Sunday, September 11, 2011

3.5 years

Dear Andrew,
You are just about 3 and a half years old. I know I do the monthly letters to your sister, but I don't want you to feel slighted (years from now, when you will hopefully read these). I could do monthly letters to you too, but I think we all know it's much easier to do with a baby, when their development changes in leaps in bounds in a matter of days and weeks. Quite a few things have changed with you though, these past few months that should definitely be recorded.

You are getting so much more outgoing! You have always been a little ham (or turkey) at home, but it's always been a struggle to get you to engage other kids your age. You have always loved kids your age, but moreso in a passive way.. observing and laughing at them.. not a lot of active engaging. Lately, you are very quick to say hello and they you are THREE! and your name.. and 'dragonflies are good, because they don't sting you.. they're not wasps..' and etc etc. It's funny to watch you at the park, because if you see a kid your age, you go right up to them and just say whatever comes to your mind first. I am so proud of you, doing this. It's been a long time coming. But also apprehensive. When you put yourself out there, you always run the risk of some little bratty kid making fun of you, or saying they don't give a flying fart about dragonflies. I guess this is the beginning of letting you go though, letting you put yourself out there and deal with the sometimes unfair rejection. Speaking of, I had to let you do this one big-kid ladder thing, too. The other kid you met wanted to do it with you, and you, being a pretty stringent rule-follower, told him 'no, I can't. I'm not 10 yet!' .. See, this certain ladder is maaaybe age-appropriate for a 5-6 year old, not a 3 year old. So I threw out some big number to you, saying you could do it when you were 10. When the kid asked you to do it, I yelled over to you that you could give it a try - and sure enough, you scaled that big scary ladder with no problem. Over and over and over.
You will see a kid while we're at the store and look up at me and say 'I wanna talk to them'.. and I'll either say 'ok sure' or 'hmm... he looks pretty busy...' (which translates to: 'he looks like he might be a real turd and I'd rather you not run the risk of having your feelings hurt') Just the other day at the park, you approached a group of 7 (!!) year olds, because you felt the extremely strong urge to warn them of gum on the slide. I was worried that they would look at you like a little 3-year old pest, but they surprised me and asked if you wanted to play with them. They said 'we'll play easy on you.. we're playing angels and devils.. you can be an angel.. they're good!'... I think you smiled and just looked at them, having no idea what 'angels and devils' was.
All this outgoing behavior hasn't yet transferred over to preschool though. Kids you have known for over a year now still get the silent treatment from you. You talk about them endlessly at home, giving me the little-kid-scoop (gossip!), but you are virtually mute when you are with them. I don't understand this, but then there's quite a bit about kids I don't understand.

You love love LOVE to make Avery smile. In the backseat, you have a perfect view of her, and she you. You literally do not have to do a thing, and you elicit the biggest grins and noises from her. I do use it to my advantage, at home, when I need to get things done. If I can sense she's nearing fussiness, and I have chores I need to accomplish, I'll ask you to please sing her a song or make her smile. It always works and always buys me a few spare minutes.

This summer has been absolutely cruel with the heat, and the past week has finally shown us some comfortable temps. We have spent a lot of time outside and at parks, and you just go nuts. You have SO much energy pent up, and I do feel guilty for that. It's hard for me to run and play with you with a little baby on my hip, but you have seemed to forgive and forget for all the lack of physical play this summer. Recently, I taught you something with the sole intention of ooging your father out (one must get their kicks)... I taught you that giving someone a kiss on each cheek was called a French Kiss - which is NOT a huge stretch, as it's widely known that the French do love their social cheek kissing. Anyways, you love to grab my face at night when I tuck you in, kiss one cheek, then the other, and say 'Fwench Kiss!'
More bedtime related cuteness: our routine is pajamas, pick out a book, read, then sing our 'God Our Father' song, then do prayers. When we pray, your routine is to say all you're thankful for - you always start by saying 'Daddy and Mommy and Avery and Andrew (must include yourself!)' and you'll sometimes say 'thinking and loving and having fun..and a good house, good food, outside playing, bubbles..' and then the last part will change nightly, usually something fun you saw/did/ate that day. Then the very last part of prayer-time, I ask you what we can ask God for help with, and you'll relate some current issue to that part... maybe you accidentally hit Avery, so you'll say 'help with not hitting and being sweet'.. or 'listening to mommy better'. Or something particular to that day's events. And then sometimes you're so tired you just recite all the good things you're thankful for over again. It all works, God cares and so do I!

