How are you almost 3? I miss that baby you were, but I wouldn't turn back the clock, for although you were truly the sweetest, squishable baby, my heart would miss the little boy you have become. I can't trap you as you are, and I wouldn't want to, because as you grow, you only become more amazing. But thanks to this blog, I capture you as you are, in this fleeting moment. I record the challenges as well as the joy, just as I take pictures of you giving me the stink eye or having a tantrum, because nostalgia is easily and dangerously rose-tinted. Life is infinitely more complicated and beautiful when we can see both sides. We are so privileged to be your parents. 3 years later, we are still thanking God and your birthfamily every day, for the gift of parenthood and you, our lovable, one of a kind Nugget.
Top 10 Challenges of Almost-3:
10. I thought you mastered the limp noodle move at 18 months, but I was so wrong. Now you have added a special body slam, followed immediately by limp noodle. I try to catch you and lower you gently so you don't get hurt, but I have to admit that my reflexes are not nearly cat-like enough to save you from yourself.
9. You like to learn things the hard way.
8. You used to accept our 5/3/1 minute count-down as Gospel truth. You'd follow me obligingly to the car, the bathtub, wherever. Now you bargain like a shrewd garage-saler. "2 more minutes, Mom!"
7. You pretend not to hear me.
6. You always ask me not to sing in the car.
5. You eat every meal, except dinner, the meal that takes most of my heart and time.
4. Speaking of eating, you keep me rushing to the kitchen to get you more milk, more water, salt and pepper, more food, a napkin for your spill, a washcloth for your face, and suddenly, I'm escorting you to your after-dinner toilet and I haven't eaten a bite. I know now why my mom took all her meals standing at the kitchen counter instead of at the table with the family.
3. You have learned to lie. "Nugget, are you pooping?" "Nnnnooooo."
2. You are perfectly capable of playing on your own now, except when the phone rings. Then suddenly, it's like you're possessed by the Demon Whose Prime Directive is to Keep Mommy from Holding an Adult Conversation.
1. We were told pretty early on in your babyhood that it is possible to discern an extroverted child from an introverted child. Extroverts get louder and punchier as they get tired, and introverts get quieter and whinier. By this criteria, we realized you were an extrovert right away, and have stuck to a pretty regimented bedtime routine to help "curb your enthusiasm". Currently, this enthusiasm is very predictable, highly entertaining, and exhausting to your parents. Right around 6:50pm, you start running laps like a mad man. You laugh maniacally and fling your body on us, on the furniture, on the dog too until she wised up and started hiding around 6:45. You resist the march to the bathroom with the body slam-limp noodle (see #10) and can only be cajoled into toothbrushing by your love of washcloths. You use the potty as a stalling tactic, and have sat for over 45 minutes just before bedtime, insisting that, "Pee pee is coming!" We remain ever grateful that once your sweet curls hit the pillow, that you are usually out like a light. But of course, you have used every fiber of your being to avoid getting there, you have nothing left to resist the sandman!
Top 10 Things I Love about Almost-3:
10. You are so capable and proud of yourself. You can dribble and catch a ball, climb into your own car seat, dress and undress, brush your teeth, scoop your own yogurt.
9. You are very low maintenance if you can be outside. You like to wave to me through the window, while I fold laundry and you scoop sand and blow bubbles. You're always happy to have parental or doggie company, but when you're outside, the world is yours to explore and discover.
8. You are learning the art of trading for toys you want or taking turns instead of the push-grab-scream combo you had going at 2.5.
7. You are developing real friendships instead of just interacting with other children as competitors for toys. I see you attempting to play games and inviting other children to join you on the merry-go-round. You have a real affinity for several friends and ask me constantly when you get to see them next.
6. As much as I try to avoid pushing you into gender-specific roles, your obsession is clearly vehicles. Airplanes! Helicopters! Cement Mixers! Fire Engines! P'lice Cars! Buses! Trains! You are teaching me so much about vehicles, and I'm learning new vocabulary every day, like sky scratches and tenders. (I have read that the male brain is wired to notice big, fast things - which could have been prey or predators in our cave-people days.)
5. If 2.5 was "I DO IT!", almost-3 is "I want to help." You readily accept that some things are beyond your capability now, like using a sharp knife or fastening your own seat belt. But you proudly open doors and carry bags for me. No matter that you let the door shut while I'm in the doorway or that your "help" with the bag makes it feel 10 pounds heavier, for you have the heart of a chivalrous knight.
4. You burst into spontaneous song loudly and often. It makes me feel like the luckiest human alive to listen into your impromptu concerts.
3. You want to know what everything is. "What's that, Mom?" is your refrain, and God help me if I don't know, because you sure don't accept that as an answer. You have a memory like a steel trap, and if I say, "It's some kind of flower," you will proudly point that variety of flower out to everyone, every time you see it. "Look! It's somekindofflower!"
2. You have always been a ham, but you've taken it to the next level. If you see a camera, anyone with a camera, you'll run up and say, "Cheese!" If I take one shot, you'll say, "Take 'nother one, Mom." We recently taught you to say a line from Napoleon Dynamite and you love to deliver it and make everyone laugh. I used to think that parents who asked their children to perform in front of others were cruel and unusual, because I would have been far too horrified to deliver jokes or dance or sing in front of an audience. But you are happiest in the spotlight, so now I'm one of those parents, giving you an opportunity for what you love most - the sound of laughter and all eyes on you.
1. You are in a very gentle phase now. You seem to understand that other people have feelings, and are quick to offer hugs and point out when friends are sad. You sometimes yell at Doggie, but gone are the smacks and fur pulls - replaced with gentle strokes and tender hugs. Yeah, you still push, but you know not to do it with your hands anymore - you use your butt or you tell me, "I wanna push that friend, Mommy". (Baby steps, baby steps.)