September brought some changes to day care. Ben has moved on to go to kindergarten, and Emma moved to another day care closer to her brother’s school. That leaves you as the oldest of the day care kids. You and Gemma play together beautifully – Robin is stunned at how well you two get along. You have been begging for me to organize a play date for you two. You love the two littlest additions to the day care crew – Margo and Kilianne are just babies, only a year old. You dance for them to make them laugh, and you love entertaining them.
The other day you said to me, “Mommy, I just love babies.” I said, “I’m so glad, sweetie,” and then you said, “I wish we could have a baby in our house.”
You have started role-playing with your stuffies. One of them (usually Lambie, or another small one) will be the baby and then you designate others to be the mommy and the daddy. Once, when you had determined that Rilla was the mommy and Foxford was the daddy, I asked you who Rumpus was going to be. You looked at him and said, “He’s the other daddy.” I’m glad you’re so flexible.
You are wonderfully curious. You ask constant questions, and we do our best to answer them honestly and without being terribly dismissive. Of course, you know this, and often ask lots of questions when you are trying to dilly-dally. Sometimes you ask questions to which you know the answers as a form of secure routine. And then there are the times when you just keep asking “Why” because you are cheeky and you know it eventually drives us nuts. But overall, it’s wonderful that you are so (mostly) genuinely curious about the world around you. You certainly make us think!
You are very affectionate, and it’s delightful. You give awesome hugs, and often ask to snuggle with us. You love giving and receiving hugs and kisses, and are so very cuddly. I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can, because I know it won’t last forever. I hope you’ll always be cuddly, though.
Health-wise, we ended up at CHEO in the middle of the night a few weeks ago because you had croup. You’ve had croup before, and usually we just wrap you in a blanket and bring you outside in the night air, but this time, every time we went back in, you would start coughing again. Also, between coughs, you had this terrible wheeze that we’d never heard before. So we packed you up into the car and went off to the emergency room at three in the morning. You were a trooper. They gave you a steroid to help with the inflammation. As a nice side effect, your eczema was pretty much non-existent for the next few days.
There is another health issue that has been plaguing you for some time. Little man, you get so bunged up, it’s tragic to watch. You can get so constipated that you actually become feverish and listless. You are active, you eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and veggies. We’ve tried coaxing you to eat oatmeal by putting chocolate chips in it. We’ve tried cutting up prunes, but you feel they are too squishy. (I can’t really blame you – I find prunes too squishy, too.) When we realized that you had only pooped without a suppository a couple of times over the past two months, we had to make a change. Enter a President’s Choice prune-cherry juice blend, doctor approved. You get a small glass every day, and every day after dinner (or before bed), you spend a mandated five minutes sitting on the potty. It's often longer than that, as we let you play on the tablet while you sit there. Things are improving.
It doesn’t help that you are the slowest, most easily-distracted eater I have ever seen. (This basically means that you are a normal three-and-a-half year old.) There are meals where we have to coach you through just about every bite, and bargain with you over how many more bites you need to eat before you can leave the table. I knew this would happen eventually – it isn’t that you aren’t hungry; it’s that there are so many things you would rather do than sit down and eat. In an effort to make mealtime more pleasant for you, we have removed your booster seat. You sit on a thick book of feminist history, tucked under a cushion.
People are constantly commenting on how well you speak. You have a great vocabulary, and overall, your speech is very clear. You have come up with some pretty complex sentences. It’s wonderful to see you mulling over your words and being able to express yourself so well. We do sometimes get into trouble when you answer questions without thinking the answers through. You’ll answer “no” or “yes” without really thinking about it, and then will express great frustration when we aren’t able to read your mind.
We have had great fun together over the past weeks, Pookie. We said goodbye to summer on a very windy day at Mooney’s Bay when we climbed a big hill and flew your pirate kite. You were more interested in digging on the beach, so it took some convincing to get you up that hill. But I think you were glad you made the climb. You especially enjoyed when it was time to climb back down… you rolled most of the way while giggling happily.
We said hello to autumn with a special play date with Emma at the apple orchard. You had a wonderful time picking apples, playing in the hay, and munching on apple cider donuts. It was also really nice for you to see Emma again. We were so glad it worked out.
We don’t often get together with your buddy Koen, but when we do, you have such a great time – and so do we! We had a play date last month that included drawing roads on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, sharing cinnamon fish cookies, playing with Hot Wheels, and reading stories.
One of your favourite things to do on the weekend is visit Daddy at his store. You love looking around the kids’ section (and pointing out things you’d like Daddy to get for you!), playing with some of the toys (it’s the only time you are allowed to touch stuff in a store), being allowed in the back room, and of course, seeing Daddy at work. I’m trying to teach you that a visit to Daddy’s store doesn’t mean a new book or toy, but let me tell you, Daddy isn’t helping much! He really enjoys being able to let you pick out a new book.
We started doing a weekly gymnastics class at Starr Gymnastics, and you absolutely love it. It is much more engaging and enjoyable than the one we did through the community centre last year. Your coach is called Pépé (they all have wonderful silly names like Bubbles and Ziggy) and I sit happily on the sidelines while you work with her. I was pretty nervous during the first class because a lot of little ones were crying for their parents, but you did so well and stayed the course and didn't get upset or worried. I was incredibly proud of you. You are a wonderful listener, you are great at doing “the motorcycle” when you land, and although you aren't super excited about jumping into the foam pit, you're getting less timid about it. I love watching you try new things. Even after just a few classes, your confidence in the gym has improved a lot.
