(And this post is roughly four pages long--fair warning!)
Will's actual birthday was packed. After the annual birthday balloon wake-up song, the boys ate pumpkin muffins for breakfast. (This was the batch I made for his school celebration.)
Then we took a trip to the doctor's office; flu shot for Finn, four-year checkup for Will. Both chose the flu shot over the nasal spray, and the nurse was astonished at their blasé attitude toward the needles. (We read The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor often, and we say "Pinch, done!" as the shots are being administered. But still. There were four of them for Will alone.)
After that, I dropped him off for a brief stint at school. Will has entered his second year of real preschool like a boss. No, literally. He had to decide between the younger class (his public-school cohort, the ones who will enter kindergarten in 2014 together) and the older class, whom he mostly knows from last year. The report from the younger-class teacher? He told everyone what to do, distributed supplies for art projects, and generally acted like the Big Man on Campus. It was a tough decision since he liked both classrooms, and he would've gone where I told him to go, but he did say the older class was better. I asked "How is it better?" and Will replied, "It makes me feel bigger, and it's funner, and I just love it." Even then, I couldn't decide until my awesome friend Rachel (an elementary teacher) said it was pretty telling that he a) recognized that the older class was--well, older, and b) that he was straight-up requesting that class, and with it the challenge of being the youngest kid there. Who am I deny to him his big-kid swagger?
Awwww, yeah. Got my birthday crown on 'cause YOLO.
Dave stayed home that day. We heard about it a lot, even the following Tuesday when he saw one of his preschool teachers again. "My dad stayed home all day on my birthday!" he crowed to her. So of course that meant a visit to Bertucci's after Bridget woke up from her nap.
He also made a big show of sharing the day with Finny. "I want a candle on my cake for Finn," he announced in the car. "Because we can celebrate BOTH our birthdays." I started to dissuade him and then thought, What am I doing? Do I have Oppositional Defiance Disorder? Why would I ever argue with THAT? And then, he let Finny open presents with him. All the presents. Swoon.
The boys have entered a superhero stage recently, so I was excited for Will to open his Spiderman figurine. He was a little nonplussed, while Finn was wide-eyed, enthralled. "I want to play with this," Finn said, and before I could explain that it was Will's birthday and his present, Will piped up: "No, he can play with that. He can keep that forever, actually." Finn stared in wonder at Spiderman, then at Will, and said breathily, "This is my favorite toy EVER," over and over again.
Humoring me before handing it over to his brother
Will is not always like this, definitely not, but he is heading in that direction. He's always been (mostly) mature for his age, with some regressive phases and some totally unadulterated age-appropriate behavior, but this Big Boy Four-ness where he not only shares but initiates and takes pride in sharing...I want it to stick around, that's for sure.
In the afternoon, Nan and Mamp came over to give Will a supremely cool gift:
His very own set of golf clubs! Finn has the stance down but Will sometimes treats his club like a hockey stick. We might be doomed to 5 a.m. rink times, but I try not to think about it.
In terms of sports that don't require inhumane wake-up times, Will went back to soccer this fall and has also begun to play t-ball. He still sizes up every situation before determining his place. I have to remind myself: Don't prod too much. His instincts are the right ones. Don't mistake prudence for timidity. It's tough to see him running around with his kid limbs exploding out from his body, a giant towering over his "baby" siblings, and see a just-four-year-old. But he is just that--just four. And also, huge, and FOUR.
(He has a pretty mean t-ball swing, by the way.)