There is something wonderful about a three year old boy. Every house should have one, although I freely admit that he will age the house rather quickly. But the joy of a three year old boy is one of those perfect things in life.
Picture this 3 year-old boy sitting on a church pew. His slacks, white dress shirt, tie, vest and shoes are all perfect miniatures of what he’ll wear in 20 years. Short blond hair sticking up in back. He leans over and whispers, “Can you tickle my back?” and then promptly hunches forward on the very edge of the bench. His head is down and his hands clasped together just like his 12 year old brother does when people tickle HIS back.
This image of a tiny body so intentionally being big tugs at my heartstrings. So big, yet so small. It is a shadow of what he’ll be in a not-so-distant future, a reminder of how brief the current stage really is. The shadow is fleeting, however, as the 3 year old in him takes over and he begins swinging his legs, gently at first, and then with such vigor and energy that it is a challenge for him to maintain his delicate balance on the edge of the bench. And all the while, in perfect rhythm, he reaches over ever 15 seconds or so (without looking up) to scratch his sister’s dress. Often enough to distress her but not often enough to cause an outright disturbance. I marvel again at how intuitively he has mastered the art of being a boy.
I came home from church resolved to pause and hunt for some pictures to document this darling little guy, my little boy who stands on the threshold of getting big. He”ll be turning four in a couple of months, and already I see him changing. I want to try to capture him in my memory as he is now before the change has taken place and I have a hard time remembering.
He is running, always running.
He has a deep, raspy little voice. He says the cutest things. His most famous line: “Can SOMEONE move the SUN, please!”
To him, the purpose of every song or story is to have the good guy survive some sort of crisis. This was a conversation before Christmas:
boy: “Hey, Mom, have you ever seen Frosty the Snowman?”
mom: “Yes, have you?”
boy: “Yup. It’s a toy. Do you want me to sing it to you?”
boy: “Frosty the snowman went out to play. But lots of big armies went out to chase him! So he ran away and got on a roof and then he was okay.”
Now, just read that song again to the tune of Frosty the Snowman and picture a happy little boy singing in a raspy little voice as he hits and then misses the melody just a bit. Hilarious! (Not to mention cute!)
He is the child who, upon waking up in the morning, sneaks out of bed and down the stairs to surprise/startle us with a big loud “Raaaar!”
He is also the boy who wants the same thing to eat all day long: “Something.” He spends a lot of time refusing whatever I offer him while he holds out for his “something.” Here is a typical conversation.
Little guy: “I want something to eat.”
Mom: “I’m glad to hear that. We’ll have dinner in a minute.”
Little guy: “I don’t want dinner! (falls on floor in despair) I want something!”
I’m pretty sure that “something” translates into sweet/crunchy/empty calorie/junk food/snack.
This little guy loves books. Duck on a Bike has been his favorite for a long, long time but Winnie the Pooh is ranking up there right now too. Most especially the scene when Piglet falls on his balloon. (see this post for more details)
He prefers to wear his shoes on the wrong feet. We try, try, try to get them on the right feet, but he usually takes them off and switches them back to the wrong feet. He also has no problem with shoes that don’t match.
He loves to be tickled. He loves kisses. I like to give him all my kisses and tickle him at the same time.
He loves to race me. He wants to beat me up the stairs, to the table, to the car, everywhere. I confess that I encourage it because it gets him moving. I love his laughter as I follow, hot on his heels. Recently he told me, “Moms aren’t allowed to beat. Only boys are.”
He is very creative. Take, for instance, the hole he made in his shirt pocket for a holster.
It didn’t make for a very fast draw.
He loves swords, sword fights, and “guys” of any kind. Playmobil is the all-time #1 toy in our house, and he loves them as much as all the older ones did/do. He is ALWAYS up for a good sword fight.
He is also usually up for a quick snuggle in my lap. I love that he’s still little enough to want me to hold him.
He has, at age three, already mastered the art of bugging girls. I admit that I’ve never seen a boy so young get this one so well. (Understand that I do not make that statement casually; I grew up with 5 brothers.) Sandwiched between two older sisters and two younger sisters, he is FULLY AWARE of the power he can have over a girl with just the right look. He can literally send his older sister running and screaming with just a look from 20 feet away. And when that happens, what’s a boy to do but chase her?
He loves to be strong. He loves to tell me that he’s going to grow up and be bigger than me. He loves to make up categories to be master of. A recent category: “I’m really strong that I can get down babies that can walk and talk and that are named _____ from off of your bed.”
He loves to brush his teeth. He makes it take a long time.
I love the answer he gives me every time I tell him he’s supposed to stay little. “What’s the big idea!? Who gave you permission to grow, anyway?” I ask. He smiles at me with that patient smile that three year old boys sometimes give their mothers and simply says “Jesus.” And we hug.
He’s good at saying “sorry.” Because when you’re a three year old boy, you get a lot of practice saying it.
Boy, oh boy, do I love my little guy!