Dear Nick –
Its that time again – time for me to collate the mental files for the last year and chronicle this, your third year (technically, it was your second – but that whole 21 century thing, while logical, just never sounded right given its not 2100).
You’ve officially crossed the line from toddler to preschooler/little boy.
Yesterday, you were decked out in your shorts (with new longer skinny little legs), sunglasses (Crayola, of course), red Converse all-stars, and your new airplane watch. (Nothing transforms a little kid into a bigger kid than a watch). While it is extremely difficult in these sorts of instances to not grab you up and give you about a million kisses on your not-so-chubby neck, all the while telling you how painfully cute and grown up you are, I restrained myself with no small effort Instead, I told you that I loved you, and that I was so proud of what a big boy you have become. You told me you loved me back (I figure I have another year or so until I get the eye roll as it relates to Mommy being sappy) and returned to your “Hey, Pancakes!” book. Did I mention you were sitting on your potty at the time? Sigh.
Your latest thing is to ask me how to spell everything: while I love this from a developmental/learning point of view, it always seems to be at its height before I’ve had coffee. Spelling “refrigerator” is WAY more difficult from this perspective. (Also challenging: garbage disposal, marsupial, and chalkboard, for some dumb reason. It has, however, made me spelling bee-ready. Amorphous? Bring it on.)
Your sense of humor has also seemed to come into its own – you’ve become quite the teller of jokes (except you usually crack up before getting to the punch line). But as I’ve said before, neither I or your Dad have any illusions regarding the sophistication of our own humor – if it falls or flatulates (is that a word?), its funny. And nothing makes your Dad giggle like a schoolgirl than the scene in Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery, of MiniMe beating the cr*p out of Austin. Like I said, you don’t have much to work with.
But back to your favorite jokes, such as the following:
“What is a ghost’s favorite dessert? BOOO-berry pie”!
“How does the ocean say hello? It gives a WAVE!”
At which point you collapse into a riff of what can best be described as Cleatus-inspired laughter. Or Roscoe P. Coltrane, depending on your generation.
Not content to deliver your lines without your own creative twist, however, the original joke is usually then re-delivered with noun in the punchline replaced with “poop”. Or “poopy-head”. Or “tooty-head”. I know not what is this thing that attracts and amuses young boys (and let’s face it – all boys/men) to anything rear end-related. Its like a hard-wired Y-linked funny button. If you don’t believe me, walk into a room full of people, and say “FART!” at the top of your lungs. Then check to see who’s smiling. It’s not the women.
I do admit at being enormously and completely proud of all that you can DO now, even though you tell me all the time, “Don’t be proud of me!”. (But you dressed yourself! I can’t help grinning like an idiot!) I also know that you’re both sensitive (to the point of mind-reading, see previous sentence) AND stubborn – which are two characteristics I have mixed feelings about having passed on to you. Though the stubbornness can pay off in the form of terrier-like tenacity, and the sensitivity is already making you into a kind and generous little boy. You’re pretty giving with your affections, and are even showing Yogi (your nemesis!) a little love now every so often. You bring BooBoo his ball when you think “he looks sad”. It also, however, confuses the heck out of you when another kid yells at you, or is mean to you. And your little quivering chin breaks my heart, because I know there’s more to come. And that it will be HARD. And that there’s not a thing I can do to help, other than hug you when you need it.
The stubbornness is evidenced by the whole resistance to the potty thing, but I keep telling myself that you will be going on the potty by the time you’re twelve. I hope. All I know is that you’re already in “Goodnights” (the diapers for big kids who wet the bed sometimes) full time, because at 46 lbs and 48 inches tall, you’re a wee bit big for the Pull-ups/diapers anymore (they only go up to 5T). Pretty soon we’ll be using Depends.
You’ve become quite social lately, especially with the ladies. And I do mean ladies. The other day you asked our waitress if she liked your sneakers. And at the grocery store yesterday, you stuck your face nearly between the scanner and the cashier trying to catch her eye with a smile. Your subtle moves crack me up, mostly because you’re willing to share just about any and all information (“I’m three! I have four engines! I need a diaper change! I like boobies!”) except your name. At that point, you become “shy”. Somehow, shyness didn’t prevent you from entertaining the entire produce section at Wegmans with a spontaneous rendition of the I Love Boobies song (a Nick original, apparently). While I’m working on teaching you the meaning of the word appropriate, this lesson is not helped by the fact that I can’t really keep a straight face when trying to lecture you about time and place.
Your favorite things at the moment (and have been for some time) are your books. Any books. All books. Library books, kid’s books, even Dog Training for Dummies. (The other day, you had pulled out Setting up an LLC, and were apparently riveted). Your current favorite books, in order of repetition, are Hey, Pancakes!, Harry the Dirty Dog, and Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar. That’s pretty much how you like to conduct your days – eat, get dirty, eat some more – preferably something sweet. Repeat.
One of my favorite things at the moment is our talks right before bed, after we’ve read at least three books, and you’re in your robot jammies. You’ve already run around and “gotten the junk out”, and are sitting, sometimes quietly, in my lap. Our nightly discussion of late has been what to dream about; last night, it was that you were going to build a rocket ship out of your crib and that giant box that your beanbag came in, you were going to Pluto, and you would make room for me and Daddy, and Tori (and even Yogi and BooBoo, but we would need to make spacesuits for them first). We discussed on how it was a really long trip, so you decided we needed plenty of snacks; a whole box of granola bars, M&M’s, and lots of juice boxes. The ones with the funny faces that they have at the grocery store (that I never let you get).
We’ll be getting you a big boy bed soon (another baby-hood relic you don’t seem too keen to let go) – that, with the giving up of the Paci (thank YOU, Paci Fairy!), sitting on the potty, the fact that you could now have a booster instead of a carseat, that REALLY you don’t need a booster in a restaurant – its all so much so fast. You are transforming so quickly into a little man that I can’t seem to easily let go of the baby that you were. But you remind me every day about how what a unique, brilliant, funny and kind little boy you are (and are growing into). And while I’m more and more nervous as you engage the world outside ours (and I’m less able to control what you see, what you hear, or what you experience), I know your good heart and sharp mind will serve you pretty well.
I love you, big boy. Happy Three.
P.S. I’m really sorry about the potty picture. If this is uncovered during a future gubernatorial campaign, you have my permission to declare me insane and tuck me away in some beachside villa where I can subject you to no further public embarrassment. But if anyone asks, you’ll always be my cutie-patootie.