On the morning of Thomas’s birthday he woke up at 6 a.m. Everyone else was still asleep, and instead of doing what his siblings would have done at his age — stay in bed and scream until someone got him — Thomas got up, quietly walked around our house, then came into my room and said, “Can I have a bar?”
He woke me and Anna up at least an hour earlier than we would have liked, but how can you be mad at a blonde shaggy-haired boy on his birthday?
The morning was so typical Thomas. We’re constantly amazed but not at all surprised by his independence. Plus, he’s mostly made of granola bars.
Thomas at three is mischievous, destructive, and up to no good. He’s not a rule-follower, he’s a rule-finder, flipper, and bender until the rules look like a fun animal balloon. He climbs on the counters, draws on the walls, and has locked me out of the house more than once. But he’s totally good-natured about it, so it’s fine.
He loves the color orange, playing with bugs, and basketball. He is fascinated by superheroes and bad guys, mostly Spiderman and Dr. Octopus. His favorite show is Power Rangers, and he walks around all day shooting us with a curled finger. Thomas speaks only in shouts, is almost never fully-clothed, and is tall for his age. Once as I was driving he said, “I’m SO tall, right?” I told him yes, and he continued, “And I have a REALLY BIG head?”
“Where’s Thomas?” Is a constant refrain in our house, and I cannot tell you how many times our doorbell has rang and when I answer it, Thomas is standing on the front porch, laughing. If you were going to babysit Thomas for an afternoon or even 15 minutes, I’d tell you, “Secure your valuables. Nail down anything that can be moved. Lock up flammables, and hope for the best.”
If you’re reading this and thinking, “She should really get a handle on her kid!” My response to you is, “I’M OPEN TO TIPS!”
Just like he was at two, Thomas at three is wily, rambunctious and loud. But not ONLY because he’s misbehaving. It’s more like he looks at craft supplies and thinks, “UUUUUGH, THIS AGAIN? CRAYONS ARE SO BORING IN THE BOX!”
Tonight I was encouraging the kids to eat and Thomas covered his plate with a napkin and said, “BUT MY DINNER’S ALL GONE!” He sat there, incredulous, holding his hands up in shock. “Where’s my dinner? My dinner’s all gone! Why you no give me dinner, Mommy?” We all laughed, I was probably the loudest. See? Isn’t that more fun than throwing your food on the floor like a normal three-year old?
Thomas’s entire vocabulary is three-year old phrases I never want to go away. Like, “actua-wee,” or when he shouts, “WHAT DA HECK?” or “WHAT INNA WORLD?” Whenever I’m drinking a Diet Coke he snatches it, cocks his head to the side and in a high-pitched voice, says, “Just a little bit?” He says “cog” instead of dog, and so, as a family, we now say “hot cog.”
When he counts, he says 9-2-9. That one is fading fast because we’re doing a lot of number review in preparation for kindergarten. When he counts, “1-2-3? Right, Mommy?” I have to resist the urge to say, “No, remember? 9-2-9.”
At some point he mixed up the words “noggin” and “cheek,” and I love asking him for a “noggin kiss.” He asks to kiss my noggin, too, and he takes my head in his hands and knocks me over with a kiss on my cheek.
The only day he knows is Saturday, and he will take you to the mat if you try to convince him that yesterday, today,and tomorrow are not all Saturday. When he asks me what day tomorrow is, he nods, answering his own question, “Saturday, right?” I always say yes, because I like that kind of optimism, and because I’m usually not wearing a helmet.
One thing Thomas does not tolerate is flatulence. In a family of six that sort of thing is bound to happen from time to time, and whenever it does, Thomas claws at his face and screams, “WHAT’S THAT PASS GAS? WHO PASS GAS? I NO LIKE THAT PASS GAS!”
When I was pregnant he blamed gas on Anna, in utero. Now he mostly blames it on Tom, who is typically at work. And, so, looking at the evidence, I have no choice but to say, “He who smelt it…”
Even though Thomas is almost always laughing, he’s also a just-turned-three-year old, which means that juuuuuust under the surface of all that silliness is a full-blown tantrum. If he gets even the slightest bit hungry or tired? We suggest you find an interior room with no windows, crouch, and cover your head with your hands.
When we tell him to stop doing anything, he either ignores the instruction and screams, “BUT I NEED TO!” Or he screams,”NO YELL AT ME!” and starts crying, one of those intense, frozen, open-mouthed silent cries. This is especially true anytime Tom corrects him; even if he uses his sweetest fairy voice. When we point out that we did not yell, we are just talking, he screams louder, “NO TALK ABOUT ME!”
