Happy birthday, bud! But, what in the world…how are you already three?! It seems like just yesterday you made me a mommy of a little boy. In many ways, Mr. Eli, you still are my baby. You are, and always will be, my last born. You are still wearing diapers. Hey, no shame in that game. We know it will happen when you are good and ready. You still enjoy being held, wrapping your arms around me and nuzzling your head into your perfect spot on my left shoulder and neck. You still like me to pick you up out of your big boy bed like I did in the crib and carry you downstairs in the morning and after nap, and I do it every time you ask, even though your 30+ pounds are getting so heavy. You are still learning to share and take turns. You can be very impatient. You don’t always clean up or put your dishes away when I ask you to. Often, you make a huge mess when you eat. Drinking water from a cup either ends up in your mouth or all over your chest. You have not yet said “I love you” or called for “mama.”
But what I don’t do enough, E, is tell you how incredible I think you are. You are quite possibly the happiest little guy I know. You love to laugh, and your giggle is infectious. You are curious about the world around you. I can see that you are learning and absorbing even if you remain silent. You love climbing, somersaulting, sliding, swinging, and generally “being a boy.” You love to go to the pool and swim around with your floaties and jump into the deep end. You are so fearless that you make me nervous! Whenever someone asks you for a hug or a kiss, you are the quickest to comply. You are independent and content to play by yourself. When you are done with an activity, whether it is a toy, a meal, a TV show…you are DONE and you let us know, either by saying “Dah!” or simply getting up, taking my hand, and leading me away. You love your sister, except when she gets in your face and pushes you to say a word correctly (“Eli, say mama!”), or does not let you have one of her toys. You run to the garage door with a huge grin on your face when your dad comes home every evening. You love to roll around in the couch pillows and run wild in open spaces. You are an excellent trainer, exercising along with our exercise videos with a smile on your face. This is good, because you have a love for white carbs and a distaste for vegetables. We are constantly complimented on your eyelashes–I think you will break some hearts one day.
This year, you moved into a big boy bed, learned to eat with a fork and spoon and learned to take your pants on and off (which you find hilarious). You have begun to take an interest in coloring, rubber stamping, sidewalk chalk and other art projects. Your TV tastes graduated from Mickey Mouse and Sofia to Monsters, Inc. and Despicable Me. Which you watch over and over and over. You taught yourself how to navigate an iPad to the best content YouTube Kids has to offer. You have found new and creative places to hide things…we finally found that old DVD remote this year after many, many months.
And, this year, we went from not knowing what apraxia was to having a diagnosis. But you took it all in stride. You gained confidence in your communication. You say “uh oh” and “dada” with perfection. You have more signs and word approximations than I can count on my fingers and toes. You love music and you love to dance, which sometimes looks more like marching. I watch you line up your toys just so, stack your nesting dolls, knock them down and do it all over again (also hilarious to you). You know all of your colors and love to tell me them. You are SO CLOSE to perfectly saying “Blue.”
No matter how hard this year, or the last few, have been, or the next few may be, you are my shining star. I am so proud of you. In these three years, you have taught me lessons that I was unable to learn in thirty-five. I have big dreams for you, kid.