Happy fifth birthday, my dear son. You have been thrilled to get to have three birthday celebrations, as is common in this family - your friend party, your family party, and your Tiger School party. You wanted to have your friend party at Bouncetown this year, and you certainly bounced your little heart out! You were so excited that seven of your friends could come, and "only four couldn’t come.” Now your sisters are convinced that they are about to turn five, too, and will get to have their own party at Bouncetown.
You are sweet, silly, funny, stubborn, opinionated, joyful, bereft, and cuddly. You have the unique position of being right in the middle of your siblings - Seth knocks your towers down, but then you turn right around and raze your sisters creations to the ground. You love to have one-on-one time with adults; you thrive in this situation. You love to have one of us sit beside you while you build with Legos or do a puzzle (your two favorite pastimes), or snuggle you while you watch a video. You have more trouble once you are amongst all your siblings, often crying about any injustice, be it not getting to go first or having your feelings hurt. Being a middle child is tough. I am glad that I get to spend every afternoon with you when the girls are napping and Seth is at school. This is not to say that you don’t love your siblings - you do, fiercely, and you have developed your own relationship with each one.
When you concentrate on something, you like to stick your tongue out as you work. This signals to us that you are really working hard. These days, it’s usually Legos. We have been amazed how you picked up the skill of assembling Lego kits so quickly, first with our help and from watching Seth, but then taking off with incredible enthusiasm on your own. Now, nothing excites you more than a new Lego set, and you like playing with them just as much as putting them together. You like to pore over the manual even after you have finished your creation, and you especially like the 3-in-1 Creator sets because you can take them apart and make them into something else.
You started your second year of Tiger School this fall, and felt right at home. Tiger School is such a wonderful, nurturing environment, and you felt like the big man on campus since it was your second year. You excel with the routine and clear expectations, and you get so excited at each weekly theme - pumpkins! dinosaurs! penguins! You get very excited when you are the Golden Tag winner, and love to choose the theme for Fun Friday. Popsicle day, pajama day, and munchkin walk have been big ones for you.
This year, you have also started to read! At first, it was recognizing certain sight words, and it took us a little while to realize you were able to do this. Now, you can sound out words and read along with your tried and true favorite books. A whole new world seems to be opening up to you, and we are so excited for you.
You started your first soccer program this fall, just a four week Sunday program that many of your Tiger School friends participated in. The first week was hard for you - you cried when you realized that people were trying to kick the ball away from you. But you were resilient, and with some coaxing, you got back out there the next week, and you didn’t mind as much when you lost possession of the ball. Of course, you were ecstatic when you scored a goal.
You exude a confidence with your own physicality that suits you well. You can run, kick, climb, slide, and jump without help from us. You take pride in these skills, and you often end up in arguments with Seth when you are racing because you don’t want him to beat you. You love to play games with your sisters; you pretend to be a dinosaur and chase them or run circles with them around the ground floor of our house.
You decided to dress as Miles from Tomorrowland for Halloween this summer, drawing inspiration from a favorite television program of yours. You have your favorites with television (Paw Patrol, Miles, Nature Cat), books (The Book with No Pictures, Thomas the Train, anything superhero related), and games (Sorry, Hoot Owl Hoot, Orchard). You are opinionated and are not afraid to express it.
You love to eat, as long as it’s a food that you like! You love cake, brunch, pasta, meatballs, chicken tenders, and fries. You will eat fruits and vegetables when asked, but trying to get you to eat food you don’t like is similar to pulling teeth. You can get yourself dressed and in your coat (if you are in the mood), and can do many things for yourself. But you still like having things done for you, too.
You can be silly, and you can be serious. You can be a participant, and you can be an observer. You can be calm, and you can be energetic to the extreme. You are always lovable and loving, and you will greet those you love with the biggest hug and the biggest kiss. Your smile lights up a room, and your tears can dominate the scene, too. You are so proud to be part of our family. You are always trying to figure things out - what day it is, where we are going, who is coming over. You always want to be near mommy - sitting at dinner, in the car, being read to. You like when Daddy spends special time with you, making ice cream or pancakes or chasing you. You enjoy your life and love those around you, and we love you right back. There’s nothing like stroking your soft cheeks or holding your hand.
Happy birthday, Evan, my five-year-old son. I know you will embrace this year to come, just as you have the years that have gone before.