My dear, sweet, Dane.
You are 3! The past 3 years have been life changing, amazing, and so special to your Daddy and me. We are constantly watching you grow and learn and develop in amazement. At least once a day we will look at each other say something like "he is just amazing" "how does he even know that" "he is getting so big and strong".
I had a thought the other day while watching you. I don't remember exactly what you were doing but I remember thinking how you are whole. You have come to this world and family as a whole little person and that we don't have much to do with it. God blessed you with your individual personality, talents, abilities, likes and dislikes, emotions and sensitives. That all we can do is love you. Love everything about you. To help you explore your emotions and this world with love. Sometimes as a parent it's easy to get caught up this parenting theory or that theory, and just basic worry that we need to form you right away. But really you are already formed in the image of our God and we are here to help you learn his love for you through our love.
You communicate very clearly. You were an early talker and now your talking is not just repeating what we say but you are having your own thoughts. It's awesome. Every morning when daddy leaves for work you will say "Bye Daddy! Have a good day at work! I'll see you later! I love you! It's so sweet. In the evening when we are having dinner together you have picked up on how I always ask daddy how his day was and now you have taken over. You say "So, Daddy, how was your day?". Daddy will answer and then ask you in return. Your usuall answers are "It was busy" or "It was a good day. The sun came out!" Haha! You are always pointing out when the sun comes out these days.
You have always been clear about being a Daddy's boy but lately you are showing a bigger interest in me. I'm not going to lie, I love it. Daddy taught you that I love flowers and so now you are always bringing be flowers. We have a lot of clover flowers growing in our yard and you are constantly picking them with your brother and bringing them to me. I usually will make a flower crown out of them and you have started requesting one. You have started snuggling me and giving me "monkey hugs". That is where you wrap your arms around my neck and legs around my waist and then squeeze as hard as you can. They are my favorite!
You have never been one to be very outgoing or supper smiley and silly but it's becoming more clear that you are a very sensitive child. You seem very serious and strong on the outside but you feel everything very deep and strong. You hate when people play wrestle in front of you. We were at your daddy's best friends house, Uncle Ryan, and he was wrestling with his daughter and you broke down sobbing. But I guess this isn't new now that I think about it. I also remember when you were somewhere around 4-6 months old and your best friend Roan got bonked on his head and started crying and you put your head down and cried with him. This is a great quality to have, son. To be empathetic to others is a blessing and really important. Keep that. Your wife and children will appreciate it. "I need some space, Mama". I'm hearing that one a lot lately. You would much rather do things on your own then have help. You also want space when you are feeling mad or sad or sick. When you get an owie instead of running to one of us for comfort you will always run away and not want us to touch you or look at it or give you kisses. It took me a while to figure this one out because I am the exact opposite but your daddy is the same way. One of my wise friends suggested just telling you that "I was here for you when you needed me" when you get an owie and it has made a huge difference in our dynamic. I feel like I'm helping you from a far and you don't feel smothered. It has actually made you come to me for comfort more! Funny how listening to you instead of pushing my ideals on you makes a difference.
You are still very tall, 40 1/2 " to be exact. And boy are you a hunk of athletic muscle. You love anything athletic. Throwing a ball...which you can do better then me now, dribbling a basket ball, kicking, running, jumping, climbing. Holy smokes can you climb! Your favorite thing to climb is the rocks in Monterey. It kind of gives me a heart attack but I have a feeling I just need to get used to it. Your hair is a darker blonde now and your eyes are still green with some brown streaks in them. Your hair is getting long and your daddy keeps telling me it's time for a cut. Just a little while longer I think.
Your whole body still shakes when you get excited. You will wiggle your fingers and hands and some times jump up and down. We practice relaxing our bodies a lot he help you learn that you can have control over your body when you get excited. You are getting pretty good at it!
You are a memorizer. You know the entire "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" story by heart and will recite it. You know the first 3 articles of faith, lots of songs, and some other books. You love listening to Peter and The Wolf and know all the themes and their characters. Some times I wonder if I am giving you enough to learn. You are such a sponge! You know all of the letters and know how to spell your name. You can recognize the word Daddy.
You eat salad now!
One of my favorite developments is that you are really starting to play with others. Up until now it has been more of playing next to others. Now you interact with them and come up with imagination play. Usually shooting things with sticks. Speaking of sticks you are always on the hunt for your next great stick. It is pretty standard for us to leave the park with two hands full of sticks that you can't bare to leave behind. You also will spend hours throwing rocks into water if we let you.
Dane we love you. Your Heavenly Father loves you. You are a whole, amazing little man and our family would not be complete without you. This is a time of figuring out a lot of things and I wish I knew how to do everything for you and how to parent you perfectly. But, I've only been a mom as long as you have been a child and we are learning together. You teach me daily about how to be a mom and about my self. Also, being a mother is teaching me a lot about my relationship with my God. We are all growing up together :-) I wish that time would go in slow motion some times because I'm enjoying these years with you so much. But, so far every age you have been has been my favorite and I'm guessing that will just continue.
I'm excited to see what this year brings!