Today my first baby is 4 and a half years old.
I cannot believe that my tiny infant, the baby who made me a mom, is 6 months from being 5 years old. That I will be enrolling him in kindergarten in less than 2 months. My baby. Elementary school.
When we had Eli, we really had no idea what we were doing. We had ideas of the kids we might have and how we would parent them, but truly, we had no idea and most of the time, we still don’t. But we know Elijah and we are so much better for it.
He is the kindest kid. I mean, he has his moments where he refuses to share like every other 4.5 year old on the earth. But at least once a day, he astounds me with his consideration of others. A few weeks ago we were at a store and J and I had to talk with the salesman for a while. We had brought our iPad and an old iPhone to keep the kids occupied because we know it was going to be a while and yet Will was struggling. At one point I walked to the stroller to check on him and Elijah didn’t notice. I heard him say, “William, it’s okay. You don’t need to be sad. I’m right here with you.” And oh hey, it still makes me cry.
The very next day, I took Elijah to a birthday party and when we realized Will wasn’t coming he looked at me, tearfully, and said, “do you think we can bring William back some cake? I know he’d really like that.” I mean. I didn’t teach him that. I wish I could take credit for it, but it’s just who he is.
He is also sensitive, often to a fault. He doesn’t throw tantrums and he rarely talks back or yells or does anything particularly overtly disobedient. But his heart breaks easily and often and some of our biggest parenting struggles involve his sadness much more than his sassiness or any significant behavioral disputes.
Last week I forgot his homework (his preschool does voluntary homework- 10 words brainstormed with parents that start with the letter of the week, it’s a thing we do together as a family and he LOVES it) and he kept himself together at school, but when I got to him to pick him up, he just melted into a puddle. I had actually brought his homework with me, he got a sticker for it, all was well, but his poor little heart. He was so sad that he didn’t get to read his words to his friends. He didn’t care about his sticker and his teacher had assured him that he wouldn’t get in any trouble, but he was still devastated.
He’s also pretty bright, but I think one of his greatest and maybe unique-ish traits is his ear for music. We were listening to Adele last month (at his request) and I realized that he was signing exactly one octave above Adele and I. I was gobsmacked. At temple, he knows all the songs, even those in Hebrew, and often he sings louder than the cantor, which is equal parts adorable and a little embarrassing. Thankfully, despite his sensitivity, Elijah is the purest extrovert and he will take that attention and happily run with it.
I think most of all, he’s becoming himself. He’s got little pieces of his dad and of me in the mix, but he is, at his core, Elijah. He is an absolute delight and we are so unbelievably lucky that he’s ours. He made me a mom and he teaches me something every single day. He makes me want to be kinder, he makes me want to be better at everything I try. He makes me a better person and I am grateful every day that of all the kids in the world, that he is mine.
In only 4.5 years he has changed me to the deepest parts of my heart, and while I adore this age and kind of want time to stop here, I also cannot wait to see the person, the man, that he becomes. I know, in my heart of hearts, that he is meant for something big and I’m just so grateful that I get to watch it happen.