A month later I'm able to write about you turning three, because I'm just so happy/sad about it all. Mostly happy, really. I did take the plunge to admit your age in a few concrete ways that have ended up being super fun and special.
. . . Hair cut . . .
The day we got home from Christmas in ND, it just had to happen. So it was the first thing we did that Monday morning we went to Kids Cuts - you enjoyed watching Cars (so did your sister) as Mallory gave you what she called "a hockey cut". Score. Call me crazy, but I think you've been happier now that you're clean cut.
. . . Doctor well check . . .
Karis had fun prepping you:
"Judah, can you count to ten? Judah, is this an A or a B? Judah, can you draw a triangle?"
- 38.25 inches (66%)
- 32.8 lbs (60%)
Mary Lou said, "He has such a nice build" and she was clearly delighted in who you are. She asked if you knew your colors, so we pointed to the chalk and asked what color it was. Your answer: "bubblegum". Judah! You looked at her blankly with every question she asked you (how old are you? what did you eat for breakfast? . . . ). I laughed and told her how chatty you usually are. Ha! You calmly let Mary Lou take a look at you while you sat in my lap and she also commented on what a cuddly guy you are. She assured me you'd potty train in a day once I decide to do it (ha). Yes! I love who you are, Judah - through and through. The nurse took you to "play games" and she said most your age won't cooperate, but that you did and you also "won" the games.
I felt both light and grateful after the appointment, the reminder of these healthy & happy children. And then I also felt the happy/sad heart-sick feeling - it all zooms by so fast.
Judah, on Monday morning you brought me the book Love You Forever. You and Karis settled in my lap on the rocking chair in your room, I took a deep breath and told myself I wouldn't cry. Yeah, right - haven't read that one for a long time and by the last few pages both me and Karis were dissolving and you were sweetly making sure we're okay: "Karis-ee okay? Karis-ee better?". Started the week with proper perspective and it's beyond true: "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."
. . . going to the Preschool class . . .
3 year olds at our church are welcomed to transition out of the nursery and into "Mrs. Hoffner's class". So, you did it! You've been in the nursery almost every week since you were in the moby wrap, so this was a leap. You loved it and walked confidently back to me afterwards with papers in hand - you talked about play dough and friends. Oh Judah, so big!
Some things that make you YOU:
You love to build towers. Your latest is taking every book in your room and stacking them ALL against the wall - when you get up from your nap, you have to check on it and show me your hard work: "My book tower!".
You sometimes come up behind me and give me a huge hug. I melt. I think your sister is teaching you so much about how to show your love, and I know God has given you a very special heart that is strong and sensitive.
Recently you slipped down the last couple stairs while carrying your sleeping bag around - daddy ran to get you and you had your sad-trying-not-to-cry-face and then melted into our upward carrying arms. Strong and sensitive. Brave and vulnerable.
You kicked me in the face (pretty playfully during a diaper change) and then laughed - when I told you it hurt, you asked me if you could "kiss it better". And you did.
You love timers (thus so do I): "Nap timer!" "Dinner timer!" "Diaper timer!" "Time to go timer!"
You love to count! You ask me to "Count to ten mommy!" before we change your diaper. You love counting so much, it works in the way I've seen other parents use (and never understood HOW that worked?). I count to five and you can either do what I'm asking or I'll do it for you (e.g. "You walk to the car or I'll carry you" . . . ).
You still "hop to mommy!" when we get in the car, go to bed, go to the door to get ready.
You adore boots and shoes and slippers (you always have). Especially Karis's. Especially the pink ones.
You are loyal to Karis (I tell you she is teaching you how to love, and she is - because her loyalty to you is fierce). You'll ask her while we're rocking/reading, "Karis-ee, please you want to join us?" or "Karis-ee time to come down! Are you coming down, Karis-ee?" Sometimes you give her random hugs, you started initiating ideas for play, and you let her dress you as Elsa for your dance parties.
You ask us to "kiss it better" when you get hurt, and you also kiss our hurts better.
You're very carnivorous, and fave foods include meat. And meat. And meat. You throw in some smoothies, edamame, corn, applesauce, raisins, french toast, waffles, purple cheerios, "broccoli eggs" for a balanced diet.
You're still waiting for us to potty train you (actually, every time I ask you say "NO potty train! Get an m & m?"
