Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Forrest turns four!

To my precious baby boy; happy fourth birthday! 
Because your birthday festivities were over two months ago, I fear that a few details from that day may have escaped my memory. I suppose this means that I will be focusing more on my feelings of love and gratitude for the four years we've shared together. Darn. I sure hate talking about my feelings. Ha!! Those feelings remain vibrant and clear. Lucky you, Forrest! Today's post will likely be smothered in an extra layer of cheese; courtesy of your sentimentally obsessed, obnoxious,  mother. 
I love you, dear Forrest. Sitting here at the computer, I keep staring at this photo of you. I am trying to find the word(s) to describe who are and what you mean to me but I keep getting distracted by this cute smirk! 
You are my baby! It delights you when you make us laugh. Being the center of attention suits you well at home. However, in public you are fairly shy. In a non-cute way, I confess that you are spoiled. I don't always hold you accountable the way that I should; a weakness in my Mothering. Your older siblings are more than generous in letting you have your way. I see the error in this behavior and, despite popular opinion, am trying to squash it. 

I justify this with many excuses. "But he is littler than you are!" I will say. Or, "He is just so tired today, you guys." Another internal fall back is a conversation I had with your preschool teacher who praised your behavior at school by saying what a good listener and kind friend you are. Clearly, and I am being sarcastic, this means that the way that we indulge your whims hasn't interfered too much... Moms often console each other by saying, "well, you have to choose your battles!" meaning that sometimes we have to let go of a lesson or postpone the act of discipline due to circumstance outside of our control; but if we are being honest here... you win most of our "battles." 
The battle that I am losing lately is having time away from the house alone. I think it's important for a Mom to have alone time occasionally. Some Mom's need more time out of the house than others, and I think that's totally fine. As Eliza's grown older and started to babysit, I have found myself having, what feels like, ample time to run to the store alone or have one on one time with another sibling. Lately however, you have taken a step back in allowing me this brief freedom. You want to run every errand, attend each music lesson, come to all my church meetings... Before, I could sneak away after we had, at least, ten hugs and kisses "goodbye" but now, you scream and cry and beg to come. 
(My Super Sidekick!)
(During a PTA meeting)

I realize you won't always need/want me so passionately and that makes me sad. So I easily surrendered to your need for me and have mostly relished it. However, yesterday, I was really craving that time alone. And while I could have just taken it and left you at home crying; i didn't want to do that to you or Eliza. Another battle lost; but I find that I feel very lucky to have you at my side in the store. You have my heart. 

I love the way you will take my hand or arm and wrap it around your body just where you want it. If I am not squeezing you tightly enough, you let me know. Without saying words, you physically move me to where you need and want me to be. Without being gross, your Dad operates this way too. If he needs a hug, he won't ask, he just takes it. My heart nearly bursts the way you do this. You could be angry with me about something, and while you are verbalizing those feelings, you are wrapping my arms around you after you have crawled up into my lap. 

You are an active little boy. Being outside in the sandbox with Henry or jumping on the tramp with Lottie are some of your favorite things. This summer you started swimming lessons and have enjoyed it very much. You are very brave in the water and the sooner you learn to swim, the sooner my anxiety about this will disappear. We have gone to the lake several times this year and I think you are equally happy to be playing in the sand on the beach as you are to be riding in the boat. You love to "drive" the boat and look for pirates and Octonauts (your favorite show). When we talk about having family time you will ask, "Can all of the Flegals be there?" Occasionally, we do outings separately; such as Fathers and Sons. However, you have made it clear that you are happiest when we do these things all together. 

Your Dad is obsessed with you. And I think the feeling is mutual. Last Saturday I was so happy as I watched you trail after him all morning. Whenever the two of you would pass through the room, I would see that you were still prattling on and on about who knows what, while your Dad patiently listened. He does a great job to make you feel needed and wanted. You are not an intrusion. He adores you and I think you are the luckiest little boy because of that.  

Hearing you talk about sweetly about Jesus warms my heart. I hope that your desire to be close to Him and to serve Him continues to grow. He LOVES you and needs you to use your talents to help him. You like to sing and your favorite song right now is "Nephi's Courage." The other day Eliza and I heard you singing. We both paused to stare at each other when we heard a beautiful vibrato in your voice. "Did you hear that?" we simultaneously asked each other. I hope you will be brave to develop your musical talent that I know is there. 

I love you so much Forrest. You make my heart sing. Thank you for bringing so much laughter and joy into our home. 
Because of your great love for Mickey Mouse, I used that as my inspiration for your {simple} birthday decor. After having breakfast, you opened your presents. 
One of your favorite gifts was your new fishing pole. That afternoon, your Daddy took you on a special fishing trip. You still talk about it as you boys were most successful that day. 

The evening of your birthday, we had the Martins and Barrett's come over for cake and ice cream. You were thrilled that your friends came to help us celebrate you!
Here are a few snaps from the end of preschool this year.
There were only three girls in his class last year.
And he was friends with ALL of them. 

For this photo collage, I am going to copy what I wrote on instagram
for the sake of sparing myself some mental energy. 
(top row photos) Throwback to 2011 when  Henry was three and swallowed a dime. He was taken to Primary Children's for an x-ray to make sure it was passing through his system safely.
(bottom row photos) Last Tuesday morning (last week of April 2017), after he had been acting
super weird the night before, Forrest comes to my room first thing and says,
"I need to go to the doctors. I swallowed a coin." Long story short, (too late), it was determined
that Forrest had NOT swallowed a coin. It had never occurred to me that he might have
been telling a tale. "So did you swallow a coin Forrest?" I asked one last time. "Yes." he replied seriously.
"But then I spit it out."

Forrest no longer sleeps with a binki.
He was four years old when his Dad finally took it from him.
(I couldn't take it away... another admitted weakness).
For any new parents out there,
for what it's worth,
I have zero regrets about allowing my kids to have a binki
beyond the age of three.
Their teeth are growing in surprisingly straight.
They are smart kids, not delayed, and it saved us on countless road trips,
allowed me to stay in sacrament meeting at church, etc...
I will advocate binki usage until I am old and gray. 
Henry is so sweet with you.
Nana Marie gave you this awesome wheelbarrow for your birthday!
And because of where your birthday and Eliza's fall,
your two have many shared cakes to look forward too!!

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