Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Our Three Year Old

Cruz turned three about a month ago and I'm telling ya, life hasn't been the same ever since!  For those who told us the terrible twos had nothing on the threes knew exactly what they were talking about!  Our little spark seems to be driving in one of two gears lately - a little light bulb, learning new things and growing into this smart, witty, and sweet boy before our very eyes, and other times, a ball of fire that can't be reasoned with, no matter how deliberate we try.  Beau and I are yet again exploring unfamiliar territory as parents and while some days require us to exercise new amounts of patience we didn't know we had, we seem to be more astonished with his growth than ever before.  I remember growth spurts, when he seemed to be changing right in front of me, but the last few weeks have been really incredible.  He's growing into a little boy, one with friends, opinions, and knowledge that leave us shaking our heads in wonderment, or pulling our hair out in frustration constantly!


Some things to remember about Cruz at three...

...our bedtime routine.  One of the best and most frustrating parts of my day.  Cruz has been fighting going to bed lately, trying to reason with us with statements like "I'm not tired," or "It's not dark yet." (sorry buddy, welcome to daylight savings time, when it's now dark at 4:30).  Our answer to getting him up to his bedroom at night is by allowing him to bring things with him to bed.  Some nights, I tuck him in next to Tow Mater, a pirate sword, a DVD, and a tape measure.  He's never liked stuffed animals, however, lately, he's taken to his Cloud B Sea Turtle as a night light.  We cuddle up under his comforter, read 2-3 books, and talk for awhile before prayers, another potty break, a glass of water, and finally, sleep.  Exhausting, but nothing more rewarding than reading those books with his little head on my shoulder and his little sister kicking away to the sounds of my voice.

...bathtime.  Lately, an hour ritual because Cruz typically needs a 20 minute break in the middle to take care of some business on the potty.  It must be the warm water, which we typically have to make warmer when he's done his job because it takes so long.  We wrap him up in a towel, give him a toy catalog, and he kindly requests we shut the door to give him his privacy.  Twenty minutes later and a resounding, "I'm done!" and he's back in the tub, playing cooking show or giving his cars a wash.  

...Cruz moved to the three year old room at daycare a little early, about two months before he actually turned three.  At first, I was a little hesitant about him being behind his peers; however, it's proved to be so good for him.  The things he can do blows my mind --- things like putting on his shoes or pulling up his pants, walking in a line to the gym or waiting patiently for his food to be served before eating.  He knows the months of the year in order, can tell me all about why the leaves fall off the trees during the fall, can recite the entire Pledge of Allegiance - with liberty and justice for all!  

...Cruz has two best friends, Liam and Eli, and they're quite the characters at school.  Cruz and I also do Kindermusik with Liam and his mom on Tuesday nights and it's fun to watch them interact.  They're friends for sure, hugging and giggling one minute, and bickering and tackling the next!  I'm still getting used to this boy thing - the tackling, shooting, playing bad guys, etc., and am constantly asking "Where is he getting this stuff?" with the things he sometimes says.  

...Cruz seems to get more 'boy' every day.  He loves monster trucks, race cars, football, and Batman, but Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater are still his favorites.  They are the only surefire bedtime companions, the reason Beau and I will sometimes find ourselves halfway under Cruz's bed at 2:30 in the morning, groggily attempting to stretch our arm to retrieve the necessary accompaniment. 

...Cruz had his very first ear infection a couple of weeks ago.  For the first time, he was actually able to communicate what didn't feel right and we sprung into action to get our boy back to normal as soon as possible.  He was very brave at the doctor's office, but the antibiotics were a different story!

...Cruz is wearing 4T in most shirts and 2-3T in pants (he has a waist like his daddy), clothes he has quite the opinion over as of the last couple of weeks.  It's a new adventure every morning, as some mornings he'll be completely agreeable and the very next time I try the exact same outfit, he'll refuse.  I've started giving him options every morning, picking two things for him to choose and that seems to be solving the problem for now. 

...Cruz has one week left of Soccer Shots at school, a soccer program for three year olds on Tuesday mornings.  I've been hearing a lot about Coach Marty and Soccer Shots, so I decided to sneak in and watch yesterday morning.  It was completely adorable to see this twenty-something kid interact with a group of toddlers.  It made me smile when Cruz kept looking over his shoulder to see that I was still watching him, and I was yet again amazed at how a group of three year olds can follow directions, do what they're told, and get something meaningful out of instruction.  

...In addition to our school, we've also been blessed with an amazing children's ministry at church.  Cruz has the absolute best teaching staff in his room right now, and there is truly nothing better than seeing your child begin to form a relationship with his Savior.  Last Sunday, he came out of the room assuring us that "God is with you wherever you go," telling us the story of Deborah and how brave she was.  Seeing this network begin to form of all the people that will be part of Cruz's story is the most amazing thing - a calm reassurance that it indeed takes a village.   

...Cruz loves to sing and dance, and rarely a day goes by without the three of us singing the ABCs, Old McDonald, Twinkle Twinkle, or the Johnny Appleseed prayer.  The prayers Cruz gets to recite at school have become our rotation at home, and I have no doubt that one of my fondest memories will someday be the three of us at the table before suppertime, arms stretched out like Superman, singing, "Thank you God, for giving us food..." to the tune of Superman. 

...I can hardly wait to watch our boy become a big brother.  Although he still sometimes thinks she is currently residing in my boob, he seems to understand that our family is about to grow and that he will soon have a new responsibility.  He also seems to have a name picked out for her - one that may just be the one we decide to go with.  He just sort of started calling her that out of the blue and it seems to fit for now.  

...I wish I could bottle up Cruz's sweet little voice and the little things that come out of his mouth all the time.  Times when he grabs my hand out of the blue, rubs the part between my thumb and index finger gently with his finger, and tells me, "yous my best friend, Mommy."  He is affectionate, soft hearted, and so sweet, and he melts me all the time.

There you have it!  A glimpse at our life with a three year old, one who teaches us patience, makes us smile, and melts our hearts every day.  Every age, every stage is a new adventure, one that stretches us in new ways and makes us all the more aware of the important work we're blessed to do.  

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