I love this photo. It encapsulates perfectly Ian’s third year of life. In motion, leaping headlong into each day, into his life.
And what has life been like for him this past year? Well, a lot of fun, but also a lot of new lessons to learn and some big changes.
The first learning leap was in the vocabulary department. It’s amazing to think that just a year ago he only said a handful of words. In January his language skills took off and now he’s a major gabber. Sometimes it’s hard to get him to stop. But it makes perfect sense that he can talk an ear off because he’s a Haggard! I was just waiting for the day that genetic predisposition would show itself.
What does he talk about? Well, a lot of things. But my favorite memories have been when I lay down and snuggle with him before bed and we chat it up. He puts his hands behind his head and says “Let’s talk about (fill in his topic of choice–Mater, McQueen, Thomas, etc).” Then he goes on and I listen. He’s also been known to ask “So what was your favorite part of your day?” What a considerate kiddo! (His wife will love that.)
He’s also back in “school”–as in BSF. He’s got a fondness for his teacher Miss Stacie and looks forward to seeing her on Tuesdays. He’s pretty good about telling me things he’s learned in his class (“Paul saw a flashing light!” and “We ate juice and goldfish.”). Just the other day he recited the entire Pledge of Allegiance to me. It’s a little strange to hear him talking about things he didn’t hear from me or Jason, but I am glad he loves the classroom so much.
Other things Ian has learned in his third year? Well, he’s getting pretty quick on his bike, he’s an expert camper, he builds a mean train track, and he knows how to dig a dirt hole (a favorite summer past time). He also knows how to pull up my tomato plants.
On a more positive note, Ian has learned how to give very genuine complements to his Momma. At least a few times a week when we sit down to dinner he says “This dinner look AMAZING!” (a very common Jason-ism). And whenever I get dressed up or put makeup on Ian tells me I look pretty or that he likes my dress. Even the other day, out of nowhere, he put his arms around my neck and told me I was beautiful over and over again.
He sounds saintly doesn’t he? But he’s still been a two-year-old the last year. And we have definitely had our fair share of disciplinary moments. He has difficulty at times expressing and verbalizing his feelings in an appropriate way (don’t we all). A child after both Jason and I’s hearts, his typical default emotion is anger. So, we are all learning in this process.
I will say it’s hard to teach your kid the intangible, fruits-of-the-Spirit sort of things you yourself feel so amateur at (and sometimes even incapable of). I could go on and on about how many lessons I’m learning as Ian’s mom right now, but that would be a huge digression.
So, back to the birthday boy.
In May he went from his toddler bed to a twin bed. This transition was pretty easy. As I write this he’s snuggled up under his camo blankie, Grandma blanket, and Mama blanket with his kitty cat, bear bears, puppy dog, lamby, and bat. It’s a full house. I can hear him talking and it sounds like some kind of Aboriginal language. They all must be having some kind of tribal pow wow up there.
The next two life changes for Ian were the biggest he’s had yet. I’m talking about Change with a capital C. It’s what we as adults talk about when we talk about change. And we generally agree we don’t like it, even though we know it’s good for us, because it’s hard.
Well, Ian’s Changes this year were potty training and getting a new baby sister.
As Ian’s mother, I can go on the record as saying that Ian’s not really all that into Change. But, as with the rest of the human race, he’s trying to go with it and adjust.
His (our) potty training experience can be best described by saying “It was the best of times and the worst of times.” There have been smiles and excitement and dances of joy. There have been many gummies consumed and DVDs watched.
Yet for our bathroom being such a small room, it’s amazing how much tension you can fit into it. I swear there have been times you could cut it with a knife. There have been marital disagreements (fights) over the potty, and tears (mine) cried.
I also have to interject to say I am still amazed at the places pee can hide around a toilet. Places I never knew existed.
As Ian turns three, I see him making a mental and emotional switch, completely of his own volition. He’s not completely trained, but he has taken more ownership and pride in his potty accomplishments. He’s doing it because he wants to, not because we want him to. He is embracing Change (okay, I’ll stop capitalizing it now).
Lastly, there is what we all knew was coming for nine months–the sibling. For Ian, taking on his role as a big brother has been a mixture of things: anticipation, excitement, pride, tenderness, jealousy, irritation, desperation, mischievousness. One moment he’s being too rough, the next he’s practicing gentleness perfectly. He gives his sister the evil eye and calls her a “Bad Guy!” and then make a silly face so she’ll give him a belly laugh (which she happily does).
I’m not sure what else to say about this except that as an only child it’s all new to me. I’m curious to see how Ian’s relationship with Imogen grows. Ian’s been waiting patiently for the days when Imogen can play ball or cars or trains with him. And I have been, too. I look forward to the day he puts his arm around her and leads her off into some adventure.
I love my son. He is a joy of joys. This year has not been easy for any of us, but Ian has made it through all the lessons and all the change. Thanks be to God and good work, Ian!
Here’s a quick photo recap of the year.
Just now I hear Ian hiding at the top of the stairs saying in his whiny voice “Mommy, I want you to come snuggle with me because I love you.”
You melt my heart, Ian bo bee-an.