Dylan is my first born son, conceived through IVF. :) He recently turned 4. Each year, I write him a birthday letter.
For previous letters:
Dearest fabulous Dylan.
It’s 10pm. I’m sitting on a mattress in the dark a few feet away from you. You’re in your bed (a mid sleeper) and snoring like a chain-saw. You and I sleep in your room nowadays while your daddy and Elliot have a room to themselves too, this was so that I would not end up catatonic in a psychiatric institution (your brother had a hand in that one with his sleep behaviour, so it was dad to the rescue; he’s a hero your dad he is!)
Each night we have the same routine: we play 2 more games of the ‘people game’ (who’s who?) which is a game recommended for 6 and up but you seem to understand it perfectly at the age of 4. We put on your payamas, put on a nappy (you wear them only during the night nowadays) and brush your teeth (read: you suck the tooth paste off the toothbrush and I brush your teeth). Then, you watch a few youtube videos on the iPad (giggle bellies with kissymoo the cow, octonauts, 4 ducks by Elmo, pingu the penguin or Winnie the Pooh all are favourites at the moment) and then we go to sleep. That is, when you’re not protesting and trying to drag it out by asking for: a drink, a squeezie, a story, a cuddle (awww) or simply by having long confusing chats with me (mummy? –yes? – are you there or there? – it’s pitch dark, I can’t see a thing so I answer: ‘I’m there, Dylan’ – are you there or there? – yes, I’m there. You are there? Yes, I’m there … Dylan, we need to go to sleep now sweetheart. Ok, but you are there? Not there? … )
There was one night that I thought I was ever so clever and tried to get you to sleep (instead of talking to me in the dark) by teaching you: ‘counting sheep’. So I tell you: “Dylan, it’s time to go to sleep now, you know what you do? Just close your eyes and imagine all these sheep in your mind and watch them jump over a fence and then you count them, like this: 1 sheep —– 2 sheep —- 3 sheep ———– 4 sheep…….” and then I went quiet and listened to your breathing, to see if you’d gone to sleep. For about 3 minutes or so you were completely quiet and I totally thought you were asleep and that my trick had worked until suddenly I heard your brightly awake voice say with glee:
“Mummy, there are TWENTY FIVE sheep in my mind!!!”
Seriously, I could not stop laughing! I should’ve known that a counting activity (you love numbers) would’ve only excited you and woken you up more! ;)
You recently turned 4 my little man and here is my birthday letter to you.
At age 4 you love: your friend Maisie (sooo much), your friend Eve, your friend Caspar. You love mummy & daddy rockets (being pushed high on the swing by either one of us), reading story books, jumping on the trampoline, Octonauts, dancing with daddy, ‘Bad Romance’ by Lady GaGa, the ‘Coming Home’ song, Peppa Pig, going swimming, playing with your dolls house (a gift for your 4th birthday), board games like: the shopping game and the cooking game. You also love: cake, chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate eggs, chocolate monster, chocolate EVERYTHING. :)
You have a talent for numbers (you were able to count until 100 a while back already), letters & reading (you can actually already read many 3 & 4 letter words -> wow crazy!) and eating ice lollies (in your short little life you may have eaten about 3500 icelollies so far, just kidding). You have a fabulous imagination, you love playing ‘make believe plays’. The other day you were telling me about a 5-legged/ 5-eyed purple dragon named ‘Rainbow’ who’d flown in through the window! (Dude, this is endless inspiration for my art and future children’s books I hope to write and illustrate: thanks!)
In the imaginative play area you love pretending to be a ‘doggie’ a ‘cat’ a ‘baby’ a ‘mummy’ or a ‘daddy’. You play the ‘mummies & babies’ game to your heart’s content. We think you learned this game at the Dharma School (a Buddhist based junior school we love). You’ve been going to this school (pre-school) for the past year now since you turned 3 last year. You started with 3 mornings a week, which then turned to 3 days (until 3pm) and then for the last quarter you did 4 days a week.
