Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dear Finn,

Dear Finn,

Oh my boy, you turned 5 today!  It's so crazy to me that you grew two years older living here in Saudi.  In some ways it feels like our normal lives are on hold while we're living here but you, you came here as a 2 year old boy and now you're 5!  You're so big!  It's been another wonderful year of you, Finn.  You're such a great kid.

This year you visited Spain, the U.A.E., Italy, Croatia, Greece, and Austria.  It was a busy year but as always, you're the one who rolls with the punches the easiest.  This year you started preschool.  Here they call it K4 and your teacher, Ms. Yeary, adores you.  Your best friends at school are Michele (pronounced mick-elle-ee), and Muhammad.  You  love going to school.  You have afternoon preschool which means we still get to play with you in the mornings.  We do a little reading practice and some workbooks and a couple of chores and then have play dates or read books or go to the park or library.  Sometimes you help me get dinner ready or bake something fun.  You love to help me in the kitchen and you're a fun little sous chef.  When it's chore time you rarely complain and your favorite it putting on the funny yellow glove to clean out the toilet.  You love that.  You ride a little K4 bus to and from school and your neighbor friend, Abby, usually sits right beside you.  You've never once asked to stay home or expressed hesitation about going on a bus or going to school.  You were so ready.  I'm glad you like it and seem to be really thriving.

We have a little play group set up with friends from the ward.  You guys are the most dreamy little buddies.  You get along great.  You can all play make-believe for hours.  You're such happy, fun friends together and it's a blast.  Abby, Benny, and Emerson are great little kids and it makes me happy to see you getting along so well with good kiddos.

You've gotten a little pickier about food this year.  You're still a little fruit-lover and could eat fruit all day.  You love pears, bananas, apples, strawberries and raspberries and peaches.  You're not as big a fan of oranges as you used to be.  You'd pick a piece of fruit over any cookie or other treat pretty much always.  You're not big on sweets, which is great, but kind of a doozy when I need to convince you to do something and you won't take a bribe!  You generally don't love meat.  It seems to take you an extra long time to chew it and you don't love that.  Your favorite foods are fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, mac and cheese, and pizza.  Classic.  We spent last week in Austria and we'd be eating dinner in the markets and I was surprised how difficult it was for you to find something you wanted to eat.  You weren't feeling well so that definitely factored in, but I've never considered you a picky eater and I think you're starting to develop a few more "don't like's".  As long as you stay willing to try things we'll be just fine.

You tried basketball for the first time this year.  It was a little clinic with practices once a week and your Dad was one of your coaches.  Technically you're supposed to be in Kindergarten before you could play but they let you play anyway.  You held your own in that group of Kindergarteners and 1st graders.  You tried your best, ran hard, and worked the whole hour.  The only thing that was hard for you was dealing with not being the best at everything.  It's hard for you to see someone else doing something better or any time you consider yourself to have "lost".  We're working on that. We're really proud of you.

You just finished a season of soccer as well.  You were a good little soccer player.  We kind of had the opposite problem with this soccer league in your age group.  The other kids your age did not have your desire to play and compete.  So the practices were not as much soccer playing as you would have liked.  Still, it was fun to see you take pride in kicking the ball in the goal and being on a team with your little uniform.

You're still a little fish in the pool.  You swim by yourself with no fear at all.  We still have some work to do on technique but you can swim under the water and down to the bottom and take care of yourself just fine.  You like jumping off the side or the diving board and making up games with Tate.

You have great control over your little body.  Physical things come very easily to you so when you have to work a little harder at a skill it sometimes frustrates you.  You wanted to learn to ride your bike without training wheels one day last month so your Dad took them off for you and he explained how it works and then let go of your seat and you took off.  And never had a bad fall.  You learned to break and start up again right away.  It was just another example of how easy it is for you to get your body to do what you want it to.  You've got this coordination that is almost magical.

You are a smart little kiddo.  We're working through the 3rd collection of Bob Books for your reading practices and you're getting better and better at reading words and putting together sounds quickly.  You have a good memory, love music, and can't sit still when you hear a good song.  You've recently discovered you like to do crafts so even though it's not my forte, we're trying to do more crafty things together because you enjoy making things.

Finn, you have a big heart.  You're a kind soul.  You feel for others when they're hurt.  You try to be a good friend and take care of your buddies.  You're an obedient kid and while you test the boundaries occasionally, for the most part you are a good listener and obey right away.  You like to enforce the rules and often remind your friends if they're not wearing a helmet or speaking kindly.  We keep working on not being in charge of other people, only of yourself, but it's hard for you not to speak up when you see a friend not wearing a helmet!

You seem to have a pretty good balance of feeling a little badly when you make a mistake but you can shake it off when we've had a little chat and not let it ruin your life.  I'm glad you have a conscience.  It makes things a lot less complicated as a parent!

Your siblings love you so much.  You and Tate have a great friendship.  When he's done with his work after school you can disappear in your own world until bed time either in the house or outside in the cul-de-sac.  I love that even though you and your brother are very different, you're just best buds.  It's the sweetest.  You still have Taryn and Kenna wrapped around your finger.  They want to be right beside you everywhere you go.  If you go out to ride bikes, they better be going too.  If you are reading with me, they're crawling all over you while you're sounding out the words.  If you're in the bathroom, they're right next to you.  You're so patient and loving with them.  You make goofy faces at them to cheer them up.  You hold them when they're sad.  You just get them and it's beautiful.

We love you, Finny.  I'm going to miss you so much when you are gone all day in Kindergarten.  The selfish part of me wants to just keep you home with me.  I love being around you.  You're fun and kind and your facial expressions light up the room.  You are such a blessing.  The perfect little brother for our family and man, I am so glad you were born 5 days ago today.  I'm going to miss little 4 year old Finn with his picture poses and enormous facial expressions. But I'm going to be okay with all the changes that come with 5 year old Finn too because you are ready.  You are SO ready to be 5.  You're going to absolutely tackle everything you come across this year of your life and I'm excited to be your cheerleader.  It's a role I think I'll have a lot in your life.  You love it when we cheer for you, and I am more than happy to cheer you on in everything you do, little boy.

We love you so so much, little Finny.  Happy Birthday!

The world is yours.