Four years ago today I was standing and dithering outside the hospital's labour ward, having just spent 30 minutes travelling from home and another 15 minutes queuing for the car park. I hadn't felt you move for a couple of hours and had a bit of a stomach ache so the midwives wanted to see me, even though we were a few days from your due date.
I had no idea that you would be born an hour later, all 8lb 13oz of you!
The midwife weighed you twice, as she couldn't believe her eyes the first time. She kept exclaiming, 'where did he come from?!'
Unexpectedness is a word which has followed you around. You constantly surprise us in so many ways. We have faced worry when a cough escalated into something much bigger, needed to have eyes in the backs of our heads as you scaled cupboards and escaped from tents, watched as you struggled with your speech until the day Meg went to school and then you unleashed a whole torrent of words and so much more...
Some days you have us banging our heads against the wall wondering what on earth we've created when you are stubbornly determined to ignore us. Your favourite phrase is 'trust me, I know what I'm doing!' and you believe that wholeheartedly. You keep us on our toes as parents ensuring that we guide you and shape you whilst not squashing that insistence that you know better!
But the same traits which make you so stubborn and determined also make you inquisitive; you have to know the how and why of everything. You are constantly asking questions and we have spent more time on Google looking up answers in the past few months than I think I ever have with Meg. Mummy's word isn't good enough any more, you need to see the hard evidence. Thank goodness for YouTube.
If you don't see the reason behind something, you just won't do it. End of. As much as this frustrates us and your teachers, it is also a great quality to have. In this I can see the future you appear in flashes and glimpses. Don't lose that want to know why something should be done. Don't stop asking questions. Don't become afraid to say no if you don't agree.
You take things so seriously sometimes too. Just this weekend when you were at the driving school at Alton Towers, you had Daddy and me in stitches as you listened to the instructions and then followed them to a tee. And also...when you got out of the car (which hadn't been switched on yet) and started telling the staff that it had run out of petrol because it wasn't working.
You still love cars and planes but not as much as your new found love of superheroes. If you aren't playing a game in which Captain Eli America saves the world then something is wrong.
Your preschool teacher says that your family is your entire world and I think she is right. Once upon a time we worried that we'd done something wrong as you weren't as cuddly as Meg but really you were just biding your time. Everything has to be done on your terms, as usual. Now you are free with your cuddles and your affection. You can't sit next to someone on the sofa without pressing right up next to them and we must hear 'I love you' thirty times a day.
Eli, you make us laugh so much. From your silly faces to your funny dances, your cute phrases and your insistence that things are not amusing when they really are. You make your sister giggle in a way few people can and I love to hear when you are playing together and having a great time. There is a twinkle which appears in your eye when you know that you are being daft, and that makes us smile.
Oh I could go on and on!
Yesterday you were upset because you felt nobody was listening to you. We will always listen to you. You are our vibrant, playful, lively, creative, wonderful and precious little boy and as much as I want to weep that you will be going away to school in a few months, that you are growing up faster than I can get a handle on, I am so proud of the little boy you are becoming.
Have an amazing 4th birthday beautiful boy.