Jona Lee at 4 Years

Jona turned 4 last week, something he likes to frequently remind me. "I'm 4 now, so I don't need you to help me brush my teeth/get dressed/get water/etc." I love that he's so proud of what a big kid he's become, especially since it doesn't seem like much time has passed since he wanted my help doing everything.

Watching him grow up is always bittersweet, but I've been looking forward to this age. Honestly, because 4 means "no longer 3". This past year has been the most challenging in my life as a parent, but at the same time the best. I don't think I fully understood just how much change we'd be bringing into Jona's life (new sister, new school, no more in-home daycare, etc.) and how much, in turn, that change would really rock his little world. That, combined with all the typical challenges that come with the 3-year-old territory, made me question both my sanity and my parenting abilities on multiple occasions.

Thankfully things have been getting better and better, and I wanted to give a little update on all things Jona right now.

Preschool - Three days a week he goes to preschool. He moved up to the Pre-K class in May, and it was quite an adjustment. It's a bigger class and they're expected to be pretty independent. The first month was rough, and he would wake up in the morning and not want to go--it broke my heart. There are still some mornings that he protests, but once he's there he enjoys it. One thing that has worked well for him is getting there early and eating breakfast before most of the other kids arrive. He likes to start the day quietly and he is overwhelmed when he gets there at the same time as everyone else. To me, his preschool is the perfect mix of structure and free play. He loves "circle time" where they sing songs and talk about the calendar, weather, and whatever they're learning about that week. They do some writing practice too, but so far Jona is completely uninterested in that; he also isn't a big fan of coloring (which breaks my big-box-of-crayola-loving heart a little).

Eating habits - Jona has always been very picky, and it's been a challenge not to let the dinner table turn into a battleground. Believe me, I've failed at this many times. I'm trying my best to offer balanced meals and then not worry too much about what he does or doesn't eat. He takes after me and has quite a sweet tooth, something I'm sure I've only encouraged with my love of baking and frequent ice cream runs. Ever his mother's son, he wanted ice cream instead of cake for his birthday, so we had a sundae bar with lots of different toppings, and it was a hit! I'm hoping that eventually he'll balance out the sweet with more veggies and other healthy choices, but for now I'll settle for him living on peanut butter, quesadillas (or "tacos" which consist of a cold tortilla and a slice of cheese), and fruit.

Interests - As he gets older, I love seeing his interests develop. He's always loved music, and his taste shifts depending on which parent he spends more time with. Aaron likes country music, and he couldn't have been prouder when Jona started requesting to hear Alan Jackson songs. I don't mind country, but it's not my favorite, so I try to balance things out by tuning the radio to my favorite alternative station. We've also been listening to the Moana soundtrack on repeat. (Love!) He also adores baseball; on his "about me" poster he made at preschool he said that "going to baseball games" is his favorite thing to do. One of his birthday presents was a set of bases so that we could turn our yard into a makeshift baseball field. He's also really into Ninja Turtles and superheroes--Captain America, Spider-Man, and The Hulk are his favorites. He got a superhero storybook for his birthday and we read it pretty much every day. I do try to limit screen time, but because he's been into movies lately (Moana, Trolls, and Minions are favorites) I find I let him watch more than what I have in the past. I'm trying to figure out a way to be better about this. Thankfully we still do plenty of reading and I think that balances it out pretty well.

Remembering Stories - One thing that impresses me the most about this kid is his memory. We will read a book just a handful of times and he will have it nearly memorized. And if you don't read the story just right he will certainly let you know. We've been reading some Shel Silverstein poems lately and he's been soaking those up too; he can practically recite "Boa Constrictor" and "The Loser" from memory. I sure hope that his love of books, stories, and poems will continue to grow as he does.

Quotes - I used to be really good about writing down the funny things Jona says, and it's only lately that I've been trying to get back in the habit of doing that. I do have a few gems I wanted to share though.

  • While playing with his tool set: "There's a monster! I'm gonna hammer him! I'm gonna saw him!" 
  • "O. M. G. I found a lot of worms!" Where did he learn that?! 
  • "5 minutes is cheating!" Every night at bedtime. We always give him a count down for how much time he has (20 minutes, 15, 10, and so on) to help make the transition easier. I don't think he really understands what cheating means... 
  • "How are you feeling this morning, dad?" One morning after Aaron had been sick. He sounded like such a little grown up.
  • "It's not a train. It's a thing that you ride on and it has smoke and it will blow you away." What he told me when I said I liked his Lego train. 
  • We have friends who have a child with food allergies, and it's also an issue at his school. Lately he's been saying "I don't want [insert vegetable here] because I'm allergic to it." Right... 
He's such a great kid and I feel really lucky to be his mom. 

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