Tomorrow is Pip’s birthday. Three years will have passed since I held him in my arms in the quiet stillness of the hospital birthing centre, staring in adoration at his swollen, blue little face. Sometimes I wonder if someone secretly pressed a ‘fast forward’ button on life when Pip was born. It’s as though the movie that I waited my whole life for; the one where I finally got the leading lady role, is whizzing past so quickly, I barely have time to capture and register each scene. The other day he scooted through the park at breakneck speed; ‘You can’t catch me’ he laughed, propelling himself further and further from the mother ship with the power of just one leg. Expelling a bit of puff and some precious shoe leather, I proved, much to his amusement, yes, I still could - but I know I won’t be able to forever. Even at this young age, it’s apparent. Despite the fact he’s only three, already I find myself trying to make the most of every moment; to revel in the joy of his constant presence, whilst I’m lucky enough to share it.
Somewhere in the last year, between two and three, my toddler has become a little boy. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment, it just sort of crept upon us, but here he is standing before me; age three; my small wrinkly, demanding baby has become a tall and lean, easy going, blond haired, blue eyed boy. When he was younger, I lamented each passing phase, he was growing so quickly, too quickly; I wanted to hold onto each precious moment. As time has passed, I feel differently; he can now communicate and articulate so much more, have a proper conversation and make himself understood. I am finding this particular age, a wonderful age.
3 is a magic number because:
I see Pip exhibiting increased confidence without the limitations of self - consciousness. Every time we go to the park he’ll say; ‘ I’m just going to go and play with my friends, Mummy.’ And off he’ll go, approaching the first random child or group of children that take his fancy. Watching how he opens communication and contact, or tries to break into their group is always interesting to me. It’s not something I find easy as an adult. I watch as he mirrors their body language, copying the hopping or jumping game they are playing or as he unabashedly invites himself to join in hide and seek. He makes ‘making friends’ seem so easy.
His imagination knows no bounds. His wigwam play tent gets turned over to become a ship, a broom handle becomes part of the mast. There are big storms ahead and we both get in and take cover. We sail to an island where we rescue his pet unicorn from a tree (with the broom handle again) and if we blow on the unicorn, we can make it bigger or smaller. I love the imaginary games he plays, they fascinate me.
He’s starting to demonstrate knowledge of the world around him. Knowledge that I know he hasn’t gleaned from me. Sometimes it’s a little confused, as if something has been lost in translation, between hearing and comprehending. Pointing to my laptop screen saver, a scene of outer space with twinkly stars, I was informed; ‘That’s the Milky Wave’. That’s not to be confused with the microwave though, which has a similar sounding moniker; the ‘Milky Cave’. His interpretation of the world as he learns about it is amusing and endearing.
He has no fear. My little ball of testosterone, is quite happy to dive bomb into a pool without armbands, even though he can’t swim properly without them. Or jump down the fireman’s pole on the climbing frame, even though he can’t slide down it safely yet. The daredevil in him also likes everything to be fast. I’m surprised he didn’t arrive in this world wearing his very own go faster stripe. ‘Drive the car faster Mummy.’ ‘Look at me, I can run fast Mummy, can’t I run fast? I’ll race you, Mummy. I’ll be the winner!’
Planes, Cranes and load carrying automobiles are the best thing in the world when you’re 3. Rubbish trucks are pretty cool too. Especially when they’re big, made of plastic, have flashing lights and make lots of noises. Putting dried pasta inside them and transporting it all over the house is great fun. But, putting them all into Mummy’s bed (including the dried pasta) while she tries to have a lie in is the funniest thing ever.
He thinks that doing his ‘Crab dance’ in the middle of a shopping centre is the most natural thing in the world. Inhibitions? What are they? Surely they play music over the tannoy so you can dance if you want to? That’s what Pip thinks.
Kisses, hugs and cuddles with Mummy and Daddy are still abundant. I love the fact that my son is such a tactile, warm and loving child. I love the fact he demands kisses and hugs regularly. Even though I moan about him invading my bed in the night, there is something rather sweet about hearing his small voice whisper through the darkness; ‘ Can I come and sleep in your space?‘ (Translated - what this means is, I’m about to push you to the edge of the bed. Hold on, mother’) .Undoubtedly there will come a time when the thought of getting in Mummy’s bed will be abhorrent, when kisses will get wiped away, and hugs will get shrugged off, but right now, at three, they’re still warmly invited and reciprocated.
And my final thought; 3 is magical because...
For the last three years, we’ve had Pip all to ourselves. As the song says; we’ve been a tripod, a triangle, a trinity. I always wanted another child, but, if it had never happened, three has been, and would still have been, a fantastic place to be. It’s funny how life works out, but I feel very thankful that Pip has had the benefit of all our undivided love and attention for so long.
This time next year, three will have become four as we grow to incorporate one more. I’m sure, once we get there, four will be the new three, but in the meantime, in every which way, three is still a wonderful place to be. This summer, I’m going to take the time to enjoy our triangle whilst I still can.
Happy Birthday, my wonderful boy. x