Dear Thing 2,
You woke up this morning… and you were three.
I have no idea how that has happened, because it seems like just yesterday when we were anticipating your arrival. It seems like just yesterday that we loaded up into our Suburban as a family of three, to drive one hundred miles down the road to Rival Town, where you were going to be born and turn us into a family of four. It seems like just yesterday that I held the hand of your birth mama and cried, while I thanked her from the depths of my heart for the gift that she handed to us, through tears of her own.
And yet it wasn’t just yesterday; it was three entire years ago already.
There’s not a day that goes by, Little Man, when we don’t realize how blessed we are to have you. We didn’t go looking for you. Instead, Jesus came looking for US. He offered a gift to an undeserving little family, and we greedily accepted you. We wanted the gift of YOU so badly, our hearts ached. It was exactly like we wanted the gift of your big brother. There are so many days that I simply stop, overwhelmed to my core, because we somehow managed to get the two neatest boys ever born.
There aren’t enough words in the English language to cover your energy. You have been like an entire string of firecrackers (or FIRECRACKS, as you call them) in our lives. You burst with energy all the time. We belly laugh pretty much every day over something you’ve done or something you’ve said. You set our family on fire, in a good way, because you’ve shown us that life is to be lived LOUDLY and ABUNDANTLY.
And boy… do you ever LIVE LIFE FULLY! You climb everything; you jump off of everything. You make my heart skip beats and my hair turn gray every time you holler out, “Hey, Mommy! Watch this trick!” It’s because your tricks usually aren’t approved by OSHA, and you do them without the comfort of a safety net below you. You usually make the acrobats at a three-ring circus look like no big deal.
Your big brother slept through the night when he was three-and-a-half months old, and he NEVER QUIT. He was a total rock star at sleeping, from 7 pm to 6 am, every night since he was fourteen weeks old. Daddy and I thought we were fantastic parents, who should write a book entitled HOW TO GET YOUR BABY TO SLEEP. Clearly, we knew what we were doing!! We had a system. We had a routine. We kept the boy on a schedule. And no one was ever tired, because LOOK AT ALL THAT SLEEPING!
And then there was you. Daddy and I followed the exact same methods we used with your brother… and we failed. I’ve always been a morning person, but you’ve got me beat. You’re such a morning person, it’s more like a MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT person. This week, you’ve gotten up four days in a row BEFORE 5:00 IN THE MORNING. 4:30 is not a good time to wake up, but you do it, and you’re ready to go for the day.
And you don’t stay asleep at night very well, either. Daddy and I have certainly been humbled from our big attitudes on how we were the perfect parents, when it came to Sleep Training Children.
Coffee is our best friend.
And you’re so busy, I seldom get to drink my entire cup of coffee or chai tea HOT. This morning, when I went to warm up your chicken nuggets for lunch, I found my mug of chai tea… sitting in the microwave… and I realized that I had reheated that sucker forty-five minutes earlier and forgotten it there!
It’s called Sleep Deprivation, and even though your daddy and I have it right now, we wouldn’t trade you for anything.
Right now you’re totally into your tractors and their trailers. Your bright green, John Deere farm equipment is all you ever want to play with, and you’re forever wanting to haul something in your trailers. Usually, your load is cold breakfast cereal, which always ends up all over the floor.
I vacuum and sweep Fruity Pebbles and Life up off our floors on a daily basis.
You also have definite opinions about your clothes now. I think little boys always look so adorable in blue jeans and a good Ralph Lauren, button-down shirt. I dressed your brother like that all the time when he was little, and that’s how I started dressing you, too. Only, you’re not your compliant brother. You have opinions about your clothes, and you’re not shy about expressing them at all.
You want sweatpants and gym shorts (which you call SOCCER SHORTS), paired with a T-shirt, every! single! day!!! We usually BOTH end up crying on the days that I lay jeans out for you to wear. You don’t like buttons or zippers; you like the silky feel of Under Armour and the elastic band in gym clothes, and LORD HAVE MERCY UPON US IF THAT’S NOT WHAT I PICK OUT FOR YOU TO WEAR THAT DAY!
I always dressed your brother like a little preppy boy when he was little, but you’re going to go as “I JUST WORKED OUT AT THE GYM AND PLAYED SOME PICK-UP SOCCER AT THE PARK ON MY WAY HOME,” every day. And do you know what? It’s okay, because you’re a little person, and your voice should be heard. So… we’ve reached an agreement, you and I. You have to wear buttons and zippers and look nice on Sundays for church and on Wednesdays for your little preschool playgroup, and then you get to look like an athlete the rest of the week.
And let’s talk about your athletic skills! Right now, you can run like the wind. You are honestly the absolute FASTEST running toddler Daddy and I have EVER, EVER, EV-AH seen. When you run, you can keep up with kids twice your age. You’re an amazing little sprinter, and you never get tired of kicking a soccer ball around. You also seem to have the wrestling gene inside of you. You just KNOW, intuitively, how to take another kid down and pin him to the floor. No one has ever showed you how to use your chin and head to pin a boy’s chest down, while your arms and legs are already wrapped around him, but you figured it out, all on your own. You LOVE when Daddy wrestles with you.
You’re also just as smart as a whip, exactly like your brother. You just had your preschool screening a couple of weeks ago, and you scored in the 99th percentile, nationwide, in the cognitive section. You stunned the lady administering the tests to you, because you already recognized ALL of your numbers and letters, and you called the entire string of alphabet letters by name.
And let’s talk about potty training.
It’s probably going to kill me. Potty training your brother was THE ABSOLUTE WORST EXPERIENCE I’ve ever had, and you are following in his exact footsteps! You’ll tinkle on the big potty a hundred times a day, if there’s the promise of an M&M in your future, but you insist that pooping on a toilet is TOO SCARY. You refuse to do it. Daddy and I are hoping like crazy that you figure this out before kindergarten, so that I don’t have to homeschool you because of it.
And I’m hoping like crazy that I actually survive Potty Training, Round 2 without looking as old as Betty White when it’s over.
Thing 2, the honest truth is… we love you. You’re an amazing little guy, with an enormous heart. You love to dish out kisses and hugs. In fact, whenever someone is leaving and you have to say goodbye to them, you have a little routine that you do, which you made up all on your very own: A hug, two high fives, two sets of knuckles, a kiss, and a tight squeeze. Sometimes, when it’s me who’s leaving you behind with Daddy, I’ll beg for your Goodbye Routine TWICE! It’s too stinking cute.
You’re absolutely perfect for us.
Happy birthday, Thing 2! We love you to the moon and back… infinity times.