Monday, February 05, 2007


Dear Evan,

Today, you are three. You've proudly announced your advancing age to anyone who will listen over the past week or two, more often than not in a high pitched shriek of excitement that can most likely be heard across the pond. I'd generally prefer to see you speak in slightly more measured tones, but I'll admit that I've been smiling indulgently and letting you scream your excitement about your birthday as loud as you like. Last February, I was scheduling speech evaluations left and right and worrying about your delayed language, and now here you are a year later, using your extensive vocabulary and conversational skills to alert the world about the importance of February 5. Listening you talk now is my reminder never to underestimate you, that if I let you grow and learn at your own pace, you'll surpass my expectations every time.

I owe you an apology, Evan. Your speech is just one of many examples of times that I've underestimated you in the past three years. I think of you as my baby; my sweet, charming, loving little boy. I shower you with affection and attention, but rarely does it occur to me to challenge you in the way I often did with your sister. It always takes you nudging me to show me that you're growing up and that you're ready to be treated like a kid rather than a baby. Out of nowhere in the past few months, you've been putting together 35 piece jigsaw puzzles and drawing recognizable people and playing board games with complex rules and I can't believe I didn't think to introduce any of this stuff to you earlier. You recently learned to write virtually the entire alphabet in the better part of a week when it had never occurred to me to even suggest that you try. One day a month or two ago, you asked to use the laptop and I discovered you were entirely capable of using a touchpad or a mouse, though I'd never before showed you how. I wonder how many times you're going to have to hit me over the head with this stuff before I fully take the hint.

Here I've still been thinking of you as my baby, but you're just so much more than that now, aren't you? Thank you for continuing to show me the way to let you grow, and for being patient with me when I'm a little slower to learn than you. And thank you for continuing to snuggle with me and play the role of my baby sometimes, even as you've grown into a remarkably capable and charming kid. You seem to know what I need from you every bit as much as you know what you need yourself, and I think it's obvious to both of us that I'm not quite ready to let go of the "Mommy as protector" role just yet. I'm grateful that you see that and are willing to indulge my boo boo kissing side by falling down once in a while even as you continue to run up ahead.

Who are you at three? I wish I could paint a picture of your incredibly empathy, your capacity to love and your genuine enthusiasm for life. I wish I could describe the strength of your hugs or the wattage of your smile. I wish I could capture the squeaky timbre of your voice and the joy it both represents and spreads. I wish I could bottle your determination (though perhaps without some of the intense stubbornness that accompanies it). I can't do it, I'm afraid. I can't capture you any more than I can contain you. That's probably a good thing, because if I had the opportunity to keep you just like you are today, I'd be hard pressed to let you grow, and that wouldn't be fair -- to you or to the world that awaits you.

All that remains of those speech delays that worried me so much just one year ago is a slight articulation issue, a handful of words that come out in "toddler speak" rather than clear English. One of those words is your brand new age, which you proudly pronounce as "pree." I know that at some point in the coming year, you'll figure out how to make the "th" sound and I will wake up and find myself with a three year old. But for now, you are my pree year old, and let me tell you, I'm going to treasure every last moment that you are pree. There's not much of that tiny creature I brought into the world three years ago today left in you, and I know you'll indulge me a tad if I try to hold on to the last babyish bits just a little while longer.

Happy birthday, Evalah. I love you, my baby big boy baby.



Blogger Neno said...

Happy Birthday, Evan!!!

6:55 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

Wishing Evan a very happy birthday! Wow, three years old! Hard to believe!!! And, happy birthing day to you! :)

8:19 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

THREE! HOORAY! (I'm shouting too, Evan, because THREE deserves a great big SHOUT!)

Rebecca, I'm facing the same issues with my baby -- about to turn two. It's so different with the last one, the baby. I'd keep mine this age forever if I could, I confess. But for Evan, I'll say again:


9:07 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

Happiest of birthdays, Evan!!! And Happy Birthing Day, Rebecca.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Rosemary said...

Happy birthday Evan!!! Lovely post, Rebecca.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous C said...

Happy birthday buddy, from Chichimama and crew. We wish we could have been there.

1:59 AM  
Blogger Liesl said...

Happy Birthday, Evan! I hope pree is your best year yet :)

2:45 AM  
Blogger denzylle said...

Happy Birthday, Evan.

February 5 is also my own son's birthday...

... Long time ago!

10:45 AM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

Three is a magic number, as you know. Go Evan!

2:58 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Three! Happy happy birthday Evan.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

P.s. - I too have done the same thing with my youngest. I don't know if it's the convergence of him being second (and last) and the boy-factor, but I frequently underestimate him. You'd think after 5 years I'd have learned!

Again, happy birthday Evan, this time from Iain (I'm sure if you ever met, you'd have alot to talk about . . . )

12:29 AM  
Blogger Kristen In London said...

Happy birthday, a bit late, from my daughter, who is ten. We live in London too, and I got to your blog by seeing that you had read mine! I hope you're loving London. I just read about Algarve, and I don't think I want to go to Portugal either. But I'll visit your blog again, certainly!

11:23 AM  

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