Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Letter to Liam, age 3

My dear little man, William—

You have been 3 for four whole months now… every one of those months I have meant to sit down and write you—something to help you know your own three-year-old self later one; something for me to read and remember these precious days.  Daddy and I agree that this age is so much fun; YOU are so much fun.  You giggle and are amazed by everything.  You make us laugh so much.  You are sweet, thoughtful, empathetic and caring.  You love to kiss and hug your baby brother, having dubbed him “Chubby” and giving me a play-by-play of his well-being if I have to leave the room.  Once I came in to find you just watching him, saying “I’m your big brother (“brozzer”); that’s why I’m watching over you.”  You’ve never resented him or shown anything but affection towards him.  I can’t wait until the two of you are fast friends, just like you and Eowyn already are.

If you are unkind and I explain to you how the other person was affected, even if at first you shout that you want them to be sad or that you like being mean (and yes, you do say those kinds of things), without fail, when you’ve calmed down, you will come to me or your dad and very sincerely apologize, and show that you are very sad that you hurt someone else.  You love to hug us and your little arms around my neck is one of my favorite feelings.  After naps –you still take a good 1.5-2 hour afternoon nap every day—you are especially snuggly.  I love the smell of your curly head, slightly damp from sleep. Today you lay your head down on Daddy’s shoulder completely unprompted, and he just melted.  You have our hearts, big boy. 

You are a sensitive little soul, correction often bringing you to cross your arms, drop your head and the whispered words “I’m embarrassed” followed by tears.  Or just tears.  Lately you’ve been crying a lot.  The phrase “threenager” applies very aptly.  I might ask you to do something very routine—come to dinner, or clean toys up in preparation for bedtime—and the response will be incredibly dramatic.  Suddenly, you’re on the floor screaming, or you’ve thrown your hands up and are shrieking “I HATE DAT!!” or are wailing that you weren’t done playing… as if eating and sleeping were totally unexpected, unreasonable events.  Liam, you are a small person of very big passions.

Bedtime continues to be our most difficult time.  You (and your sister) tend to pop out of bed repeatedly.  You usually come out quietly, crawling into my lap saying “Mommy, I just need some love” or “I just want you.”  It’s very hard to resist those hugs.  I usually snuggle you for a while and send you back to bed.  Othertimes there is great weeping and gnashing of teeth... on all sides.  Often at bedtime you’ll ask me to “stay with me just one more minute?” and I usually do.  I have to take off my glasses and you put your arm around me. You tell me, after about a minute “ok, Mommy, you can go now.”  You want me to say the Aaronic blessing over you, and sometimes will try and say it in turn to Patrick.  So sweet.

You have a keen little mind, memorizing songs and spoken words very well.  You listened to The Big Picture Story Bible on CD as you went to sleep for several weeks, and often will quote passages of Scripture at the most hilarious of moments.  Once, while you were washing your hands alone, I heard you intone in a deep voice “Go! Wash in the Pool of Siloam!”  Yesterday you remarked that only Cesar Augustus was the king of the world—not your sister.  Another time you used “Do not make My Father’s house a house of trade!” in an argument with her… we aren’t sure how you thought it applied but it definitely had us laughing behind closed doors. 

Your imagination is amazing.  You often delve into a world all your own, complex and usually heroic.  You jump off our steps wearing goggles and begin flailing, waving a block and shouting.  In moments you are on your belly, groaning with faux exertion as you crawl along.  When I ask what you are doing, you explain very calmly that you dove into the water to fight a shark with your sword, because it was trying to eat your baby, and you will kill the shark even though it bit your leg off, and the doctor will put your leg back on.  Then you’ll be back in your play.  Your imagination always demands full-body involvement… It’s always detailed, extremely energetic, and often quite violent.  You love to be a superhero (usually Superman flying around with sound effects), Mike the Knight, a swimmer or occasionally a wild beast.  When you play with your sister, you like to be the “daddy” or “husband” (or her little boy).  Up until about a week ago you didn’t grasp the idea of play names, and referred to everyone by their title as you played.  We’d hear you shout out in your fake man-voice “Wife!” whenever you wanted her attention, and you responded only to “Husband.”  Lately you have assumed the name “Davis” whenever you play pretend.  Not sure where you came up with that one.

Another little quirk of late has been your obsession with what you call “up sleeves,” ie short sleeved shirts.  Despite the weather turning cooler, you insist that you do NOT want “downsleeves,” and especially that you do NOT want “downpants,” but only “upshorts.”  The past few days you have even further narrowed your tastes to Superhero-themed clothing, most especially the Superman shirt with a detachable cape you got for your birthday (from me), and a pair of navy blue knit shorts “with a tie (faux drawstring) on the front.”  You also want to wear your Batman pjs.  We finally have reached a compromise of you wearing various shirts to school or church (often “downsleeved”) or the Superman shirt with a sweater over it, and pants OVER your shorts (mainly one pair of grey fleece pants because they are “soft”).  As we leave, you assure us that “when I get home, I’m gonna change into pajamas!” and sure enough, there will be a trail of shed clothing as soon as you walk in the door.  This is quite a change from your prior attitude towards clothing; you loved making your own outfits and were always quite deliberate in how you (mis)matched them.  Well, I guess that’s the common theme:  you really do care about your clothes and shoes.  Even when you are freezing, you insist on your “upshorts”—though there have been a few times when you willingly put on something warmer with a sheepish grin!

