I can hardly believe that our first baby turned four this past week. Each year spent with him is a gift.
We honored the one year anniversary of my MIL's passing the same weekend as we celebrated Cooper's birthday. So we had a beach trip, and he requested homemade sourdough cinnamon rolls for his birthday treat of choice. Later that day, on Saturday, we all played outside in the backyard and when I brought the boys in for baths, Nicholas hung up Cooper's birthday gift in the backyard: a big swing!
We knew Sunday's forecast called for lots of rain, so we decided to surprise him with it a couple days early. He nearly cried when he saw it, he was so excited. And as I made dinner, I saw the two of them, cozy together on the swing, Cooper resting his head on his dad's chest and closing his eyes, just talking all about the swing and all the activities they can do with it: "You can sit on it, you can chat on the swing, you can sit on it and eat a snack on it."
Since his actual birthday was on a weekday, I spent the day with him while Nicholas worked, and my sister-in-law, Katelyn, who also happened to have the day off, came along. We went downtown to our favorite French bakery and Cooper picked out two macarons. Then Katelyn took him back to our house to swing (Cooper's request) while I ran one more errand with Finn.
We built tiles, and I made bacon and sourdough french toast for dinner, we played outside, and we went for a family walk. And it was a really simple and sweet birthday for him.
Here are some of my favorite things about four-year-old Cooper:
- He nonchalantly uses terms like "device," and "recently" and he talks abut fixing things and welding and powder coating things (yes!) His vocabulary grows every day. And he still says things that are super sweet, like "mer-chine" for machine, and when he says, "I was just doing that for funny." (vs "for fun.")
- He still loves taking things apart. Anything and everything. And he usually can correctly reassemble whatever it is. And he still loves videos of people restoring old tools or appliances.
- When he's having a really good day, he will almost always say, "I'm having a nice day with you, mommy."
- If he hears a new noise or something out of place, he gets a very quizzical look on his face and furrows his brows, and will say, "I think I heard some-ping."
- He's entering a much more independent phase and loves to do things himself (buckle his own carseat, choose all his own clothes and dress himself, blend his own smoothie, etc.)
- He loves wearing his "fast shoes," aka these barefoot style shoes.
- He adores Finn and while we sometimes have to remind him to be gentle with his brother, there are so many times when I'm surprised with the sweetness and care that he treats Finn, like when he leans over to give Finn a kiss on the cheek when he's napping on me.
- He does best when we have a plan for the day and we talk about it beforehand
- He loves to be my helper, and we often make it a game. When he helps me bring laundry to the guest room or upstairs, it's a "delivery service" with his Tonka dump truck.
- The other day when we asked him what he wanted to thank God for in prayer, he said, "This day, and our family, and this nice food." He still gives a very enthusiastic "Amen!"
- When we ask him to smile for pictures, he always says, "Cheeeeeeeeseburgers."
Some of his favorite things to do:
- look at Where's Waldo books together (and find Waldo, naturally)
- visit the library
- talk with my parents on a video chat
- play at the splash pad or anything with our garden hose
- follow Nicholas around when he's mowing with Cooper's own toy mower
- go for scooter rides around the neighborhood, pretend to stop for gas
- play "train," which is an elaborate imaginary game which always involves the train (various sections of our house) breaking down and needing repairs
- help me in the kitchen with cooking or baking
- build forts
- watch videos of him and Finn together
- do puzzles
- go for hikes, carrying sticks and rocks and looking for other "treasures," i.e. pinecones, beach glass, or stray bolts or screws on the sidewalk.
Tonight, he helped me water the garden, and he was the first to notice some small, green tomatoes growing on a few of our tomato plants and he was so excited, he jumped up and down. For months, he's been telling me how excited he is to make salsa (and jam) again this year.
Our little buddy, so smart, and kind, and funny. Making us laugh, and making our hearts melt. The little boy who made us parents. We love you and thank God for you, Cooper!