For weeks leading up to Saturday, your third birthday, you’d been telling everyone who asked that you were “still 2.” “Two-and-a-HALF,” you’d exasperatedly exclaim, as if to really say, “Come on, guys. Get it right.” But this weekend, you finally turned 3. And to borrow a phrase from you, “that’s the truth.”
The truth is also this: you are such a big boy now that it makes my heart ache a little bit that you want to do everything by yourself. Your latest and greatest accomplishment is that you are potty trained, which makes your dad and I so very proud, especially since there was a week or two there when I was convinced you never would be. (I was also convinced we’d never break you of your pacifier habit, but in retrospect, getting you off of it was pretty easy, too.) Now, every week day when I pick you up from daycare, you jubilantly announce that you had “no accidents today!” And that’s another truth: you have not had one single potty accident since Thanksgiving. Great job, dude.
I took this past Friday off from work but still took you to daycare so that I could spend the entire day running errands and preparing our house for your birthday party on Sunday. Even before that, I went to several stores earlier in the week in search of party favors and sundry supplies, and scoured the internet for recipes and free downloadable printables to you make you a special birthday banner. All told, I spent many hours cleaning and organizing and crafting in order to host for you a little party in your honor that lasted about two hours.
Basically, what I’m saying is, it was a lot of work, which your dad recognized after all of our friends left, but you know what? It was worth it. Even though you probably won’t remember the pennant banner that spelled out your name, or the cookies ‘n cream cupcakes with the digger on top of the “dirt” Oreo crumbles, or the rainbow fruit skewers, I will. But what I will remember the most is how damn happy you were that people came to OUR house, just for YOU.
I will also remember you standing in the front doorway as your first guests arrived, anxiously waiting for them to make the trek from their car to our porch, and how you kept waving and saying hello, even though I’m pretty sure you didn’t know those particular people very well. I will remember how you insisted on using the potty all by yourself, and then coming out of the bathroom without your pants off because you needed me to help you with the button. (I guess it’s not a party until someone’s pants come off, right?) I will remember you sharing all of your toys with Madeleine, Lucy and Charlie, and sitting with them at your little table while everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to you.
At 3, you are intelligent and thoughtful, independent and imaginative. You recently invented a game simply called “Hugdown,” which is where you run into your dad’s open arms for a hug, and your sheer strength knocks him off his feet so you’re both on the ground. You guys do this over and over with much laughter, and I know for a fact that your dad loves this game because you give the best hugs.
You’re also one of the funniest people I know, whose dance moves rival those of Jagger.
When you’re concentrating on a task, you stick your tongue in and out of our mouth, sort of like a panting puppy, and you make these guttural sounds when you’re sucking down a juice box, as if you’ve been hiking through a desert for days without water. You love to take baths, but you abhor having your hair washed, a battle I’ve decided not to partake in unless absolutely necessary.
Nightly you try to trick me into reading all of your books before bed, even when I’ve given you a three-book limit. You say, “This one, this one, this one, and all of these ones, and that’s gonna bes it!” I usually give in and read a few more because truth is, I’ve really come to enjoy this bedtime routine of ours, especially when you recite the words to your favorite books, too.
You have a lot of fans, my son. Family is a given, of course, but everyone who spends any time with you tells me how awesome and smart you are. Sometimes it’s hard for me to recognize that because you’re my one and only, and what do I know? But it fills me with such ooey-gooey warmth to hear again and again how amazing you are.
Because that’s also the truth.