Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nate's Monthly Newsletter, Three Years

Dear Nate,

I've put this off until I can't put it off any longer. I have plenty of excuses: your birthday party, our vacation at the beach, the demands of my day. I think the truth is that I'm so scared to get this wrong. To leave something out that would explain you better. To put too much in that doesn't matter. To fail at communicating who you are, how you are, what you do.

You are three years old. You are a little boy. You ran up to me this morning, hugged me around the knees, and said you loved me. Last night I gave you you a Woody doll I'd bought you for no good reason. When I handed him to you, you played with him for a minute and then said "This makes me glad." Woody sat in a chair next to you at the dinner table and you looked over at him after every bite of food.

Almost every morning when you wake up, you come crawl into bed with me while Daddy is downstairs with Jack. We cuddle a bit, you squirm around, we cuddle a bit, you sit up, lay down, we cuddle a bit, you jump on the bed, we cuddle a bit. And so on.

Your language is amazing; it's almost like talking to a regular person. I counted a 14-word sentence the other day, full of prepositions and adverbs and adjectives and whatnot. When I'm on the phone with someone, I hear you repeating everything I say: practicing the intonations and the tones. At the beach when Beth was talking to us you would respond "Uh huh, uh huh". Out at the boardway, Sam kept throwing his sippy cup out of the stroller. You kept picking it up, giving it back, and watching him throw it out again. After four or five times, you gave it back and warned "If you do that again, I'll take it away."

I can practically hear the wheels turning in your head when I ask you questions these days. It's just amazing to watch you work. Last night we were driving home from the store and I asked you what your long name is. You've said it before, but never pronounced Nathaniel right. Last night you started with "Henry Davis" and repeated it a few times. I kept quiet, and then there was a very long pause, probably a 15-second pause. And you said your whole name just right. You just needed the time to work it out for yourself.

You're big on doing things yourself these days. You can get yourself dressed all the way down to your flip-flops which you insist on putting on, and taking off, standing up and leaning against something.

You sing songs all the time, mostly the songs to your TV shows. Backyardigans and Little Einsteins are your favorite to belt out. You like to make up words to the songs, which strikes me as a little precocious. When you request something without saying please, I tell you I can't hear you: you tilt your head, bat your eyelashes, and say "Pleeeeeeeeeease???"

You've turned into a sweet, enthusiastic, charming, cheerful, affectionate, loving boy. When we were at the beach house, I was sitting on the ground playing with you and Jack. You crawled into my lap, put your arms around my neck, and murmured "I won't let the dinosaurs get you."

Vice versa, Natey. Always.

I love you,

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