Monday, April 17, 2017

Letters to Aden: 3 1/2 Years


You are 3 years and 4 months old now, and a non-stop wrecking ball of little boy energy. We always say, "there's no one else in this world quite like you," and it's true. You are full of interest in the world around you and determined to live life on your own terms.

For the most part, you are a happy, easy going child. Not much upsets you when it comes to sharing toys with other kids, what to wear everyday, or what you eat for meals (okay, sometimes you do have an opinion about food). Try to get you to do something that wasn't your idea in the first place though and whoo-boy, good luck! "I do it myself" is a phrase we hear quite often from you, though you aren't afraid to shout, "a little help here!" when you need it. The irrationalness of toddlerhood is still in full effect at Age 3 1/2. Just the other day, you threw a giant tantrum because you wanted to push the elevator button at preschool which - as I reminded you repeatedly - you did. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why you were crying.

Outbursts like that one aren't very common for you though. You're typically happy when you're along for the ride, and always up for an adventure. You remind me of Curious George by the way you turn an everyday trip to the grocery store into a five-alarm event. There was the time you soiled yourself in poop from bum to boots while sitting in the grocery cart, or the time you were lost in Target and an employee had to radio for assistance. I carry you everywhere, despite your very capable ability to walk, because you find running in busy parking lots to be a exhilerating experience.

See what I mean when I say life with you is full of surprises? Here's what else is new with you:

You weigh 32 pounds and are 37 inches tall which is average, if not a bit on the smaller side, for your age. You wear size 3T clothing and size 9 shoes. Lately you seem to be shooting up in length, even if your clothing size doesn't yet indicate a change. I snapped this picture of the two of us together in a bathroom mirror last week, and I couldn't believe how big you looked in my arms. No longer my baby; you're growing up Aden Boy!

We took the pacifier away around your third birthday (which you were totally fine ditching, by the way) and with that, you decided to drop your afternoon nap. The absence of the pacifier didn't cause an interruption in your bedtime routine - thankfully you still went to sleep at night without issue - but you were over laying down during the day without it. Not that you seemed upset about it; you'd just stay awake in your room and bang on the door until we let you come out. So, rest in peace afternoon quiet time. It was fun while it lasted.

The upside of dropping your afternoon nap is that we're not as limited by a time schedule during the day. This allows the three of us (you, Tory and I) to go to playground after Tory's morning preschool class ends or run errands in the afternoon. You're also ready for bed when 7:00pm rolls around often saying, "Phew, I'm tired. I want to go to bed now." And, you do. You lay down and go to sleep almost every night without issue.

There's been some big milestones in your development the last few months, Aden. You're now potty trained which is a big accomplishment. For months, you showed zero interest in using the toilet and I didn't push you toward it. Knowing you and your temperament, I figured it would have to be your decision. Tory and I went away for a girl's trip one weekend in late February and when I returned home that Monday, you said you were ready to go potty like a big boy. Wahoo! I'm not sure what Daddy said to you (other than "boys stand up" which you've recited more than once). Just like that, you went from wearing diapers to being fully potty trained day and night. Easy peasy.

Since we took away the pacifier, you've become more conversational. Some of my favorite things you say are, "Will you come check me up?" (aka: will you come back and check on me?) when I put you to bed at night and "shake it off, Tory" when she's whining about something or another. You have a bit of trouble communicating sometimes, often hanging on the vowel sound in a word. As an example, you might say "Can I have a tree-ee-et?" I consulted an early childhood specialist within the school district about it, and she assured me it's part of a child's development at this age. Soon, your language skills will be able to keep up with your quick-moving brain and all should work itself out in the end.

You'll all about 'things that go' in this stage of life. A cabin friend of ours owns a big John Deere tractor which you love, and you request to go there to ride in it nearly every weekend. You also love driving our Ranger UTV and Sportsman ATV at the cabin with Dad. Last fall, one of our cabin neighbors gave us their old Power Wheel tractor and it's by far your favorite toy on the planet. You'll ride circles around the cabin for hours on the weekends. The battery dies eventually, you cry, we charge it up, and then you do it all over again. 

You also love riding your tricycle outside and playing in the dirt. I'm excited for summer because I know you'll have a blast fishing at the lake.

Once a week, you attend a preschool class through the state's Early Childhood Family Education program. At the beginning of the school year, you weren't a big fan of separating from me at the mid-point of class, but now it's a non-issue. You're a natural leader among classmates and fairly outgoing. Week after week at school, you either play at the water table or roll toy cars up and down a wooden ramp. You'll happily play side-by-side friends in your class or do these activities alone.

You're also taking swimming lessons this spring in preparation for summer at the lake. For some reason, you want nothing to do with lessons this time around. You're not afraid of the water or the instructor; it's like you're bored after swimming for the first 10 minutes. Time and time again this spring, you hop out of the pool halfway through the lesson and say, "I all done" in a matter-of-fact tone. Sigh. As I mentioned before, you rarely do anything unless you want to. So ... we'll keep working on it.

Not much is new with you in this category. You continue to be my meat and veggies eater, and I have to remind myself over and again that you don't like the same "kid food" as Tory. You prefer beef, pork, chicken or fish and a side of broccoli, asparagus or green beans over PB+J any day. In fact, you still refuse to eat any bread at all. Pancakes or waffles are hit or miss with you.

Also different than Tory, you prefer to wake up a bit before you eat breakfast. I'm accustomed to Tory who demands food the minute she wakes, and I've learned you're far more likely to eat a substantial meal if I wait until you're truly hungry mid-morning.

Your mild allergy to dairy products continues. Milk or butter used in baked goods doesn't seem to bother you, but eating ice cream (which you love!) induces an almost-immediate skin irritation in the creases of your arms and legs. It's an eczema-type rash, so nothing life threatening, but irritating nonetheless.

One food you're obsessed with is Doritos. I don't usually buy chips, so every time you go to Daddy's office or to Nana and Papa's house you bee-line for the snack drawer. Nana even sent some in your Easter basket this year because she knows how much you love them. Not the healthiest by any means, but I suppose we all have our guilty pleasure.

Tory remains your very best friend; the two of you are glued to the hip! For the most part, you play together so well and it's adorable listening to your conversations and imaginary play the older you both grow. Recently, I have noticed a bit more squabling between the two of you and usually, my boy, you are the one picking on Tory. You take something away that she had first; then, she screams and you squeal in delight. I'm not sure how you'll react when Tory's in kindergarten full-time this fall. It's safe to say, you'll miss her greatly.

Your best friend outside our family is Elia, the son of a friend of mine. When it's just you and Elia, the two of you play well together. When Tory's around, Elia tends to play with her more and you'll happily go off to play on your own. Actually, that's exactly what happens with Dominic - the little boy who lives in our condo building. You and Dominic will be in the same preschool class this fall, so I curious to see how your friendship develops over time.

You also have an adoration for your cousin, Brooke (or Brooklie, as you call her). We only see our Nebraska relatives a few times a year, but you seem to pick up where you left off every single time.


Life with you is always an adventure, Aden, and I wouldn't have it any other way. All the wild and crazy moments are forgiven when you wrap your arms around my neck and give me one of your fabulous "neck hugs." My baby boy you'll always be.


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