Before the boys at our house started dropping like flies with their illnesses and neediness for Sprite… over ice… in cups… with straws… we had a birthday at our house.
Our little Thing 2 turned four last Saturday.
In one sense, it feels like we’re right on schedule to be four, because… well… we’re potty trained. Potty training our younger son was a seventeen-year journey, that was every bit as comfortable as climbing Mount Everest in bare feet and a gauzy sundress, with no chapstick in your pocket. It was a journey of me pulling my hair out by the roots and basically needing to sit in a corner to cry by myself, until we finally reached the summit. Together. What I learned through all of this is that I’m not emotionally stable enough to have more than two children, because I am the equivalent of a Potty Trainer Failure. Both of my boys struggled with learning to be completely competent Wearers of the Superhero Underwear, and the common denominator was ME. But, through a lot of prayer and grit teeth and me believing that THIS would be the child who went to junior high in a pull-up, and then me not even CARING that he might be the 7th grader in a pull-up, Thing 2 really DID finish the potty training regimen a while ago.
The day that we declared the job finished felt exactly like winning the Super Bowl. I wanted confetti to fall from the sky. I wanted the press to shove big, puffy microphones in front of my face to ask how it felt to be the victor. I wanted pre-printed hats and T-shirts to pass out that said POTTY TIME WINNER. I wanted a gold ring to wear, that was big enough for other women to take notice of, as they asked me in checkout lines for years to come, “I see you finished your career as a Potty Trainer. Well done, my friend.”
After fifteen years of mothering and two trainees in the bathroom, I am retiring from the position of Potty Trainer.
On the other hand, it feels like the past four years have flown by at light speed, because what on earth happened to that itsy-bitsy baby boy we brought home from Rival Town in the middle of a raging blizzard, when he was less than twenty-four hours old? Where did that little six-pound, eight-ounce fellow go?
Now, he’s a whopping forty-one pounds, which is what the boy weighed when he was six and a half years old and in kindergarten. Thing 2 is built like the Incredible Hulk; he has the thighs that will carry sofas for his college friends when they move from the dorms into apartments, as well as the thighs that will be able to run a football 99 entire yards for a touchdown, without anyone managing to catch him.
He’s an amazing little guy. He’s smart and funny. He’s loud and energetic. He knows no strangers… he talks to everyone… he sings and sings and sings. He sings all the time, every day. He dances, and he has rhythm. He runs, for fun. Hubs and I always laugh that he’ll run those enormous, 100-mile races across mountains, because Thing 2 ENJOYS running. He can hit a baseball that’s slowly pitched to him. He can kick a soccer ball like nobody’s business. He loves to wrestle boys to the ground. His heart is tender, and he loves his people. His greatest fear (besides monsters in his bedroom) is being left behind when we’re all getting ready to go somewhere. He’s always concerned that we’ll leave without him, so we’re constantly reassuring him that families ALWAYS stick together, and we’d never dream of going downtown and leaving him alone at home. Thing 2 loves to stop and ask us to pray for him. All of the time. He loves life… he loves his people… he loves to play in the dirt and push his toy tractors for miles on end. He loves to slide at the park and chew bubblegum, too.
He is a joy to us.
A very, very BUSY joy to us.
On Friday night, we had some of his preschool friends out to the big youth room at our church, for a little party. We served up cheap pizza and fruit, as well as cake and ice cream. We played games; we laughed. We celebrated the fact that our little Thing 2 was turning four.
Thing 2’s cousins and closest little buddies came to help us ring in this new year for him.
The Tribe of Littles all sat down and listened to some instructions on how to play a couple of games, and then boom! We threw pom-pom balls and twirled hula hoops and ran and ran and ran. We jumped and dodged and chased. We were thrown into jail, and then we were sprung from jail, after doing hard time. We tagged and captured; we raced; we zig-zagged; we squealed.
In other words, we had fun, and the kids burned off every single calorie they’d just ingested in cheap pizza.
Oh. And there was one low point in the evening when Thing 2 was tagged and had to go to jail. Instead of taking the arrest in stride and donning the orange jumpsuit without complaint, he threw himself onto the floor and hollered, “I’m not going to jail! You can’t win in jail!!!”
No, Buddy. Nobody wins in jail.
(Thing 2 is a touch competitive.)
(I put all the blame for that on his dad.)
Also? Well, my friend, Jill, took almost all of these snapshots from Thing 2’s party on Friday night. It’s always good to have friends who are gifted behind a camera’s lens.
The highlight of Thing 2’s entire year was blowing out the flame on that big, waxy FOUR candle!
The second highlight of his year was finally, finally, FIN…A…LY being able to lick the frosting off the back of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cake topper.
Life goals, y’all. Life goals.
The entire party was filled with great friends… gobs of pizza… and a cake so enhanced by blue food dye, everyone went home with blue-tinted lips and cheeks and chins.
We wouldn’t have had it any other way.
And we’re so thankful for that little, four-year-old peanut.
Happy birthday, Thing 2.