We did it, we made it to 3 years old. I emphasize “we” because I really wasn’t sure whether both of us would make it out alive after the last year we experienced together. With all due respect, we should very much be celebrating three years of you but as a parent, I’ve learned that parents have earned every right to celebrate themselves. Hooray, we didn’t kill our child!! Here’s to another year of tolerating being screamed at and restraining from smothering you with a pillow. Your father and I toasted quite a bit on your day.
We ended up foregoing a party for you because we had just returned from Disneyland a couple weeks back and you’re still not old enough to demand a party and request certain individuals in attendance. In all honesty, we were able to get away with not throwing you a party without you realizing or even caring. Next year will probably be a different story and I’m happy to throw a large party for you next year because you have taken a back seat to your sister the last couple of years and I don’t want you to feel like we don’t care about your day. Instead, I made you birthday pancakes for breakfast and per your request, we went out for sushi for your birthday dinner complete with celebratory frozen yogurt. Afterwards, we returned home where you opened the remaining birthday gifts and went to bed that night completely happy. See, a big lavish party is not always necessary. I will remind you of this one day.
Still in the spirit of your birthday and on the luck of your Dad having a rare day off that coincided with Liv not having school, we took a day trip to San Francisco where we visited the new Exploratorium. I wasn’t sure if this place was going to be too mature for you and Olivia since I hadn’t been there since I was a kid and given the new location, I wasn’t sure how much they changed it. The place was massive and so incredibly awesome. Hands-on experiments everywhere and you two totally took it all in. Of course a great deal of what they were trying to teach you went well over your heads but you enjoyed attempting to figure out what it is they were trying to tell you. I was impressed by how well you two held up for a good portion of the day but we clearly all had hit a wall and were ready to go back to being lazy on the couch. No thinking required. My eagerness to return home may also have something to do with a near encounter with a seagull but that’s another story.
I am quite relieved that you are no longer two but I’m smart enough the second time around to know that the work is not over yet. Although as a parent, is it ever? I know as one problem works itself out, usually another problem comes to fruition. I can tell you that there have been moments in the past that I really struggled to find the positive with you. I never stopped loving you but you’re lucky that’s the case because you have been far from easy.
I’m beginning to see glimpses of a maturing child who loves and cares. A perfect example was today at Starbucks–there is a regular customer there who is handicapped and in a wheelchair. Very friendly gentleman who always tries to visit with those customers who come in to the store. He works at the local movie theater and spends a good couple hours there before his shift starts just to chat with strangers. The regulars know him very well and will often engage with him like anybody else. Of course, there are individuals who don’t understand politeness and basic human respect. They snicker at the sight of him and even blatantly ignore him when he’s trying to engage with him. I understand if people just want to be left alone but what harm is there in saying hello when someone greets you? Here is a momism for you, always be polite. Smile and say hello if someone is polite to you. I really struggle with bullying and I’ve become braver as I’ve become older in stepping in and calling people out when their actions are uncouth. Fortunately I haven’t had to do that yet in terms of this individual but usually my actions speak for themselves as I engage with him as others look on with curiosity. You in turn have also gotten to know this individual as well and today as we finished our conversation and were making our way out of the store, you ran over and hugged him and said you were going to miss him. This man looked beyond happy and I in turn have never been more proud of you. You will grow up and hear things, not so nice things, about people that are different and I hope that this unbiased nonjudgemental outlook stays with you. There are a lot of adults out there that don’t have a moral fiber in their body and it’s sad when a three year old shows more integrity than they do.
We’re going to flip things around here now because as we discover your empathy towards others, we also learned that you respond very well to rap music. I’m not talking about the little rap interlude in a pop song, I’m talking about Wu-Tang and your soul responding in a very serious way. We were at your Aunt Laurie’s birthday party and as the evening progressed, so did the music. I don’t know whether you finally felt at ease with everyone but as soon as that genre of music began playing, you got in to it. You were almost on beat but you were also throwing your whole body in to the song–I would even have a hard time staying on beat if I was moving my body the way you were. I have very fond memories of your dad going on and on about how awesome Wu-Tang was and is. All I kept thinking to myself as I saw you feeling the music was, oh my God, your father is going to cry. Despite all the ups and downs and arguments and screaming fits the two of you have had these last three years, all wiped away the second you showed an interest in Wu-Tang. Congratulations, you unlocked the code to getting anything you want from that man.
In addition to the random connection you made with rap music, I have a few more Miles oddities that I would like to share with you. Despite being the lucky recipient of a brand new twin size bed since July, you have yet to pull up the covers on to yourself. Perhaps it has something to do with the crazy heat I feel radiating from your head at any given time or maybe you’re receiving the comforter equivalent via the thirty stuffed animals you demand to sleep with every night. Either way, odd. Another Miles oddity, when dining out, you have to sample every condiment made available at the table with the exception of the chili oil that comes with your sweet potato fries. You lay out each condiment and then to proceed to dip your item in to each one before taking a bite. That, my dear, is odd. For our final Miles oddity of the month, you find any raised surface whether it be a rock, a utility box, a chair, or the edge of a gardening box. You stand perched upon this elevated surface where you slowly extend your arms and sing The Lion King song. I blame Olivia and her flare for drama for this one. If you remember, she too went through a Lion King phase where she couldn’t be in a shopping cart without belting out that musical number. I in turn, learned to avoid certain public situations during these live performances by beelining towards the nearest exit.
You are still a very rambunctious demanding emotional boy but I’m seeing a change. Life has a way of making you forget the difficult times and I’m sure a day will come when I think, eh, it wasn’t that bad. Perhaps it wasn’t that bad because clearly, I have seen worse but I also like to think that we’re only given as much as we can handle–I have obviously reached my threshold with you because I’m not sure I could have handled more. The little glimpses I see of a maturing boy are faring well with me and I like what I’m seeing so far. If we can propel ourselves further in that direction I will be one very pleased Momma. I do complain quite a bit over the angst you cause me but that’s the tired version of me talking (I’m tired a lot). Never would I in my wildest imagination, think parenthood would be like this. One minute I might be contemplating an escape plan as we work through your fourth tantrum before 10 am and the next thing I know, you could be wrapping your tiny little arms around my neck, telling me I’m the best. It hurts so good to be a parent. Those little moments are euphoric and I would put up with daily crapolla to get sporadic doses of that. I raise my glass to you, son. We made it three years and I can hardly wait to see what lies ahead of us. My only wish for you is when you’re an adult and think you know everything, take a moment and remember these words: be polite, smile to strangers and for God’s sake, call your Mother!