To My Almost-4-Year-Old


March 24, 2016 by Heather


Dear Son,

I’m not entirely sure how to begin this letter, even though it’s been on my mind to write for sometime now.  You see, you are driving me crazy, but at the same time you are giving me the greatest joy of my life, so you can understand my dilemma — how do I tell you about how wild you are and plead with you to calm down, while also conveying the deepest depths of my love to you?  I’ve decided it’s not possible, because A) you won’t listen, and B) there aren’t adequate words.


The other day, you told me you were going to go pee in the front yard because you “needed something a little different,” and I let you because I understood exactly what you meant.  Maybe that explains a little bit why you and I tend to butt heads sometimes — we are very similar, literally woven of the same thread.  You are stubborn as hell, I’m sorry, but you are, and very, very determined.  I share these qualities, and they are excellent qualities in the right context (as I like to say, if you are a man, it’s called “leadership,” and if you are a woman, it’s called “bossy,” except not in this house).  Add to your determination a very smart and curious brain and way too much energy for your own good, and you can see why I sometimes lie facedown on the living room floor after putting you to bed.


I am currently in the middle of two parenting books, and I hate parenting books, so you know I must be desperate.  One is more feel-good and positive, all about how Spirited you are, and the other is more hard-core and tough, all about how Strong-Willed you are.  I find myself nodding and saying things like “yes” and “preach” while reading/listening to them (one is an audiobook).  Both books were recommended to me by different people, and I’m hoping to find a happy medium between them to implement in my own parenting.  I give regular updates to your father, sometimes not during the best moments, like while he is scolding you and I yell “DON’T KILL THE SPIRIT!” down the hall.


You are very independent, again something you come by honestly.  You like to do things on your own and by yourself, or “with myself,” as you like to say.  Except for playing — which is something you prefer to do with someone, even though you have a wonderful time playing by yourself when I trick you into doing so.  To be perfectly honest and terrible-sounding, I do not enjoy playing with you.  I am only able to admit this because I’ve heard from other parents that they also find it a bit mind-numbing, so I’m not alone in my terribleness.  I do, however, absolutely love watching you play.  It may be one of my most favorite things.  I so enjoy seeing how your mind works and I find you absolutely fascinating and hilarious.


You do not stop talking.  I’m serious, you don’t.  You say some really, really funny stuff, and I can’t tell you how many times you’ve been talking and Andrew & I look at each other like Who is this kid?  He’s awesome, and also annoying.  But mostly awesome.  We feel so lucky to be your parents, but we are also super exhausted from it, which is probably the case with most parents of toddlers, or parents of anyone for that matter.  I recently asked Andrew if it was considered poor taste to tell a child to just shut up, and he said it was.  This, among many other reasons, may help explain why I did not go into early childhood education.


Last night, like I’ve done every night since you were a baby, I knelt by your bed and watched you sleep.  It fills my soul, seeing you so peaceful and still, taking big sleepy breaths with your arms wrapped around your beloved green blanket.  Like a real creep, I put my face as close to yours as I can without waking you up and stare at your sweet features — those long eyelashes, full lips, strong jawline.  You look so much like your daddy, so handsome.  And sometimes, if a hand is free, I’ll hold it in mine and kiss your palm, praying for those hands and what they might do.  Because make no mistake, you will do amazing things, my wild and wonderful boy.

Love Always,

Your (weary) Mama



2 thoughts on “To My Almost-4-Year-Old

  1. Erin Terry says:

    This was great, so funny and very sweet. It’s always nice to be reassured that I’m not the only mom who thinks and does a lot of what you wrote about. By the way, can I get the name of those books? I’m beginning to feel a little desperate myself.

    • Heather says:

      Hey Erin! Oh no, we are not alone. Thank goodness! The books are: Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Kurckina, and The New Strong-Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson.

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