Three years ago I was baffled that I was finally in labor

Connor turns three today and there is no denying anymore that my babies are no longer babies. Well, that's not entirely true because we seem to still have diapers AHEM, but we are hoping to work on that with the assistance of Spider Man and Buzz Lightyear undergarments. Just today we had a little chat that this is when babies turn into big boys and he is doing a really good job at pretending he will actually follow through on my potty training plans.

This year brought such change to our family. It was difficult to keep up with what we were doing, let alone how the kids were growing and changing along the way. Still, it is hard not to notice Connor's new found enthusiasm for things non-sport related and for very loudly and clearly telling you everything and anything he is thinking about, every moment you are in his presence. When I tuck him in at night, I leave him still talking, stalking backwards towards his door as he goes on about something in a ruse to get me to stay longer, "with your whole body on my bed."

He is physically taller, stronger, his face thinned of baby fat, his hair darker, I'm sure of it. He still looks like a little Granda, which is certainly fun when I discipline him and my father's face looks back at me.

From Kids February 2010

This is where it all began, back in Connecticut, where my boy and I spent lazy days cuddled together in the master bedroom for fear of disrupting the perfection of the house, put on the market when he was just five days old. He'd wake up, eat, go back to sleep and I would marvel at wonderful, perfect, handsome, miracle Connor. Connor, the boy who took a long while to find his way to us, then scared us to high heaven that he would be born before Christmas, spent his Auntie's wedding stubbornly still in my belly, and arrived exactly one week earlier than his due date in a crazy fast labor, on Martin Luther King Day.

He's a dreamer. You can see in his eyes that he knows more than he lets on, that he has thoughts he is not quite ready to share. I watch him in my rear view mirror, gazing out the window on the way to school and you can see he is putting things together, deep thoughts on who knows what? For now he wants to be a football player or a hockey player or Buzz Lightyear, depending on the day. His imagination is just revving up, creating playtime scenarios that are not led by his big sister. This does not ever go over well.

His appetite is almost constant. He is always hungry, always digging for a snack in the pantry, and I fear his teenage years, especially if he does end up pursuing this football or hockey gig.

I forgot how round his little baby face was!

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From Kids.6.2010

He gifts the world with his quirky smile, but we see less of his suspicious look. Connor seems to be trusting his little world more, opening himself to new experiences, grabbing onto family members' hands at the annual Christmas Party to show them the wonder of ALL THOSE PRESENTS! Who is this suddenly social outgoing boy?

This special shirt for the super special secret beach is ready to be worn by its fourth baby.

From Kids.6.2010

He is like me in so many ways and yet, he does not really care for sweets. He would prefer a potato chip over a cookie anyday. I suspect he forces himself to eat an OREO with his sister after dinner because she loves them so and she is in everyway his best friend and hero. Connor is lost without his sister, wondering when she will be back when she attends a birthday party. She is taking his birthday hard this year, to the point that he told her today not to make him feel sad about his birthday. We have had to sit through bedroom timeout discussions about the importance of birthdays, how it isn't just about cake and presents, but celebrating that he is a part of our life and how much we love him. Without a birthday, he wouldn't be here.

From 4 & 1 Party

In his three years he has seen so much, been so many places. He has traveled by plane, train, boat, and automobile. It would be difficult as their Mom to say that anything can beat Disney World in my mind; The magic, the never ending heat, experiencing the joys of being a kid with my kids, at a place that is so special to me.

From WDW.2011

Unfortunately though, the image above won't stand out in my mind as much as the one below because this trip was just so exciting and exhausting that it was difficult to LISTEN. Look at that sass.

From WDW.2011

Disney is magic and nothing can beat that magic ever. I want to recreate it everyday, but Florida is pretty far away. We work hard to create other memory makers with the kids and some of my favorite moments with Connor this past year were spent doing little things like making S'mores in the fireplace, going to the Children's Museum in "Daddy's City" on a Friday night, meeting his cous' in the city to see an almost empty Aquarium, taking him skating for the first time, going to a trampoline place on a Sunday whim, sweating at a fall football game, watching his delight at a hockey game wearing a Northeastern shirt and cheering against Daddy's team, looking at him standing alongside his sister by the shore, leaping through leaves in the backyard, meeting Daddy on his way home from work for ice cream at that amazing place down the street.

