Dear Connor: Year Four

Dear Connor,

You are one smart cookie.

Lunch Dessert

While you haven’t quite matched up with Mommy’s and Daddy’s milestones of reading a brand-new book at age three, you’re well on your way to reading way ahead of your peers. You can recognize probably a couple dozen words by sight, if not more, and you can try to sound words out (if you’re not too tired or distracted).

On the morning when I had been going to tell your preschool teacher about your word-recognition explosion, I got a good story to tell her, too: as we walked past the “Drop off area” sign, you pointed and said, “I see the word ‘off.’ What does that sign say?”

Drop Off Area

Sight words are a skill that teachers don’t usually cover until pre-k or kindergarten, so you’re way ahead there. You even impressed the pre-k teacher, who had you try to recognize all the sight words that her pre-k kids learn — and you got a bunch of them right.

Sight words

Your preschool teacher downloaded a sight-words app to the class tablet just for you. That is too cool.

I’d like to think that part of your word explosion has to do with Mommy and Daddy reading you lots of different books at Quiet Time and bedtime, including ones that are maybe a little advanced to be reading to a three-and-a-half or four-year-old, but that you seem to enjoy, anyway.

We introduced you to Star Wars recently — and Disney just came out with Little Golden Books of the original trilogy (and the prequel trilogy, but Mommy and Daddy prefer to ignore the prequels). Reading those to you is so much better than trying to abridge the vintage Star Wars Storybooks that are far, far above your ability to follow.

Star Wars Storybook

You love R2-D2, and you have your very own cuddly Artoo that Daddy found at the thrift store. You also have an R2-D2 action figure, and you keep asking for a C-3PO, too. (Turns out you got one for your birthday, plus a few more action figures and another cuddly R2-D2 that beeps! Loudly.)

Unfortunately, apart from a love for Artoo, the other main thing you took away from watching the original movie was shooting. We’ve been trying to curb the pretend shooting at home, though, since Mommy and Daddy are not fans of firearms in general, and shooting people is just not nice.

You’ve also been experimenting with new words and concepts, like death. You understand that shooting someone can make them dead, but you don’t have a real concept of what that means. I’m not in a big hurry for you to understand that one, really. It’s more of a game for you right now: you lay down and close your eyes and stick your tongue out, and you say, “I’m dead!” It’s actually kind of cute, as long as we don’t think about it too hard.

You turning four has been A Big Deal at our house. We got you a new big boy bed — bought a new twin mattress and foundation, a new bed frame, and bolted on the old headboard we brought from your late Grandfather’s house.

Big Boy Bed

We also took down the baby gates that we’ve been using to keep you corralled in the living room. We haven’t totally removed the gate on your bedroom, although we do leave it unlatched — until you get up twice. Then we latch it — even though we all know you could undo the “childproof” lock if you wanted to. The gate at the top of the stairs stays for now, even though you can open that one if you try, too. We don’t need you sleepwalking out of your room and falling ass-over-teakettle down the stairs in the middle of the night.

Your sippy cups also went bye-bye when you turned four. They’re old and leaky and chewed on and you’ve been able to drink out of a normal cup just fine for a couple of years now. We haven’t recycled them quite yet, but you’ve been loving the new straw cups Daddy bought you at the store. They’re a bit less spill-prone than just giving you an open plastic cup; even though you’re perfectly capable of using those, you still have your random moments of flail, and have spilled juice and milk by accident a few times.

The Really Big Deal that we’re trying to push is that diapers are going away. We’ll still put overnight Pull-Ups on you for bedtime — and maybe Quiet Time — but since you’ll be able to get out of your room to go potty, you won’t really need a diaper (assuming that your behavior continues to improve and you don’t go back to getting up five times for drinks and hugs and potties). Diapers are for poop, and you’ll be able to get to the potty to do that. So, no more diapers! Soon. We hope. You’re not quite there yet.

Overall, your toddler tantrums have mostly gone away, and your real personality is starting to shine through. You tell us you love us, and that you miss us when we’re gone. You love having bathtime with Daddy when he’s home on vacation. You wave goodbye to Mommy from your window on Daddy days. You give me a big running hug when I come home from work. Sometimes you’re obstinate, sometimes you’re in your own little world and not paying attention, and a lot of times you’re tired and slap-happy. You act like a total goofball the rest of the time.

Goofball

You had a great time at your birthday party (of course)! Uncle Matt was there, and Grammy, and Aunt Connie and Bonnie, and Harper and her parents. Even though you didn’t take a nap that day, and were super-duper tired, you were polite and happy and had a blast playing with Harper! You seemed to like all your toys — and you loved it when we all sang you Happy Birthday — but your current favorite presents are cuddly Pluto and your new MagnaDoodle.

New-fandangled Flickr slideshow below:

Connor's 4th Birthday Party

Happy Birthday, little dude. We love you so much.

Kid Selfie

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