Since these updates have basically taken the place of a traditional baby book for me, I love looking back on them for both nostalgia’s sake and to jog my memory when I cannot seem to remember when something happened. (It’s also fun for me to see the ways Chase and Ryder are the same and different at each age! And I frequently reference my lists of the boys’ favorite things for gift ideas for friends’ little ones because my brain is mush and I cannot remember what my boys liked best at what ages for the life of me.)
But let’s talk about life with a FOUR year old.
Four looks like non-stop talking, energy for days, jokes that don’t make sense, a sensitive heart, so many questions, running and running some more, intense dehydration at bedtime every night, a memory that blows my mind, and independence with a side of cuddles from Mom every day. It’s an age that’s exhausting, hilarious and so much fun and I find myself laughing hard at the things that come out of Chase’s mouth every single day. (I’m also blown away by the things that come out of his mouth because this kid’s memory is on FIRE.) Chase never EVER runs out of things to say and everything is so very literal in his world.
From day one Chase has always been a social little guy and his love for other kids has only intensified with age. He adores his friends, enjoys meeting new kids and cares deeply for his teachers and classmates.
Chase’s energy has been on fire since he was a baby and that has stayed with him year after year. If Chase is awake, he’s moving, playing, running and doing something active unless we force him to take a break for a snack or a story. Though his energy level is HIGH, it’s one of my favorite things about him because it keeps our whole house feeling vibrant and alive. Chase is imaginative, curious, enthusiastic and truly a joy. I’ve always said this little guy is my sunshine and that rings true to this day.
As far as challenges are concerned, almost all of them seem to center on coexisting with his brother (see more on that below), but I will say something about four seems easier than the other ages so far. For so long, much of our focus centered around teaching Chase how to physically be a good human (how to use the potty, how to get dressed, how to feed himself, how to not throw tantrums, how to be pleasant in your car seat <– we’re in the thick of car seat battles with Ryder so that one is fresh in my mind!) and now that those boxes are checked for the most part, our focus is on teaching him how to simply be a decent human to others and himself.
I had to laugh when I heard Chase correcting Ryder one day when Ryder screamed about one thing or another. I was throwing a load of laundry in the washing machine and went to check on Ryder and as walked into the room, I heard Chase saying, “Ryder, that is NOT how we get our way.” So he DOES hear me! Ha! Thankfully at four years old Chase understands what we say to him and he understands that his actions have consequences — good or bad — and that makes communicating, correcting and helping a little person grow up a bazillion times easier.
I have a small victory to report! Chase is finally moving up on his little curve! As long-time readers know, Chase’s small size and weight have been an ongoing source of stress since day one, despite our wonderful pediatrician’s assurance that as long as Chase stayed on his own little curve, he was doing just fine. Chase moved up from the first percentile for weight to the fifth percentile at his four-year-old checkup so that was nice to see. Maybe he IS eating more than we realize?
Play is still a priority for him over food and we still have to force Chase to sit down and eat most of the time. One not-so-good habit we’ve embraced: Reading stories during some of our meal times. Chase will eat really well if we read him books during meal times and while I knooow you’re not supposed to “distract” kids while they eat, I’m going to throw in the towel on that one because a distracted Chase is also a Chase that will polish off veggies, fruit and a decent amount of healthy food so that seems okay to me. I’m picking my battles on this one and feel okay about it since I don’t think it’s a habit that’s too horrible.
As far as foods that are staples in his diet, he eats a lot of fruit (apples, bananas, strawberries and clementines are his favs), cashews, muffins, carrots, cheese, cucumbers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chocolate chip cookie dough larabars (I truly buy like 8 boxes of them at a time when they’re on sale through Thrive Market), green beans, quesadillas, Simple Mills crackers, pancakes and yogurt. He still isn’t a big meat eater but he does love cheeseburgers! His favorite not-so-healthy foods are doughnuts, ice cream and pizza. Can’t say I blame him on that one!
We have YET to transition Chase out of his crib which always seems to shock people but it has been the BEST THING EVER and I owe you guys a bazillion thank yous for encouraging crib life as long as possible. I was so tempted to transition Chase to a “big boy bed” before Ryder was born but had a bunch of you chime in and dissuade me from this saying everything from “don’t mess with a good thing if he’s not trying to get out of his crib” to “keep the crib going if sleep is going well” and “sleeping in a bed is not a milestone.” He sleeps in beds when we travel but at home it’s crib time all the time! I was fortunate to catch Chase trying to climb out of his crib once and ran into his room and explained how dangerous it is to climb out of a crib and that was the end of that. (Chase is a very cautious kid and a big-time rule follower and hasn’t tried to climb out of his crib since. Phew!)