From Connor 2nd Birthday 2012
We cannot wait for the Bruins to start again because his sport preferences are based on what Daddy is watching. There has been plenty of "FOOTBALL!" and a new found love of dunking (thanks Uncle Sean, "watch Mama, I like Sean!"), but not so much hockey and that is the one sport everyone in this family can get behind. So, if you were wondering who will care when hockey comes back, who will watch? We will.

From Myrtle Beach.2012

Connor is somehow both independent and needy. In the span of moments in the morning he can go from running full speed towards the street for the bus with us chasing and calling after him while he screams in delight at the FREEDOM! to "Mama, hold me" pawing at my legs and jumping to be snuggled up close as soon as the bus rounds the corner. He asks me to call him my baby and then asks "when I be a big boy and go on the bus?" The photo above is of Connor on the return trip from Myrtle Beach last spring. He insisted on pulling his own luggage, all the way from the bus to the terminal and to security. That's Connor; he frustratingly/heartbreakingly wants to do it all himself, until something inside him senses that perhaps you still need a baby to love and he leaps up into your arms and says, "I the baby and you the Mama."

From July 3, 2012

Silence can mean two things and the less messier of the two is that typical three year old, doing something you shouldn't be doing moment. You know that moment, the one when you suddenly sense the quiet and leap up knowing you are about to happen upon something devious. The smile above is the one you will see on Connor's face. Perhaps he is climbing the Expedit to reach something on a high shelf, or standing on the plastic shopping cart declaring he is a snowboarder, or he might have scissors or a permanent marker that he immediately drops and runs away from as soon as you make eye contact. He will keep me on my toes. Parents, will we ever enjoy the silence again?

From Cape Summer 2012

Connor is a little explorer, who like other boys his age, loves DIRT. He spent a great deal of time this summer, relocating mulch, digging holes in the yard, and screaming at bugs on the porch. He would race to the sliding glass door like a dog who hears the door open, just to get a glimpse and smell of the air and to look out the side window for our neighbor's dog. He loves to be outside, but I do not recommend you volunteer to be the one to tell him it is time to come in.

From Pats Training Camp 2012
Here he is at one of those memory maker moments; a hot and did I mention HOT day at Pats training camp where he tried to catch a glimpse of the quarterback he knows by name. His sign was a hit, but in his mind, he is Tom Brady. We cannot drive by the stadium without him announcing it to the entire car. We cannot go to dinner over there without a stop to run around on the grass outside the entrance. He marvels at the size of it and you can just see that someday, when his dad finally gets off the waitlist for season tickets, they are going to have the best time going to games together.

From BC Maine 2012

Connor loves pockets. He loves "zipper pants" and hoodies with pockets, pants with pockets, coats with pockets. He doesn't put anything in them, he just likes to know they are there. If I put him in a shirt with a chest pocket, he's stuffing his entire hand into it's tiny little space, just to test it out. Think he will be combative during daily wardrobing? Offer him a hoodie with pockets! You never saw a three year-old drop his drawers faster.

From October 2012
Though I cannot ever be completely certain, it feels like Connor is our last baby. I think he knows this. I think he knows that I still need that cuddly boy in my arms, to feel needed, to feel the weight of a little person in my arms. He reminds me to slow down and enjoy the walk to school everyday as he points excitedly at the birds in the sky or asks for the thousandth time, "what that noise?" when a bird calls across the trees to a friend. The little boy who used to observe the world around him is long gone, replaced by a preschooler loudly learning things at an alarming pace, adjusting to great change, asking for help when he needs it, learning how to turn on Sponge Bob solo. He learned how to give a real kiss complete with pucker noise this year, but still cannot blow his nose. He announces he is a big boy and then takes it back just as quickly, "I the baby!" He is an exhausting joy and today, he enters his fourth year.


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