Saturday, December 29, 2012

A baby no more

Today, my baby turns three. It's not really a milestone birthday. Not like the first or Sweet 16 but for me, this one is still pretty big.

Three is that age when you see the personality come out, the independence. Three is when you really "meet" your child, in a sense that they are now, very definitely, their own people. Some can still be called toddlers.

Paxton cannot. 

He is anything but "toddling" at this point in his very young, play-filled life. He is running, jumping, climbing. He is talking. Not as well as most of his peers but better than his brother was at this age and better than he was a few months ago. He's not even toddler size! Standing up to Phoenix's shoulder and wearing a size 4T, he looks closer to four or five than just-barely-three. 
December 30, 2009 -- From Baby...

It's hard for me to remember him as a baby; he's just grown so fast! He was rolling over before we moved from Oregon and was walking by nine months. He's been babbling and fighting with Phoenix for months now and sometimes, I can't believe he's still only three. 

Having Paxton has changed all of our lives, in so many different ways. He has helped teach me patience and simply won't tolerate being yelled at.

He just shuts down.

Arms crossed, head bowed, he'll glare at me from under his eyelashes.

He is all emotion and reaction. Treat him calmly and with respect and you have the most wonderful kid in the world.Yell at him to do what you want and you will have the world's biggest fight on your hands and YOU WILL LOSE. Trust me on this one.

He's reminded me that part of my job as a parent is to give these boys confidence. Confidence in themselves and confidence that I will always, always, be there for them, no matter what. If I'm yelling about spilled milk or crushed-up cereal on the floor, they probably aren't going to want to see how I react to them breaking a neighbors' window or crashing a car.

I am teaching them by example more than I am with words and what I do is what they will remember. I see a  self-assured, bright, intelligent little boy when I look at Paxton and I have the greatest hopes for him, and Phoenix too. He is always so happy, smiling and playing, laughing at anything and everything Phoenix does or says. He wants nothing more than to be doing whatever Big Brother is doing, much to Phoenix's displeasure.

We left Portland just fifteen weeks after he was born and he will never remember anything about being there. He is essentially a California kid, even if he was born in Oregon.

This is all he's ever really known. It makes me sad because in some ways, it's a lot like what Phoenix experienced in Portland: crazy times with Mom and Dad trying to figure out how to make life happen. There has been an incredible amount of fun though, too. I mean, how many kids can grow up and say they used to wrangle chickens in their Huggies??

Paxton can.

He's explored Old Folsom with us and gone to Sly Park to see snow for the first time. He's learned to crawl, walk and run here in California. We've gone swimming in Folsom Lake and camping God-only-knows-where and again at Mosquito Lake (never camp anywhere named "Mosquito-anything"). His first Christmas was here, at our house in Orangevale.

He's started speech therapy at CSUS and will start school this year too. He's almost got this potty training thing down, announcing 'I pee! I PEE!' when he needs to go or has already gone and I can see how proud of himself he is when he bounces up and throws a fist in the air with an "I DID IT!". In three short years, he's gone from a helpless, totally dependent ball of goo and poop to a smart, independent, strong-willed little boy.

He is no longer a baby. He is on his way to childhood. As hard as it is to watch him grow up, as hard as it is to lose my "baby", I am so proud of the person he is becoming. I can see in him the changes I have made in myself and how I parent. I can almost see the boy he is becoming; almost but not quite. Boy in 36 months flat ♥

He was born during a freak snow storm in Portland and even with a name that means "peaceful village", this kid is a tempest when he wants to be. He is strong; he is smart; he is full of energy and curiosity  He wants to explore the world and conquer it; and today, he turns three.

I love you so much, little man. You have changed me in untold ways and I am forever in your debt. ♥


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