Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Letter to Jonah, Four Years Old

Sweet Jonah,

You started four-year old preschool last month.  On your first day, we approached your classroom together, hand in hand, but you were clearly more excited than apprehensive, and before I knew it, you gave me a small wave and a big grin, and you were off. I sometimes spy on you a bit through the two-way mirror and watch as you get settled, hanging up your little backpack with the green and orange skater guys on it in your cubby and running up to your friends to join in the daily action. As I watch, you strike me as both amazingly grown-up and incredibly small, with those same huge blue eyes that gaze out at the world with such wonder, just as they did on the morning your were born. Part of me wishes I could freeze you in time right here, so I've decided to write down some "snapshots" of the little person you are at four and a half:

You love all things related to motorcycles and racecars. While I put Eli to sleep, you often lie on my bed and tell yourself elaborate tales about your vehicles as they trek over the pillows and down the headboard.  As I sit here writing, you are animatedly bringing your cars to life, wailing, "James! James! James! I don't want you to go! CRASH! Whoa, he got 50 hundred scratches!".

You are petite for your age, a fact I only tend to notice when I see you surrounded by other boys. You're built like your father with thin little matchstick legs, and your ribs show a bit when you and Eli run around naked in your nightly after-bath ritual. You both squeal and shreik, bare bums bouncing on the bed, burning off the final bits of energy for the day before snuggling into your jammies.

Although your build is slight, you really can throw down some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You've historically been wary of green foods, but your relationship with Farmer Ewell at Pachamama Farm, the CSA where we get most of our vegetables, has recently changed all that. Farmer Ewell has become a dear friend to you; you run and hug him each week, begging him to "play" with you instead of doing his farm chores. Later, as each veggie appears on your plate, you'll eye it warily and ask, "Did Ewell grow this beet/carrot/broccoli?". If we answer affirmatively, you gobble up your vegetables with a big grin and exclaim, "That's delicious!". I'm not sure what we'll do this winter when the veggies won't be coming directly from Ewell anymore!

You love learning to be a climber like your daddy, and you're so proud of your tiny climbing shoes, or "sticky shoes", as you call them. We can already see that you're calculated and graceful on the rock, carefully choosing each hand and foot placement. However, on a recent climb, you confessed that the climbing harness put your "penis in a silly situation." I guess that's an recreational hazard you'll learn to handle.

Your vocabulary is so funny to me, like the words of middle-aged man coming out of the mouth of a tiny child. You love dramatic exclamations like, "How could he do such a thing?!" and "Oh, I couldn't possibly do that!".

You're on a soccer team this fall for the first time, and you approach each game with incredible zeal. For the pure drama, you love to hurl yourself to ground, even when no other players are near, and then jump back up, calling, "I'm okay! I'm okay!". You scored two goals in your second game, running to the middle of the field pumping your little fist triumphantly. Never mind that fact that both points were in the wrong goal, or that the whole game fell apart after that with both teams of four-year olds kicking into any nearby goal in complete soccer anarchy.

Although you do love days filled with action, you still love to snuggle. When daddy and Eli wake up early and you and I sleep late, you'll wander in to my room, climb up into my bed, and nuzzle up next to me. You smell of sleep and your bath from the night before, and you breathe so peacefully, warm in my arms.

Jonah, you are beautiful and passionate, hilarious and wise. As you say, "I love you to outer space, past the moon, and around Jupiter." Thanks for letting me be your mom.