I remember how I felt when you turned one. Aside from perpetually exhausted, I remember feeling PROUD. Not only that we had sustained a human life for 12 entire months (I've always been an indoor plant-killer, so I had my doubts) but that we had done it so incredibly WELL! You were amazing. You were gorgeous and brilliant and just the sweetest little chunk of one-year old I had ever seen. Some of that just had to be our doing, right? We survived that first insanely hard year, and we came out the other side with a beautifully well-adjusted one-year old. We really were full of ourselves at that moment. And really, why not? I had never in my life cared for, or really even babysat, an infant. I had absolutely no clue. But, despite the constant trial-and-error that defined that first year, you made it out unscathed and pretty amazing. There were certain times we might have been a bit scarred from though, like the month or so, around 9 months old, where you would routinely vomit up your day's worth of food whenever you would cry at night. That was not a time we'd ever like to relive, but overall, it was a good good year.
I remember how I felt when you turned two. Months 12 to 24 were most definitely, hands-down, without a freakin' doubt the hardest for us. Well, mostly me. I had some long LONG days with you that year, child. You were very awkwardly staggering the line between being opinionated but not knowing the appropriate ways to get that opinion across. You wanted to say SO! MUCH! but you lacked a lot of the skill to do so. It got eleventy billion times better from months 20-24, but prior to that, it was some rough going. You had quite the attitude for a little guy, and while most of your tantrums were short, they were very memorable. You were still my sweet love, but that year was peppered with far more hair-raising language barrier-caused tantrums than I ever thought possible. I was pretty ill-equipped to deal with them, also. Given the fact that you were always a pretty chill, sweet boy, I was 100% not prepared with how to react to such outbursts. So, there was A LOT of late-night googling and developmental book-reading. Turns out that it really didn't matter what I did or didn't do, once you had a better grasp of the whole English language thing, matters greatly improved.
And how do I feel now, as your turn three? LUCKY. Because this last year, months 24 to 36.. they were just, wow. Insanely fun. Your personality has evolved so much this past year, and the things you do?? The things you say?? Hilarious. You are such a little person. You're not even a toddler anymore, I don't believe, you're a full-fledged card-carrying KID. And yes, this makes me want to stop and sob for a moment, but it's just too cool for words. We have conversations. And to be able to recall the you that cried like a wounded chicken to communicate to us as a newborn, to listen to an entire dialogue from that same you now, 3 years later? Kind of mind-blowing.
You are so loving. Lately, the last month I'd guess, you come up to us and give us out-of-the-blue kisses. Sometimes on our leg or our foot or our back.. then you go off and continue playing or doing whatever you were doing, leaving me in a pile of Loved Mommy Mush. Sometimes you will pick a dandelion outside and give it to me, saying 'I picked this big one, just because I love you.' Again - Mommy MUSH. Sometimes I'll ask you if you have any love or kisses for me.. you'll typically shrug and say 'no I'm all out of love.. but I have a few kisses!' (or vice versa) And then sometimes, when I would give our life's savings to stop time. you will let me hold you in a full-out body hug, you straddling me (perched over the belly) with your head resting on my shoulder.. and I'll sway and you will stay there for FAR longer than I'd ever expect a toddler to stay still. It's the best part of any day.
We also did some potty-training this year. Month 28, to be exact. It went MUCH better than I anticipated, but then I often anticipate the very worst of scenarios. Really though, you were a quick learner. At least with the pee. We won't talk about the other function, because it was a month and a half we'd all like to burn from our memories. Really though, it could have been so much worse, so I have absolutely no complaints.. I am nothing but proud of you and how it all went. I think (for me at least) as soon as you have a newborn, you start to realize 'OH GOD this child will someday need to be potty-trained. And by me!' and there's a certain amount of dramatic panic experienced well in advance. I can panic with the best of them, and I am so stinking thankful to you for having all that panic be for nothing.
We got you a trike, too. It had a long huge handle on the back for us to push, but really we just rest our fingertips there, because you needed to look back and SEE us there. I get that. You did the work, and eventually the handle came off - and off you went. The last week or so, we retired the trike and introduced you to your 'big boy bike' - a small bike w/training wheels. You got on, no fear, and that was that. I have a good feeling you won't take a decade and a half to learn how to ride a bike like I did. This is a good thing because someday your spouse won't mock you every chance they get about it.
I am just such the proud mother. I know these days are so fleeting, and as easy as it would be to look at the years ahead when you are in college and we can cruise the world as 'the light at the end of the tunnel', I don't. I want these sweet toddler years. I know they won't be around for much longer, and they might have even already passed me by and I haven't yet realized it.
I try to soak up moments every single day with you, but there's so many of them. You give me, us, so much. Every single day. I couldn't feel more blessed by YOU than I do right now, and always.
Happy third birthday, sweets.