I understand you have turned three. I find this difficult to believe. If you’re three, that means I’ve been a parent for three years, and that certainly can’t be true. Who would let that happen? In any case, congrats to you, and to Mom and I, on making it this far.
You enter your fourth year an energetic, friendly, painfully adorable young boy. You love things and you love them passionately. Trains, ding-ding gates, Totoro, and most recently, singing. I don’t know if it’s due to this Music Together class we’ve been taking, or just the burgeoning of that part of your brain, but it’s been a treat. You’ve loved listening to songs for a while now, but in the last month, you’ve found the ability to process them and regurgitate them, either with lyrics intact, or more commonly, with lyrics of your own (often nonsensical) devising. We’ll ask you something, and your answer will come out to the tune of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” or “Old MacDonald.” You do this constantly.
A few days before your birthday, we took a trip up to Wisconsin that incorporated all manner of your passions. There was a carousel at Ella’s in Madison that you got to ride four times, or, as you refer to any number of times more than one: “so many times!“ You also got a special birthday ice cream at Ella’s. You have discovered that heat = ice cream, and you begin asking for it early and often each day. While up in Baraboo, we also went to the beach every day, so many times, and you got to see minnows and learn about making sand tunnels and waterfalls from the pre-teens you attached yourself to.
And the trains! There were many train-related activities. The Mid-Continent Railway Museum’s 55-minute long ride on antique coaches pulled by an old school diesel engine, caboose and all, was a huge hit. Like you do, you weren’t giddy with excitement. You were serious, taking it all in. You stared out the window, pondering why the crossings only had lights and signs, but no actual gates. You explored the caboose at the turnaround, peered under the cars, moved from seat to seat to check out the different views. Later, at our campground, you also got to ride on a mini train, a series of wheeled and painted oil drums dragged by an ATV around the camp pathways. Any train will do.
When we came back from the trip, it was time for your birthday. You’ve been anticipating your birthday for a while now. Someone would ask your age, and you’d say…well, you’d say “I’m Ezra.” Then, confused, they would ask, “uh, how are you?” and you’d say “I’m two. I’ll be three in June, on the 20th, on my birthday.” It’s funny to think how much of the birthday game has to be taught by parents; conceivably, without our incessant training, you’d let just slide by like any other day. But, not to worry, we’re around to teach you how to make it a big deal.
Your birthday itself started out with a special treat: a big present from mom and dad, and a special homemade birthday crown. The video tells the whole story:
Later that day, Poppa Pete and Alla came into town, all the way from Florida. They brought you lots of presents, took you out to the park and dinner with Nana and Papa and a cake with strawberries on it that has become the go-to cake for your pretend cake stories.
Then on the weekend you got yourself a whole other birthday party on the deck, with cake #2, an insane three-car train edible sculpture made by Grammy, who made it pink at your particular request. You were thrilled.
This month you also: hated the dentist, ignored the potty, discovered Totoro on the big screen (and the fact that movies = popcorn and M&Ms), cautiously considered learning to like water sprinkler playgrounds, and expressed your independence from shoes of all sorts. In that last sense, you are just like your dad. I’m looking forward to a whole summer full of “just feet” adventures.