Four years old. How is that possible? I hope I remember with Eleanor how much change occurs between the age of three and four so I truly appreciate it - it is not the easiest age to appreciate. He's gone from toddler to preschooler. From a baby to a little boy. It's amazing how different Charlie was a year ago. He was this little thing I pushed around in a stroller and still put down to nap.
Now he is so independent. He picks out his own clothes, has preferences and opinions on everything and will dig his heels in an unlimited number of times a day to assert his independence. He will do it HIMSELF, thank you very much.
The clothing thing is a huge difference since this time last year. I used to have so much fun dressing him and picking out cute boy clothes. All of the sudden around three and a half, he refused to wear what I picked out. And what he picks out are often mismatched or just.. weird. He loves track pants and if he had his way would wear shorts and a t-shirt all year long - specifically in the form of a soccer uniform.
He will often have just a few items of clothing that are acceptable to him at any given time and the rest of those nice clothes you bought him might as well be given away. He will have nothing to do with them. Same with shoes - if he hasn't selected them himself at the store, it is unlikely he will wear them. I try not to interfere unless he has picked something inappropriate for the weather or ridiculously too small. I try to keep only clothes that fit and are season appropriate in his dresser to avoid battles.
We've had to compromise several times and let him wear his soccer uniform on cold days on the condition he stays indoors. He strongly dislikes coats and sweaters but can be persuaded to wear a hoodie. He told me yesterday he wanted a fleece and I'm irrationally happy about it. He wants it to be red. But then we'll have something to keep him warm! Hooray!
I'm told I should be happy about this independence. It's something that indicates he will be ready for kindergarten. All the same, I miss being able to put him in cute outfits. My mom has better luck getting him to wear nice things. If Nana picks it out, Charlie will generally wear it. Here's a classic Charlie selection: batman, track pants, cowboy boots.
We no longer have naps around here - Charlie dropped it around three and a half. He still tires out and can get grouchy, but he wasn't going to sleep until 10pm on days he napped, so I just let it go. It wasn't worth having him up so late. We do some quiet time in the early afternoon, usually some TV shows.
It can be a very long day keeping him entertained with no break. He continues to be into everything and very active. He asks every day to go see this friend or that friend. A day isn't complete unless you get to play with friends! He also wants to play outside every single day. Living in London's crappy weather followed by the long winter here has been killer for him.
Being outside either at a playground or playing some kind of sport is Charlie's favorite thing to do. If you ask him what his favorite sport is, he will answer with about 7 different sports. Soccer, football, baseball, basketball, cricket, tennis and lacrosse. Any sport not listed is just one he hasn't discovered yet. He wants to do it all.
For his birthday we got Charlie a bike with training wheels and he has picked it up pretty quickly. He's learned to swim, as well - but also screamed his way through most of the lessons we did last fall. So. Painful. He's just one of those people who learns physical activities easily.
He's still not one to sit down and do crafts or artwork, though he enjoys looking at books. His favorite books have to do with firemen and superheroes. And Halloween for some reason! He memorizes them and reads them back to himself sometimes. We read books that he chooses every night before bed. I mainly buy them on Amazon. He is so loud and wants to run around at the library. Too frustrating to go there!
When he's not outside, he likes to dress up and pretend. He has a bunch of costumes at home and his teachers tell me he is always in costume at school. How method, right? Even when we're in the car he will be going on in his car seat about some kind of imaginary situation like fighting fires or car races or something.
Charlie loves to cook in the kitchen and I've started buying small scale cooking tools just for him. He loves to bake mostly, but will mix and stir just about anything I ask him to. He also loves to help his Daddy at the grill. He's starting to expand his horizons on eating because he's more likely to eat it if he helped cook it. Sometimes we only get a bite of something in him, but other times he will resist, take a bite and then eat the whole thing. Progress!
As for potty training, after all of our struggles with #2, once it clicked, it clicked. He does a great job of telling me when he needs to go and going in the bathroom and (of course) doing it all on his own. He is dry at night, which I find really miraculous. We did pull ups for a while, but stopped in December because they were always dry in the morning.
Charlie has such a personality on him. He will talk to just about anyone and tell them any random thing going on in his life. I have no idea how he comes up with all of it. Some of it is make believe and some is just his opinions on things or telling stories about his life to people. He had a blood orange for the first time the other day and told a bunch of people at the children's museum all about it. Fortunately, most people find it funny and humor him. He loves to talk.
He is really good at remembering people's names and has recently started talking about siblings. That is so-and-so's brother or sister, etc. I hear all sorts of things about all sorts of people on the drive home from preschool. He makes friends very quickly and will often refer to people we see but haven't met yet as his friends. Like he already knows they will be friends and stop telling me not to just walk into their backyard and play with them MOM.
That's another thing - he's calling us Mom and Dad a lot. Ugh. Don't I get a few more years as MOMMY??? Anyways.
Preschool is going very well for Charlie this year. His class is very structured and that seems to work well for him. I honestly thought it was overkill at the beginning of the year, all the routines and rules and schedules the teachers had - but he absolutely loves it.
He stays at school for lunch a few days a week and some activity and has a blast. Eating lunch at school with friends is VERY cool in Charlie's book. He is already talking about riding the bus to school when he goes to kindergarten. That is also way cool.
Considering how Charlie was our entire world up until late December, I find it amazing we haven't had any sibling rivalry. On the contrary, he is very gentle and sweet with Eleanor and tells me all the time how much he loves her. I have no idea why he is not more jealous of all the attention she gets right now, just by virtue of her age. He will always take care of her - I know that for sure. He tells her she is his favorite girl!
Another thing I find amazing about Charlie is his empathy. I didn't expect to see empathy in a three/four year old, but I have. He is concerned when he sees other kids crying or upset. It impacts him and he wants to know why they are upset and what we can do to help. He also tries to be comforting when someone is upset - including me. It blows me away. He is a very compassionate person by nature. Even as I write that, I can't believe I'm saying it about a four year old.
If he has grown up this much from 3 to 4, I can only imagine what the next year holds for us. I hope I can find more time to blog about all the funny things he says and does because I don't want to forget. He makes me laugh out loud every single day. And also wring his neck a lot of times! But I watch him with fascination. I can't take credit for it - he is truly God's child.