Saturday, March 27, 2010

Three Years

Happy birthday, lief jongentje!

Has it really been three years since those disorienting, painful, exhausting and deliriously happy days at the UW hospital? Has it *only* been three years? Time flies and yet seems to only creep along at the same time...

I remember the midwife reassuring me when the doctors were helping you right after you were born. I remember holding you for the first time. Feeding you. Your first smile. Your first tooth. The first time you sat up... crawled... and your first steps. I remember watching you as you discovered your hands, your feet and the world around you. Developing your first friendships... speaking your first words and going off to school for the first time.

I also so vividly remember the sleepless nights that I think I'm still trying to recover from! The frustration I felt when you'd cry and I had no idea what it was that you wanted. The feeling of isolation that comes with being home with an infant.

You develop and change so much, from day to day, week to week and month to month. Except for your smile, you are nothing like that little baby that I'd have to rock to sleep anymore. You can tell me what you want now... you have an opinion that you can voice, and you do it well. You walk and talk and run and jump and argue and sing and you come up with silly games and scenarios.

You are testing your limits. Recently, you have been experimenting with what will happen when you don't listen, and when you do or say the exact opposite of what someone else says or does. As it turns out, it's not too much fun and I'm hoping you'll be catching on to that fact quickly!

You have started preschool this year. You were so eager to be part of a little group and you are doing extremely well, even though you're the youngest one in your class. I can't believe how much you know already and I love seeing your new interests. You love categorizing and identifying. Dinosaur names, different cars, letters... You knew all the letters of the alphabet when you were 18 months. Now you write your name... You love to point out different countries on the map. You want to learn the names of all the different animals. You can sit through and listen to an entire musical on cd, asking me about the characters and the story.

You have my tendency for personification; I used to give names to everything - from toys to breakfast foods, but you might be taking it to whole new level... You have these little toy rockets that come in colors similar to the characters of "Dinosaur Train", a T.V. show you watch, and now you'll yell out "Mama, watch this Buddy fly!" when you play with them and make them talk and go on adventures. You also just named two kazoos and have conversations with them...

I love the empathy you show for everything - from toys to animals and people. The other day, your friend had left her stuffed animal at our house. When you realized that she'd have to sleep without it, you burst into tears and insisted that we'd go bring it back (no doubt remembering the time you had left your beloved tiger, Coco, at another friends' house).

We do have our ups and downs, you and I, little boy. I try my best to be patient, be consistent and set a good example. But sometimes it just is easier to give in, not explain something for the umpteeth time or worse,.. yell or lose my patience. Your mama is not perfect, liefste... so I guess you might as well get used to it. I only hope that the moments I am not proud of will serve to show you that everyone makes mistakes. And that those mistakes don't mean that I love you any less.

The other day, I was asking you what you wanted to eat. I asked if you wanted a peanut butter sandwich, then realized we were out of peanut butter, so I asked if you'd liked bread with melted cheese before realizing we had no more cheese, either. As a joke, I remarked "Well, it looks like there is NOTHING left to eat for this boy!". You burst into tears... I felt horrible, and assured you that there will always be food for you to eat... but I also was highly amused. You'll find that out one day... parenting is a paradox.

I have finally addressed my need to be working in my field and have gotten back into theatre in this past year. I am gone a lot at night after dinner and for chunks of the weekend, but you don't seem to mind. You get to hang out and have fun with your dad, who usually is excited to spend some time with you after a long day at work. And I love what I do - and I hope that shows. I love sharing my love for theatre with you... when you got so into the story of Honk!, one of the shows I worked on I just about burst with excitement...

I love how you seem to enjoy everyone's company. I introduce you to old and new friends of mine and you immediately call your them your friends as well and ask about their whereabouts. You instantly charm people - even ones that have always felt uncomfortable around little kids.

I love your enthusiasm for things. I love your sweet and gentle nature. I love that you crawl into bed each morning to cuddle before starting your day. I love the way you share. I love the way you think about things...

But mostly... I just love YOU. Out of all the things I am... stage manager, friend, nanny, script writer, daughter, wife, sister, aunt -- I love being your mama the best of all. Good days and bad. Frustrated or confident. Exhausted or not. Like food, there will always be love for you, little boy. And I'll make sure not to joke about that.


Christine said...

Beautiful. I hope you have this saved outside the internet too, just in case.

Thanks for the fun birthday party today!

Sarah B said...

I've enjoyed watching you grow up too, Joris! I remember when the three of you were all little blobs, on the exact same path towards basic development those first few months. Now you are each complete, individual, unique and utterly amazing people (I know, duh...but moms get to say corny, obvious stuff sometimes, right?).

Happy Birthday. Thanks for sharing your celebration with us. We had a great time.