A Letter to my 3 year old the night before he turns 4

You are my sunshine my (one of many, not only) sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey.  You’ll never know dear how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away…

You my dear Emmett are pure sunshine.  I sung this song to you tonight and rocked you like a baby because, well, you are still my baby.  Tomorrow you turn 4.  Today is your last day as a 3 year old and while I can’t believe another year has come and gone, I can believe that you’ll be 4.  I was telling your father tonight that you are still a little guy.  Four still seems young to me.  You will still need us to get you dressed in the mornings or get you ready for bed at night.  You are still going to need us to get you food and you will still want us to hold and cuddle you.  However, you my dear, are SUCH a helpful little person.  You let the dog out, you can get certain snacks for you or your sister.  You get us diapers and bottle for Aubrey and you can get your shoes on (even though they are on the wrong feet most of the time).  You can turn the TV on and you know how to navigate the iPad.  I’m still waiting for the day when you can buckle yourself into your own carseat or put yourself to bed but those will come in time and I’m sure when they do I’ll miss the days that I could help you with that stuff.

Time is a funny thing.  You don’t necessarily see it passing until the time is gone and the memories are made.  I am not one to be super sentimental about the passage of time because these past few years have been super intense but for some reason or another I have really felt it lately.  It hurts to think about you getting older and becoming a teenager one day.  I can’t even think about you not wanting to be rocked or hugged whenever I want to hold you.  I love holding your sweet soft hands and smelling your head when I kiss you goodnight.  I love how you sing about your life every chance you get and how sweet you are to your sisters.  You never ever would hurt anyone or anything and it pains me to know that sometimes at school kids do push you around because you are so sweet.  I hope we teach you how to stand up for yourself and never to let anyone take advantage of you.  I am proud of you though.  I’m proud that you don’t bully other kids.  I’m proud that you are so well mannered.  I’m proud that when teachers describe to me the type of kid you are they always always start with “he’s so sweet…”  I’m proud that you seem to know exactly what you want but also understand when we don’t want you to do something.  I’m proud that you don’t usually argue with us as long as we give you a reason as to why you can’t do something.  I’m just so proud.

Watching you explore your world and try new things is a big one these days.  You can be timid and not want to do new things and you are a pretty shy kid sometimes.  You are a lot like me which is both good and bad.  You seem to have the same anxieties that I had when I was a kid and I hope that I can walk you through those tricky waters because they ain’t pretty at times.  I love having a kid so much like me because I understand a lot of what makes you upset.  I love that you are so sensitive.  You care so deeply about so much.  Feelings and emotions are a huge part of life and I’m so glad you seem to feel so deeply.

It’s tough for us a parents to sign you up for things that you say you’ll love and then not want to try them out when we put you in the situation.  I’m hoping this is just a phase.  This past year for Halloween you told us for at least a month that you didn’t want to be “nothing”.  I admire your stubbornness because the day of Halloween you stuck to your guns and you were indeed nothing.  Even though we told you time and time again that Campbell would get all the candy and you would get none if you didn’t dress up you could have cared less.  We finally convinced you to be “sock-o” which was putting a sock on your hand and calling it a costume.  You were the same in soccer too.  You really really didn’t want to play so you didn’t.  You are a lot like your father in this way and I think he secretly loves it.  I think you are a good mix of both of us and I’m hoping that it serves you well in this life.

Emmett, I want to write and write and write about every day that passes.  There’s just not enough time in my day to do that.  I wish I could video tape our life because I just can’t believe how lucky I am to have you by my side.  You are always the first kid I chose to take with me on errands.  I absolutely love taking you with me places.  You are fun to talk to and fun to shop with and I love taking you out for lunch or to get ice cream.

I am going to just gloss over some of the harder times we have had with you as a 3 year old because I don’t want to dwell too much but we have had our fair share of tantrums and sleep problems with you over the past year.  I’m still convinced the sleep problems started with taking your pacifier away from you.  We had been wanting to take it away for a while but there was always an excuse.  Finally your dad decided back in June to just pull the trigger and cut the nipple.  You instantly hated it.  You tried and tried again to suck on it but it didn’t give you the same pleasure it once had.  You threw it across the room explaining to us that it was broken.  It was a horrible period in our lives because not only were you having a terrible time sleeping (the pacifier was only for bedtimes and you loved going to bed so you could get your paci), but we were having a horrible time getting you to go to sleep on your own.  We spent countless hours waiting for you to fall asleep so that we could sneak out of your room only to have you wake up in a rage of terror a few hours later.  I finally started making you skip your naps because you didn’t want to go to bed at night and would be up until 10pm some nights.  This was a no go considering I was taking summer school and needed that evening time to study.  Sleep actually didn’t improve with you until January!  Your father worked on you for a loooooong time and we finally got it under control right before we left for the hospital to have Aubrey.  You have become an early riser but for a while there you were waking up 2-3 times a night.  I will take 5:30am wakeups any day over waking up all night long every few hours.  I will thank you for that though because you prepared us well for bringing home a newborn again.  You are sleeping much better now going to bed anywhere between 7-8pm and waking up around 6am give or take 30 minutes.  We’d love it if you’d sleep til 7am but that just isn’t going to happen.  You are like your mom, full of energy and just don’t seem to need tons of sleep.  You have completely given up your naps but are fun to hang with in the afternoon once your sisters go down for their 3 hour naps.

During your sisters naps I love baking cookies with you or playing outside with you or even sitting down and watching some TV with you.  When I was pregnant with Aubrey I was so exhausted by the time I got Campbell down for her nap that every single afternoon we’d usually watch a movie that was at least an hour and fall asleep together.  I’ll never ever forget that time for as long as I live.  It actually benefitted both of us because you were transitioning out of your naps but you’d sleep just long enough to get to a happy place to finish out the day and I got some much need sleep myself plus we got to cuddle together and my son, there’s just nothing better than cuddling with one of your children.  You have always been my cuddler.  Over the summer I took you and Campbell to Kansas City and the Lake of the Ozarks with me for 10 days and everywhere we went we slept in the same bed and I will be honest with you, I’m kind of looking forward to going back to KC this summer so that we can continue our tradition of sleeping in a big bed together at your grandparents house.  You aren’t allowed to sleep in our bedroom at all at home but we always make exceptions when on vacation.  I know that we only have about 5 years left before you want nothing to do with sleeping in the same bed as your parents so I’m soaking it up every chance I get.

And now it’s getting late and I need to turn in because you’ll most likely be up around 6am tomorrow which is fine with me because I’ve actually really come to enjoy our mornings together.  It’s crazy how that happens.  Mornings used to be just all for me but I now tuck you in and tell you how excited I am to eat breakfast with you in the morning (or rather watch you eat while I drink the entire pot of coffee).

Happy Birthday my big 4 year old.  You are most definitely one of my sunshines.