Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jack: Three Years

Dear Jack,

Today you turned 3 years old, but how can that be possible when you were just born yesterday? My wee baby has been replaced by an actual little boy and while I am so excited about you growing up, please stop growing up. Seriously. It's all going so fast. I mean last year you were kind of interested in peeing on the potty once or twice a day and then boom, by July you were fully daytime potty-trained. It's stuff like potty-training that makes me look back on the past year and see how far you've really come.

Last year at this time you barely communicated with us, using one-syllable words and a lot of nonsense. Now, you speak in full sentences with proper verbs, nouns and pronouns. You love to ask us "Why?" and "What's that?" and "Who talking to?" and "What talking for?", which translates to you wanting to know what we are talking about. Just tonight you said, "Where's Daddy? Daddy's getting the quesadillas! Jack have water and quesadilla then go home and play one minute and then take a bath and go night-night!" I would say you definitely have a good grasp on language. You can count to 50, sing your ABCs and have memorized the entire book "Goodnight Moon." You know how to spell Jack and can even read a few words, like Mommy, Daddy, Emmie, Grandma, Grandpa, dog and cat.

I really think school has helped you with a lot of those things. You started preschool last fall, two days a week for two hours, and now you are going two days a week for four hours. When we dropped you off for the first day, all the other kids cried but you ran over and started playing with the trucks right away. You were the only kid who cried when it was time to go home -- you didn't want to leave because you were having so much fun. You play and paint and sing and read and eat lunch and generally have a ball. You absolutely adore your teachers, Miss Liz and Miss Melissa, and have a lot of fun with the other 10 kids in your class. Every day when I pick you up and ask what you did at school, you reply, "Play with the green truck." Glad our tuition dollars are going to good use, seeing as you have about three green trucks you play with here at home.

But at home, you're supposed to share those trucks with Emmie, so maybe that's why you like playing with them at school instead. Back when you were just turning 2, Emmie was still so new that she didn't really interest you too much. She spent most of the time sleeping and the rest of it eating. But over the summer and fall she started crawling around and playing with your toys and all hell broke loose. You are, how shall we say, a little proprietary when it comes to your stuff. And that has resulted in a lot of time-outs for you and rough treatment of your sister. There was a rough period this winter where I didn't even let you touch Emmie or play near her because every time you did, you ended up hitting her or pushing her down. But in the last couple of weeks, you've calmed down about things and have started to actually play with her. You get toys for her and kiss her and hug her and tell her you love her. That's a little more like it. At least now I feel like I can leave you two in a room together and come back to find everyone alive and happy.

That would assume I can actually leave a room. The last month has been Mommy Month. You can't get enough of me. If I leave, you follow me. If Daddy tries to give you dinner or a bath, you sob until I come and do it. You spontaneously hug and kiss me and tell me "I love you Mommy." I am enjoying this while it lasts, as I am sure it will swing the other way and be all about Daddy very soon.

Right now, some of your favorite things are playing with your floor puzzle, parking your cars in pretend garages, playing with trains and watching "Sesame Street." When it comes to food, you've really expanded your horizons this last year. You went from eating baby food veggies to eating actual vegetables. You love peas and carrots and you eat spinach salads every day. Your favorites include almond butter and jelly sandwiches, chicken with dip (barbecue sauce), pizza, oatmeal, meatballs, "ogurt" (yogurt) and quesadillas with guacamole. But your true favorite is sharing a "smoovie" (smoothie) with daddy and we can get you to do almost anything by dangling it in front of you. I never thought I would see the day you would eat vegetables that didn't come pureed in a jar, but one day last spring, you just started eating peas and carrots like you had been doing it all your life.

This past summer you showed us what a big boy you were by being in Aunt Marnie and Uncle Thabu's wedding. Your daddy and I had grave concerns about you taking part, considering you were just a little over 2-and-a-half and had a tendency not to listen. I had fears you would get to the big moment and just refuse to walk down the aisle. But you wowed everyone with your excellent behavior and looked so handsome. You did an awesome job pushing Emmie down the aisle in a wagon and we could not have been prouder of you. You even got to come to the dinner, where you were pretty well-behaved and kept it together until well past your normal bedtime.

This past year has taught me so much about you. I have learned that you are going to do things on your own timetable -- rushing you doesn't make you do it any faster and just gets everyone frustrated. You are definitely still a child who likes to learn by observing, and then jump in once you know what's going on. You play equally well by yourself and with other kids. You are capable of sharing, but sometimes get upset when you have to do it. You like things to be just so, and will spend extra time putting things away to ensure they are to your liking. You are a little creature of habit when it comes to your bedtime routine, so don't even think about skipping a single step from the bath to the stories to what we say when we put you in your crib and close the door.

This was the first year that you really understood it was your birthday. We talked about it for the whole week, and you were so excited for your big party with all your friends. We hosted 24 kids at Pump It Up, a warehouse filled with giant inflatable bounce houses and slides. You had a great time running around and jumping with all the kids and loved being the center of attention, sitting in your inflatable throne eating pizza and cake. You were red-faced and sweaty, laughing and smiling, which was worth all the planning and expense.

Jack, you are an amazing, thoughtful, fascinating, intelligent, frustrating, funny, loving little boy. While there are some days I want to sell you to the highest bidder, never a day goes by that you don't make me laugh. You have the brightest smile and the sweetest face. I can't imagine what my life would look like without your presence. You make me slow down and appreciate little things like bugs on the sidewalk and airplanes in the sky. Your voice is the first thing I hear in the morning, calling, "Mommy come in! Mommy come in!" I love you more than life itself. You are my big boy, my Jackie, my buddy. I hope you know how much joy you have brought us this last year and how much we have to look forward to as we navigate through the world of 3.




Blogger Connor's Mom said...

Happy 3rd birthday, Jack! You are still cute as a button and I'm completely amazed at what an intelligent little guy you are. I wonder where you get that from...?

February 9, 2009 11:34 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

Happy 3rd sweet little Jack =)

He is a little chunk of love. The wedding picture of him is the best, he looks like a little model.

February 9, 2009 12:38 PM  
Blogger Hettie said...

Wow, 3 years old! I still remember reading Jack's birth story, while sitting in a cold and dark computer room that was to become Nora's nursery about 3 months later. How did it get to be 3 years later!!

Happy birthday, Jack! I see you're keeping your mom on her toes.

February 9, 2009 3:16 PM  

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