Austin is 4!

For Mr. Boy's 4th birthday, way back on August 1st, we had a Dinosaur Train party. I enjoy throwing themed parties. I recently discovered how simple it is to make my own iron-on t-shirts, so instead of goodie bags, I sent all the kids home with Dinosaur Train shirts ($3 from Walmart). We played all sorts of themed games - including bug collectors, pin the tail on Buddy, present "fishing" and of course riding the Dinosaur Train! We borrowed my mom's bouncy house for some added fun.

Austin requested "the same cake Buddy got on his birthday." Being a terrible and impatient cake decorator, I printed a picture of the cake and just put it on top of the one I made! Thankfully Austin was satisfied.

Party guests: Audrey, Ruthie, Ethan, Taylor, Joseph, Austin, Malachi, Inza, David and Nathan (not pictured).

If anyone out there has an opinion - what do you think of throwing parties for your kids every year? I honestly don't mind the work (right now) and I like the celebration, but I worry that other parents might feel burdened by buying my kid gifts year after year. Plus most people around me seem to be in favor of the "party every other year" plan. What do you think?

Now for some "being 4" highlights:
  • Soon after turning 4 Austin started writing letters on his own. One day, out of the blue, he just started writing. Moments like that amaze me. What kids can pick up on their own. Since his birthday, his writing has been reinforced by preschool and he's getting pretty good. He still sometimes balks against holding his pen the correct way, but he'll do it if I remind him to "do it the way Miss Shannon tells you." Sometimes he'll ask me how to spell things and write them out. A few weeks ago he surprised me by writing AUSTIN, RUTH and HIDE (my name) all by himself (and he asked for help to write ANTHONY).
  • As mentioned, Austin started preschool in August. His teacher praises him often for his smarts. He quickly picks up on new things and is great at counting and memorizing. Did I mention the day he recited the Pledge of Allegiance? I had no idea he was working on it until the whole thing popped out of his mouth one day!
  • Austin loves to build. Train tracks, Legos, Playdo, marble run, his airport station - if it can be built he'll be enthralled. Then he'll spend an hour playing a make believe story around his creation. These are good care-free moments for mommy!
  • Austin and Ruthie are becoming better and better friends. I'm definitely breaking up squabbles multiple times a day, but they also have moments where they play so well together it delights me. Like tonight, they played "doggie chase" around the couch for 15 minutes before bed and laughed and giggled their heads off.
  • Austin also has unpleasant 4-year-old moments. Right after his birthday we started working really hard on "being nice". It seemed like he was physically attacking me or Ruthie 10 to 15 times a day. It was beyond aggravating. So we took a "Power of Positive Parenting" approach - which included a lot of praising for correct behaviors. There are days when I swear the system has worked miracles, and days when I think we're almost back to ground zero. Sigh. I keep hearing "He'll mellow out at 5." Here's hoping.
  • Austin's other unpleasant behavior is his screaming. When he's frustrated, he will scream at the TOP of his lungs. Ruthie has started mimicking this behavior lately too (grrr). In fact, one time, he got frustrated with a toy and let out one of his blood curdling screams in the middle of the sacrament at church! Anthony took him out at lightning speed. At other times I tend to let it go since a) I prefer screaming to hitting and b) I hope that ignoring it might eventually kill it. We'll see.
  • I was delighted that at Austin's 4-year check up he measured in at 40.25 inches. He hit the magic "big kid" mark just in time for our big family trip to Disneyland!
  • Favorites (some old some new): green, raisin bran, The Cat in the Hat tv show, Buzz Lightyear, his Batman playset, playing "chase" around the couch, fruit roll ups, hot chocolate, his cousins.


Julie said...

My birthday party plan: First friend birthday party is at 5, then at 8, 10 and 12. Not sure after that. I myself dislike planning parties, I don't feel creative enough, and it's stressful, plus I don't want all the presents.

Rachel B. said...

I'm a fan of the party every year as long as you have the energy. I mean, they have a birthday every year so why not celebrate? I am already getting nervous for future kids and lame parties after I get burnt out though. And I don't personally mind getting presents for other kids every year. You don't have to spend a lot. It looks like you did a great job and that the kids had a blast!

Debbie / Cranberry Fries said...

Great job on the party! Looks like some fun games, and I LOVE Ruthie in that picture, she's such a mini you!
I like parties every year. It never occurred to me to do any different since I wasn't raised that way. And if a parent doesnt want to let their kid come so be it. I think it's fun to let the kid feel special.