, but you love kitties.

Weather and frequent illnesses mean I haven’t taken your four year old photos yet. Hopefully sometime in the next month we’ll get decent weather without runny noses so I can take them. I suspect this may be what we encounter every year. Winter birthdays, what are you gonna do?

You don’t like school. Either of them. You do okay once you’re there and the teacher can get you interested in something, but when we’re home and it’s time to leave for school you often protest. You’ll sometimes play next to other kids, joining in an activity the group is doing, but often you prefer to do your own thing, separate from everyone else. Recently, though, you’ve actually played with another kid, and that is a really big step for you. You even agreed to invite a few kids over for a birthday party for you. I’m so proud of you for being brave, reaching out. I can see how hard you are trying.

Alden. You try so hard. You truly want to please other people. You crave love and affection, especially since the arrival of your baby sister. Despite her usurping your spot as the baby of the family, you adore Dinah. You are infinitely gentle and kind towards her. Seeing you as a protective, loving older brother makes my heart all gooey and my eyes all teary. Yours really is one of the kindest, sweetest spirits I have ever known.

Yes, you can be destructive at times, but more often than not it’s unintentional. You’re still figuring out your body and it’s affect on the world around you, on the people around you. Just as you’re still finding your voice in that world. I frequently have to ask you to repeat words, to speak up louder and clearer so I can hear you. You’re resorting more often to gestures and shrugs. I want so much to know what’s going on in that amazing head of yours, what you’re thinking, what you want and need, and I think you want to be able to communicate those same things, you’re just still figuring out how to do so. And, again, you really are trying so hard. You never give up. That indomitable spirit is wondrous and wonderful.

It feels like you have been three for a very, very long time, but when I think back, you really have come a long way this year. I am so proud of you, Alden. You keep loving, keep laughing, keep trying, even when it’s hard. You are kind, sweet, brilliantly smart, you forgive easily and never hold a grudge, and you seem to have quite a bit of empathy for others. There is so much I love about you, and I am so grateful you are mine.

“Oh, hi!”

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