You had your first haircut two weeks ago.  Your favorite Sunday School teacher ever, “Mrs Charla” from TCC, cut it at her studio and did an excellent job.  We kept your mop-top of crazy blond curls but tamed the back a bit so it gets less tangled and matted.  You look less like Einstein and your hair stays curly instead of becoming a blond frizzy halo.  You were so nervous about your haircut, even though you asked for one.  The day before, you asked if it would hurt, and were reassured as Eowyn and I explained to you that only the part of your hair still in your scalp could feel and your haircut wouldn’t hurt at all.  You were so stoic, self-conscious and then proud during your hair cut.  You wouldn’t hardly look up, much less talk to Mrs. Charla!! 

You love Legos and little figurines of all kinds.  I find play horses, Playmobil knights, dinosaurs, cars and dragons all over the house, often with weapons and in boxes of some kind.  You build very well and surprise me with your abilities.  However you still need your sister to assemble your Legos following the visual directions, or your Playmobil castle or train tracks which you regularly dismantle.  Yesterday you and she made a “hideout” behind our downstairs couch and you all have stocked it with all sorts of necessities.  I love to hear you play together and truly interact.  Your sister often has very specific ideas about how things should go, and you usually are content to go along with her.  You are a very sweet little brother, really you are!  Lately she has been learning (with encouragement) to let you have more input because your ideas are really good!  And… she does love you and doesn’t mind indulging you—she’ll come to me laughing behind her hand at how cute you can be.  She’s a good big sister… when she isn’t bossing you around or threatening to not let you play if you don’t do what she wants. :) When you are in trouble with Mommy or Daddy, 9 times out of 10 she will run in and hug you and comfort you.

Your typical day starts around 7:30.  Some mornings you start playing in your room, others you come crawl into our bed… often you beg to look at our phones, and we usually let you look at our pictures and home videos.  You usually are the one to let Alina (the cat) out of the laundry room.  We get up around 8 to make you breakfast, usually yogurt, sometimes eggs, or if we are running late, a banana and milk (two of your favorites!).  Mondays we go to CC, Tuesdays and Wednesdays you go to preschool in “Miss Kassie (Kathy)’s class.”  Usually there is at least one meltdown involving not wanting to eat or wear something.  After school we come home for lunch and usually Levi is with us.  You two really are best buds.  You usually play outside while I make lunch and then we eat together—I read sometimes while you eat, usually from the Bible, sometimes from picture books.  Then it’s a nap for everyone (Mommy too!) and afterwards you and Levi (and Sis sometimes) play until he’s picked up.  On Thursdays and Fridays you like to do some school with me and Eowyn.  In the late afternoons you might get to watch a show—your favorites now are Super Why, Jake & the Neverland Pirates or the WildKratts.  You also like Mike the Knight, Diego and Kipper the Dog. Daddy comes home & we eat dinner together—these are some of my favorite times as now you and Eowyn are old enough to really talk to us.  You tell Daddy about your day, and we laugh and laugh together.  Daddy reads a Bible story and a chapter or two in “Johnny Chuck”, we sing a song (your usual requests are "Jesus Draw Me Close," "Be Thou My Vision," and "Jesus, what a friend for sinners") and pray together, and then you are tucked in bed with your Bobo & Baby and a music CD on. You still have a bit of a hard time sleeping alone in your room since Eowyn moved out, but the penguin night-light pillow helps.

Spiritually you are sensitive.  You love to memorize Scripture and remind me to read our devotional every morning and to drill you on your catechism.  At night when you’re scared you ask me to “pray for Jesus!” and draw comfort from knowing that while you can’t see God, “He always sees me!” and that He is stronger than any bad guy.  You are quite aware of sin and your own part in it, yelling angrily that you KNOW you are disobeying and you WANT to run away from God.  This makes me so sad, but also I have to smile because your words are exactly what my own heart screams when I tantrum, too.  Daddy and I pray that you learn to see the Enemy’s lies in those words!  I’ve been surprised at just how much you grasp—last night I asked you a question after our Bible story, not expecting you to know the answer, but you did!  You really are listening and absorbing everything you hear.  Oh, I pray that these seeds bear good fruit!!

I love you so much, my wild-haired compassionate, passionate little hero!  You always have my heart.  Im so glad right now you still need hugs and kisses and snuggles from me.  I love that you still want me to hold you, and that my arms are still strong enough to do it.  I love that you are spirited and funny but also tender-hearted and teachable.  You forgive easily and are a loyal friend.  

I cant wait to watch you keep growing up into a heroic man but it also breaks my heart to imagine you being any older than you are right now.  I love you dearly, William Christopher, and thank God every day for the blessing of being your mommy.

Love, hugs, kisses, and every good story I can tell,


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