My sweet boy, you are most definitely the fourth child in a very busy family. Gone are the days when I would spend hours a week writing love notes to my children in their own keepsake journals, reflecting on the smallest of milestones. These days, I do my best to jot down a quick quote in my Mom’s One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book (that was the perfect gift from Daddy last Christmas!). So here’s a very belated attempt at composing the perfect birthday letter. (To be fair on your poor, overwhelmed Mommy, I did start writing this the week of your actual birthday, but it’s been a long work in progress.)
Happy, happy third birthday to my superhero-loving-but-not-afraid-to-dress-up-in-a-princess-dress-if-that’s-what-playtime-with-M.E.-dictates, energetic, outdoorsy, imaginative, expressive, strong, bulldozer of a boy!
You keep me busy, little man. You really are like a bulldozer, plowing into me and into life with a whole lot of masculine energy. You roar like a tiger. You butt your head into me like a bull. You eat like a man. My, you can put down food. Oh, but you also cuddle and hug me and scream with delight when you see me. You make my heart melt. You also make me very tired with your strength and shall we say stamina. Not that you’re always on the go. As your personality emerges, I see that you need quiet, alone time. It’s your reset button (it’s mine, too). We were recently at Madeline’s soccer game, and all of the siblings of the other players were playing together, but you and Rachel regularly took breaks from the crowd to just sit alone. Meanwhile, Mary Elizabeth was the social butterfly fluttering from friend to friend. It’s such a wonderful (and sometimes challenging!) gift to have four unique children with such different personalities!
I’ve also noticed that when we go somewhere where there are a lot of people, you have to come up to me every few minutes just to check in and to be reassured. Sometimes you’ll just peek over at me and wave. Other times, you’ll run to me and hug my legs before returning to the crowd. I love that about you – how you’re always on the lookout for Mommy, making sure I’m not too far away.
You want to check to be sure that everyone else and even every thing has a mommy and daddy nearby, too. We will be reading a book about a dog, and you’ll ask where his mommy is. Sometimes you ask where his daddy is as well. We were at a fall festival recently, and you got to meet Hairy Dawg. You asked right away about his mommy and daddy. I told you he was probably the daddy rather than the puppy given his size. He was very big and towered over you, so that seemed to satisfy you. You just want to ensure everyone is taken care of.
Let’s see what else is happening with you these days. You love for me to read you books. Some of your current favorites are: I Love You, Stinky Face, Over and Over (which we, not surprisingly, read over and over), Where the Wild Things Are(you are my little wild thing), and Harry the Dirty Dog. (In fact, you thought UGA’s “Hairy” was Harry the Dirty Dog at first). You’re also starting to like longer books and will actually curl into me and listen intently. You’re into knights right now, and Saint George and the Dragon enchants you. We’re trying to teach you to use all that fierce, boy energy to do good and to protect your sisters rather than wrestle them to the ground or pull out fistfuls of their sunshine-kissed hair. Not that my sweet boy has ever been guilty of that. Ahem.
You also love The Oak Inside the Acorn. You ask a lot of questions about why little acorn had to let go and where his mommy is. The thought of being separate and independent from me both thrills and delights you. That’s par for the course. Fortunately for me, you never stray too far, you love for me to put you to bed, and don’t want me to ever leave your side, and you give me lots of big, strong hugs. I’m one lucky mommy.
You like to play with cars and to be outside. You and Mary Elizabeth play “Mommy & Daddy” quite a bit. She’s the mommy; you’re the daddy. The other day you pretended to get married. She, not surprisingly, got really into dressing up for the part – white cloak and makeup, the whole bridal shebang. You, on the other hand just did what you were told, although you’re frequently not so compliant. You have a mind of your own, and boy, do you sometimes have a temper. I took a bite of your snack (I should have asked, but you should have been kinder about sharing), and your face crumpled up in anger and you roared at me, “You’re a meanie, Mommy!”
You love Curious George (the books and the show). You also love Little Bear, which you discovered at Nana and Pop’s. You’re extremely imaginative. Sometimes you’ll lose yourself in your play, and I love listening to what you’re saying. Before bed you always tell stories aloud to yourself as we rest in the darkness together. Like I wrote earlier, you’re very concerned that everyone – including spiders and characters in books – has a mommy and daddy. You’re extremely animated, and those bright, brown eyes of yours will widen as you tell me something.
At bedtime, you’ll sometimes say, “I want to sleep with Daddy,” but almost without fail, you change your mind at the last minute and say, “Actually, I want to sleep with Mommy.”
You have told me – out of the blue – that I am pretty, and it makes my heart melt more than I could have ever imagined.
I heard you telling Ms. Shelby recently that when you were a little boy, you liked Elmo. As if you’re not still little and a closet Elmo lover. You like to think of yourself as a big boy, but you still need to feel little, too. You’re very curious, and you ask a lot of questions.
I was making you a sandwich for lunch and when I got out some lettuce to put on it, you said, “I don’t want salad on my sandwich, but I do want turquoise.”
“Turquoise!!!” you said, pointing to the mayonnaise. ☺
Every day you say something cute and quotable. You make me laugh. Your bright brown, expressive eyes have a heart-constricting power over me. You have a power over me!
Happy very belated third birthday! I love you so very much, and I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for you!