Thursday, March 08, 2007

Happy 3rd Birthday, Hayden!

How do I accurately describe my sweet Hayden?

This is a rambunctious child. He is constantly in motion, constantly chattering, either laughing or crying. He is fairly easy to read as his body language and facial expression make it clear what mood is his experiencing. His emotions are intense and can change rapidly. Generally though, we can see it coming, and anticipate challenges.

Hayden is very popular with his classmates. He plays with different people each day, and when we arrive at birthday parties, everyone starts calling his name to come play with them. As social as he is, he tends to hang back in hectic situations, either waiting until he is comfortable until he jumps into the fray, or more commonly choosing to play in smaller groups or on his own. The prescribed Birthday Party Jumper is not his thing as he will only go in if he is alone or with about 2 other kids, bailing at the first sign of commotion. Strangely, he tends to create his own commotion. He is loud! He loves to sing, run, jump and we now frequently see neat "tricks" with amazed shouts of "Did you see that?!" In the car he asks for his Kindermusik songs and very politely to have it louder. I hear him picking up words and phrases from the people in his life whether they are sophisticated sayings such as "The fact of the matter is.." or a more casual "Guys! Let's all sit here!" He is experimenting with words and sounds making up his own gibberish and baby talk. He has a fabulous memory and can relay complicated situations to others or recite lengthy storybooks, sometimes inserting his own variations. He absolutely loves silliness of any kind. He is extremely ticklish all over and gives as good as he gets. People seem surprised that he is only turning 3 when they hear him speak. Of course, as his Mom, I would say he is a genius.. But it is true that his speech is very advanced and he is able to articulate things that many 3 year olds may not. Physically and verbally he is way ahead of the game. Emotionally I would say he is right on, with all the volatility that comes from a little boy transitioning from the dependency of toddlerhood to the independence of childhood.

At mealtimes, Hayden is generally very good. Sitting still in his seat is not his greatest skill, as there seems to be extra energy flowing from him. He doesn't want to go do something else, it is just so hard to sit in one place! He wiggles, he gets up and down, he turns around, he looks over and under the table. This is rewarded by giggles from his biggest fan, Logan. Hayden isn't a picky eater, but he is starting to decline things based on appearance. We have a rule that you must taste everything on the table and we usually don't have too much problem with that. If we put a bite on his fork and explain he only needs to take that one bite, he generally will and tell us he likes it. Then he will go back to wiggling and tending to distraction rather than the meal. Gum is the great motivator, a VERY rare treat used for very important stuff…like haircuts. He has fantastic manners always requesting things with "May I please have.." and thanking people. It is very charming to us and surprising to strangers when he is in a restaurants places his order.

Naptime at home or at Grandma's goes very well most of the time, with a very groggy boy emerging to report "I had a good nap." At school naps remain elusive and we have basically given up. He now gets to learn Spanish during naptime since his teachers have given up on naps as well. Bedtime has become a bit of a challenge. He loves his bath and ask each night "Are we baffing tonight?" Storytime now involves both boys and is so sweet with the three of us snuggled up in Hayden's big racecar bed. Hayden often recites his story to us, but is happy to listen as well. It's once the time comes to tuck him in that the black cloud comes over him and he challenges us. We've been working on a more peaceful goodnight, but unfortunately, he often challenges us until we leave the room, a sad way to end the day. This phase will pass, I'm sure.

Overall he is such a sweet boy. He is quick to give hugs and kisses, says "Sorry!" if he accidentally hurts someone, and will spontaneously give Logan hugs, kisses and include him in play. In a heartbeat he will be grabbing things from his brother, but that works both ways and we try to fairly referee them. He adores his family and is so excited when he gets to play with his cousins, especially Kennedy who is only 4 months older than him. They are so cute together these days "playing school."

Each day Hayden says things that amaze us. He as an ability to make connections that we just wouldn't expect. Because of that, we have treaded lightly in the last few days in trying to gauge his comprehension of losing his Nana, his great grandmother. I'm sure he fully understands the loss, but seems to have absorbed that something significant has happened and been on his very best behavior.

He is so excited about his birthday. When we have asked how old he is turning, the answer is always "Three in March!" We'll need to work on that, but I simply can't believe three years have flown by. My little boy is everything a mom could dream of and then some. He is absolutely beautiful inside and out. I suppose some day he will be too old for me to go in after he is sleeping, tuck in a little more snugly, and rest my face against that soft little cheek. For now I will continue since three years is not nearly enough time for me to accept the fact that he is growing up.

Happy Birthday my Sweet Pea.

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