I can't believe you turn three today. Over the years I've seen a lot of bloggers do this sort of "birthday letter", and while I've never done one for you before, perhaps now it seems more logical to me since you actually talk a lot now and would have a decent shot at understanding at least part of what I write. I know that if you do ever read this it won't be until you're old enough to understand it all, as would have been the case with any of the last two birthday letters I never wrote, but I suppose that this whole blog is one big letter to the older you, among other things. At the very least it's a labor of love, an attempt to record some of the little details and fun stories and random thoughts that have come into our world in the last three years and six months.
This blog has included the good and the bad, for sure, and I won't lie--there's been a lot of both. Fortunately nothing too horrible, but you are a definite challenge. You always have been, in one way or another, but I think as you get older, the things we find challenging now will eventually serve you well out in the world. You're a determined little boy, that's for sure, and I hope someday you will use that determination to attain whatever it is that you want out of life. You're not a major risk taker, though, which keeps Mommy sane right now...but I do hope that you'll outgrow at least a bit of the fear and channel that hesitance into some good, solid decision-making as you grow up--weighing the risks and taking the best route.
You are really a chatterbox these days, talking mostly about sports but once in a while coming up with the cutest stuff. You know a lot of songs and every once in a while your interpretation is hilarious. The other day you were eating an English muffin and you started singing Little Miss Muffet...except that you substituted the English muffin in Little Miss Muffet's place. You do tend to make up a lot of words or change words around to see if we're paying attention. You test us every chance you get, both with your challenging behaviors and with other things--like when you're putting on pants and say, "Tag in the front, right?", knowing full well that the tag belongs in the back. I could do without some of the testing, but when you knock it off, you're such a cool kid.
You love sports so much, which means you're a chip off the ol' block for sure. Any time I start to tire of the constant barrage of sports talk/activities, I remind myself that it beats some of the annoying kiddie shows, characters, and toys that I'm sure a lot of your friends enjoy. You seem to be more aware of branded stuff like that now (particularly with the hand-me-down PJs and t-shirts you got from your cousins, like Spiderman and Thomas and Cars), but you're not totally into it. Your favorite movies are still sports, and we only keep three shows on the DVR for you--Sesame Street, Chuggington, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Maybe we should branch out, but it seems to work for us for now. We do find it amusing when think your cousins' Power Rangers are sports guys. Heck, you thought the mask you found at their house was a goalie mask. Please keep thinking that, and don't ever ask to watch the show. You're better off with real sports, I promise.
I can see how proud Daddy is when he watches you play or hears you talk about sports. He loves your passion. I know he hopes that you'll take it even farther than he did and find more success than he had, but for now we're just happy to watch you learn and improve. And if for some strange reason you suddenly lose interest, that will be okay too, as long as you transfer that energy and passion into something else. Musicians are cool, too. And judging by how much you loved the guitar/microphone set you got for your birthday, that may not be too far off!
I just can't get over how much you've grown, though I'll admit that I don't always notice it unless I have a point of reference--old clothes, pictures, my own arms--but sure enough, what a big boy you've become. I can't keep you in long-sleeved shirts, and pants get short before you ever fit in them at the waist. You're definitely daddy's boy, tall and thin. You're more than half my height already! You've definitely got my dark brown eyes, and everyone remarks at how blond you are. We both had pretty light hair as kids, too, so someday you'll probably have brown hair like us...which is funny to think about since most of your life you've been the blond one! You're a good mix of both of us in general, though I think more and more you're looking like Daddy. The dimple alone is definitely him!
You don't look significantly different to me this year than you did last year, though I know you are so much more of a little boy. The changes in this past year we more subtle...more coordination (but you're still so clumsy!), and a lot more communication skills. Not only do you talk more, but you understand a lot more, too. It's fun to see you comprehend things for the first time. I got such a kick out of you blowing out your candles by yourself at your parties and smiling from ear to ear when you got sang to at the restaurant on your birthday. You converse rather well a lot of the time and even know how to make jokes. It's such a subtle change, but it turns you into a totally different child. I do wish that logic worked with you a little more often, but I'll take what I can get.
This coming year is going to be a big year for you. Presumably sometime in the next year you'll be totally potty trained (and finally get the lacrosse net we've been talking about for months), and maybe you'll even become a big brother by your next birthday. If not, you'll still probably come close and start working on some of the steps before big-brotherhood, like moving into a new big boy bedroom and sleeping in a real big boy bed, not just your converted crib. You might get to start playing real sports, and you're probably going to learn so much at daycare. I bet you'll learn to recognize more letters and numbers, and maybe you'll even start coloring in the lines--or make a recognizable picture! I'm so excited to watch you keep learning. Just seeing you learn songs and pick up concepts is so fun!
You still have so much ahead of you and I can't wait to see it all. I may be a more tired, stressed out person than I was three years ago when you came into our lives, but I also think I'm more well-rounded, more loved and more able to love than I ever have been. You have taught me more than I could ever imagine. Your laugh and your smile bring me such joy, and getting kisses and real hugs from you are two of my favorite things. And when you pop out with a random, "I love you Mommy," all is right with the world. Thank you for the joy and excitement you bring into our lives, and happy birthday to our sweet little man. We love you Jacob!
Mommy (and Daddy, too!)