Derek turns 4 on Thursday. It’s a milestone that fills me up with hope and wonder and happiness.
Year 3 with Derek was easily the most challenging and rewarding one Christina and I have faced since becoming parents. On one side, Derek’s intelligence and maturity has skyrocketed. I’ll watch videos from Christmas of 2015 and can’t believe it’s the same kid. His vocabulary, ability to retain what he learns, and observational skills are so good it’s almost scary. He made a seamless transition from one daycare to another. He still does amazing things on the playground. He has taken so well to riding a bike that we’re about to take off the training wheels. And Derek is always asking questions, always wanting to feed his hunger to learn. That makes me feel so good.
On the other hand, this past year brought the emergence of some mind-melting temper tantrums. There were nights when he flatly refused to stay in his room and go to sleep, and there are still times he just won’t listen to what Christina and I tell him to do.
I’m sure some of you, especially those with kids who are older than Derek, are shrugging your shoulders and saying, “Dude, he’s 3.” I understand that. But it’s tough to go through on occasion, especially when, as a parent, you feel as if you didn’t handle certain situations as well as you should have.
But that’s parenting. There are no perfect kids, no perfect parents, and no perfect way to react. Christiana and I are parents to a happy and healthy boy, and we’ll be celebrating that Sunday when we host Derek’s birthday party.
And I can’t wait to see what I’ll be marveling at this time next year.