How did you get to be three? It's been an interesting year, kiddo. You're still my little guy, but you're just turning into such a boy that your toddlerhood is turning into some sort of foggy memory. Just yesterday we watched the video of Daddy's surprise return back in February and already I see such changes in you. Your conversational skills are impressive. You hear things once and then all of a sudden you're repeating them, in the appropriate context, to someone else. Thank goodness the worst word you use is poop. I'll congratulate you, your dad and myself on that one. I think it's probably divine intervention that worse language hasn't emerged from your little lips.
I was trying to think of things that you used to do but don't anymore, now that you're three. I'm happy to say that sometime in the last few months, you've started keeping your shoes on. Hallelujah! I got so tired of always. putting. shoes. back. on. you. in the car, in shopping carts, all over creation. So thanks for that, buddy. And I am particularly impressed that you now take your shoes off as soon as you get into the house and, more often than not, put them in the shoe cabinet where they belong.
You have become such a fantastic big brother. It's kind of hard to believe that you were the only child a year ago; Natalie was merely a figment of our imaginations. But now she's here and you act as though you can't remember life any other way. Maybe you can't, now that I think of it. I'm not really sure what your memory span is. Either way, you make us so proud by being so loving to her. I asked you yesterday what your favorite thing about Natalie is and you said, "playing with her." Too funny, since she's pretty immobile. You work hard to get her attention (so hard that meals suffer) when we're all at the table. Then you turn to me and tell me that Natalie smiled at you. I really hope you always love her this way and will work so hard to make her smile. I can tell she already thinks her big brother hung the moon because she does, indeed, beam from ear to ear when she sees you.
You still love any sort of ball and you have a massive collection of all types and colors. Somehow you never think you have enough, though, and will always ask for more when we see them. We rarely cave since our house might be overrun as it is.
You love, love, LOVE your bed and beg to show it off to anyone who comes over. You also still refuse to get out of it without one of us being there to tell you it's okay. You hoard a million toys in there - stuffed animals, books, your little license plate, train cars and cargo, plastic bracelets, balls, tubes - you name it, it's there. Yet even with all that stuff, you get sad if you realize you can't find your nana when it's time for sleep. Tiger, hedgehog and birdie bird are your recurring favorite stuffed animals, with Tiger always being at the top of the list. He's your go-to guy.
Your favorite thing to do is move objects from one container to another. You are still playing with a box of penne pasta that you've had for more than two weeks. It's currently divided between a laundry basket and an old formula container. I find random penne all over the house, but it makes you so happy to pretend it's cookies or some other item you've "cooked." As for real cooking, you help make the coffee every morning, dutifully counting the scoops, dumping it into the filter and then pressing the button to start it. It turns out you're also really good at running out to get the paper off the driveway. You ask me every day to save the bag for you - I always do - because you can think of a million things to store in it.
You love airplanes, always requesting to watch for them when we go to the commissary and as we drive past the airport up the road. We got to see five jets take off and three land today after our grocery run and that just about makes your day. You are always pretty sure that it must be Daddy, or maybe Jaws. Today you thought it might also be Sammy and Julie's daddy, so I think you're starting to figure out the whole Air Force thing. You also tell us that you want to be a pilot and that you want to fly Eagles. I wonder if this is how Daddy used to be.
You love the park ("the one in our neighborhood"), you're very tolerant of our trips to the Y, you love Costco for the samples, Trader Joe's for the balloons and Target for it's fancy carts. You've requested that we go bowling for your birthday and have said that will be your present.
You're just like Daddy in that you've never met a stranger. You're pretty sure that all adults and children alike want to be your pal. You try to hold hands with just about everyone; you think all the neighbors are out there for your entertainment. And maybe they are; they let you get away with almost anything, like the other night when John let you use his broom to play in his sprinklers.
You love to snuggle and often request to cuddle with one of us. You give fantastic squeezy hugs, lots of impromptu kisses and often tell us out of the blue that you love us. You're sure that anytime Daddy and I hug, it should become a family activity and you wind yourself around our legs. We laugh about it every time. You're starting to be nicer to Millie, often asking if we can take her out to play in the afternoons. And you're getting really good about feeding her twice a day then yelling, "Millie! Your breakfast is ready!" You always put your hand up by your mouth as you shout, as if it helps the sound carry.
Isaac is still your best friend and you point out his neighborhood every time we drive by. You enjoy talking on the phone and will walk around the house holding it, just like I do. You love to dance, you sing silly songs with me, you know all the words to "Call My Name" by Third Day and you keep asking me what the songs on the radio are about and who's singing them. It's like you already sense my weakness in the music trivia category.
Most importantly, you keep me on my toes all day, every day. You are an inquisitive, sensitive, loving, rambunctious, ornery boy and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love you and can't wait to read what I write about you in another year.