While in the first half of the year going to pre-school wasn’t always something you wanted to do, you absolutely loved going during the second half of the year. This was when socially you blossomed and created some closer friendships with some of the other children.
We’ve been encouraging you to express your feelings (as opposed to ignoring, rejecting, judging or repressing them, if you’re reading this while you’re older: I hope you have kept up with this, it’s one of the things that’ll keep you healthy!)) Earlier this evening you were sitting on the couch next to your daddy and out of nowhere you said; “Daddy, I love you”. It’s moment like those that fill me up with a blissful kind of love which is hard to describe. :) You don’t just express your love though; if you are angry, sad, frustrated (or ‘upstrated’) you will also let us know. Sometimes by screaming, sometimes by staging silent protests, sometimes by pushing your brother or throwing heavy objects our way. We are (mostly) gently guiding you to express big feelings without harming others little dude, it’s not easy, I know. I often want to smash a bunch of plates on the floor when I feel angry too.
You are now a proper talker. I can have whole conversations with you in which we both -mostly- understand each other. It’s super cool this talking thing and you making sentences and all. For a parent it’s just amazing simply to see your once immobile ball of a baby turning into a talking, making sense (ish) little boy that’s learning and growing and expressing and becoming an amazing human being! :-) Yay YOU!
While we’re on the subject of talking, there are a few words that you still say in your ‘old way’ and please, I hope that even when you’re 70 you’ll still say them this way, they are, make note:
crocodile = crottodile
yellow = lellow
strawberries = strawbellies (anecdotely; Elliot says ‘stobby’ for strawberry at the moment :))
Now that you’re 4 and a bit before that, you’ve entered into your ‘helpful’ phase which both me and your dad love immensely, though sometimes your version of helpful is not always our version of helpful. Like the other day you wanted to wipe your own bum after a poo and the entire bathroom ended up with little trails of poo, water and godknowswhateelse everywhere, but we really get the intention. You basically have learned that helping others usually makes them happy and happy people means happy you –> aren’t you clever eh? :) But, again a side note: please don’t go out of your way – in life – to “people-please” all the time to the detriment of your own well-being! Your needs are as important as other people’s needs dear Dylan. Find the right balance there!
But let me stop being all mumsy and ‘lecture’ you on the ways of life: if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to discover the ‘ways of life’ yourself and not have an ‘upstrating’ mummy wagging a finger in your face all the time so I shall shush my beautiful angel.
I want to tell you about you and your brother Ellie: you love this little man and this little man loves you so much. Oh sure, you guys quibble and bash each other up here and there (the other day Elliot decided you were a horse and he was riding you literally on your back which you liked for a little while but then got very fed up with), but you guys have SUCH fun playing together. And Dylan, you are SO sweet towards him; always looking out for him and looking after him and jumping around with him. The joy I feel when I hear you two giggle together; it’s awesome! Thank you for that my dude. :-)
You’ve also deepened your connection with your dad. It’s a very special connection you have with him. He adores you and the ground you walk on, always remember that.
Dear beautiful Dylan, I wish for you so much. I wish for you: inner peace, an ability to be in the now, to laugh, to be whimsical, to have respect and care for yourself and others. I wish for you a helpful and healing way to self express. I hope you will be aware of your inner world, your feelings, your needs, your thoughts. I wish for you a spiritual connection to the universe, the sacred energy vibration that is the source of all life. I wish for you: fun, play, joy, sandy beaches and beautiful blue ocean waters. I wish for you: self understanding, growth. I wish for you: love, beauty, connection, community, health, progress. I wish you a 1000 stars and moons.
Dear Dylan, always remember that I believe in you. That I think you are worthy no matter what you do or do not achieve. You are loved and seen. Thank you again for coming to us and being our teacher. You have my heart little dude. <3
Happy 4th birthday dear angel.