The past year has simultaneously blown right by me and also been the longest twelve months of my life. My perspective varied greatly based on how bad my hemorrhoids were and how many days it was until my due date. Mostly this year has been more about brewing and birthing your sister and less about you and I'm both sorry and not sorry about that. I'm sorry that my attention has been elsewhere and my patience has been thin, but I'm not sorry that you got a sister out of the deal. When I think of how much I loved growing up with my siblings, it fills me with sunshine and I can't wait for you to feel that way too. I keep saying it, but I promise you're going to love your sister more and more the older she gets.
The day you were born was the absolute best day of my life. I can say that even after giving birth to your sister because becoming a mother is something I only got to do once. I was shocked at how much and how fiercely I loved you from the very instant I first held your slimy little body to my chest.
The first two years of your life were perfect. I never thought I would, but I LOVE babies. And you were such an adorable little munchkin - so sweet and affectionate and smart. And I realize now in hindsight that I was an excellent mother those first two years. I'm GOOD at babies - the logistics of lugging plastic thingamagigies everywhere, the nursing, the keeping you safe and keeping you happy and munching on your adorable baby feet.
The third year of your life? I have not felt like such a great mother. This year required ACTUAL parenting, something at which I am not as gifted as I thought. Age two was hard and since I know you'll appreciate reading this when you have children of your own, I'm going to be honest with you: you were a bit of a pain in the ass this year. Like, for example, how right now you're in your bedroom because you woke up from your nap hungry and wanted a pop tart. It's pretty close to dinner, so I broke one in half and handed it to you. When you saw that "it didn't have enough frosting," you screamed like a banshee, hit me and I sent you to your bedroom, where you continue to scream and throw mega blocks at the gate.
Don't get me wrong, your defiance isn't entirely your fault. Your father and I tend to bicker a lot and we really need to stop because I don't think it's been good for you. In fact, I'm pretty sure we've basically taught you to be disrespectful and disobedient because that's how we are to each other. We're working on it and if possible, I hope someday you'll read this, call me up and say "You and Dad used to fight? Wow!"
You've also made some rather amazing progress this year and your father and I could not be more proud. The first most spectacular thing you did was to basically potty train yourself at 27 months. We went to Target on January first and you REALLY, REALLY wanted this silly little fake toy vacuum that was on clearance for seven dollars. We said we'd buy it for you if tomorrow you woke up and wore big boy underpants and went pee pee in the potty all day. You agreed! And with only a little bit of help from me, you were potty trained completely within a week. I will never get tired of seeing your butt in big boy underpants.
You also learned to pedal a bike and get yourself dressed and brush your own teeth. You continue to be the most socially adept child I've ever met. Your vocabulary is huge and you know how to use it. And don't let me forget to brag about what an excellent preschooler you are. The Director of your school approached me the other day to tell me she's never seen a child adapt as well or as quickly as you have. You LOVE school; you obey your teacher; and you're already making friends. When I arrive to pick you up, you always look at me like "Oh, Mom's here already" and you hardly noticed I've been gone.
What I'm trying to say in a round about way is that you are the BEST boy. You're everything I ever wanted in a son and a million times more. You make me want to be a better mother and a better person. The hardest part about you turning three is that you're growing up. Even though I spend all day with you as my sidekick, after you're in bed each night I always wish we'd had more face-time. I remember holding you all day when you were a baby and having your face so close all the time, just like I stare at your sister now. And I miss that. You're getting older and you just don't need me as much. Which is the way it's supposed to be. I'm glad you're so independent and creative and able to entertain yourself in your own little make-believe construction project world. But watching you grow up feels exactly like childbirth - progress is great, it's the GOAL after all, but it hurts like a mofo every inch of the way.
Happy third birthday, Big Boy.