Congratulations – you just completed your third trip around the sun! You are now 36 months old. (Editor’s note: you’re now 36 months AND A WEEK …. your mama is a slacker) You have brought so much joy, laughter and love into our lives. But it’s been a wild ride. Possibly three of the craziest years of my life. Not just because of you – although you’ve added your share of crazy – but because we’ve had so many other big things going on in our lives. Like building a house, dealing with major health issues, and trying to keep our marriage from derailing in the chaos.
Through all of the bumps and hiccups along the way YOU help keep us on target. Having you in our lives reminds us to look beyond ourselves and remember what’s important. The other day, after your dad said “no” to one of your many requests, you came and asked me the same question. I said no as well and you asked, “Why you say no, too? Why are you and Daddy a team?” That’s right, your dad and I are on the same team. And we’re ready to paint our faces and wave foam fingers if that’s what it takes to win.
Some days I view raising you as an extreme sport. You, my sweet, sweet boy, can be quite a handful. You are smart, strong-willed and wild. We can’t tire you out. We take you for miles-long bike rides or hikes, and you will come home even more energetic. At times, you appear to be vibrating with excess energy and personality. And then you bust out dance moves, air punches and somersaults. Yes, even in the tub.
You speak like a five-year-old. From the backseat you will ask, “Why are there so many bad drivers?” You wander upstairs and say, “I just came up to see if you need any help.” When your dad physically removes you from whatever destruction you were dispensing you howl, “Ohhhhhh, my poor little heart! My poor little heart!” When you’re done with a breathing treatment (which you run yourself) you give a big sigh and say “Phew! THAT was hard work.”
You also speak like the newly minted three-year-old that you are with your, “I toot-toot on your face! HAHAHA!” and your, “Macaroni, applesauce, poopy diaper! Haaaaa! Did you hear that? Poopy diaper! That’s FUNNY!” And then you do a little dance where you stick out your bum-bum out and shake it while pointing at it.
THAT. That’s why we don’t take you out in public as often these days.
Little Bear, you have put the smackdown on several big milestones in the last month. You’re now fully potty trained – you don’t even wear a pull-up at night! The first night we decided to let you go commando, we weren’t really thinking. You had dinner at your Oma and Opa’s house where you proceeded to drink seventeen liters of juice while I wasn’t looking. Yikes. You woke up in the middle of the night and proceeded to complete an obstacle course (in pitch dark) that would make the Warrior Dash look tame. When you finally reached the bathroom, you couldn’t reach the light. You came into our bedroom, flicked on our light and stood there starting at us with the intensity of a man who had given his all to climb a mountain, only to realize it was a false summit.
Dude. You’re a camel. We could see how desperate you were by the look in your eyes, but also by the little trail of dribbles that marked your earlier path. When we finally got you on the toilet you peed for approximately twenty-seven minutes. Bravo, my man. BRAVO. You have gone commando every night since without any accidents.
You gave up your binky! You were given your first binky when you were less than a day old and putting in your time in the NICU. We spent the next two years trying to get you to go without it for two minutes so we could take a picture of you without that thing stuffed in your face. Eventually, we were able to get you to only use it while sleeping…and then we started cutting them. You alternated between thinking this was a cool “big boy” thing, and thinking we were trying to snuff out your will to live. For months we talked about how three-year-olds don’t use binkies. Apparently that worked because you gave them up for good a few days before your birthday. Did I mention that three-year-olds also clean toilets? No? Well, they do.
You quit taking naps. Also known as Your Worst Idea Ever. You’ll take a nap for anyone except me. Do you have a death wish, SON? I have explained to you many times over that I am an unlikely mom and need a little of my own time when I can work, use my brain, and engage in the world. Do. Not. Take. This. From. Me. I think we’ve come to an agreement about you taking a little afternoon quiet time in your room…sometimes you accidentally fall asleep. And I strut around the house beating my chest and shouting “THAT. JUST. HAPPENED!” Except I don’t shout because I don’t want to wake you. I just mouth the words with exaggerated emphasis.
You started a new preschool. We camped at the property. You had a weekend with Papa and Nanny. You went to Hood Canal with the whole herd of Steere (minus your mama and daddy because we were visiting the happiest place on earth – Whistler Bike Park). You spent a fun-filled day down at Crescent Bar. You caught another fish and collected more cars. You were celebrated by both sides of your family on your birthday – you are so loved!
It’s been an adventure, Little Boy – the past month, the past year, the whole ride. And I would not trade in one single moment. Yes, I complain about your stubbornness and poke fun at your temper, but I would much rather have a spirited child than a passive child. I love you when you’re furious and manipulative, and when you’re sweet and hilarious. I love every bit of you from your fuzzy white-blond hair down to your adorably filthy toes. I love you ALWAYS. And that will never change.
I’m so blessed and honored to be your mama, Little Bear. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings – what you’ll learn and what you’ll teach us. I think about your future and can’t help but smile. Thank you for bringing all of your joy, energy and upheaval into our lives. And for putting up with our cuddles and kisses when you really just want to PLAY.