Saturday, February 20, 2016

Bret's 5th Birthday Letter

Dear Five-Year-Old Bretster-Boy,

Despite my several attempts at manipulating you into staying 4 for the rest of your life, you obstinately clung to the belief that you had to turn 5.  When I pressed to know why... "I need to grow up so I can be a farmer and grow lots of corn and I will send you lots of corn.  Don't you like corn, Mommy?  Don't you want to have lots of corn from me?"  I don't really know where this obsession with growing "lots of corn" comes from, but it was pretty convincing.  So, we went ahead and let you turn 5.  *sigh*

Ever since you were just starting to show us your first grins, we noticed the special little twinkle in your eyes. You have yet to outgrow that! Your grin and your twinkly eyes are your trademarks!  ...And the dead give-away when you're up to something!  Which you often are.  Your mischievousness has grown markedly in the past year, and caused not a small stir in our family dynamic!  Of course, Serena and Cody receive the brunt of your teasing, but you do your best to rouse reactions from Daddy and I as well.  Your favorite new trick right now is trying to scare us.  You sneak up so quietly, but I could swear that the twinkles in your eyes are as bright as fireworks, and just as impossible to ignore, even when my back is turned!  You give out your very loudest and scariest RAAWWWRRRR!!!!! Your body almost doubles over with the effort! But, the excitement of it is almost too much, and you start giggling before the end of the roar has been uttered. It is hilarious! Other mischief can easily be categorized as either "pushing buttons" or "exaggerating." You know exactly what to do to get your siblings upset. Sometimes, I wonder at your ability to read people; it actually is a little astonishing just how good you are at what you do! Maybe someday that skill will be of real use to you. For now, you sit back and twinkle at the predictable responses that you elicit; sometimes you even get in trouble and say you're sorry, but don't think I don't notice that your eyes are still twinkling as if to say, "It was totally worth it!" As far as exaggerating, you certainly have a knack for it! I've never known anyone to be able to come up with such outlandish scenarios as you do! I suppose it's your tactic for dispelling possibly touchy situations.  For example, if we say "Bret, stop waving your hands around at the table.  We keep our hands down while we eat." You would probably respond with something like, "Or you'll throw me off the roof?" Wait, what?! When you get the laugh you were hoping for, you continue to make it even crazier, "All the way down to the pond? And I'll never come back? And a big fish will eat me?" You get the idea. Sometimes, you use it just out of the blue to get us all wondering at you. "I'm going to eat you, Serena. And then, I'm going to eat the whole house. And I'll be bigger than the sky. Do you believe me?"

We had a man come to work on our internet connection after the move, and he happened to have a bandage over his nose. The next day, you wore these stickers over your own nose, and I was pretty sure I knew why!
Even with all that crazy talk that might make a person wonder if you're all right in the head, you have been showing some signs of intelligence. ;) Your counting and basic math skills have taken off this past year, and you like to show off by saying things like, "Mom, 7 and 4 make 11!" out of the blue. You still like drawing letters, and have a pretty good handle on about half of the alphabet. You even started writing block letters after you saw me doing it for a cousin's birthday card!

It is Serena's goal to be the one to teach you how to read (mostly by making you memorize passages of books)! So far, no real progress has been made; but I am constantly amazed by her tenacity and your patience! ;D
If you have any moments in between creating mischief and playing with your toys, you generally gravitate toward the "black table" where we keep all the artsy-craftsy things.  You love pulling out some paper and drawing designs and faces and stories. You love fiddling with little scraps of things and trying to tie/glue/tape them together into tools/jewelry/knick-knacks. Serena proudly proclaims to anyone and everyone that you are the "artist of the family," as though every family has one. ;) It is undeniable, though, that you have an appreciation for all things beautiful and a drive to create things. One of my favorite examples of your appreciation of beauty happened this past fall. You'd been playing outside in the late afternoon, and as the sun started to set into a gorgeous array of colors, you came running into the house, "GUYS!!!  Come see the beautiful place I found!!!" Your creative drive also has you spending lots of time building with blocks, Duplos, Zoob pieces, or your building set; creating all manner of buildings, furniture, vehicles, and random inventions.

Hard at work at the "black table"
Serena has been trying to teach you how to weave using a loom we picked up at the thrift store. You love making things!
This past year, we moved out to the country, and your world opened up pretty wide as you spent your summer days tramping around outside catching bugs, butterflies, and the occasional toad. Winter put a stop to those discoveries, but you often talk about how you can't wait till the butterflies come back. You've also found the fun in climbing trees, and love to brag about how high you can climb. One of our maples has a nest that you'd really like to peek into, if you could just get up the nerve to climb that high! ;) Thankfully, your fear of heights keeps you from climbing beyond your limits, so I don't worry too much about you out there (...yet). You've had a lot of fun playing in the snow, but I think you're going to have to fatten up a bit more so you can retain your body heat better for next winter!

You boys found so much to do in the dirt and even in the rain this past summer!
One of the monarchs you caught this past summer
The best part about the snow for you and Cody has been the digging!
You have to be one of the most good-natured kids I've ever met. You are one of the first of the kids to wake up each morning, but since we have a rule about staying in bed until a reasonable hour, you amuse yourself with happy little songs and noises until you manage to wake up your poor brother (who could really use more sleep, I think!). We have a rule about making beds when we get dressed in the morning, and you decided of your own accord to get that little chore out of the way first thing; so when I come in to get you out of bed, you are cheerily perched atop smooth covers. (In spite of your mischievousness, you are generally pretty fastidious about things like making your bed just so and not sharing food/drinks with other people.) ;) Even when you get your feelings hurt or get yourself into trouble, you recover quickly and get back to your naturally happy disposition.