Once he asked me for his water and I said, “Sure, buddy,” and handed it to him. Then, as if I’m the unpredictable, unreasonable one in this relationship, he responded sweetly, “Thank you for not yelling at me, Mommy!”
All you have to do is look at Thomas’s unkempt hair lack of pants to know that he’s my third-born. He is independent, and has privileges and expectations that would have seemed extravagant for my first-born. He puts Band-Aids on his own cuts, can peel a boiled egg, and he steals snacks and drinks from my pantry to stock his play kitchen. If he had a part-time job selling snake oil on the Internet I would not be a bit surprised.
Thomas’s siblings are equal parts annoyed and entertained by him. He is a perfect foil to Mary, tag-a-long to David, and no one entertains/endangers Anna like Thomas. He steals their toys, won’t play by their rules, but even they can’t help but laugh at him. Once the kids were voting on who they’d get rid of if they could, and everyone voted for Thomas, even Thomas. “I want to go!” he said. “Leave me at the pound so I can see the doggies!” And then he laughed, and everyone else did, too.
At times he’s stumbled and staggered through the transition of becoming a big brother. He loves Anna, but dividing time with Mama has been hard.Having a newborn in the house makes being a baby look like a pretty good gig, even to the most independent boy. He asks to get in Anna’s “outfit” (the Moby wrap) and snatches her toys. Sometimes he asks for attention in covert ways, and other times he doesn’t even try to hide it and says, “PUT ANNA DOWN AND HOLD THOMAS!”
While David is in school, Mary and Thomas are together all day, and they’ve struggled to forge relationship since they don’t have many of the same, um, interests. Mary likes stuffed animals and Thomas likes committing felonies. It’s been interesting watching them figure it out. Mary is older so she naturally guides their play, but since Thomas is less inhibited, he spearheads their adventures. Together they pack backpacks and play school, gather blankets and play sleepover, and Mary puts on a cape and plays superhero. They bicker and fight, but they also have a unique relationship that I know he’ll miss when she’s off to kindergarten.
This year Thomas was in preschool two days a week. He wore the same thing almost every day — his orange shirt and his “Spiderman pants.” Every morning, wearing that awful outfit, he made me sneak up to his classroom and lift him up to the door so he could shout “SUR–PRISE!”
Surprise! We’re here! Just like we said we’d be!
Why walk through a door when you could stand in the doorway and shout surprise?
Every morning when I finally sit down to eat breakfast, Thomas climbs into my lap and says, “Want to eat eggs together with me?” I indulge him, even though it means sharing my breakfast, because I know this stage will not last. Also because I know that a little protein will make a smoother morning for all of us.
Whenever we eat that way — with him in my lap, alternating bites — Thomas calls it a party. We take bites and chat, and Thomas looks up at me and says, “This is a party, right, Mommy?” Yes, this is a party.
That’s life with Thomas. Every day is Saturday, and every occasion calls for a party.
I didn’t mention that in the post — that I call you Buggy, and Buggy Boogey. There’s just so much to say about you, it’s impossible to include everything.
Every day you nap from 1:30-3:30, and every day, no matter how much you need rest, I wake you up to go to the bus stop. You are always sweaty and sleepy, and I am amazed at your long limbs as I lift you out of your bed. I say, “Oh no! Did you grow in your nap?” And you always respond, “I DID! I GROWED!”
Kids don’t stop being babies over night. It happens slowly and in phases. Even after babies cut teeth and learn to crawl and then walk, they still need to be held.
But you, one day you were the baby, the next day you were a big kid. For you it happened over night.
This has been a tough year for you, you’ve had so much transition — potty training, a big boy bed, a new sister. You’ve handled it like you handle everything, with confidence and humor. But every now and then you’re like, HOLD UP, THIS IS TOO MUCH! I’m a big boy, but I might need a little more time with diapers and my crib.
But, mostly, you need Mama to hold you.
We are so proud of and delighted by you. You’re an amazing kid, absolutely phenomenal. When you came into the world we knew life with you would be a wild ride with twists and turns and probably end with a grand finale of being shot out of a cannon while juggling chainsaws, and it has been. You are equal parts wild, sweet, sensitive, and tough. You run head-first into life and the rest of us run along, so glad to be with you, basking in your wonderful spirit that we couldn’t contain even if we wanted to.
I love you,
Dang this is some fun writing – and spot on for 3 years old. Loved it! Laughed out loud a few times.
aaaah, what a high compliment coming from you! thanks for reading! AK