Three. You’re three.
You’re not a toddler anymore. You’re a preschooler. That might be the biggest adjustment for me right now. Getting used to saying “my three-year-old” or “my preschooler” instead of “my toddler.”
You grew so much over the past year, in so many ways. Your vocabulary grew, your legs grew, your attitude grew. Your compassion grew. Your bonds with the people who love you grew.
Your life is so very different now than it was a year ago, and you have handled it with grace. (Well, grace on some days; tantrums on others … but hey, we all had a few meltdowns this year.)
Sweet pea, I love your spirit. You may have a blanket of three-year-old frustration wrapped around you right now, but I see what lies beneath.
You are sensitive. Sensitive both to the words of others and to the way your words and actions affect others. I think this sensitivity may make you a bit vulnerable as you get older, but it will also make you shine as a sweet and caring man. You explain the emotions you’re feeling and you relate to others who are showing strong emotions. You want to console. If you think you’ve hurt someone, you look crushed and then say, “Oh, I’m soooorry. I give you kiss?”
You are funny. When you sense I’m getting frustrated with you, you do a little dance and sing “jigg-a-jigg-a-jigg!” because you know it makes me laugh. You mimic people’s words and phrases (especially mine) in an annoyingly accurate way. You have the best cheesy smile in the entire world. Everyone else wants you to smile normally in pictures, but I adore the cheesiness. I know I’ll be sad the day you replace it with something more natural.
You love to dance. We listen to music all the time at home, and occasionally a song strikes you. You jump up from the table in the middle of lunch and yell, “Let’s dance, Mommy!” We hold hands, gallop in circles and spin each other around. Sometimes we get a little too excited and before we know it, we’re running through the living room and jumping down into the sun porch (and back and forth); it feels like dancing to us.
You are smart. So, so, so smart. You learn things easily. The alphabet, right vs. left, names of dinosaurs. If we try to teach it to you, you are open to learn it. Your memory is dead on. Whenever we pass through Easton and you see the Crayola Factory sign, you remind me how “we went to the colors” a few months ago. You remember who gave you practically every toy you own. You have such an amazing grasp of language and you love to talk. I wish I could bottle up your sweet little voice and save it forever.
It’s hard to believe you’re already three; yet, it feels like you’ve been here forever. I can’t imagine our life without you.
You are my heart. You are my biggest joy.
Happy third birthday, Bub.
Read my previous birthday letters to Ryan here: