When you are three, you believe that anything can happen. You sit down for breakfast with disheveled hair and ask earnestly, “Mom, can we go to the moon today?” The line is blurred between what is possible and not, what is real and pretend. Days are filled with magic and wonder and discovery. You roar and stomp through the house like a T-Rex, watch through the oven window as muffins slowly rise or plead to catch “just one more” lighting bug before it’s time to go to bed.
When you are three, you hardly need toys. You regularly stage a coup and disperse all your belongings into piles of chaos throughout the house. Your message is clear: It’s more fun to dump out toys than it is to actually play with them. The things that really captivate your attention are everyday household items. Kitchen scissors are great for trimming blades of grass in the front yard. Tongs can pick up hot wheel cars and trains when you’d rather not use your fingers. More delight awaits in the rolling pin, the hair dryer, chapstick, pillows, winter gloves, and the bathroom sink. Let’s not forget vacuum cleaner attachments. Hours of entertainment!
When you are three, you love cheesy scrambled eggs, bacon and blueberries – at least until tomorrow when you don’t. You are fluent in English and Whine-ese. Your best friends are a ragged bear and your big brother. Bear dangles from your clenched fist as you shadow your brother’s every move calling, “Dackie! Dackie! Who will play with me?” You are eager both to please and torment him.
When you are three, you are silly. You wholly embrace yourself as you march through the house sans clothing while singing “Country Roads” under the cover of an open umbrella. You change the lyrics in the song so that “poop” is every few words, and you find this wildly funny. Your mother does too, but she pretends it’s not appropriate.
When you are three, you walk on the edge of independence, changing daily with each new challenge you accept. You can buckle yourself into the car seat (so what if it takes 10 minutes?), wear underwear (mostly backwards), ride a bicycle with training wheels, and sleep in a big boy bed. Your legs have grown long and lean, your feet are sure and agile as they pound the floor, and your smile is tinged with a bit of mischief. A glimpse of the baby you were only remains in the high notes of your speech and curve of your fair cheeks as you fall asleep with one arm holding tight to Bear.
Yesterday, a two-year-old rested his golden head on my lap for the very last time while we sat on the front porch swing in a light rain. My fingers combed through his soft hair while we talked about turning three. Concerned, he asked, “Will I get a birthday cake, Mom?”
“Of course you will, baby!” I replied.
Today will bring birthday songs, three proud candles aglow, cupcakes piled high with icing and a celebration of all it means to be three. We will spend the day loving Parker fiercely. We may not make it to the moon, but we’ve got a drawer full of kitchen utensils that he will undoubtedly delight in.
Grab the garlic press, the measuring cups, and the sushi roller and play till your three-year-old heart is content, Parker Bean. We all love you all the way to the chicken coop and back.