My little boy turned 3 a few weeks ago. I have kept meaning to write a post about him – about the changes I have noticed cropping up so suddenly and startlingly – about his little adventures, his frustrations, and his sweet nature. I felt too emotional every time I went to write this post so have had to keep leaving it. I know. I am officially ridiculous.Three years ago, February 25th, Baby Will made me the happiest mama in the world.
Despite his intense and highly-dramatic nature, he was as thrilling as he was challenging.
I feel like I actually get to appreciate him for his own individual, adorable self more since having another baby – because Henry emphasizes character traits in Will that I may have thought were just common to every baby.
While Henry appreciates lying down all spread out, Will was quite different. My delivery nurse had to finally tell me to cosleep – AT the hospital! – because both of us were at a loss to get him to settle down and everyone was exhausted.
This kid is tenacious.
Will has always been assertive, dramatic, and bossy. He knows what he wants in life, that’s for sure. And he is hard to dissuade. 😉
I have been remembering one special moment with him over and over again… I was never comfortable with co-sleeping. I know people who do it well, but at the end of the day, my mom never did it (this despite homeschooling and ecologically breastfeeding for 2+ years; she cites the story about Solomon and the mother who crushed her baby as freaking her out lol. My mama is very much a “charismatic”) – so it was quite foreign to me. Even after that night at the hospital, I was determined to get him to sleep in his crib. The first night I attempted this, it was brutal. Will wailed and sobbed inconsolably – my little week old baby! – and when I looked at the clock, I despaired to realize he lasted from 7 til 11:30, with no sign of tiring any time soon. My nerves frayed – the crying of that first baby is so much harder to listen to, is it not? – and my body literally begging for sleep, I finally gave in and laid down in the bed in his nursery, setting it up according to the guidelines I had read on safe cosleeping. Jason handed him to me, and we laid him down at my side. That screaming baby quieted at once, made a satisfied little grunt, snuggled up to me (I know it sounds crazy to talk about an infant snuggling, but he did) and immediately fell asleep. I couldn’t even get him to latch on to nurse. He just wanted me.
I will never forget that moment.
I ended up successfully sleep-training him according to the Ferber method at 6 months – and I don’t intend to cosleep again; it wasn’t the perfect fit for me… I need structure, a disciplined routine, and precious alone time with my husband. But I will always cherish those months of snuggling with my brand new first baby.
…This baby who, two days ago, corrected me for the first time when I called him baby. I have always called him baby [“Yes, baby?” “No, baby”… etc] and he has always loved it. But the other night, as I was giving him the “one last cuddle” that he demanded, I whispered: “I love you my sweet Baby.” Will stopped sucking his thumb to say, “No. I’m not a baby. I’m just Will.”
“Well, yes,” said I, rubbing his mop of hair off of his forehead. “But you’re my Baby Will!”
“No,” he said solemnly. “I’m a big boy Will.”
He started calling me “Mom”. Though he forgets often – thank the LORD – and reverts to Mommy. He is a big boy though. At his 3 year well check, my tall slim little man looked so grown up. He is perfectly proportionate, right smack in the 50th percentile both for height and weight. He told our doctor, “I left MY doctor at home.” He kept insisting on this. I finally realized he was talking about his plastic stethoscope ;).
He loves his baby brother. The moments of semi-ignorant aggression stopped as soon as Henry got mobile; Will is now completely preoccupied sweeping all of his toys out of our Hippo of a Henrin’s determined path.
I started attending a Lenten Biblestudy with my friend Camille, and the second week, when I went to pick them up from childcare, the ladies could not stop talking about how hilarious a pair these two are. They said that when they had to change Henry’s diaper, Will happened to look up and, upon seeing Henry’s vacant spot, yelled, “WHERE is Henry?! Where is my brother?!”
They directed him to the changing table, whereupon he marched up and demanded of the little old lady changing Henry: “WHAT are you doing to my Henry?!”
They are such a match for each other. Will a nonstop chatterbox, Henry an agreeable little listener. Will loving constant attention, Henry delighting in making little lover eyes at all of us.
Will hopped up to me while I was working on this post and tearing up over all his old baby pictures. I showed them to him, but after a minute of studying his small self, he said simply, “But where’s Baby Henry?” And that’s all he wanted to talk about.
Apparently, he already cannot imagine life without his chubby little brother.
That picture cracks me up because it so perfectly captures the essence of their personalities. Will is a bouncy little Tigger to Henry’s Pooh Bear.
I just can’t wait til Henry can catch up with Will a bit more, physically speaking. This was him the other day at the park, watching Will try determinedly to climb UP the slide:
Hahaaa! Oh my goodness, I love these guys. I am so unbelievably blessed that I get to spend my days with them.
Though I am not a super mom, by any means – you guys, I couldn’t even throw Will a birthday party! Two weeks out, I realized, uh oh… this ain’t happening. I did start a Pinterest board to plan for it. And pinned two things. When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, Will just said, “A Birthday CAKE with Blue on it!!!”
Will’s favorite person in the world is my littlest brother Joey; he is the picture of pure delight following Joe around in my parent’s big woodsy backyard in the peaceful South Carolina countryside; so we decided last minute to go for the weekend and have a nice little birthday dinner for our boy. I just wanted him to feel special and have “Happy Birthday” sung to him.
His Gobby showed up too and surprised him with the most amazing Curious George Publix birthday cake. OMG. It was amazing.
He was overwhelmed.
I don’t think it had entered his wildest dreams that there was such a thing as a birthday cake with blue on it AND George.
Soooo yes, this birthday included no themed decorations, no homemade organic cake, and zero cutesy activities – which is humbling for me, because lets be real, you do those things for your “kids”, but also to be able to tell other people about it. 😉 I mean, you have to keep up with Pinterest! Its slightly embarrassing when other moms ask you what you did and you’re all, “Ummmm…” I sincerely admire mama’s who make a big effort for each of their children when they have a lot of them… Its definitely important for your child to have one day of the year that they feel like princes. So don’t misunderstand me – I’m not anti-birthday parties. Lol. I was just… not into going all Pinterest on my 3 year old’s birthday when he really wanted nothing more than a fun cake and lots of happy attention.
But despite his un-photogenic birthday… generic Dollar Store balloons and streamers which we threw up haphazardly in the Dining Room during his nap time on Saturday… with one gift to unwrap from his parents (a soccer ball and swim lessons for next month), his cake was perfection and the Birthday serenade was raucous… and I think Will truly felt special. When Jason tucked him in his cot on the floor that night, he asked Will, “Did you have a happy birthday, big guy?”
“YES!!!!” said Will emphatically. “And tomorrow issss Christmas!”
Clearly, the attention and celebration were addicting. He had to find a creative way to keep the momentum going. 😉
Some things I love about 3 so far? He is more cuddly. Not all day of course, but when he feels like it – at least once a day – he initiates “a kiss and cuddle” and its amazing.
And he doesn’t think he still needs a nap, but if I cajole him to go lay down for a little rest with his favorite book [Richard Scarry’s “Cars and Trucks and Things That Go”] he always falls asleep. And sometimes if we miss the nap due to errands, he passes out in the car and fills my rearview with the picture of a sweet little cherub.
There are daily tantrums, HUGE disasters (my house has literally never been messier)… and very trying moments. But man, I will miss this age. The hilarious moments, the amazing conversations, the weird and funny combination of child and baby. 3, I think I love you. You are pretty darn cute.