Three Years Old

You fell asleep too quickly last night.

I had to work a little later, and then I had to stop by the store to get the last pieces we needed to make this morning especially special for you. After all, you only turn 3 once.

I raced up the stairs, so excited to see you. I've been thinking about you so much, because yesterday was the last day that you were two. As we drove to daycare, you were so full of silliness and laughter - we giggled and chatted the whole way.

Two has been so much. So much fun. So much learning. So much love. So much growth. There have been challenges. But there have been breakthroughs. Triumphs.

It's overwhelming to think that two is over. It's so great, because you're so ready for this amazing milestone, this continuation of your journey. But it's also tearing my heart into pieces because what you might not realize is that I'm constantly seeing you through so many lenses.

 I still see you so fragile and vibrant and new. Your sweet head, bruised from the vacuum that helped me get you earthside.

Your incredible skin, rolls upon rolls, still too big for your tiny body. Don't worry - you'll fill that skin  in so soon.

See? You grew so well and so quickly. It was amazing, seeing the complete circle we made. The cycle of supply and demand, everything you needed in the world... all in one place. Those arms. Those rolls. Those thighs. It was like a rubber band was around your wrists... and it was so awesome.

Look at those amazing eyes. Your daddy has amazing eyes, and you were lucky enough to take after him. Not only is the color amazing, but the lashes have always been gorgeous. I remember just looking at your eyes when you were small - admiring them, and always so excited to learn more about who you are. I still am, every day.

You will never doubt my love for you. I can't help but light up when you're near. Some days I'm tired. Worn out. Exhausted. Frustrated. Angry. But you are the key to wonder and magic, at a time in my life when I started to doubt my ability to find those on my own. You are a marvelous adventure, and you are helping me become the woman and mother I always hoped I could be.

I've always described you as "cheerful". You're such fun to be near, and your smile and giggles are infectious. Even Zoey can't stay away from you.

You've always been so social and verbal. You LOVE interaction and faces and communicating, even to this day. I see your silly roly-poly body as you flip over and exult in your range of movement. How exciting it was for you to be mobile! We cheered for you at every new development.

The soft, wispy baby hair that you had before your first haircut. It was downy and feathery and baby hair. Your hair today is that of a boy... when did that happen?

 And then you were one year old. All of a sudden. But the longest time ever. You were on the move, and exploring a whole new world.

 We started doing more fun, interactive games. You love being with your daddy, even though mama was the only one who could comfort you when things went wrong.

I joked that I could only call you "beautiful" until you were one year old... but who was I kidding? You're still beautiful. You'll always be beautiful.

 The milestones seemed to blitz past even faster - maybe because you were moving faster. It took you some time to catch up with walking, but you did catch up. And now you're "the fastest boy in the world!"
 The joy and wonder that you express while experiencing something new makes that thing new for me as well. I'm honored to not only teach you, but learn from you as well.

 And these pants that were too big - that we had to cuff ridiculously - are too small. You grew out of them slowly... and then all at once.

 By now you were running and jumping - still falling down some. But so joyful and so full of movement. Still little enough to need Daddy to carry you home after this trip to play in the leaves... but so independent.

I can see you changing into a boy before my eyes, but I still see so much of the baby that came before you. You started to snuggle into me after your initial push of independence - like you knew how much it would mean to both of us to come close after ranging out so far.

 And then you were two years old - full of grins and mischief and hugs and kisses. You just keep learning, and all of a sudden our living room was full of construction equipment, more train tracks and trains than I know what to do with, and we started seeing more of what you loved and what made you light up.

 You get a little shy when all the attention is directed at you - when we sang you "Happy Birthday", you had to take a minute to process. You've always taken a few minutes to warm up to new people or a new situation... but then your natural warmth and cheer and humor break through.

Constantly on the move. Capturing a picture of you at your party was a challenge, because you were so excited and wanted to be everywhere, all the time.

 It's incredible to me that you look so different... but so the same. When you were a tiny baby, I couldn't begin to imagine what you would look like as you got older. Looking back, it's so clear. Your features are the same, but different. You're longer everywhere. You are taller. Lankier. And one day, I noticed that your fingers weren't the chubby/stubby toddler fingers... but the fingers of a little boy. You were actually holding my hand. Deftly handling a marker. Successfully using scissors.

 I still see your hesitancy with physical tasks. You were always so quick with the social and verbal skills, but new physical skills take you some time to build comfort. Jumping. Running. Rolling. Climbing. But watching you try - watching your enthusiasm for something new - has inspired me.

You love superheroes these days. This Superman shirt has been a huge favorite, and you have the persona to go right along with it. It's getting faded, pilled, and a little too small... but luckily I found you a bigger replacement. We're just waiting for your party to give it to you.

 We always hoped to have a second child, and finding out we were expecting your brother Thomas was both very exciting... and kind of scary. It was a new frontier for all of us, changing from a family of three to a family of four. Your daddy and I wanted to support you and make sure we did as much as we could to help our family transition. We took classes. Mama read books and articles. And you know what? When Thomas showed up in the early morning hours and we brought him home... you loved him right away. There was never a question. I worried about jealousy or anger, but so far there doesn't seem to be any of that. You love brother. You light up when he wakes up. Four and a half months later, the shine hasn't worn off. Watching you love him - and him love you - has been a completely new dynamic for me.

Not only have you grown up so much since Thomas arrived, but you show such care and love and attention and empathy. There are certainly moments where you try something fun for you but still too big for Thomas, but you are willing to dial it down for him. Don't worry kiddo - before you know it, he'll be trailing after you and running to catch up. I hope to show you the joy of having a sibling, while balancing the real struggles of sibling hood. I still feel amazed and kind of out of my depth, having two boys. I only know about life and family from my lens. You are teaching me so much.

I was worried about potty training. But as I've learned with so many other things - I shouldn't have been. I needed to do some preparation for myself - to get my mind right and feel confident. But as I read - potty training was going to rock my world as I watched you learn something new, knock it out of the park, and learn more about you. How you tick. How you learn. How we work together in this partnership as you get older. You are such a big kid. Your willingness to learn and try new things is astonishing, and seeing your confidence and how you bloom when I let go and let you take the reins...  is such a life lesson for me.

Happy, happy birthday my sweet boy. Thank you for making me your mama and choosing us to make your family. We are beyond blessed to have you near and take on this journey with you. We can't wait to see what 3 brings!


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