Four Years Old


I know that every parent says this about their child, but Hudson is truly a special kid.


Like every preschooler, he has his moments that drive you crazy. He has a inexplicable need to keep his body in motion—even in sleep he tosses and turns. And he sometimes chooses the most random things about which to be stubborn. But not a day goes by when he doesn’t delight us with some insight, some glimpse into how he’s coming to understand the world… some sweet gesture of love towards me, or Aron, his sister—or even (or rather, of course) the dog. “I’m a lovey boy, right mama?”

Yes, Hudson, you really are.

[Forgive me, this is incredibly long.]

I feel like this has been a year marked by imaginative play. His stories have grown more elaborate and creative by the day. Our mornings are filled with jammy-capes and friendly dragons, pirates and superheroes, pretend trips to Spain, and race cars that fly through the universe. Oh, and boys curled up like rocks that turn out to be kitties if you were to step on them.

Lately he’s particularly keen on pretending to be a kitty. And I do believe it’s actually a way for him to be especially affectionate, only channeled through the caprices of a pretend-cat. It is common at night for him to curl up in our laps and start to meow. He’s been scratched by two cats, and so part of this activity often involves his asking us to put our hand low and let him smell us before we pet him. Cats and kitties are just clearly big on his mind lately: he’s requested a “kitty pool party with all my friends, chocolate cake, diamonds, gummies, and the caramel sauce that goes on ice cream.”


He continues to excel at things “that go.” He started riding a 12-inch pedal-bike just before his third birthday, and now he’s graduated to a 16-inch; it was necessary because he’s so tall for his age (not surprisingly). In fact, technically, he is tall enough for the 20-inch wheels, but we decided he didn’t have the overall wherewithal to handle the speed of that bike! And though he tires quickly from walking (too boring, I think), and asks to be picked up often, he has endless energy for running (and bouncing, and climbing, and jumping, and a sort of dancing that looks like a combination of all of the above).

But reading is perhaps his favorite activity. His teachers have mentioned that reading is for him a form of self-soothing as well as pleasure. Some of his favorites this year included stories in anthologies like Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Peter Rabbit, and Roald Dahl (though we have to be very selective with the last one). If given the choice, he’ll always ask for the longest one. He loves words and has a fast-growing vocabulary. And one of his favorite ways to say goodbye is by having me say, and then him repeat, all the languages of “goodbye” or “see you later” that I can think of. He has a sweet habit of whispering things to himself when he’s trying hard to remember a new word or grasp a new concept. (In a whisper: “transaction, transaction.” What’s a transaction? I know, like train and action!”)



Most mornings, we let him watch a short cartoon; he has been choosing to watch Wild Kratts (“the Kratt brothers”) recently. Before that his favorites have been Jake and the Pirates, Caillou, and Super-Why. My personal favorites for him right now include The Gruffalo (but he thinks it’s a little scary), Winnie the Pooh, and Lost at Sea. He still hasn’t seen many movies, but we did watch Frozen with him and he loves Elsa and Anna and is fascinated by the bad snow monster. He will insist on watching until the very end when the snow monster appears after the credits one final time. And I took him to his first movie in a theater a few weeks ago: Inside Out by Pixar. He was enthralled and clearly paid enough attention to be interested in figurines of the characters and talk about them later, but I think it was all a bit over his head. Still, when a particularly touching part happened near the end, he wanted to crawl into my lap and be held and I felt like the luckiest person in that theatre as I squeezed him tight.

I noticed that during the movie he would occasionally mimic the emotional responses of the audience. And he still likes to practice faces for different expressions of emotion. His teachers told me that he’ll often watch himself making sad and angry and silly and happy faces in the mirror. And that he was walking past them looking upset one day only to (when asked “what’s wrong Hudson?”) say “I’m just practicing.”

I think of him as a very sensitive kid, actually. And he’s always very aware (or at least interested in) how others feel. When I’ve gotten mad at him and raised my voice (I know, not proud), he’s told me “that hurt my feelings.” (The guilt.) He’s a pleaser. He wants to follow rules and seeks approval. The other day something happened that felt like we’d entered big-kid territory, though: I still bring Skyler into bed to nurse most mornings and, often, Hudson lays beside me and we read. He didn’t want to switch sides with her and got upset, but in a sad way. And then he told me: “I’m never going to lay close to you again.” (Gasp! Knife to the heart!) The moment passed in an instant and we were all back to smiles and cuddles, but that was the first time he’d ever defended himself in that way.

