Sunday, November 13, 2016

Happy 3rd Birthday James!

(James turned three last week and I've been working on this letter since then...)

Dear James,

Happy birthday to our wonderful, whipped-cream-and-bacon-and-ice-cream-loving, thoughtful and imaginative boy! You’ve grown in so many’re adventurous though cautious, getting more and more friendly with people (I love the way you wave and say hi), and you are so observant.  You learn quickly and remember things that surprise me.

You’re a sweet little man.  You love snuggles when you’re sleepy, and lately you have started to give me sudden hugs and saying “You’re special, Mummy!”  Your laugh is the best thing ever, and you’re so ticklish…”This Little Piggy” has you crumpling and laughing hysterically every time.  You love your Emmy Bear, even if her liking for your toys frustrates you at times.  The two of you are learning slowly to play together and you strategically try to distract her with toys if she’s getting too close to what you’re doing.  Sometimes you hear her cry before I do.  You give her hugs and want to take her down the slide, and you sing her “I’ll Love You Forever”:  ” Emmy shall be!”

You’ve grown to be such a helper.  You love to collect and take out the trash with Daddy.  If I’m working in the kitchen you say “Help me?  Help me?” and move a chair over to the counter.  You love to dump and mix or just stand and watch.  Sometimes I’ll be mixing ingredients in a separate bowl and I’ll turn around to find that you dumped them all into the main bowl!  You don’t do dishes very often because of the water mess factor, but you sure love it...especially the “fire hose” that pulls out of the faucet.

I love your way with language.   A few months ago you started saying “Ooomah”, and we were rather confused...turns out that it’s your version of a kiss: “ooo-ma!”  The other day, as you used the back of a fabric pencil to brush off the toilet lid, you said you were “sweeping up da sugar-bugs”.  You’re polite, often saying “pea-pease” and “sank you” and “‘scuse me!” without prompting.  When you don't like food: “I like it no!”  If the bath water is too hot you want it a “little looser” and you say “turn off the gate” if you want it down.  Recently you knocked some salad out of the fridge: “Sorry dat, salad!”

You get so excited about trains!  When we’re at Grandma and Grandpa’s and we hear a train, there’s a general rush to get outside to see it.  The Califonia Zephyr (the Amtrack train) is a favorite.  Grandpa often says “Praise the Lord!” when you see it, so now you can’t have “Praise the Lord” without the California Zephyr.   “Praise the Lord, the California Zephyr!  The people train!”  Some days you say that you can hear a train from our house...which is more of a tribute to your imaginative abilities then to your hearing abilities.  (You have an awesome imagination.)

You love to talk on the phone, be it real or imaginary.  You’ll have full conversations on the blue Duplo phone (just a long piece of Duplo, actually), or you’ll talk to Daddy or Grandma on my phone--occasionally saying things that I say, like “Can you hear me?  Are you dere?”  You have so many aunts and uncles and cousins and you love to spend time with them.  I’ll tell you where we are going and you’ll tell me what toys they have--orange garbage truck at Auntie Christy’s, little garage at Grandma L’s, green garbage truck at Grandma and Grandpa’s.  

You’re our little music boy.  You ask me to sit and play piano with you and you love it when you get to try out my violin.  You sometimes play the “big-tar” (real guitar if we’re at Grandma and Grandpa’s; a book, tennis racket or some other item if we’re home) or take a hymnal, stand by the big chair, and sing music of your own making.  You’ve also learned a lot of songs; “I’m In The Lord’s Army”, “I’ve Got The Joy”, “Spring Up A Well”.   One of your favorite things is what you call “doing a big Jamesie”: standing on the bathroom counter facing the small cabinet mirror door with the big mirror to your left.  You sing “Spring Up A Well” and move the cabinet door around, watching all of your reflections.  You also really love singing “Happy Birthday” (often to Mexico, for reasons unknown to us) and blowing out whatever candles are handy.  When we visited Grandma Noni this fall you were walking through the kitchen one afternoon when you noticed a candle burning on the table; you climbed a chair, sang Happy Birthday to it, blew it out, and continued with your business.  

You've had very definite preferences about bedtime routine that are only now starting to loosen up.  We sang “Away in a Manger” pretty consistently for nearly a year after Christmas….often you’d ask for all three verses.  “This is the Day” and “Jesus Loves Me” are also bedtime favorites.  You used to be so particular about what toys you had in bed with you: five trucks (same five every time), monkey, blankie, water, a few books.  You’re becoming a little more relaxed--monkey slept in the dump truck for a while there--but you still keep quite a collection in bed.  

Garbage trucks, trains, fire engines, car carriers...anything big and automotive makes you happy.  Watching the garbage truck is a highlight for you.  You also love watching the lawn crew and you now have a thing for lawn care equipment.  You’ll take the broom outside, turn it upside down, and weed-whack the grass complete with sound effects.  Daddy rigged a leaf-blower for you out of a backpack and the vacuum hose and you love it.  Oh, and the love the vacuum.  Unless I’m running it, in which case you take yourself off to sit on my bed till I’m done.  Recently our whole complex was re-roofed and you've taken to roofing the ottoman, using a guard rail from your toddler bed as a ladder.

I love your abandon, seeing you run and play and fully lose yourself in what you’re doing.  I love your gentle and caring heart.  You’re such an imaginative boy and it makes me happy to see you playing in your own little world, with your “little green boys” and your trucks, or sitting and reading stories aloud to yourself.  I love how you’re observant and cautious, the way you notice and remember everything.  Daddy and I pray that as you grow, you will learn to know Jesus and to love and trust Him freely.  We're so glad that we got you and that we get to be the ones to watch you grow.  

Love you forever, precious boy.