Liam at 3

How can this boy be three?

Things change so quickly now. His vocabulary is expanding exponentially and he plays with new words like Play-Doh, squishing them and mashing them together to see what they can do. He knows so many words, and he uses them so very much. He knows his alphabet, his numbers, and a decent number of his internal organs. He knows that we live on Earth, robots live on Mars, and nobody lives on Neptune, which makes Neptune terribly sad and lonely.

He’s learned to run and hop, aided by the orthotics that now support his ankles and help align his legs. He’ll bounce on his trampoline and race across the yard screeching “I runnin’! I runnin’, Mommy!” He’s still cautious on unsteady surfaces, and climbing isn’t his strong suit, but his confidence is slowly improving for physical challenges. He’s motivated to catch up with his friends, and it’s helping to push him a little.

He’s become an absolute pro at stalling, and all of our family activities now involve refocusing him on a task approximately seven million times. Just trying to get him out the door, after he’s dressed, sunscreened, backpacked, and fully ready to go, is a five minute process. Just the actual act of opening the door and stepping out takes up to five minutes. He needs to say goodbye to Daddy again. And bring a book to school today. Mommy, you’re wearing sandals. Why you wearing sandals? Because it summertime now? Why it hot outside? Meanwhile I resist the urge to use the sandal to nudge him outside. Most days. Bedtime is worse. Don’t call us between 7 and 930pm because we’ll likely answer the phone with an exhausted “It’s bedtime, go lie down” out of sheer repetitive habit. But at least we’ve sucessfully transitioned him to a big boy bed… from which he can easily escape… twenty times a night…

When I pick him up from daycare, we need to find all of the daycare administrators for goodbye hugs, and he is so very sad if any can’t be found. Once outside, we have to walk to the back gate leading to the playground, so that he can poke it, then point to the keyhole and declare that only Miss Mandy’s keys work in there and Mommy’s keys are for home and Mommy’s H key is for Mommy’s car. Every day.

He loves SuperWhy and Little Einsteins, and is starting to allow us to put on Wild Kratts and Daniel Tiger for a change. He still doesn’t have the patience to watch much TV, which is both a blessing and a curse. He is still bonkers about Elmo, but is now also in love with “Woman Woman,” whose logo is recognized and pointed out everywhere.

Once he’s been given an explanation for something, that is the explanation and he will entertain no other. If we’re not going for a walk because it’s raining, then every time we say no to a walk, he checks for rain; if he sees none, he smugly declares it sunny. This situation is particularly difficult, because he’s entered his “why” phase and if we give him a silly answer, it’s the one that will stick, and dislodging it from his brain afterwards is a huge challenge.

He doesn’t like “veggables,” and blueberries are now suddenly off the good-food list because “they have so many holes.” We’re pretty limited in what we’re allowed to put on his plate. He’ll sing the Daniel Tiger songs about trying new foods, but refuse to follow along with the message they convey. We’re in a typical 3-year-old rotation of chicken nuggets, meatballs, fruit, carbs, and dairy. Eager to do more things by himself, he’s started asking to help me in the kitchen – stirring cream into my coffee, cracking eggs, spreading cream cheese on bagels. He flings a tea towel over his shoulder when he does these things, because that’s what I do so it must be part of the process (it totally is).

 

Every morning that the garbage truck appears on our street is the best morning ever, as he bounces up and down with delight and begs to be picked up to see out the window. If it comes early, he will hear it and he will wake up and he will come and yell GARBUDGE TWUCK MOMMY six inches from my pillow to shock me out of bed and into immediate action.

“Flamily” means the world to him, and he adores doing anything with both Mom and Dad because we’re “like a flamily.” He’s over the moon every time we visit his cousins, and our regular visits to Grandma and Pop’s house are a source of delight for him. He misses them if we miss a couple of weeks, and asks if it’s a Grammapop day. We talk to Boobah on the laptop a few times a week, even if he mostly stands there demanding that she read him books through Google hangouts (which she always does, without a fight, every single time). We visited Montreal for the first time in 2 years and he got to see almost his entire extended family, and the joy in those meetings was equal on all sides. Many books were read and much Doh was Played.

He’s loving and generous and conscientious, always offering immediate kisses if I say something hurts, and suggesting I lie down – while he brings me a pillow and blanket – if I say I’m tired. As much as the defiance and whining has ramped up in the past couple of months, the kindhearted little dude is still in there and we’re doing our best to encourage him to stick around through the forest of the threes and long into his kidhood.

Happy birthday, sweet boy. You make our flamily so very happy. And tired. But mostly happy.

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