That sort of jealousy toward Skyler is not typical, however. Hudson’s affection toward Skyler has really grown. He’s always been loving and king with her, but now he wants her around. He asks if she can come to school, too. And he’s disappointed if we don’t wake him before her as he wishes to always climb into her crib in the morning to snuggle with her—something which is variably welcomed by Skyler. Of course she also annoys him more often now, too. She breaks his trains, or crashes his tower—prompting him to scream out or to briefly play in his room with his door closed. But when she walks up to the door saying “Hi,” he usually abandons his solo play to play with her again. They kiss and embrace, and they make gestures to comfort the other when he or she cries. (You know, unless she starts mimicking his cry or he yells that she’s being too loud. That might happen instead.)

Hudson at Four

Hudson loves to look for bugs—at home in the backyard, and in the garden at his school. He’s fearless about them. There he’s often uncovering things with Aidan, a friend he has bonded with closely this year. They seem to spend all of their time together. In fact, when we were leaving for Mexico City he wanted to make Aidan a video of himself to remember him by (and to assure him he’d be back soon). Still, he frequently reminds us: “I love all my friends and babysitters and my grandpas and grandmas and my mom and my dad and my dog and my sister.” He’ll often say “I love you, even when I die.” Or “I love you, even when you die.” Then, the other day he said: “I love you all the way to inside the toilet.”

I can hear how he’s starting to be more interested in what the big kids are doing or saying: “Is that cool?” Is that awesome?” And, “When we hear something cool, we say ‘no fair.”


“I mean ‘no way.’ We say ‘no way.'”

He’ll tell stories and ask “You heard ’bout that?” “You know about that?” And he’s really enthusiastic: “Wow, it’s beautiful. I like your pretty dress!”

I wish I remembered to write down all the funny things he says, like “My eyes are sweating.” or “Chocolate milk is brown like coffee… and tree branches.”


His food preferences continue to baffle us—in part because they change all the time. He’s turned against vegetables in general—although a few do continue to make the cut—broccoli, bell peppers, peas, edamame (if that counts), along with the occasional green bean and asparagus. Hot dogs hold no interest, while hamburgers have finally become a draw. Pizza is a sometimes yes, sometimes no situation. He tends to reject pancakes and waffles and most pastries that aren’t shaped like a cinnamon bun. We find it definitely helps to have some of his friends eating with him—then he’ll eat most anything. And he is really good a trying new things—unless they are green! (See worms.) The only consistent involves peanut butter: PB & Banana is his favorite breakfast, and pretty much the only sandwich he’ll eat is nut-butter and jelly, which he would eat for every meal if he could.

He ended the summer last year doing pretty well in the pool, especially given that he was afraid to get his head wet at the start of the year. Already this summer he is taking his swimming to a new level. Now it is hard to keep his head above water, and he can swim almost anywhere in our pool by himself. On the Fourth of July, when he was impatient for waiting for Aron to retrieve a toy from the bottom of the pool, he jumped in and swam down to the 8-foot depth himself.

He has been potty-trained since just after his third birthday. We completely ditched the daytime diapers one weekend last summer, and haven’t looked back. He still sleeps with an overnight diaper (and we see little likelihood in getting rid of that any time soon). There’s no longer a daytime nap—only “quiet time,” when he plays by himself for an hour in his room each afternoon.


We’ve been looking at twin beds for him. When he stretches he fills the entire length of his toddler bed (converted crib) and is growing like a weed! Sometimes I go in at night to look at him and he’s halfway out. We lift his heavy limbs back into bed and kneel to kiss his warm brow. I did this last night, when he was quiet and calm, and I fell asleep for a moment with my arm across him and my head against his. He’s so big now, but he’s still just a baby. Everything is so new. The future is so bright.

We love you all the way to the furthest thing you can think of, Hudson. So, so much.

P.S. Hudson at three. And 3-1/2. (Also: #HudsonBisThree on Instagram)

[All the monthly (and now yearly) photos and updates in this couch series.]

Related posts:

Travel Guides

Browse By Category