Nearly every day we have the same conversation. I’ll slip and call you “baby” in some kind of endearing fashion, and you’ll indignantly remind me that you aren’t a baby anymore. You cast your eyes to the side and barely hold in the frustrated sigh when I respond, “yes, you are a big boy, but you’ll always be my baby.”
So today, my will-always-be-my-baby big boy is officially three, and I’m puzzled at where the past 1096 days have gone. I know I didn’t blink, and I remember it all. I remember the first minutes, hours, days. I can close my eyes and remember the weight of you as a newborn, a feather in my arms with sweet and silky hair. I skip the tape forward a few steps and see you smiling and laughing for the first time. I know where I was sitting the first time you pulled yourself up, and can hear the sounds of your first steps echoing in the hallway. Even with all these crystal clear memories, it’s a mystery to me how time has flown by and tonight we officially rang in your third birthday with one cupcake, three candles and a juice box.
At three, you aren’t short on personality… or opinions. I can’t imagine where you get that from (note: by the time you can read this, there will likely be a sarcasm font, there isn’t today so be sure to read that with the solid dose of sarcasm I intend). I think of you as my sweet and salty toddler. “You need snuggles, mommy,” you ask as you climb out of the car this afternoon. It’s a common refrain from you, and usually followed by “you like my snuggles, mom, they make you happy?” You worry about if we are happy – Daddy, Lucas and I. You want us to be happy, to be laughing. If we aren’t, you are quick to try and cheer us up. If you aren’t happy though… we will never need to wonder. It’s very, very clear, and not a bit quiet.
In fact, the emotions between elated and devastated don’t seem to exist for you. You are so, so happy, and so, so sweet, or so incredibly whiny and brimming with tears. The highs are high and the lows are rock bottom. We are working on that middle ground and constantly reminding you that there is a tone of voice other than yelling or whining.
You are our fruit and vegetable monster — preferring to order salad at restaurants over chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese. Most evenings, you wipe your plate clean of strawberries, watermelon, carrots and other healthy stuff only to push the rest aside with a declaration of “I don’t like this.”
You haven’t lost your love of being outside or your adoration for playing in the water. You are still Elsa’s biggest fan, and have made many strangers smile when they walk past you shrieking with joy upon seeing a Frozen toy or Elsa doll at the store. This year, you discovered Daniel Tiger on PBS and a new best friendship was born. You can be swayed into new behaviors with Daniel’s little ditties and are always delighted to watch a new episode.
You went to Disney twice while you were two years old, rode your first rollercoaster and hugged many a character. You spent a week at the beach with family, and loved swimming in the pool. You went to fairs and carnivals, museums and theme parks, hunted Easter eggs and trick or treated. It was a good, good year, full of adventures and rich with memories.
There are so many more adventures ahead. Life with you, our newly crowned three year old, sparkles with fun and family time. Lucas, Daddy and I are so lucky to be yours, and we are so lucky you are ours.
I love you every day, Benny.