July 15, 2009
Before Andrew turned one year old, Nolan turned four. His birthday (and party) were in mid-April; I've been meaning to post pictures ever since, and am only now getting around to it a few months later. Sorry, little guy!
His birthday party was the first full-fledged party of his own. Up until this point, all of his friends were Alex's friends (or siblings of Alex's friends'); his parties were more an excuse for the grown-ups to have a pleasant small get-together. Now, though, he has his own friends from pre-school in addition to the kids his age who are siblings of Alex's friends, and as four-year-olds, they can actually participate. What's so amazing is to see these kids come into their own, rather than just be Alex's or Nick's or Kyle's or Jackson's younger brothers/sisters.
The party itself had an airplane motif. His mother very creatively used our industrial printer at work to create a "put the pilot in the plane" game with stickers and a biiig illustration of an airplane; there were wooden planes for painting that the partiers could take home; and, she created some static cling window stick-ons for party favors, as well. The boys and girls all got into it (since we don't have any girls of our own, we weren't sure if they would enjoy airplanes as much as we knew the boys would, but they did, which was great), and Nolan thoroughly enjoyed being king for the day.
As I mentioned earlier, Nolan is very much coming into his own. It's remarkable how he and his older brother can be so similar in temperment, and yet so distinct in personality. Nolan is more of an introvert than Alex (and, for what it's worth, it appears that Andrew is following more in Alex's shoes than Nolan's, in that regard), but when he speaks, it's with authority. He's assertive, clever, and very playful. In fact, one thing that's marked these past few months has been his constant desire to play with his Mom and Dad. Ohhh, if only we didn't have to spend so much of the day working, instead.
Last summer, Nolan took swimming classes with yours truly -- he was at an age where the classes were toddler/parent. He emphatically did NOT like the transition last summer to taking swimming on his own, when it was time to move beyond toddler/parent.
This summer, he has taken to swimming classes like a US auto manufacturer takes to bail-out money -- he just can't get enough. It's thrilling to me to watch him smile as he splashes around in the pool, doing things he used to be afraid of. And unlike the aforementioned US auto manufacturers, he can stay afloat.
We're hoping that we'll be able to get Nolan into a good gymnastics program before too long. He is quite a climber, and given how well Alex is doing with gymnastics, it's clear that Nolan could take it far if he wants to. He enjoys the classes he does have, but the program he is in has been gutted by recent shuffling of the local gyms' personnel, as have all of the other nearby local boys' programs. So far, no good new boys programs have arisen to take their place. We hope it happens soon. Nolan has such a great command of his body, and he is so fearless that this would be an ideal way to channel his energy and ability and, dare the proud parent say it... raw talent!
In the meantime, Nolan continues to shine with his interest in science and constructive play. And, as I mentioned, there's his ever emerging style. What's most heartening for me to see is how well the boys tend to get along with each other; that they can be comfortable developing their own styles while still being sympathetic to each other. Speaking from personal experience, it's a Very Good Thing to get along well with your sibling(s), and I'm so glad to see Nolan doing so well as both a brother and, at the same time, as his own person.
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