I'd say it's been about six months, Little Lou, that you've been waiting for this day. It seems you were about two-and-a-half when you started to go to birthday parties and understand that this was a party for someone specific, the birthday boy or girl, that it was their special day and that it meant they got to have balloons. I think that was really when the birthday party talk began. And with every passing birthday party of a friend you got to go to you have become more and more excited about your own party... and the balloons that would ensue.
And you made it! I know it was hard, but you did it! And oh there will be balloons today! Lots of them. Water balloons, helium balloons, regular balloons and your mom even bought inflatable animals to hang from the trees and those are a lot like balloons. All of that rubber filled with air just to make you happy on this, your third birthday, and to make sure you can never look back throughout this year and think that you didn't have a sufficient number of balloons at your party.
I'm looking forward to the balloons a bit myself, everyone loves some air on a string, but I'll tell you what kid, somehow your mom roped your dad and I into dressing up at this party too. Because apparently it's not enough for you to just have a million balloons when you turn three, you get to have a treasure hunt too. And apparently that means I have to be a pirate and lead you on the hunt for buried treasure. This is something I found out about just recently.
Because while your mom is fantastic at dreaming up these games and great party ideas, she's less apt to go playing dress up in front of a large group of people, so that means I have been put in charge of it. I give your mom credit though because I know if she could she would love to do this for you at your party since she is fantastic at playing make believe when it's just you and her, or just us and your dad. It's practically all you guys do together and it's helping turn you into one of the most imaginative, fun and creative little kids I know. But with your mom, as with many people, if you add just one non family adult to the mix, she tends to clam up, and a whole party full is just too much. So since everyone knows your dad and I are the crazy, no shame types in this family we will be the ones dressing up. I wouldn't do it for just any three year old, Louis, but I'll do it for you.
What can I say about this year when you went from two to three and I went from thirty to thirty one? It was a big one. I've decided that I love the idea of keeping track of some of your milestones, some of our milestones I should say...transitions...stories... and using our birthday as a sort of period at the end of a sentence. Maybe a comma is more fitting. Anyway you know what I mean.
If I were to have to pick one word to describe you this year I would have to say it would be "personality". Because your vocabulary exploded and your imagination along with it, we've gotten to learn so much more about who you are. You're filled to the brim with personality, kid. We've learned about your most favorite things; Halloween, pumpkins, ghosts, eggs, butterflies (that for most of the year you pronounced butta-fwies) and just recently, mermaids. Oh how you adore mermaids. And we had the pleasure of getting to have conversations with you that we couldn't have when you were only two. You can tell us about your day and what you'd like to eat for dinner, you can tell us about what's happening in a book or what pretend scenario we're in when we play. That often means we're hiding from a monster, robot or witch who is usually another adult playing along. Or you are somehow stuck in something or somewhere and we have to save you. This is a game you can play much longer than I can. Your parents can play it much longer than I can too, but thankfully I'm pretty good at diverting your attention to a different game all together. It's only really fun the first seven times in a row.
Right now pretty much everything you say is adorable and even when you pout it kind of makes us laugh. For a minute anyway. In your attempt to understand the world you make great observations and ask a lot of questions. You're inquisitive and funny and usually extremely polite and I'm constantly amazed by your growing attention span. I would have to say my favorite times in the last year with you have been when you pull up the stool next to me at the kitchen counter while I'm cooking dinner and ask if you can help. You will stand there for longer than I thought any young kid could and talk with me about our ingredients, you put the ones I cut into the bowl, you're great at stirring and patting and your name retention for things continues to grow rapidly. Then after we've prepped an entire meal you'll insist on watching me cook it up, help bring the water to the oven to be boiled (this is where more supervision comes in) and stand there as the whole meal comes together. Start to finish. I couldn't be more impressed.
So this year my milestone was the purchase of my first home. A huge step for me that was both extremely scary and hard, but also incredibly rewarding. During the entire kitchen remodel that took place I kept thinking about how you and I will be able to make great meals in my new kitchen. I certainly won't force the issue, but I will really love it if cooking together continues to be something we can share for many years to come.
We can tell that in your third year of life there is going to be a lot more growth and discovery and with that is going to come the push back. We're starting to see it already. No longer are you going to take everything we tell you at face value, there will be questions and arguments, boundaries tested and a lot of simply not listening on your part that will end in frustration for all of us. And that's natural and ultimately good for you to learn about the world this way and we're bracing ourselves for it. Everyone has to come into every stage of life and understanding on their own, even though we just want to be able to tell you something, have lived an experience for both of us and have that be enough. Of course it isn't. But I know more often that not you'll continue to be your bright, shining little self. You're a wonderful, smart, amazing little person and I'm glad you're ours. I can't wait to meet the three year old you.
And I don't know how this whole pirate thing is going to go down today, but seriously kid, you're really going to owe me one. :)
I sure do love you, no doubt about it. Happy Birthday to us.
photos by jady.