My baby boy is three. I don’t know how it happened, but there you have it. He’s three now.
He’s headstrong, fearless, charming and irritating. He whines more than any creature ought to, he melts my heart whenever he says “Mom, I like you”. How does the work Like affect me so much more than Love? Perhaps because telling someone you like them takes forethought, when a quick I Love You rolls off the tongue without much thought anymore. When he says I Like You (and even I Love You), I truly believe he means it.
All day he was so proud to be three. When someone asked how old he was, he remembered without hesitation, and it seems that he physically grew this week to fit his new three year old image. He was quick to say “I’m the birfday boy!” to anyone who would listen, reminding us that it was his turn to be in charge because it was his birthday and never tiring of hearing his song. While Nicholas became shy during a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday in April, Jonathon would beam every time.
For preschool, he wore a borrowed crown from Rebecca’s Filipino celebration last year, a piece reminiscent of mardi gras. Bedecked, he strutted around reveling in all the attention. The day before I’d asked him what sort of snack treat he’d like for his friends and offered suggestions of brownies, cookies or cupcakes. He chose ice cream, so ice cream it was. At the end of his class, we passed out cups of chocolate and double dutch ice cream to twelve 2-4 year olds. (I made the mistake of not checking with parents beforehand though, and one little girl told me she was allergic to chocolate. Oops! Luckily Teacher Nympha had a package of vanilla ice cream on reserve in the freezer).
One mother asked me when Jonathon’s party was. I told her that today was his birthday. She asked if the party was on Saturday and I said that, no, we were having a family party tonight. I was dense. It dawned on both of us then what the other was saying. She was asking me if we were having a big party for him and I was saying we weren’t. It hadn’t occurred to me to have anything else for him. Another party would simply have had the same kids and after thinking about it I realized that four hours of playing at preschool followed by ice cream with his friends was just about perfect for a three year old.
We swung by the school to get the girls and get Katherine to the swimming pool to try out for the Sailfish swim team. She did amazing in her new Harry Potter swimsuit, I didn’t know the kid could even backstroke. The tryouts were not for elimination, but for placement, so everyone who has an interest can practice and learn how to be a better swimmer. They can also participate in meets, which Katherine is looking forward to. Her new friends Erin and Gillian also tried out so the three of them will be in the pool together. Rebecca watched from the sidelines with a look that said she wished she could swim better but that she knew she couldn’t be with them. It was sad for me to see. I know that it’s more a confidence issue with her, but swimming is hard for her and I don’t think she’s quite ready to face that beast in a competitive arena yet. Give her a couple more years.
After a quick ice cream in the Middle School canteen we went by the house to pick up the receipt for Jonathon’s cake, then I waited illegally while Jeff ran in to the Red Ribbon shop and picked up Jonathon’s Batman cake. All day he’d been telling people that he was having a Thomas the Tank Engine cake and I just couldn’t find one anywhere. When I told him, he said that was OK, at least I got the flavor right. Chocolate, just like last year. The evening was winding down with only one thing left. Presents. He opened his cards from great-grandma and grandma&grandpa (both had cash which is now safely put away) then reached for the gifts. Grandpa had sent a Nemo art pack that he will get loads of use from, along with a stuffed Nemo that he hugged fiercely. He also received a set of Nemo sheets that, once washed, will go directly on his bed. And of course, some new underwear. Bob the Builder! Mom and dad got him a wooden toy locally called the RollerCoaster. A tall structure with a little train that zigzags its way down the path. Hard to explain really, I haven’t found a similar item on-line so you’ll have to wait for photos. His sisters also gave him some gifts. Katherine had beautifully wrapped a lollipop and small puzzle for him and Rebecca had hand-made a paper gold medal. He was charming about all his gifts, pronouncing them his favorites and fawning over each one in turn. The only bad thing was we’d run out of video tape during the cake cutting so I missed his reactions to his gifts. That’s a missed memory but one I will try to hold on to.
He’s such a wonderful kid, even for all the times he stops my heart with his wild ways, interrupts incessantly and won’t stop picking his nose and spitting in the car. His smile makes me happy and in every way he is very special, even “ ‘pecial to push buttons”. He knows he’s not a big kid yet, but that he’s bigger than he was at two and that he’ll keep on growing. It’s something I can’t wait to see. Jonathon is the spice in our lives. Without him life would be simpler, mellower and a lot less fun.
Guess what baby boy, I like you too.