|Born at 3:36am at an awesome 8lbs 5oz|
But then something magical happened. I saw how he would continually test himself with his motor skills. He never learned to crawl first, just went straight to walking (he later learned how to crawl because he wanted to go up the stairs). With this newfound ability, I saw how he would observe the world around him. By looking at things. Holding things in his tiny hands (and oftentimes, putting said things into his mouth). Feeling the different surfaces of flooring on his bare feet. Playing with pots and pans in the kitchen. And before I knew it, he turned one.
And it kept getting better. No longer was I wondering if I was doing anything right and feeling like a complete failure. I saw how his personality progressed and he became this playful but cautious little toddler who really seemed to absorb everything in. He wasn't prone to tantrums and played really well with others. He actually enjoyed trying to help us out with all of our little hum-drum chores, like sweeping the driveway, or filling the washing machine, or even watering the plants in the backyard. Of course, even though I felt that I was starting to get the hang of this parenting thing, I was filled with self-doubt and worry that his language skills wouldn't progress. That we were speaking too many languages at home (English, Mandarin, and Cantonese) and that we were confusing him. Regardless of his ability to speak even in three-word sentences, we marveled at how smart our little boy was because he understood all three languages. By the time he turned two, I'd already forgotten about all my insecurities and self-doubt from his first year and just wanted to spend as much time as possible with this little baby who was quickly turning into a little boy.
Soon, we were trying to figure out how to do things like potty-training. I must've read a gazillion articles on the best way as well as consulted with every single parent I could get through to via email, phone, and in-person. I saw that my baby became this super social butterfly, just going up to other kids in the playground and start playing. My heart broke that one day when he just bawled and bawled because an older boy he was following at the playground had locked him inside the baby playground so that he couldn't follow him anymore. I saw that my little baby was at the age where I wouldn't be able to protect him from all the hurts in the world because sometimes, people are just mean. Maybe because of that, I was hesitant to send him to preschool because those teachers at school OBVIOUSLY can't govern all those kids at once. But there was no keeping this little guy from going. Every day he would ask: "can I go to school today?" Soon enough, the sweetest and most caring little boy I've ever known turned three. And shortly thereafter, he welcomed his little brother with open arms and an even bigger heart and all the anxiety, stress, frustration, self-doubt that came the minute he was born disappeared.
For Halloween, he wanted to be Superman.
He learned about arts and crafts at school and made his own hat for Thanksgiving.
All the while developing his own personality that's so infectious one can't help but want to laugh and hug him tightly at the same time.
He hasn't lost his love for always wanting to help out and be productive.
And to see him observe the little details of the world around him and know that he's actually learning has been one of the most intensely overwhelming experiences I could have ever possibly have known.
Whether it's learning the simple thing of how to make a wish by throwing a penny into the water fountain (make a wish and then throw the penny into the fountain, don't just throw the penny into the fountain, laugh, and run back to us for more pennies!)...
... or getting all caught up in the awesomeness that is "American Ninja Warrior" and trying to duplicate all obstacle courses in the confines of our living room and giving our furniture a good thrashing (oh my God... we only have 3 episodes saved on our DVR and we've been watching the very same three episodes EVERY. SINGLE. DAY)...
...or even learning about all the microenvironments at the beach on a beautiful day...
... I can't help but feel that all my worries and self-doubt were nothing. Like why was I so worried about looking and feeling like I had it together? Why was I so stressed out about his 30-minute naps? Why was I crying over my perceived inability to do anything at all??? Those things really don't matter at all and I have him to thank. For teaching me, above all else, patience. That nothing worthwhile comes easily or quickly. And the rewards, when they come, are so sweet.
Happy 4th birthday, baby!