Tomorrow you will be 3 years old. I have to say that this past year has been filled with so much growth and joy that I am sad to see the twos go. I'm excited for you to learn to do new things like dress yourself and use the potty but I'm sad that we are losing more and more of your babyhood. In so many ways, you were a textbook two year old. You would ask for a banana and then when presented with a banana you would scream at me for not bringing cheese. You would be happily playing with your planes one moment and the next you were throwing them across the room in disgust. But you overcame so much that I can't help but be filled with pride. We stopped working with your occupational therapist this year. And even though we were both sad to stop seeing "Kaka" on a regular basis it was a good thing that you no longer needed her help. You are still a crazy picky eater but you can chew and swallow alongside your peers. Your OT helped you overcome your fear of touch and being messy and today when I picked you up from preschool you still had signs of shaving cream on your face from the craft project. There have been many moments during your gymnastics class when I've been struck at how profoundly you have changed. The class gets very loud at times as kids are running around and screaming. You may not always want to join in the screaming craziness but last year I would have had to remove you from the room when it got too loud. Yesterday during class you and your buddy were chasing each other and fell on top of each other and even wrestled for a moment. I ran closer to you out of habit to make sure you were okay and you stood up with a big smile on your face and you were ready for more. I stood there in shock. At the end of story time at the library the librarian always gives stamps to the kids. You used to hold back and would never join in the scrimmage to be first to get a stamp. These days you are right in the middle of it all and could care less if you get shoved or pushed. A year ago you had a big meltdown when a girl fell on your toes at the library. The way you have overcome your fears blows me away.
I remember one day about six months ago, I was reading a parenting book all about two year olds. The author warned that around two and a half a lot of kids will start in on bedtime stalling tactics. And like clockwork you did the same. However, your requests for "one more hug" or "rub my back a tiny bit" are impossible to ignore. I'm always a sucker for it and probably always will be. The book also said that two year olds are lovers of routine and any change to that routine can be cause for a tantrum. The author even said some two year olds might get upset if you take a different route home from the store or school. Just days before I read that chapter you were yelling at me from the backseat because I turned on the wrong street to go home from the store. The fact that our street had a water main break and was blocked off was just not a good enough explanation. You have become quite the backseat driver, in fact, that yesterday you scolded me for turning on a red light. For the record, it was a perfectly legal right turn on red. You are still incredibly attached your blanket or "baba" as you affectionately call it. I don't dare leave the house without it. When you fall down or get upset you always ask for baba. The other day I stepped on one your planes and yelled a not so nice word as I grabbed my foot in my pain. You came running to me with baba and said, "Here Mommy, baba will help." And it did. I love how compassionate you are. You have a friend that has a stay at home daddy and you often bring up your friend's mommy in concern. Last week in the bath you asked me, "C no have a mommy?" I explained to you that C does have a mommy but she goes to work and the daddy stays home. It launched in to a good conversation about how families are different. Some families both parents work and other families have two mommies or daddies. I loved the way your eyes lit up when I told you that some kids have two daddies. You are still a total daddy's boy. I know the best part of your daddy's day is hearing you scream "daddy" when he walks in the door and you give him the biggest bear hug. I think you were ready to sign on the dotted line for the whole two daddy situation.
If I am being honest, I get really emotional around your birthday. Not just because you are getting older but because I can't help but think about your family back in Ethiopia. I think of them often, of course, but your birthday is a tough one for me. They lost so much and we gained our brightest light in this world. It doesn't seem fair. Yet I can't imagine my life without you. Life manages to be complicated and beautiful all at the same time. You already know this more than most. Your smile and laugh bring joy to everyone you meet and I wish they could experience that too. Someday. That is my prayer.
Tomorrow you will be 3. I can't believe it. Thank you for making me a mom. Your dad and I are possibly the luckiest people on earth.
All my love forever and ever,