It’s one of those funny things you sometimes run into as a parent. In one moment, you’re nearly panicking at the seemingly rapid passage of time, that your tiny infant is suddenly racing around the house, reading books far too advanced for her age, and threatening to debate logical positivism. Then you look down and see that one child is adorably cute and had been so for, also seemingly long, forever.
Today, dear Choo Choo, you turned 3. And while the world seems to be spinning around me beyond my control, you sit there at the centre of the storm, giggling and playing and singing songs and making faces and smiling, smiling, smiling. Oh, how I cannot believe how much happier my life is when I get a big hug from you.
Like this morning, when you got up…
It wasn’t the greatest of mornings, sadly — your sister, Monkey, was having trouble getting moving. It was a struggle to get her to school on time, and even that didn’t go particularly well (her water bottle leaked, soaking her snow pants, which then froze). Things were better when I got home, and got a big hug from you.
Then you, Mommy, and I hopped in the car to go get your birthday presents. We decided to try something a little different this year, and let you choose what you got. So we headed over to Market Mall, where you played for a bit in the play area, and then marvelled at all the toys at the Toys ‘R Us.
And I have to say, kiddo, you were pretty conservative with your choices. When I was a boy, I would have gone bananas in a store like that, and would have tried to clean the place out. You hung onto a teddy bear dressed a Woody from Toy Story for most of the time, passed up on the lightsabres (which was good, we’d have to buy two and they ain’t cheap!), fell in love with a My Little Pony set and a Duplo set with Ariel, and a pair of sunglasses (which you needed, anyway). Mommy added in a Richard Scarry boardgame with airplanes (you’ve been wanting an airplane since before Christmas). And, finally, you gave up the teddy bear (why, I’m still not sure) for a Bubble Guppies stuffie.
As Mommy handled the transaction, you hugged your new stuffie tightly, looked at Mommy and I with big wide, eyes, and then gave us each a big hug.
After finding a coffee for mommy (and a hot chocolate for you), I got Monkey from school and Mommy wrapped all of your presents so you could open them later. Then Mommy made a fresh carrot cake and I made dinner while you and Megan played. Then all of us went to go watch Monkey’s last dance class. You sat on my lap for most of the class. I got lots of big hugs.
After a stop at the library to acquire a few new books, we returned home to find Grandma waiting for us. At first you were terrified of seeing Grandma (I have no idea why), though that quickly subsided and you were ecstatic to be around her again. You played with her until dinner time, and shovelled in your butter chicken, followed by your birthday carrot cake. (A note for next year — wait until we stop singing before you blow out your candles, okay?)
Present opening and playing came next, which was rapidly ending the day — both you and Monkey were tired, and tensions began to run very thin. Monkey, sadly, was feeling left out because it wasn’t her birthday, and no-one was paying her as much attention as we were paying to you. It’s understandable, and I guess I’m thankful I don’t remember doing the same to Auntie Cathy.
Finally, we packed you off to bed, where you settled into your warm sheets, your smile just as big as it was when you woke up. You talked about your new toys, and your new books, and were very happy about your new pyjamas. Then, with your turtle on, you lay down for sweet birthday dreams.
Right after you gave me a great, big, awesome hug.