Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Three Years Old

Um, never mind that Will turns three and a half next month. Gradually getting caught up on my kiddo posts. Luckily I made pretty good notes... this one is from August 2013.

William George (August 2013)

Dear Will,

Three. Years. Old.

I can hardly believe it. I know it sounds incredibly corny and cliche, but it literally feels like we just brought you home from the hospital. That we just marveled at your first words. That we just cheered you on as you took your first tentative steps. 

When you're a new parent, everyone tells you that the time will fly by. It's hard to hear when you're in the newborn haze, but you know what?

They're right.

At three years old, there isn't an ounce of "baby-ness" left in you. You've outgrown the clumsy toddler stage, running your lean little body and long, strong legs triumphantly into little boyhood. You are an incredibly bright, sweet and sensitive little guy. You regularly impress me with your independence and confidence. You introduce yourself to people you don't know. You use your manners. You ask other children to play at the park. You ask interesting questions and make thoughtful observations about the world around you.

Just when I think my heart may burst from you being too grown up, you crawl into my lap or reach for my hand or snuggle up next to me. You check-in, even briefly, for reassurance, for comfort, for the steady reminder that I am never too far away. That I am here, cheering you on as you make a new friend, work out a problem, or head out into the world. Throughout your life, I will challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and try new things, but I will always be your safe haven.

You spent three mornings a week at the YMCA this summer, taking enrichment classes in music, art, cooking and gardening. You are wholly disinterested in any artistic pursuits, but will slap some paint on a piece of paper to appease your teacher. You love tactile projects, and will help with any task-oriented activity. For this reason, you loved your cooking and gardening classes. When I picked you up, you'd chatter non-stop about the ingredients that you used, the snack you ate, the seeds that you planted, the vegetables you harvested, the watering can you used, and your favorite color flowers. You are methodical, process-oriented, and meticulous. You definitely have your father's brain, my little engineer-in-training.

You start Montessori preschool in a few weeks, and I'm so excited to see you learn and grow. Your own Montessori-educated Mama knows that the value of a Montessori education is in exploration and self-discovery. In developing independence and autonomy. In learning how to love learning. Knowing you, I know you're going to thrive in that environment.

At three years old, you know all of your letters (A-Z), numbers (1-20), and most of the consonant sounds. You can spell your name and recognize it when written. The other day, you found your name in our street sign ("Will"ow Hill Drive). You like to count and categorize objects, assemble puzzles and build things. You memorize (and repeat) nearly everything you hear. Your ability to draw connections and demonstrate comprehension is astounding to me. You don't forget a darn thing. You use words and phrases as an adult would in conversation. My favorites lately is "Hmmm.... indeed" or "Ohhhhhh, I guess so" when you agree with something someone else says.

Your favorite toys right now are trains, trucks, helicopters and construction vehicles. You narrate story lines for each truck as you play, modeling cooperation, team work and problem-solving. When you're not playing with vehicles, you love pretending to be animals. Bunny, horse, frog, dog, bee, and lion are among your favorites. While pretending, you're always a baby and always a female. If I call you Will, you'll reply, "Actually, Mama. I'm a baby [fill in the animal]." And you'll insist that I call you "Baby [Animal]" and refer to you as "she" for the rest of the day.

We had a very active summer. You love to be outdoors, so we spent most of our time at the park or in the backyard. You enjoy playing with trucks in your sand box, kicking the soccer ball, throwing the frisbee, splashing in the Slip 'n' Slide, and launching the stomp rocket.

You potty trained very easily this summer. Stickers and cotton underwear proved to be great motivators, and you got the hang of it after just a few days (and a couple accidents). Although we taught you to pee sitting down, you've recently decided that you like standing up better. "I want to do it like Daddy," you told me. Good thing you're tall enough to reach!

At bedtime, you insist on having all your favorite stuffed animals in bed with you. It's quite a comic arrangement, but somehow we manage to tuck you in surrounded by Barkley, Mama Teddy Bear, Mama Zebra, Piggy Bo Biggy, Hungry Caterpillar, Bunny Buddy, Tortuga, and more. You call it your "nest" and insist that you need each one to be "nice and cozy warm".

Of all you've achieved this past year, I'm most proud of what a sweet, kind and loving big brother you are. While I was pregnant, I feared animosity and jealousy, but you have shown nothing but love and patience for your sister. You understand that Charlotte's needs are often more immediate, even if it means you need to wait for bit. You are gentle and kind. You love when she smiles at you, and you ask to hold her often (though it only lasts for about 30 seconds).

Occasionally you'll ask me to give Charlotte to Daddy so you and I can have some "Mama time". We typically read books and snuggle. I love these quiet moments, my arms wrapped around you, holding a book and sharing a story together. Your favorites right now are "Digger Man," "Owl Babies," "The Friendly Lion," "Otis and the Tornado," and anything from the "Thomas and Friends Complete Collection."

I love the person you are. I love your gentle soul, your goofy humor, your kind heart, and your free spirit. You brighten my soul and light up my life. I love you so much, sweet boy.