Friday, November 14, 2014

Third Time's a Charm

Dear Sam,

Three years! Three years you have been in our life! What an emotional, funny, hard, crazy three years it's been. You're like a ball of emotions turned into a little boy. You go from miserable to insanely excited and back again, stopping at every station along the way, about 20 times a day. It's part being a toddler and I think just part you. It's going to be interesting to see what sloughs off as you get older and what sticks around.

This was your first full year of talking. Around people you don't know well you can be quiet and reserved, but at home you have a lot to say. And what you have to say is often weird and hilarious. I think of anyone in our family, you are the most likely to become an entertainer. You love it when we laugh at something you do, and you will do that thing over and over and over until everyone has left the room. And sometimes you'll start incomprehensibly chattering away really fast and then at the end of it you'll crack up at your own joke.

I hope I always remember your scrunchy smile. I don't know if you'll keep it, but it's so cute and funny. If we tell you to "Smile" for a picture you scrunch up your eyes until they're almost closed, crinkle your nose and pull your mouth back into almost a grimace. It looks like this:

You love cars and animals and puzzles. You also love playing the iPad and even though you can recite the rules, "No videos, no shows, no movies," you still try to be sneaky and get them in whenever you have it. Your love affair with milk has no ending in sight and I think if I fed you nothing but milk and crackers (and maybe the occasional ice cream) you'd be perfectly happy.

It's a shame we're not planning any more children, because you LOVE babies. It started with Taylor, shortly before you turned two, and then Beckham a few months later. You always want to hold them and help feed them and if they're crying you'll tell them how it will be ok. You're a wonderful older cousin. I'm sure they'll look up to you.

You're a sensitive soul. One day Ruben was crying on the playground and you went over and knelt down next to him, talked to him and then when you realized your help wouldn't be enough, you ran and got his mommy. Watching your empathy develop is wonderful. Sensitivity has two sides, of course, and it also means you're more subject to your emotions. That's been a learning curve for me as a mother, but I think recently I've been getting better at handling it.

You're also very stubborn. As a baby you wouldn't hold your bottle, period. Now, as a toddler, you won't use the potty. It's been very frustrating for Daddy and me, but we've had to come to accept that you will be potty trained when YOU want to be, not when we want you to be. I foresee some epic battles of wills between us in the future. But I think your stubbornness also translates into perseverance. You don't give up easily. Every morning we walk Ben and Ruben to school, and usually they're off running before we can blink. And there you are running right behind. You're three years younger, so right now you can't keep up, but that doesn't stop you. You keep running until you catch up with them at the corner. It's inspiring.

You started school a couple months ago. Sometimes you say, "I don't want to go to school," before we leave, but when we get there and you see all the toys you're off running. You also started gymnastics class. I feel like this year might be the year you start to get out from Benny's shadow a bit and become your own person. But that doesn't mean Ben isn't still your favorite playmate. Your "Wreck-It Sam" stage seems to be coming to an end, and sometimes you and Ben actually collaborate on a building project. You two also seem to be developing your own language or short-hand. I'll be making a meal and the two of you will be laughing hysterically at the table, but I have no idea why. I definitely feel like you two gang up on me sometimes, but I suppose that's what brothers are for.

One night at dinner I said to Daddy, somewhat exasperated with you, that when you're in a good mood you're absolutely delightful, but when you're in a bad mood it's HORRIBLE. He looked at me rather pointedly and said, "I wonder who that sounds like." You do take after me personality-wise, in a lot of ways. You're still a TOTAL Daddy's boy, but hopefully that'll ease up in the next year, so I can start guiding you in the ways of being sensitive and introverted. I'll be honest, it's not an easy road, but I know what it's like and I'm here to help you.

I love you so much, Sammy and it's like a ray of sunshine on my face when you point your scrunchy smile at me.