Anyway, Eli was adamant that he wanted his cousins Kalena and Will to be at his party, but they are not coming to Pueblo for another 4 weeks. Eli actually suggested he wait 4 weeks to have a party - amazing patience for so young a kid! Of course, last night at 8 pm he had changed his mind and DEFINITELY wanted a party today, but tough luck. Although there was no official party we DID open presents as a family after breakfast (Joe is working 11 a.m. - 1 a.m. so we had to do it early) and the kids have been enjoying the gifts ever since! From Joe and I he got a remote controlled Monster truck - I gave him the birthday pass on taking turns, he wasn't required to share his truck on his birthday (but he did anyway because Patrick's a smooth talker and Eli's a nice kid).
Back to tackling the leaf pile. It has front and rear suspension so it tackled everything really well… EXCEPT the leaves. The wheels just spin and dig it in deeper.
So… about Eli at 4 years old! He is pretty crazy. For one, he's crazy huge - he weighs in at about 55 pounds and is nearly as tall as Patrick at about 46 inches (we'll get official stats at his 4-year checkup next week). We feed him lots of healthy food - low-fat milk and yogurt, lots of fruit, some veggies (I'm terrible about veggies in general so you can't expect me to become amazing when it comes to my kids), plenty of sugar-free juice and RARELY any soda, whole-wheat bread, lean meats like chicken and pork (which he just chews up and spits out)… but he is a garbage disposal. He'll eat his whole lunch, eat his siblings' leftovers, then ask if he can have some more. ANYTHING more, it's not like he's digging for dessert even! We went to a wedding and he was hungry waiting for dinner to be served so he chowed down on 4ths of carrot and celery sticks from the snack trays. There's no stopping his eating, only holding it off for a minute or two. Thanks to that we've gotten to the point where Patrick wears Eli's hand-me-downs. Honestly, this reminds me A LOT of myself with my sister when we were kids. I was tallest and stockiest (though perhaps not as stocky as Eli) so while it took the 2 of them working together to give me a horsey ride, I would give the 2 of them a ride simultaneously. And they got my hand-me-downs, even though I'm not the oldest.
But back to Eli. He is also crazy physical, as he always has been. If any of his siblings happens past - on the stairs, in the bathroom, in the living room - he will tackle them. It starts with a nice hugs, moves to leaning way into them and bending at the waist, ends with Eli on top wrestling while some poor soul wails with what breath they have left after being squashed, "Mom, help! Eli's wrestling me again!" No matter how many times we talk to him and remind him not everybody wants to be wrestled every time you see them, it falls on deaf ears.
He also has crazy deaf ears. He's not deaf, but he talks like he's trying to speak to someone who's very hard of hearing. There are 2 volumes on Eli: loud and louder. At 3:30 in the morning he came in and seriously yelled, "Mo-om, I can't find my water bottle in my room." HE-llo! The house was perfectly still, I could hear a whisper no matter how quiet, but yelling made me jump out of my skin! Awful. We have to remind him repeatedly every day that he needs to hush his mouth/quiet down/whisper/shut up because when Eli's around you're liable to wake the dead.
He's a crazy bad listener. Notice how we have to remind him about wrestling and toning down the volume… well, we've been reminding him of those things every day for about 2 years, to no avail. He is who he is, and obviously WE are not going to change it.
Lastly, he's a crazy good kid. In spite of it all I just love him to death, even when he's ridiculous. He still has a somewhat babyish way of saying some words - I love it, and on the one hand I don't want it to stop (don't grow up!) but now that he's 4, I believe it's stopped being cute and started being a speech impediment. I know our neighbor has 2 boys (ages 5 and 7) that both have some speech delays and it's definitely NOT cute. So we work with Eli at random points through the day, having him mimic making "TH" and "R" and "F" sounds so he can say "three" instead of "fwee" and "Patrick" instead of "Patswick." I die a little inside as my kids grow up, and I will surely miss Eli being afraid of "tomatoes" (tornadoes), biting his "lung" (tongue), and explaining "bu-cept" (but except, a longer version of "except," as in "I wanted a yellow plate bucept they're in the dishwasher"). It took about 3 years but he finally got over his aversion to snuggling and now he loves to be held and hugged and snuggled to bed, so it's nice to finally get a piece of my Ooly-Kadooly.
Happy birthday, big guy!