So the day has arrived Lolo, this past ninth of May, on a Thursday we celebrated your 4th birthday.
Hey kid, you made it!
It was a bright, blue-skied morning, followed by a breezy afternoon as a herd of billowy clouds galloped into the evening light.
It was a beautiful day. A lovely day.
You awoke and woke the entire house up as you usually do these days. Our living room was as it was just like any other day, except for a giant gently tattered thrice-used banner of ‘Bonne Fête Loïc Hiêu’ and big wrapped box on the sofa. You’re old enough now to understand about birthdays, and all its glory. So you knew what do to do immediately. You gave quick kisses and hugs along with a even quicker ‘thank-you’ as you tore into your new mega building block work bench super-duper set. Some assembly was required.
We had a breakfast of waffles and maple syrup, one of your favourites. Anything with maple syrup quickly becomes one of your favs. Today, a few house rules are banished for 24 hours, therefore you were allowed to bring a toy to the table as you ate. You, of course, brought 5. As you ate and mostly played, we listend to a lovely voicemail of ‘Happy Birthday’ sung by your ma tante Heidi, mon oncle Sean and your cousins Allyson, Haden and Nessa. First in english, then in french.
The rest of the morning and early afternoon was followed by a lot more play, a quiet lunch (toys at the table) and your nap. Yes, you still napped. You have outgrown many things, but this bit of wisdom you retained. Far past most of your peers, but without them you have a very restless night. In the evening, we had a family gathering of your Grandpapa Ladouceur, Ong noi, Ba noi, Ba co, Bac hai, Bac hai gai, your cousins Nico and Anjali even Co ba and your cousin Sigourney were here from Toronto. Surrounded by loving family, always. Your lovely maman made you not one but two cakes. She always make sure that your birthdays are done properly.
You screamed and jumped and ran and played until you collapsed into your bed that night. You had a good day.
Four years. So much can happen in 4 years and so much has happened. Change is the life you were born into and the past year is no different. You have a great ability to love and you allow us to love you. You give wet kisses and warm hugs with ease, that much hasn’t changed. You are bright, happy, considerate, caring, loving, sweet, gentle, curious and shy. You are also sometimes, the exact opposite of all those. As you should be. You have explored almost every emotion for a boy your age, at its highest high to its lowest low. On these roller coaster rides of emotions, we sit right along you. You’re a strong little boy who rarely cries after a bump or a fall, but tears come easily if you know that you are in trouble with your maman or I.
You have always been tall for your age. You are athletic and love sports and activities of all sorts. Art, drawing and painting has taken a back seat these days, but this summer may change that. You still have a great love for reading, and the library is one of your cherished places. Music and singing you gravitate to, singing made-up Viet-Franglais songs is some of our favourite things in the world.
NEWS FLASH—Two weeks ago, you swam in a pool by yourself for the first time without gripping tightly to either of our necks—NEWS FLASH
Being loud, talking back are normal for you. You talk back in a sentence that starts in Vietnamese, continues in English and ends in French. It must exhaust you, this language experiment we started with you because it sure tires me out. These are willfully headstrong and wonderfully maddening moments for us all. Arguments and timeouts are common at home, as are loving embraces and quiet reading times together. Dinner time—let’s not speak of dinner time for that—is a time where you exercise your will and non-violent resistance the most.
Lego and superheroes are your sun and your moon, and when you discovered superhero-themed Lego, your imagination exploded as these two things collided.
Spider-man, Batman, Ironman, Superman, Joker, Bane, Loki and the rest of them. They are your first and last thoughts of the day. You are fascinated with whether they are good or bad, and how their friendships are related. You ask questions about them that don’t have simple answers. Sometimes, we’re simply not ready to answer them yet. Being one of the youngest in our family and neighbourhood, you are exposed to many things from your older cousins and friends. Your mom and I struggle with this, so of course we question everything. We came from a different time and grew up in a different way and four years into this and we still don’t know what we’re doing. That much we know. We try to find a balance between protecting and letting you explore. By your tears of frustration or fear, we sometime fail at finding this balance. Is this age appropriate? Are you too brand aware? Is there too much sugar in this raisin? You are very patient with your weird parents and for that we thank you. Sometimes we forgot that we should just let you be a little boy who likes little boy things.
Relationships are very important to you. Having stayed with your grandparents during the week as we worked, you have never been to daycare with other children, therefore you look for it at the gym, at the pool or the park. You are slowly learning about how to be with other people your age. Just a few hours ago, you had your first birthday party where you chose who you invited. A big step. It will be even more important this fall as you start kindergarten 4. You were unsure during a visit and a tour to the school but you show signs of wanting to go from time to time.
This year, your entire world changed. The same world you just started discovering. You became a big brother to Théo, who came this past April. While you knew that he was in mom’s belly, you still had our undivided attention until his arrival. Now, we have to often tend to Théo in the most inconvenient times for you. The fights and tantrums of a 3 year old have been increased by the new addition. You have been amazing with your brother. You have never punished him for taking away our attention. You adore him as he adores you. You always want to hold him and be with him. You hate it when he cries and do your best to soothe him. You anxiously wait for him to be old enough to play with you. It’s difficult for little boys to be absolutely quiet while their little sibling sleeps, but you try. Sometimes you fail miserably, but still you try.
This change has been big for us all. While I work at home growing our little business and mom is on leave, we have been spending more time as a family and you are no longer at your grandparents 5 days a week. Just the 4 of us on most days, just perfect.
At four years old, you are a good-hearted little boy; you are a loving son; and you are a great older brother.
Happy birthday my boy, my Loïc Hiêu.
— Love Ba