Your room is evolving into your own and you rearrange its contents at every sleep time: Mickey Mouse sleeping bag and blanket. One "Olaf" slipper. Lots of books either strewn around or in towers. A stuffed fox, bunny, R2D2. You sometimes sleep in bed, mostly on the sleeping bag and always right by your night light. At naptime, you sometimes empty all your drawers and lay in the middle of your clothes. Or, build "wipe towers".
You're super concerned about others' emotions, and can tell emotional facial expressions in books: "He's sad. He's okay". Or if I seem overly excited, even in a good way: "Mommy you okay?". Or if Karis gets hurt, you go up to her and say, "Karis-ee, you be okay? We pray for Karis-ee?"
You're already into "Little House" and carry around Winter on the Farm: "What is Almonzo doing?"
You love the story of Jonah, in any form: "I want please read it to me? The big whale! It's Ninevah!"
You love your friends and get so excited to see Teddy, Cisco, Micah, Liam, Mitchell.
Your language reminds me of Yoda: "Please want you to build legos . . .please want you to help pull up pants" . . .
You think about people all the time . . . you often ask, "Momma, who gave this to me?" "Where is Mitchell?" "What is Grandpa Kirk doing?"
You also ask about inanimate objects, "What is the candle doing? What is the chip doing?" . . .
You love being silly and making hilarious laughing faces - you even fake laugh just to crunch up your nose and crinkle your eyes and practically snort.
You both want to do everything yourself and want me to do everything for you (depending on what it is, of course).
You have plenty of meltdown moments, and if I can get to your level and get you into my arms, you'll sometimes bury your head and just have a good cry. It must feel so good to cry - you're so little and have such big feelings.
You carry around "Puppy Mudge" everywhere (after listening to Henry & Mudge books in the car).
You are so exuberant - when you discover something that gives you delight you run to me just bursting with joy in your face and body, wanting me to enter into your jubilation.
You have a sweet bond with your daddy, you love to cuddle on his shoulder, read Star Wars books with him, and lay on the floor with him before bed ("Daddy, go to sleep!")
You ask to cuddle, and you sometimes back up to us to be lifted into our lap for some book reading.
You main mode of transportation: skipping and galloping.
It can take a reallyyyyyyy longggggggg time to read a book because you love to ask questions: "What is it? Where did the mommy go (you're always very concerned about the mommy)? What IS that? What is the sheep doing?"
Your birthday celebrations:
The day of your birthday, Karis helped wake you up with singing! You came upstairs and had a meaty breakfast on a Mickey Mouse plate, surrounded by Happy Birthday balloons (a Mickey Mouse one, too). Karis gave you the things she picked out the day before: a little skate board, deodorant, a new toothbrush. We (gpa and gma P, Karis, mom) went to the Heritage Center in Bismarck . . . you got to watch part of Toy Story in the theater and wouldn't you know - the main character was having a 3rd birthday party! We wandered to the tree house and then found a tractor simulator (took a while to get you off that one). Panini & dinosaur cookie lunch and home for a nap to rest up for . . . your pizza party at Grandma Carole's. You got a scooter from her and wheeled around all night, pure joy.
The next afternoon we had an "office party" at Nexus, you ran around (with puppy Bear!) and fully got into people singing for you. You filled up on juice and snacks and ruled the roost.
And then a couple weeks ago we appropriately spread out the celebrations - by taking out the Mickey plates and cake mix cookies for some singing with the Dierkers. You and birthday buddy Lukas were beaming, and so were the sisters Eliza & Karis.
Things I hope you hear me say:
"I love who you are", "I love the exact age you are", "God has made you a very special child and he has a good plan for your life", "I'm so thankful for your life, I love being your mommy", "You have an amazing big sister", "you are so funny", "you're safe", "I'm on your team"
You started saying with me your baptism verses while I change your diaper, and what a powerful prayer these Words are: "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ might give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, that you might know Him more. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, that you might know the hope to which He has called you. His glorious inheritance in the saints and His incomparably great power for those who believe" (Ephesians 1:17-18).
