Today, you officially turned three years old. You haven't been my baby for awhile yet, but now, even toddlerhood is becoming a memory. Today, you officially enter the 'preschooler' age range. As of today, I can no longer deny that you are growing up far more quickly than I ever could have imagined. You are a full-fledged kid, where once you were a cuddly, squishy baby.
You have come so far already, and I am proud of what you are becoming. You are fascinated by your world, and especially the letters, numbers, words, and stories that make it up. You have known your letters for ages, but now, you know their signs, their sounds, and you are beginning to understand that letters become words. You randomly spout things like, "S-T-O-P, Stop!" and "T-O-Y, Toy!" You count to ten constantly, but you can count as high as fifteen without help, and easily to thirty with a minimal amount of prompting. You count down from ten to one, before your rocket ships "Blast off!" You're trying to figure out writing, but it eludes you, as it takes a patience and quiet that you have not yet learned. I try to encourage you in all of this, all while thinking, Please, my baby, don't grow up too fast.
Life with you is like running a marathon - there are days that I can hardly keep up, and I'm fighting just to keep going, but when the day is done, I'm proud of how far we've come together. You are so active, so physical in every way, and this poor non-athletic, nerdy mama of yours just doesn't know how to challenge you. You run faster than most kids twice your age. You can throw and catch a tennis ball without much effort. You climb everything (but then, you've been doing that for ages). You jump. You roll. You taught yourself to somersault. You wrestle with your stuffed toys, and with your daddy, and you don't understand why mommy can't wrestle, too.
Someday, you will understand that I have to protect your little brother or sister, but for now, you are blissfully unaware of how much your life is about to change. All you know is that Mommy is so tired, and kinda grumpy. Being the sensitive child you are, you understand, in your way, and ask for cuddles and books and quiet things on my worst days. And in this, I have found a side of you I never knew. I never knew you could be the nurturer that you are. When you ask, "Mommy, you okay?" or cuddle in just to say, "I love you," my heart swells to bursting with the pride and love for all that you are.
You, my child, are a walking (running) contradiction, at times. Wild, yet gentle. Demanding, yet generous. My tornado, and my still water. You are, in no uncertain terms, independent, yet you adore the company and interaction of others. You are never timid, rarely reserved, and yet, you speak so little, except to us lucky few.
Part of that, however, is your speech, which has worried us a bit for a couple of months. We worked on making you 'use your words' and slow down, thinking perhaps, that was all you needed. As your third birthday approached, however, it became increasingly clear that you needed more than that. Soon, now, you will have a speech screening and begin speech therapy classes. We hope that, given a little help, you will be the chatterbox we can see you want to be.
My dear, loving, rambunctious boy, I love you with all of my heart. I look forward to all of our adventures to come, and I am so thankful for each adventure we've faced so far. You are a shining light to all who know you, and I am lucky and blessed to call you mine, at least for a little while longer.
Ever your champion, and your biggest fan,