I loved how you enthusiastically cheered Cody on while he learned to ride your bike on Serena's birthday. Even though it meant that you had no bike to ride, you were so sweet to let Cody use your bike so much for the next few weeks until Daddy brought home a "new" big one for you!
I have to say, you're a bit of a show-off. Your current favorite tricks to show off are hopping on one foot and running. Because you are so fast! ;) I have to admit that I often get you to show off how fast you are just because I love to see the face you make when you're trying to be particularly amazing. Plus, it's a good distraction when you seem to have so much energy that you keep getting into trouble.

I love this picture because it really captures the mischief in your expression!
One of my favorite things about you is that you are such a giver. You love to find or get little "treasures," but you rarely keep them for long; you get so much enjoyment from giving them away and watching someone else have them. You have such a sweet and loving heart, in spite of all your bugging people and pushing their buttons! Serena and Cody are lucky to have a brother like you! You love to help Serena and give her things that you make. She likes to give you scraps from her sewing to see what you'll make from them. You love to help Cody learn things and take care of him. When we started sending him to your Sunday School class a couple of months ago, you took great pride in helping him stay with the class and get adjusted to the routines there. I love that you usually call him "Code," but when you're filling a more big-brotherly role, you call him, "my little brudder." I love how when you and Cody play/work together, you both speak in deep, gruff voices, as though to add legitimacy to your cooperative "labor."

Speaking of your little "brudder" reminds me of how much we love the way you talk!  You have a tendency to add "r's" where there are none (i.e., for the longest time you called Fed-Ex, "Ferd-Ex;" and you still often say "someprin" instead of "something"), and to use "d's" instead of "th's" (i.e., you'll say, "over dare" rather than "over there"). But, when you would say "thirty" it would come out "firty." When you figured out how to make the soft "th" sound a couple months ago, you spent a few days saying "thirty" over and over. ;) Oh! And you learned how to whistle this past year, too! An accomplishment that you like to show off, believe it or not. ;)

Playing "Candy Land" with your "little brudder" and your bears. Incidentally, you won every game. ;)
Over the course of this past year, especially with the distraction of our move, your mail obsession abated. You still have an uncommon excitement about the mail, and can hardly stand for anyone to go to the mailbox without you, but it has toned down from the frantic excitement that used to accompany every piece of mail that entered our house and especially the pieces of junk mail that filtered into your possession! Still, a piece of junk mail every now and then puts a smile on your face; and one of your favorite things about Gramma and Grampa's house is the basket of junk mail they stock for you!

This past year held the very special event of your salvation by faith in Jesus. As a result of things you'd been hearing in Sunday School, you started one week toward the end of the summer to ask me various questions about making "Jesus the Lord of your life." By the end of the week, you made the decision to make Jesus the Lord of your life, and prayed to Him about it. Since then, you have emphatically owned your position as one of God's children and mentioned it confidently whenever the occasion arises. We're so glad to see your faith in God, and pray that it will grow and flourish in the years ahead!

Your taste in books and stories has grown more "boyish." You enjoy looking at books that are topical...frogs, toads, turtles, birds, trains, construction equipment, farming.... A book we have that explains what happens to your food after you eat it had you drawing intestines on the bellies of the people you drew for quite a while. You also enjoy books with some adventure in them..."The Three Billy Goats Gruff" gets you particularly in the mood for pretending you are a big green troll that wants to eat everyone. ;)

I love these pictures of you and your beloved "John," the bear! 

You are a lover of a boy, and might have a bit of a tendency to be a "momma's boy" at this point. (Though you are infinitely impressed by your Dad...and especially in his ability to build things. You are quite convinced he could build an entire house, though when he installed a toilet here it took you almost two weeks to work up the courage to use it yourself. I think the sight of the thing sitting on the floor in the kitchen while he was taking out the old one was a bit disarming. Anyway, that was a bit of a rabbit trail!) ;) You have a great capacity for loving and being loved and I intend to hold you and kiss you as much as I can while I still can.

Some of the things you built today

We love you beyond words, our precious Bretster-boy!

Love, Daddy and Mommy


Unknown said...

He is a cutie and I can see the "twinkle" in his eyes accompanied by his wonderful smile. Creativity in your children is bound to happen!! =)

Anonymous said...

Oh, Jennifer, I love it that you take the time to write these birthday letters, and include special pictures!! It helps to melt the many miles between us. It's so fun for me, as Bret's Gt. Grandma Rabe, to pick up on family traits that I recognize!! :) He is a very special boy is exciting to know he has trusted Christ as his own Savior, and now to watch him grow into what God has planned him to become...with the godly guidance of his parents. My love and prayers always. Grandma

Anonymous said...

Possibly Bret's growing alot of corn has something to do with his Gt. Grpa and Grma Rabe being farmers and growing alot of corn?? And, his Grpa Kevin being a farmer for a short while and growing lots of corn?? He definitely has 'farming' in his family genes. :))