A day in your life right now:
We never really know when you wake up, because I'm pretty sure you roll around on your floor and love being alone (reminds us of your daddy! you love sleep). We go get you by 7:30 so we have time to cuddle and read (you would do this forever it seems like, but we have to get out the door at 8 so we do our best). We get you dressed for the day (you love: "camo pants! airplane shirt! guitar shirt! lumber jack shirt!") and head downstairs (pootsie in hand). You sometimes eat breakfast right away, sometimes, "put it in a baggie, Mommy!" (french toast, "broccoli egg", string cheese, smoothie). You "hop to Mommy" by going to the fireplace and then counting to five and running to me arms for me to help you get ready for the car. You ask, "Drop off Karis? Go to chapel?" and you soak in her school's morning assembly, in my arms singing or making hilarious faces to me and saying "Hi Mommy" when you know you're supposed to be quiet. Our mornings together are so fun! You love Tuesdays at the church nursery, trips to Trader Joes ("look for Wally! Get a lolly!", and you push the little cart sometimes). Other days we often go visiting - friends, playdates, meal deliveries . . . you're a great little buddy and you love going anywhere. You often ask, "Listen Katie & Big Snow?" You enjoy your own company, and you often hum to yourself as you build towers and trains and roll trucks along on the ground (your favorite things). You chatter and ask a ton of questions (even when you know the answer) in the sweetest voice. You love to read Little Blue Truck when we wait picking up Karis around noon. You're often munching a pb sandwich on our way to get her, and when we get home I carry you right up to nap. Sometimes you bang around and sing and play and build book towers for a long time . . . Karis and I sneak peaks of you in the video monitor. We wake you up at 3 and we often rock in your chair and read and let you have a slow wake up for up to 45 minutes before heading down for a snack. You and Karis bundle up and head outside, and you have so much fun together sliding on ice, sledding, eating snow. You come in and un-bundle and have hot chocolate and then play and play. Sometimes we do a bath before dinner-time, you go through phases of enjoying it (for a while you pretended to be pooping so that we'd panic and take you out - quite the game you had there) but lately it's good times. You adore your "moose pajamas" (used to be minions, those were cute too). They're too big and so comfy and adorable, you little squishy man. Then we cuddle and read ("Read train book? Read prayer book?") and then you beg to "Watch the tractor movie!". It's a show gma gave you and it's really just that: tractors. I set the timer, you and Karis watch for a few minutes while I get dinner on the table . . . when the timer goes off, you run to the table exclaiming, "Dinner timer!". You eye your plate suspiciously, if it's familiar you devour and if not it depends (rice goes down fast. mashed potatoes are the enemy. meat always wins). Then you either dance to a piano song or sit in dad's lap for a Star Wars book. You and Karis go upstairs with daddy for "gummies! moose jammies (your very favorite)!" or "Engine Turtles!" (Ninja, your other fave). Then we all go in mommy/daddy's room - we read the Bible (you play with the bookmark) and we pray. You've started asking us to pray for people: "And grandpa and grandma and Roger and Kim and Chelsea and . . . .". Then you and daddy "go to sleep" (lay on the floor) while I tuck Karis in . . . I come back and you wind up to hop to mommy. You nuzzle in to my arms and I carry you to your room - you turn on your noise machine . . . we rock and read the Hug a Bible and sometimes you want to give it a hug. You lay your head on my shoulder with your pootsie while I pray, and then you look at me with a little smirk and ask, "Pray for Judah one more time?" Of course. And then you lay down in my lap and I zip up your sleep sack and we sing "Jesus Loves Me", turn out the light, put you in bed, I close the door. And then, thump thump thump thump - you're out and you're happy and I'm not sure what you do in there until you fall asleep but you're pretty quiet and delighted to be in your room. And you sleep blessedly through the night, thanks to trusty pootsie and your thumb. Did I mention you love your thumb? You squishy boy, your life is a gift. I'm blessed to be your mom, and I entrust your life to the God who formed you - what joy to watch creation unfold through your life.
A couple recent reads made me think of you . . .
From Plan B by Anne Lamott:
"Parents grieve as their babies get bigger, because they imagine the cannot imagine the child will ever be so heartbreakingly cute and needy again. [her son] is a swirl of every age he's ever been, and all the new ones, like cotton candy, like the Milky Way. I can see the wonder of the toddler, the watchfulness of the young child sopping stuff up, the busy purpose and workmanship of [older ages] . . . "
And this line from a recent fave book of your's really sums it up:
"And the snow
while it is here,
reminds us of this:
that nothing lasts forever
(Snow, Cynthia Rylant)