You turned three over a month ago, during what feels like the busiest time of our lives. I want to take a moment to remember what also feels like the best time of our lives with you.
You couldn’t wait to turn three. You’d slowly but eventually hold up three fingers and exclaim, “I’m going to be a preschooler. I get to go on the big kid side!” For your birthday party, we celebrated with friends from school at the climbing gym. Nana and Grandpa came up from Santa Cruz to join in on the rompus. You probably would have been happy with just balloons and cupcakes (the first one, of course), but it was fun chaos. Your actual birthday falls on Veteran’s Day, and Daddy and I love that we always get to spend the whole day with you. This year we took you to a 3D dinosaur movie at the planetarium. Turns out, that can be pretty scary for even the self-proclaimed-strongest of 3-year-olds. Five minutes in, we were headed towards the exit door when, suddenly, T-Rex came on the screen and you couldn’t resist to watch. So we stayed, by the exit door, glasses off, with hands ready to cover our ears and eyes. Even after that, you still want to be a meat-eating allosaurus.
You definitely have a sense of adventure. Storms, thunder, thumping sounds, bears, dragons, monsters — anything unusual will capture your attention. You have quite an imagination. You are the director in your pretend play and we try our best to reenact your visions, even if it does involve being eaten up.
But possibly more exciting than dinosaurs and Snorts are DRUMS. You LOVE drumming. You turn anything into a drum and drumsticks. When you hear music, you listen carefully to make out the drum beat, and tap your feet and clap. And you know, you actually have rhythm. So of course, for your birthday present, we got you real drum set. In RED, your FAVORITE color. Your drum concerts are pretty awesome. Sure, it’s loud but infinitely better than pots and pans. And worth it to see you in your element.
You are curious. We adore this Why Phase (most of the time). “What’s inside trees?” “Why do volcanoes have fire?” “Why can emergency vehicles drive fast?” “If milk doesn’t come out of your nipples, are your breasts still large?”
You are always paying attention–not to be confused with listening to–so we can’t get much by you. There is no shortage of discussion and opinions, which sometimes can be trying on everyone. But we’re working on it since we know the world of a toddler can often be confusing, inconsistent, admittedly hypocritical, and we see that you really do imitate the grown-ups.
Some of your arguments: “I’ll be done when I’m done.” “No Daddy, my message was clear.” “But that’s not enough sugar!”
You constantly test the system, looking for the loop holes: “Is today a special day?” “I was frustrated but I guess I slept all night.” “I had good behavior ate the table while I ate my treat, so I want another treat.” “Daddy, would you mind…?” “I want another story and no songs.” Or “I want to start a long book and finish it tomorrow.”
If that doesn’t work, you have no shame: “I am thankful for the treats Ba made. I am thankful for Ba’s cooking. So, can I have another treat?”
Sometimes, grown ups just win, which can frustrate you completely. “You’re a parent and I’m a kid, so that’s confusing.”
You dislike cleaning up, not winning, behing overwhelmed, and being scolded. You want to serve and choose your own food. In theory, you want your independence, and I know to only help you if you ask. We shamefully use competition to get you to do things–“I’m gonna be the first…” works so well!–but once in awhile, we have to win. You inexplicably can have meltdowns in the car when we go a different route than usual. You are sensitive like your mom, and don’t like upsetting people.
So you try to make us laugh. “Mommy, I’m going to tell you a joke to make you feel better. Why did the chicken cross the road?” You know, I never got that joke. You are clever, and enjoy rhymes and a good pun. And like all kids, you often say things that make us shake our head and laugh. “Daddy, are you a yawn? You yawn a lot so I’m going to call you a yawn.” “Mommy, you’re short so you still need to grow.”
You like counting objects and have figured out plus-one-arithmetic. “I want three treats because I’m three.” “We already read one story and I want another. That makes two stories!” Past five, things are often counted multiple times and for some reason, you skip the number 15. Time is still a fuzzy concept. You understand things happened in the past, but it could be yesterday, last year, a long time ago; or alternatively, “five minutes is a LONG time.”
You couldn’t wait for your baby brother to come. He would have shared a birthday week with you, but we were all surprised with his early arrival. It certainly was not the scenario we had prepped you for (nor ourselves for that matter), but you handled it quite well. You patiently explained to your friends at school, “My baby brother is a preemie. He lives at the hospital.”
You have shown nothing but sweetness towards your baby brother. You constantly want to hold him, hug him, give him a “cuc dau” (a *gentle* head bonk). In the morning, you tell him, “Emmett, I missed you so much.” When he cries during dinner or in the car (which he regularly does), you offer, “Oh no! He needs me. I’m available, ” and burst into song. I hate to say it, but hopefully your younger brother can hold a tune better than you or me.
Milo, you are THREE. A preschooler, a big brother, a drummer, a comedian, our sweet boy. We try so hard to fulfill your insatiable curiosity for everything around you. Meanwhile, you teach me to observe, to really listen, look, and appreciate life at a different pace.
House jamming session