Halloween is just around the corner, and this year I decided I wanted to make your costume. (Grandma made it last year, and Granny made it the year before. I figured it was my turn.) This is the first year that you have chosen your costume, and you very emphatically stated that you want to be firefighter. I didn't think that was quite exciting enough, so you're going to be a firefighter with a twist. It's been great fun building your costume, and you are very excited about it.
Of course, not long after Halloween, it will be Christmas, and you and I have been working on a plan for that. You have decided that you will let Santa take all your soothers in exchange for a SECOND gift from the North Pole. And for the first time, you have a very specific gift in mind. You have requested the Thomas the Tank Engine Mega Blocks Diesel Works set that you saw in the back of your Day of the Diesels book. Unfortunately, I don't think Santa will be able to find that exact toy, but he's got something just as good that we think you are going to love. I sure hope we're right! (And I hope you stick with your plan to give Santa your soothers.)
We've been very lucky and had some great visitors this past two months. Aunt Marsha came down for a weekend especially to see you, and you had a great time with her. She came with us to gymnastics, and we went for lunch at O'Grady's together. She brought you a very special gift... a Furbee. You love your Furbee, which is great, but we can't get it to stop talking like a Valley Girl, which isn't great. Aunt Marsha is very lucky we love her.
Grandpa Will and Grandma Anne also came down for a weekend, and we spent a great Sunday morning with them. They brought you your own camp chair, as well as a bee flashlight and a pair of binoculars that look like a dragonfly. You were over the moon! All three gifts are a huge hit. (Aside - I love how your pronounce them “ga-noc-u-lars.”) But the best gift was the time they spent with you. You love them both so very much. You love hugging Grandma Anne, and Grandpa Will cracks you up.
We did a bit of travelling over Thanksgiving and went to Toronto for a “ba-caytion” (another great pronounciation) to visit Tia and Tio and Isabel. You did so well sleeping in a strange house, and you fell in love with Pippa and Sadie, the 12-year-old yellow labs. They were so calm and just love to be pet, so you obliged happily, whenever you could. Unfortunately, you are still allergic to dogs, so we were dosing you with Benadryl quite a bit. Also, you pet Sadie so much that you got a blister on the tip of your finger. Between the Benadryl and the exposure, things got a bit better over the weekend.
You played very well with Isabel and Aiden, and were so sweet to Caspian when he and Aunt Natalie and Uncle Darin visited for Thanksgiving dinner. But the best part of the weekend was watching you become totally mesmerized when Tio Rodrigo played the guitar. We were joking that he's never had such a willing audience! You asked him to play again and again, and loved every song. You danced to the blues, and even played a bit yourself with a small, blue electric guitar that used to belong to Aiden's big brother Raven. I think it will be important to continue with gymnastics, but I may look at some kind of music class in the next year or so.
We visited a great new temporary exhibit together at the Canadian Museum of Nature. It's on until the spring, and I think we'll be going back many times. It's all about frogs! You adored seeing the real frogs in their habitats, and we played “find the frog” in each case. You also loved watching the waterfalls in the habitats. We had great fun playing “predator mini-golf” and you really enjoyed the interactive about the sounds frogs make. It was a wonderful museum visit. We both left very happy.
Fall has been a great season. You've greatly enjoyed helping Granny rake the leaves on the front lawn. Today we had a playdate with Amelia at her house, and you even raked their front lawn! (And then you and Amelia tossed leaves into the air and laughed together and it was so magical that a neighbour stopped to tell us it made his day.)
We have some really sweet rituals. At bedtime, when Daddy holds you and hums the Imperial March, you insist that you get to hold this glow in the dark ball that Uncle Ted gave you. Daddy and I started calling it the Ood ball because we had just seen that episode of Doctor Who, and now you call it the Ood ball, too. The other day, the glowing was starting to fade, and you said, “Oh no! It's running out of ood!”
You're saying some fantastic stuff these days.
One evening, I told you that it was almost time for dinner. You asked if you could go play in your playroom. I said you could, but just for a few minutes.
“Can you come with me?” you asked. “I need a friend down there. And you don't cook.”
One night, about half an hour after you had been tucked into bed, you called for me through the monitor, saying, “Mom? I have to tell you something!”
I went up to you. The important information? “Mom, I think fish don't have feet.”
The other day, Daddy was rushing you along in the morning so you could get out the door to daycare on time.
“Daddy,” you said, “I thought I was being a good boy and not dilly dallying?”
“Yeah, buddy,” Daddy told you, “You are being good. It's Daddy who lost track of time this morning and who was dilly dallying a bit. Sorry for rushing you.”
“That's ok, Daddy,” you told him, “it happens sometimes. I still love you, you know.”
And we still love you, all the time, more than we can even express. Thank you for being such an amazing little boy, so full of love and humour and personality. Every day I ask you what your best thing was that day. In this life, you are our best thing, hands down.