Our beloved Harp-dawg turned four years old today!

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It is such a special occasion that I decided to break my blogging strike in honor of our boy’s big day.  I think I had left that picture of Harper fast asleep on the table up long enough, don’t you?

Unfortunately, Harper was sick yesterday.  We decided to postpone his birthday party by a week in order to make sure that he wasn’t contagious.  That was a bummer.  The good news is that he woke up feeling great and seemed to feel really good all day.  So now he’ll have TWO birthdays!

The day started with the THUD of our bedroom door being shoved open and a little blur of a body darting through.  “Dad!,” Harper exclaimed to the parent who is usually awake enough to hold a conversation in the morning, “I AM FOUR NOW!”  He was super excited about his birthday and it was stinkin’ adorable.  That kid is adorableness incarnate.

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We all went downstairs like it was Christmas morning and found Harper’s seat at the table decorated with balloons, gifts, and a cool light-up birthday hat from Meme. He opened his first present, a microphone and stand that our little rock star had been coveting for months, and he was totally delighted. “Mom! Let’s put the batteries in so I can sing into it!” Uh oh. It was amateur hour for the parents — we’ve been at this thing for almost SEVEN YEARS now and committed the totally novice parenting mistake of giving a kid a toy without having the right batteries on hand. His bottom lip started quivering and I got my coat and car keys like a bolt of lightning. Twenty minutes later and I was back with C batteries, Dunkin’ coffee for the parents, and a couple of chocolate frosted with sprinkles for the birthday boy and his sibs. The second gift was a real, honest to goodness working guitar from Meme, so the birthday boy and his brother performed their musical selections (hits like “I am Four!” and the classic “Today is My Birthday!”) all morning on the living room stage.

Special guests Gigi and Poppy arrived around lunch time, and the birthday boy chose to spend his afternoon playing games at Chuck E. Cheese. Hey, the birthday boy gets to choose — those are the birthday rules! G + P came bearing Playmobil fire station / fire truck goodies, so there were many fires to put out and innocent civilians to rescue all day long. Dinner, by the birthday boy’s decree, was a platter of hushpuppies from the Q Shack, I kid you not. He always gets so sad when we eat there because I ration out hushpuppies as rewards for bites of other foods (did you know Harper is a picky eater?), so he was very certain that he wanted his birthday meal to be AS MANY HUSHPUPPIES AS HE COULD EAT. He was a very happy camper.

More presents — a dog Pillow Pet that he’s been admiring and a real firefighter outfit + accessories — and this boy was on cloud nine. We ended the day with a birthday big cookie and candles and now the boy is snoozing happily on top of his fuzzy dog-slash-pillow with a four-year-old smile on his face.

Here’s Harper on this day, four years ago:

Hands On Nurses

Welcome, Harper!

And here he is today, showing off some of his trademark dance moves:

Harper, you have such a remarkable, gentle, loving spirit. You are so easygoing and loving that it is easy to take your gifts for granted sometimes. You are easy to be around, easy to love, quick to laugh, and easy to please. You dance and sing for hours (literally, HOURS) every day, making up crazy amazing beats and rhythms and lyrics that seem to just effortlessly pour out of you. You don’t need any entertainment anywhere you go because you can entertain yourself with your performances!

When you get in trouble, which isn’t often, you immediately sigh and looked pained and say, “I’m sorry, Mom!” like you really, really mean it. You are just so stinkin’ loveable, I can’t even express it in words. When you are sad about something, you cry and cry with such honesty and sincerity that could melt even the hardest heart. And when I ask you to pull it together, to “dry your tears,” you try really hard to take a deep breath, wipe your cheeks with your little palms, and say, “Okay, Mom, I’m better now.”

You love to pretend. You always have a little pretend game going on no matter where we are. Our car is really a school bus. Your hand is really the grocery list that you check off as we shop. I am really the principal or the music teacher or the mailman. You have a pretend dog named Spike right now. There is always something exciting going on in your mind! You are not analytical at all at this age — it is really quite the opposite of your big brother, something which never fails to amaze me. You are accepting, you enjoy things, you take them in but don’t question them.

Your Dad and I like to say that you are “sneaky smart.” You don’t really like to read books, and you never have. You’ll tolerate it, and you will enjoy books for a time, but you really would rather be doing something else. You never seem like you are paying attention, but you have always known your letters and counting and shapes without us ever really trying to teach you. You seem to pick up stuff from the atmosphere. You can already sound out three-letter words and write your name and all that good stuff, and today you found the words “Exit” and “Stop” on the remote control. You love to watch “The Electric Company” videos with Aidan on the computer and I think you catch on to things quickly, even when it seems as if you are daydreaming.

You are incredibly tenderhearted and gentle and patient with your little sister. You LOVE being a big brother, love to play with her, and almost never ever ever lose your patience with her. Maeve climbs into your bed every night and loves to lay down beside you before she goes to sleep in her crib. You adore Aidan and love to play with him, going along so well with his plans and commands. You share very well with other kids. You want to please. You are slow to anger. Those are precious gifts.

Harper, you are so, so loved by your family and friends. I am so thankful that I am your Mama! I would probably steal you if you were someone else’s kid, for real. We are so glad to have had you for FOUR YEARS!!!

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Happy birthday, dearling.