William, you have enriched my life in more ways that I can describe these last eight years. I wish I had the words to tell you how proud I am of you. I can only try.
In this last year, we moved into a new house. As always, you made a smooth transition. You got your very own pool to swim in and trampoline to jump on in the backyard. You like to go in the hot tub when the pool water is too cold, and you love jumping onto your big swan float. You line up your Paw Patrol toys and your rubber duckies along the side of the pool, or throw them in and make other people get them for you. You like to bring certain dinosaurs and animals onto the trampoline with you, and Daddy calls them your “squad.” You sleep in your own queen bed covered in stuffed animals–Mickey, Donald, Hedwig, Bear the Puppy (your first Build-A-Bear experience was this year, too!), and, most recently, Minnie and Daisy.
In the last year, you started second grade. You got a new teacher, Mr. Cameron, who you love to play with, and you started to master writing and completing math problems independently! I am constantly amazed when you come home with new skills! Your daddy and I watched in awe as you sat and completed 9 math problems in a row on your own without even looking up. I know it has been so challenging at times for you to pay attention in school and for you to learn to write, and we could not be happier about the progress you’re making. You’re such a hard worker! Another really important milestone this year has been that you can tell me a little bit of what happened during your day! You name your classmates, you tell me which therapist you worked with, and you’ll even share what toys you played with or what you ate for lunch. I have waited so long for you to be able to tell me what happens when I’m not around, and I love that you are working hard to communicate and share your life with me.
In the last year, you’ve needed your daddy and me less and less. When we went out to eat for Abuelo’s birthday, you insisted on feeding yourself a bowl of mushroom soup with a spoon–and you didn’t spill any on yourself. You have a new booster seat in the car, and you like to help unbuckle yourself when we reach our destination. You brush your teeth (so many teeth fell out and new ones came in this year!) and you’re learning to wash yourself in the shower. You put on movies and work the remote. You get bowls and snacks for yourself. Sometimes, you run your own schedule, and you’ll look at me around 9:00 p.m. and say, “Pick toys, then bed.”
In the last year, we learned you are going to be a big brother. Ever since we told you, you’ve been so excited. You like to watch the movie Boss Baby, and I try to remind you all the time that nobody is ever going to replace you, but I think it’s just your way of processing things. At school, you like to play with the baby doll and stroller. You cradle the baby doll perfectly in your arms and feed her a bottle, and I can see our future right there. You asked for a “baby girl” and you got it–you’re going to have a little sister in just a few months. I cannot wait to see how you respond and how much your little sister is going to adore you.
In the last year, you continued to be my DJ in the car on the way to school in the mornings. This is probably one of my favorite parts of spending time with you. You love singing and listening to music SO much. Your favorites this year are definitely Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” and the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” You sit in the backseat and sing along, tapping your feet and bobbing your head and smiling as you look out the window–and I’m constantly reminded of how you see the world. As beautiful. As joyful. You surprised me this year by latching onto the soundtrack of the movie “A Star is Born.” You love Bradley Cooper’s “Music to My Eyes” and Lady Gaga’s “Shallow,” and you’ve learned most of the lyrics, too! And we can’t forget your Lilo & Stitch soundtrack favorite, “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride.” You even got to dance with Lilo & Stitch to that song this weekend at Ohana!
In the last year, Gramps bought us Disney passes, and once Mommy was feeling up to it, we started taking trips again! You are such a little daredevil, always asking to go on the thrill rides! You saw Toy Story Land and Pandora for the first time, and rode Slinky Dog Dash with Daddy, Tio, Danny, and Leli. Now, you re-enact the rollercoasters at home with Daddy when you set up your laundry basket and exercise ball in front of the television screen. You two have so much fun together!
In the last year, you’ve become obsessed with two movies: Moana and The Grinch. In November, your Titi rented out an entire movie theatre for your cousin Leli’s birthday, and we all went to see The Grinch. You don’t normally like to sit still during movies, but for some reason, this movie captivated you, and I knew we had to buy it. Like your Mommy, you love all things Christmas! We have had fun singing the new Grinch theme song around the house. You also love all things beach, and so you’ve fallen hard for Moana and Maui. You love to sing “How Far I’ll Go,” “You’re Welcome,” and “Shiny.”
I can’t wait to celebrate you again this weekend, by the pool, with family and friends, where you love to be. You have brought so much love, light, and goodness into our family, William. This next year is going to bring so much change to our little dynamic of three, and sometimes, I wonder if we made the right choice. But every change or obstacle you’ve faced, you’ve met with a wide, bright smile. We can all learn something from you.
Happy 8th birthday, sweetest of boys. You are the very best thing.