Thursday, February 14, 2013


Hey, G, my Big Bad Wolf Robot Dinosaur Dragon Scary Monster Big Boy,

So you turned three yesterday. Yes, I know! I did! you would say. You're internalizing what people say to you about yourself now. I'm very big! I'm very strong. I'm a nice boy. I'm your friend.

And like so much else about your experiences (sorry, little dude), you're my third kid to be a three-year-old. I know about this internalizing observation and externalizing language. I got this one. But you're the first one to tell me that you're my friend, and goodness if it isn't just the most endearing phrase. You're giving of yourself, even though most friends don't tackle their friends quite as much as you like.

You, son, are very physical, and very loud. (VERY VERY VERYVERYVERY LOUD.) But you like your surroundings to be pretty quiet. You didn't want to go out to a restaurant. You didn't want a party. You just wanted to be home.  I want to go home with my girls! That's what you always say. Your sisters, your girls. What a trio you are.

They are your second and third mama. Sometimes I don't read to you at night because you invite one of your girls to read in your bed instead. I'm displaced -- and although I miss reading with you, on those nights my heart swells dangerously full listening to your voices from the hallway. It's what we always wanted, your daddy and I: kids who would love each other so completely that they'd become a self-sufficient, closed society. I don't mind being displaced if it means you're picking your girls. Next maybe you three can team up to wash the dishes?

You talk so much. You're incredibly silly. You hold my shoulders for balance and wiggle your head all around, tongue in and out, voice warbling, aaaaAAAAuuuuUUUUaaaaAAAAuuI'MSILLY! and you jump into my lap. You lift your feet every time and tuck them under, just like cannonballing into a pool, trusting my lap, my love, my arms. And if my reflexes aren't quick enough - and they often are not - your knees will crash against the bones of my lower legs and I will gasp in pain and you will laugh, each time, your face buried in my neck and so hearing my sound without seeing my face, you think it's a gasp of excitement. It might as well be. I hope you always jump so wholeheartedly, though I wouldn't mind if you learn to look where you leap.

Your worst spell this year was the salmonella mess, and although you've never quite recovered your remarkable round curves, I think you took the opportunity of that weight loss to jump in inches. It was right around then that we began to see how BIG you are, especially compared with many of your peers. You're a sturdy little man, that's for sure.

And your best spell this year? That would be all of the rest of it. You exploded your language. You sing nonstop. You love cutting paper with scissors for no purpose other than cutting, and shirts with pockets because pockets in pants aren't as cool as pockets in shirts. And if you can get your hands on a nickel or dime to keep in your pockets? I GOT MONIES! Nothing, I think, makes you happier than some monies. Your sisters each gave you a regular birthday present but you almost didn't care about those when they also each gave you a penny. I GOTS SOME MONIES AND I KEEP THEM IN MY POCKET, you roared with delight, self-satisfyingly patting your chest to hear your shirt jingle. My loud little tycoon.

Your favorite color is purple. Your favorite food to make but not necessarily eat is a cheese omelette. Your real favorite food is an everything bagel with cream cheese, and when your girls start scraping your sesame seeds and onion bits, what they call the bagel's yummies, you roar at them every time: GIRLS! HEY GIRLS DON'T TAKE MY NUMMIES! So loud has never been so cute, little boy. I'm pretty sure that's your tagline.

And when you're tired, my sweet boy, your signature move: you still hold my earlobe. You'll hold an ear between your fingers and if you fall asleep that way? Oh, your encompassing love. You hold one ear with one hand, throw an arm across my neck, and hold my other ear, too. Your love is so often a full-body experience.

And now you're three. You're moving up into the preschool room, the land of big kids, the room where you can spend your days with L. I cancelled our diaper subscription after seven continuous years. It's pull-ups and robot underpants for you, mister. Robot underpants on a Robot Boy? Cute, indeed. Especially when it's robot underpants and a shirt with a pocket. Very Risky Business, you know? And that could be your other tagline.

And that's your story, mister G. You're vibrant. You're tender. You're reckless and obstinate and in love with your family. You're our dreams come true.

Happy birthday, mister man. I love you to forever.


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