I think the crib is a big part the reason naps are still a “thing” in our house. Chase only seems to truly sleep during nap time around two times a week but if we’re home and around, he will still go into his crib for “quiet time” with books and toys for at least an hour. I think it’s really good for him (the child truly does NOT stop moving when he’s awake) and it’s good for me so it’s a win-win. It’s also really nice that missing a nap is no big deal these days so we don’t really plan our weekends or weekdays around nap time but if we’re home and Ryder’s napping anyway, Chase will usually have quiet time as well.
As far as sleep is concerned, he’s a great nighttime sleeper. I’m saying this for all the mamas out there with little ones who are over the age of one and still not sleeping through the night because that was Chase! I was so worried that since he was still waking up in the night at 15 months that we were doomed (ughhh baby sleep books can be the worst for freaking first-time moms out) but once I weaned Chase, it was like a light switched and he slept through the night and has been a great sleeper ever since. Occasionally he’ll wake up with a nightmare or some odd request but he’s usually back to sleep within 10 minutes. Bed time is anywhere from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. most nights (though usually closer to 8-8:30) and he’ll typically sleep until 7:30 a.m.
Chase is a truly wonderful big brother and looks out for Ryder in a way that makes my heart soar. I’m so proud of the way Chase is with Ryder and almost every time we take them to a drop-off childcare program, we’ll hear feedback about how much Chase looks out for Ryder and helps his brother when he fusses or seems upset. I also just about died laughing when Chase told me he “had a battle” with a little boy who took a toy out of Ryder’s hands and made Ryder cry one day. Once I was sure Chase didn’t physically do anything to hurt the kid (he said he just told the boy to give Ryder his toy back and to share), I asked him to give me more details about the incident and he concluded it by saying, “I told him that it’s not nice to take toys and to give the toy back to Ryder and we had a battle. He’s still alive though.” Um what!?! I would hope so! If that story doesn’t sum up the dramatics that come along with being four years old, I don’t know what will.
I love the way Chase can make Ryder laugh harder than anyone on the planet and, for the most part, he doesn’t seem to mind having Ryder as his little shadow all day long.
Now that Ryder is walking and no longer a baby, we’re seeing more and more “real” play emerge between Chase and his little brother and I hope with all my heart this continues and their bond only strengthens as they grow up together.
As for the more stressful side of things related to two children, Ryan and I often wonder what we used to correct Chase for/discipline him about before Ryder entered into his world. Seriously WHAT? I feel like all of our serious talks with Chase and the moments that require the most discipline and stern voices/conversations with Chase center around some kind of sibling-related issue.
Chase and Ryder are good kids but they’re still kids and that means that we’re constantly trying our best to help both boys respect each others’ boundaries, share, give each other space, treat each other with kindness, play gently, etc. The list goes on and on.
The whole two kid thing can be really stressful and incredibly draining but it’s also my favorite thing in the world. I always say I love the chaos and there’s certainly a lot of that in my life right now with these boys every day!
- “Brother baths”
- Swimming (ISR was a HUGE turning point in his love of the water!)
- Running and turning basically everything into a race
- Reading/Story time
- Playing with cars, trucks, airplanes
- Playing at the park
- Helping Dad drive the boat
- “Adventure hikes”
- Imagination games
- Jumping out and scaring Mom and Dad before bed
- Taking breaks from playtime for meals, potty, etc.
- When Ryder takes his toys
- Being in a hurry
Four Year Old Favorites
- Plasma Car (He still rides this one every day!)
- Power Wheels Jeep
- Floating Fishing Pole
- Adventure Kidz Outdoor Exploration Kit (a birthday gift and a HUGE hit for our outdoor-lovin’ boy!)
- Strider Bike
- Walkie Talkies
- Mega Blocks
- Adjustable Basketball Hoop
- Large Snake Plush Toy
- Take-Along Tool Box
- Star Night Light Projector
- There’s No Place Like Space
- Dragons Love Tacos
- Cars and Trucks and Things That Go (He still loves looking for Goldbug on every page!)
- Anything Pete the Cat
- They All Saw A Cat
- What Do People Do All Day?
- 5 Minute Bed Time Bible Stories
- Daniel Tiger’s 5 Minute Stories + 3 Minute Stories
- National Geographic Little Kids Magazine (I know this isn’t technically a book but my mom gave him a subscription to this magazine and he loves it!)
- Lots of non-fiction books about animals from the library
- Excellent Ed
- 3 Years Old
- 2 1/2 Years Old
- 26 Months
- 20-22 Months
- 17-19 Months
- 13-16 Months
- Twelve Months
- Eleven Months
- Ten Months
- Nine Months
- What I Wish I Knew Before My Baby Was Born
- Eight Months
- Seven Months
- Six Months
- Our First Sleep Training Experience
- Traveling With A Baby For The First Time
- Five Months
- Four Months
- Three Months
- Two Months
- And Then He Smiled
- Three Weeks
- The First 12 Days
- Q&A: All About Birth & Life With A New Baby
- Chase’s Birth Story: Part I, Part II