Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Boy Turns Four

Jude turned Four this month. NOT Three and Three-Quarters, as he's been saying for months, but a true and definitive FOUR. The changes we have seen over the summer reflect this new found maturity. This makes his parents proud and happy! I'll try to belatedly commemorate this historic event with a few notes and comments about what makes Jude unique. 

Joy. Our guy has a serious capacity for the highs and lows of life. What does he love best?  I think he reserves these kind of smiles for moments when he is exploring his physical limits and experiencing the physical world. Climbing, swimming, swinging, or just stopping the sprinkler by sitting on it. From amusement parks to the bottom of the deep end, Jude craves these sensory experiences like a drug. 

Independence. Jude is often willing to break new ground on his own adventures. At the park one night, he ran off and I found him chatting with a nice woman who came to feed the ducks. Jude talked her out of an entire bag of duck food and then proceeded to send the waterfowl running for cover. These kind of independent activities are very stimulating for our boy. He loves the thrill of being unsupervised, which worries his father. We're working on it. Lately we've come to an agreement that when I yell JUUU-DEEEE, he will respond in kind with DAAAAAD-EEEEEE. This gives him a nice long leash, but Dad has some peace of mind.  Jude usually has an adult nearby, but even more often he rolls with his short side-kick, pictured above in pink. 

Behavior and Misbehavior. Our boy is gaining some valuable skills that keep him out of trouble. They could be summed up best with the words Impulse Control. He is typically reprimanded for one of two things - aggressive behavior or failure to communicate. The aggression comes on as kind of a sensory seeking need to wrestle, crash, or explode things. It is sometimes but not always directed toward his sister. He was helped in this by a nice birthday present (pictured above) from his New York cousin Lukas!

The failure to communicate issue is a little harder to describe.  It seems to occur when there are other needs getting in the way. Potty, Hunger, or Fatigue can often cause small implosions. I say "small" because we have not seen the full-fledged tantrums and intense refusals of the past year. If we can meet some of these basic needs, the other things seem to fall in to place.

Turning four is working out great for everyone! He's a happier person. I can't tell you how many times I've thought to myself, "Jude, don't make it bad!" I think in the next year we might see him take a sad song and make it better. 

Learning. I have been astounded this summer by watching Jude learn to swim. He is an actual fish in, around, and under water. He can dive to the bottom of the pool, do flips under water, dive from the side, float on his back, swim between my legs, and use a mask and snorkel. He learned all of these things on his own, by just playing in the pool. When I ask Jude where he learned something, he loves to tell me "Self!" This is a key to Jude's learning style and future temperment regarding education. Nobody tried to teach him anything, he just found a physical challenge and persistently rose to meet it. It is better if these challenges are physical in nature, because you just can't argue with the physical world. More proud daddy videos to come. 

Jude's Loves. I will finish this post with a short list of things that Jude LOVES. Jude helped me with this.
Tying knots
Watching shows
Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches
(It's okay to put honey on them too)
Climbing on the car
Dressing like a pirate at the Pirate Festival
Going to Nini's house to rake leaves
Eat candy
Cozy Blankies
Diving to the bottom of the pool to get rockets
Climbing trees
Finding pine cones and rocks
Camo Clothing
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