Today, you turn three. You hold up your fingers, struggling to hold down the thumb and pinkie, and tell me — show me — that you’re three.
In the morning, we celebrate your threeness with activities arranged into trinities: three hugs, three kisses, three tickles. As we head to the kitchen, you decide you want three jumps, so I stand at the base of our small staircase and catch you three times as you leap, in complete trust, three times into my arms. We go back to your room and you want three pushes: I sit on your rug and you gradually, with steady pressure, push me over, landing on me with giggles.
For three years now, we’ve been three. While it’s hard to accept that it was three years ago that you rushed into the world after only an hour of your mother’s labor, it’s equally difficult to accept that it’s only been three years. It seems like so much longer. This is undoubtedly due, in large measure, to the simple fact that you’ve developed more — cognitively and physically — in these three years than you’ll ever develop in your life. You’ve learned to talk, walk, run, dance, tickle, fix chocolate milk, sort things by color, chose your own clothes, put on your jacket, and a million other things that you will take for granted in the future but are in fact life changing advances. you have, in short, become more independent.
In the beginning, there was dependence. You could do nothing for yourself except burp and mess in your shockingly small diaper.
Each year, you’ve grown more independent, and more stubborn.
You’ve gone from having things done for you to insisting on doing everything for yourself. Insisting to the point of utter frustration at times.
And now, we celebrate your completion of three years. You’re starting your fourth year with us.
We bring you a small cake — Babcia’s work — and clap as you blow out the candle. Your first year, we did it for you.
Your first birthday’s presents were of a simple kind: they made noise, or flashed, or rattled. We unwrapped the presents for you and showed you how they work.
Now, you unwrap your own presents and excitedly examine them.
We still help you, though. It will be that way for a very long time. Hopefully, a very, very long time. You’ll understand that desire when you have children of your own.