If you’ve ever spent time with a three year old, you know that they can flip faster than Evel Knievel. Hugs turn to slugs, “I love you” ‘s to “You make me mad“, kisses to bites… you get the idea.
When Hooper was 2, I feared 3. I have heard from many moms that two is overrated in being described as “terrible”; that three, instead, is where the real fun begins. And I agree, to some extent.
Some of my favorites ::cough cough:: ::nudge nudge::
Occasionally he’ll get upset if I stick a spoon full of food in front of his mouth because he’s “not a baby” and can “do it myselph”; though what he really means is I can do it by myself but by the time I finish it may be time for the next meal, or perhaps, I may have already died from old age.
“I’m da boss man” or, better yet, “I’m da po-eece (police) man”. He uses these phrases when he decides reprimanding Van would be better coming from him than me. At times I truly believe he thinks he’s the one in charge of both his brother and me.
The fact he will not let me help him out of his car seat so I have to wait what feels like a thousand years for him to get out of the car (seriously, it involves him looking in his cup holder to assess what “treasures” he’s leaving behind, then holding on to his “fireman” handle, then asking repetitive questions about something totally unrelated to the matter-at-hand, followed by bossing me around and telling me to take the hand off the door as if my hand on the door is assisting him in some way and preventing him from doing it all by himself). My back thanks him for his independence, my patience wants to push him out the door and blame it on his brother.
And then there’s the other stuff that prevents me from pulling my hair out from the aforementioned…
Like when I tuck him into bed and hold his head in my hands, caressing his face. He stops my hand when I get to his cheek, caresses my hand and strokes his fingers along my forearm and tells me he loves me. And when I say “I love you too”, he tells me he loves me more.
Or when I sneeze and every time, without fail, he tells me, “bwess (bless) you, Mama”.
Or when I yell at him for something he shouldn’t have done and for the next hour he follows behind me repetitively asking, “you mad, Mama?” with such genuine and sincere concern that he has upset me in some way.
Or when I get mad at Van for doing something wrong and he comes and apologies, on his brother’s behalf.
Or the way he compliments me when he likes my dress or necklace, or the fact alone that he even takes notice.
Growth & Appearance: You push your jaw forward when you smile, cry, or laugh and, at times, we’ve wondered if you have a true under-bite. I don’t think you do, but the way you jet it forward is awfully cute.
You’re very into accessorizing these days and constantly request that we put your shoe on your feet, or a hat on your head, sunglasses on your face, a backpack on your back, or shorts on. You’re perfectly content with just one shoe on and have earned the nickname “one van boot” which we pronounce as “onevinboot”.
We shaved your head. You hair appears toe-head blond now and I’m curious to see how it grows in. Someone referred to you as uncle Fester and I kind of agree, though more times than not people are calling you your Papa’s twin. The other day I told your Papa that you look more like him as a baby than his own baby pictures look like him. It’s weird.
Your top left canine popped through. More teeth are on their way.
You have a bruise or scrap somewhere on your body at all times.
Eating: We had to throw out all the bottles because you chewed through all of the nipples. We’ve moved on to sippy cups and invested in the spill-proof ones, which have been heaven sent because you’re a fan of spilling your milk everywhere.
You’re much better with using your fork, but not so great with a spoon. We’ve graduated from putting food directly on the table in front of you and are now feeding you like a normal human being, with food on a plate.
You seem to be eating less than you were before, probably due to the fatty whole milk you’ve been drinking. Some days you drink a lot but don’t eat a lot, other days you drink and eat a lot, other days you hardly drink anything but eat more than me. I’ve learned to let it all go. You’re healthy, you’re happy, and that’s enough for me. I don’t take inventory.
You enjoy feeding Sarah and you ask her to sit (in your own language that she doesn’t understand) prior to giving her a piece of food.
You love eating crayons at restaurants but end up spitting them out most of the time anyway.
Sleeping: You wake up ready to go every morning. As soon as I lift you out of the crib you are pointing and grunting at something. I don’t even think you know what you want to get to. Rather, you point first and look for what you want second.
When you’re tired, you stick your left thumb in your mouth and rub your head with your right hand. You look like a little monkey. We call this “the Carla”, named after your best friend who’s done it since the beginning.
Your schedule looks like this: Wake up about 8:30 (though some mornings as late as 9), nap around 10:30 until 1:15, nap again from 4:30 to 6, and go to sleep around 9. You’re a good sleeper.
You’re attached to your blanket.
Talking: You say “hi-E” with a grunt and urgency behind it. You’ll say hi to anyone but most times people don’t even realize you’re talking to them.
You know where the cookies are and try, with all your might, to say “cookie”. Instead, it comes out as “coo-k” with some pointing, grunting, and whining.
You make this weird Darth Vader grunting noise. We always do it back at you and what follows is a weird Darth Vader grunting conversation.
You raise both arms, palms up to the sky, when we say “all gone”.
In your own language that only we understand you say balloon, car, dog, and belly.
Development: You give high fives, which means it’ll no longer be awkward when a stranger comes up and puts their hand in front of your face.
You’re able to squat down and pick up a toy and stand back up again with ease.
You love trying to jump. You also do what we call “fancy feet”, where you stomp your feet in quick succession.
You follow commands and are a good listener. When I tell you to stop throwing food and to put it in your mouth, you do.
You are most always happy and carefree. You love to socialize and laugh.
You know where your belly is and happily lift your shirt up to show us that lil’ gut of yours. You’re learning where your eyes and nose are too and you like to point to them.
You love to look at books, but only certain books and you whine each time until you get to the one page you want to look at over and over again. The way you back up to sit in my lap to be read to pulls at my heart strings. Sometimes I grab your little chunk legs so hard I think I’m going to hurt you. You’re just so yummy. This is such a fun phase you’re in right now.
