You are such a little boy now; I almost can't believe the conversations and interactions we have. I rarely have to "dumb down" anything I'm asking you, and just have to simplify a bit when I'm answering your questions. You haven't gotten into the complex ones yet, thank goodness for that, but you're passionate about understanding your world.
I don't have a lot of other three year-olds to compare you to, but a lot of what you do and ask seems to be based on trying to organize your world so that you can understand it. You ask a lot of questions like "Is that a Mommy job or a Nate job?" (I tell you that dangerous tasks are "Mommy jobs" so that you know you're not allowed to do them.) You want to know what words mean, how things work - you really listen and study our explanations. Tonight we were reading a Thomas book and it mentioned a plow - I told you that it scoops up the dirt so that farmers can plant seeds. You looked at it for a while, then asked me where the dirt goes after it's scooped up - you really thought about it. Smart boy.
It's been a great relief to find that I can really trust your lead in what you're ready to accomplish. I left the potty training mostly in your hands, and it was much easier than expected. A few days ago you refused to wear a diaper at night any more, so I let it be and you've done great. A month or two ago you asked me to take the rails off of your bed and you haven't fallen out once.
These days you're expressing a lot of interest in knowing if something's a letter or a number, which letter it is, what worlds say...so I knew it was time to start working on "school" with you. You've been ready to give up your nap for a while now - the days you nap you're not falling asleep until 11 pm! So out with the nap and in the afternoons, while Jack naps, you and I do a little school at the dining room table. Right now we're working on tracing to build up your penmanship (well, crayon-ship in this case). After "school" we do a few chores and then we work on cooking dinner together. It's so nice to spend some one-on-one time with you - with Jack asleep, you and I get to take our time and really work together.
The questions never stop these days, the talking goes on and on, and the sassy has gotten to teenage proportions. Your response to every single unwanted thing that I ask you to do is "But Mommmmmm......" When you procrastinate doing whatever unwanted thing I've asked you to do, prompting me to ask you again, I get to hear you insist "I am doing it" when you're totally not. Trust me, kid, I have to spend enough time nagging your father - I'm getting no joy out of asking you again.
On the other hand, you've turned into a world-class helper around here. Sometimes your desire to be around me all the time we're home, to participate in every move I make, can be frustrating, but the truth is that you really do try to be helpful. If we're getting dressed to leave the house, I can ask you to get Jack's shoes for me and you're back with them in a flash. When we decide to make smoothies for snack, you go right to the cabinet and pull out the blender base and the jar and you put them up on the counter for us to use. When we're cooking I can give you blocks of tofu and you'll cut it into small pieces, and yesterday you helped me cut up the whole head of celery into snackable-sized pieces. You really did it, then helped me bag them up to put in the fridge. Thank you for your help, Nate.
We spent some time with your Richmond cousins over the holidays and you just soaked up every second with Connor. He was so incredibly kind to you, and really seemed to enjoy playing with you. You guys spent hours together and I was so happy for you. I hope it's a relationship you guys always have; I guess Daddy and I will have to work to make sure that happens.
I got you a train set for your big Chanukah present, and you've really enjoyed it. When you saw it for the first time, you just lit up:
Today I got to listen to you downstairs playing with it and it gave me such a thrill. Not just the fact that you were playing alone...by yourself...without me, but hearing you participating in the world, thinking of your own games, being yourself independent of us, makes me so happy. Until you see your own children breaking away from you, living in the world by themselves, you won't understand but it's one of my deepest joys.
You are one of my two deepest joys, Natey.
I love you,