We recently started soccer with you, and it's a work in progress! You really don't love to sweat, so if it's a hot game or practice day? Forget it. If it's mild out, we can cross our fingers that you might run or think about kicking the ball. At the game yesterday, you ran! You RAN! The game prior to that one, you were stationary. Totally at a stand-still. So we think this is a 100% improvement. :) We're optimistic you might kick it over the course of the season. You are sometimes zoned out completely during a game (and on the field), but really, I don't blame you. Parents are yelling at each of their kids, and there's just SO much going on. It's all but impossible for a 3 year old to focus. But, when the coach calls your name and gives you directions, you are quick to follow them. And your spirit is just so positive - always high-fiving and thumbs-upping and excited to play more. Makes us so proud.

You love to randomly say 'when I was a baby, I would say __ like this: ___' - example: 'When I was a baby, I would say Breakfast like this: BREAK!' or 'When I was a baby, I would say Sandwich like this: SAND!' And you'll erupt with laughter over this little funny of yours. You think it's just hilarious to say how you used to say a word as a baby - taking the first syllable of it. 

You weighed in at 36 pounds at the dr office the other day. You are around 40 inches tall. At this pace, you will outweigh your father by 20 pounds by around the age of 10. And tower over him by the age of 8. I hope you are kind and take him for piggy-back rides when he asks nicely.

You wear mostly 3T. Some shirts are 4T and 5T though - if they run small. This still amazes me, because I can vividly remember seeing 4T shirts in the store, when you were a baby, and thinking Noooooo... he'll NEVER be that big. Impossible. Oh yes, this might embarrass you, but you still wear a size 2T-3T undies (the same size when you first sported them a year ago when we potty-trained you).. tiny heiny.  Just like your father.

You are seemingly going through a growth spurt. For lunch the other day, you downed your usual 3 veggie-chicken nuggets, plus veggie sticks, a cheese stick, a plum, and a banana. Sometimes I think you're stalling getting out of your chair and cleaning up when you ask for more food (after the food I put before you gets inhaled), but no.. you're really truly hungry! To test to see if you're hungry or just stalling, I'll offer you something you might not normally ask for (a banana, usually) and most times you'll say 'meh, can I have chips instead?' And I'll always say 'banana or nothing'.. and I know you're hungry, because you always resign yourself to the banana and wolf it down. I fear for our bank account when you are a hungry growing teenager.

Your current favorite song is I Walk The Line - no, not the original by Johnny Cash. We listen to Joaquin. You also love the oldies station. When the song Penny Lane came on the other day, you instantly said 'Hey that's the Beatles!' - I am 100% sure you've never heard that song, but your ear for their music is just that spot-on. But, you went on to say the next 4 songs were The Beatles, too. ;)

You are quite particular about your routine, too. Always have been really. But lately, if I do something (almost always in the interest of time) out of the routine, you REALLY let me know you don't like this. For example: teeth brushing. You always hop up on the stool, grab the toothbrush, and turn the water on (then I get the toothpaste.. etc.).. If you are moving at a snail's pace, and I deign to grab the toothbrush or turn the water on, I cannot simply say 'oops sorry!' and give you the toothbrush. No. You put the toothbrush BACK in the holder and then get it. Or you must turn the water back off - then YOU must turn it back on. I'm becoming more wise to the fact that it actually takes LESS time if I let you go about your occasional snail's pace at things.

I won't lie, kid. These past 6 months have been WAY more difficult than I ever anticipated. You have been throwing some tantrums (mild, but frequent) and showing some fierce defiance that I never saw coming. Add a baby to the mix, and you have some long days. People (mothers) always warned me that 3 was way worse than 2. And I now believe them. But you know? I still am most definitely in the lucky camp. You have such a sweet good heart, and such a desire to please and make us proud. You are so full of life and fun and silliness, how can I wish this age away? Before long, all this energy will be replaced with an adult desire to sit in front of a tv or computer, and I'll long for your boundless energy. The same little boy, so mad over having to put his shoes on and laying flat on the floor crying over this fact might someday show passive indifference over going places with me. Embarrassment, even. I'd rather have the meltdown, thanks. I'll close my eyes and picture you giving me a Fwench Kiss, and I will very much miss these days.