Favorites: You love the days the gardeners come and you’ll stand at the window saying “hi-E” to them over and over.
There is one particular touch and feel book that you love. It’s an Easter book and you love the page with the sparkly eggs on it. You look at it over and over and always flip back to that page to run your fingers over those glittered eggs.
You’re at the stage where my keys and phone are always on your “must have” list.
Growth & Appearance: You resemble me most in the morning, when your eyes are still sleepy. The rest of the time, I think, you look more like your Papa. Others who hold you say you are strong and sturdy. You’ve been called a bruiser. People are now referring to your hair as strawberry blond.
You have three teeth on top and toe on the bottom.
Eating: You eat anything and everything. You cry when it’s all gone. You’ll refuse, at times, what we give you to eat if you see that we’re eating something else. Other times you could care less so long as you have food in front of you. Baby led weaning has been miraculous for us and I’m so thankful that we went this route.
You eat a lot. The other evening you ate an entire sweet potato and a whole kiwi. I’d list the things you like versus dislike but it’s as simple as this: you like everything, you dislike nothing.
We’ve handled your obsession with your brother’s bottle by giving you a sippy cup with water and this will keep you busy for a while. You’re able to use the cup on your own, but water goes everywhere.
You’re still breastfeeding a lot, as in 9 times per day. You eat nearly every hour that you are awake. I’m not sure if this is normal or not, but it’s normal for us and it works, so I go with it. Your schedule is similar to last months and looks like this: breastfeed first thing in the morning, before breakfast, before your morning nap, after your morning nap, before lunch, before your afternoon nap, after your afternoon nap, before dinner, and before bed. More simply, twice before each meal and once after each meal.
Sleeping: You and I, we’re so in sync. I can sense just moments before you’re about to wake and despite my desire to stay in bed, I’m always awake just before your first peep. You’re welcome.
We added a blanket to your crib. Not because it’s cold; it’s been in the triple digits, actually. But we spied on you sleeping at your Nina’s house and were won over when we came in on you holding your blanket against your sleeping face like a mother holds her baby to her chest. It makes me smile every morning when I lift you out of your crib and discover that your blanket is warm, meaning it’s been against your little body. In general, you’ve become quite the little nuzzler. You were fixing to fall asleep on top of a warm pile of laundry I had just taken out of the dryer before I put you down in your crib for a proper nap.
You sleep through the night with ease. Your schedule looks like this: Wake up between 7 and 8, nap around 10:30 for two hours, nap again around 4:30 for an hour or two, then bed around 9ish.
Development: You’re able to crawl with a toy in your hand. You appear to be right handed, as you use your right to carry a toy and feed yourself.
You’re a standing machine. You’re able to pull to stand on just about anything, including the oven, my pant leg, and the dog. You’re able to transfer to something close by and although you aren’t incredibly sturdy, you’re more than willing to throw yourself in whatever direction and hope for the best results.
In general, you have a gotta go gotta go aura about you. You’re in constant motion. As soon as I lay you on the changing table, you’re turning to your stomach to see what you can grab. As soon as I put you on the ground, you’re bolting off after a toy. You’re busy and eager to do more than you can.
Your mind seems to go a million miles an hour and if I had to guess what your thought process was like, it’d go something like this: gotta get to that water bottle – gotta put that water bottle in my mouth – oh look, there’s Sarah – God dammit, Hooper just took my water bottle – wah wah – oh sheet, there’s some fuzz on the ground – gotta get to the fuzz on the ground – yum, this fuzz is tasty… and on and on it goes. You’re constantly looking toward the next thing, moving toward the next thing. You’re rarely still and you’re quite back breaking these days.
You love to laugh and look for reasons to laugh. Most anytime your brother pays you any sort of attention, even if it’s him batting his hand in your face, you laugh.
You love to shake your head back and forth and mimic us whenever we do this in front of you. You also rock back and forth anytime music is on.
You’ve taught me that it must be in the name of survival that babies aren’t born mobile. If you had the ability to get to half of the things I see you eyeing, you’d probably no longer be with us. You’re always wanting to get to something you shouldn’t have, stand on something that isn’t sturdy, or eat something that’s not edible.
You don’t like dragging your knee when you crawl on grass or concrete so you opt to push all the way on your feet and do a bear crawl instead. It’s pretty cute watching you mcguiever around with your little bum sticking straight up in the air.
You understand the meaning of “no”. You love to crawl over to the TV equipment and pull everything off the shelf. You know you aren’t supposed to do this, so every time you make your way over there you scan the room until you meet my eyes and wait for me to say “no”.
You get shy when others come up to say hello when I’m holding you and you like to rest your head on my chest as a coy way of saying, “please don’t take me away from this lady”. You’re still my little parasite.
You can furniture walk, making your way from one end of the sofa to the other. You’ve transferred to another piece of furniture once or twice and, so long as your belly is resting against the surface, you’re able to free your hands to hold a toy. I’ve put you down in the standing position and let go for a few seconds and, so long as you’re not on your way somewhere, you can balance. Each time this happens, however, it feels like a fluke as you have yet to commit to balancing like this on your own. Regardless, you’re capable and walking seems to be right around the corner.
Favorites: You’ll do anything for one of the remote controls. You’ll even stop breastfeeding if there is one in site. We’ve resorted to pulling out some of the older ones we don’t use anymore but you definitely know the ones we use and the ones we don’t. I even pretend to use the old ones so they become more appealing. It’s not that I’m crazy, it’s that your obsession runs that deep. You also love standing up against the sofa alongside your brother and playing with his toys with him. Sometimes this gets you purposely knocked over.