Happy 3rd birthday, Monkey

Well, Monkey, despite all your best attempts to drive Mommy and I to the brink of toddlericide, you made it to be three. It was your first birthday in Canada — your previous birthdays were both in Costa Rica. It wasn’t as warm as it was there, and there was no pool for you to splash in. But that didn’t seem to bother you any.

It’s hard for some of us to truly believe that you’re three. You’re still a baby to us, in many ways. And yet even someone who’s never met you before can carry out a (reasonably coherent) conversation with them. You know what you like and what you don’t like (even if you actually do like it and you’re just being difficult), and you no longer parrot what we’ve said — you have your own thoughts.

And I gotta tell ya, kid … today, you made me a very proud daddy.

I think the hardest part for you today was when you woke up last night with a bad dream. Instead of crawling in bed with me, as you normally do, I intercepted you at your door, and ushered you back into your bed. It was unfair, I know, and for that I apologise. The reason was we didn’t want you to accidentally wreck the string of paper rings we’d hung there after you’d gone to sleep, and you might have accidentally taken them down.

When you woke up, you saw the rings and seemed unsure of why they were there. Even your name written across the bathroom mirror in two-foot letters, with a big “3” didn’t seem to register. Mommy and I put this down as you not having woken up entirely yet (clearly, you needed your coffee as badly as I did). It wasn’t long before you realised that, yes, today was your birthday. Your special day.

(Choo Choo, I know that somehow you felt a bit maligned. Forgotten. Ignored. Your day will come, and then we’ll make sure you feel special. I just hope you kids realise Mommy and I have to do this at least another 17 times. That thought is a little daunting right now.)

We had blueberry pancakes. You wore your Ariel princess dress and your crown. (Which isn’t much of a surprise. You’ve worn that crown every single day since we got back from Winnipeg.) Then, while you read and played a bit, Mommy and I proceeded to get the house ready for your party.

It wasn’t easy. There were a lot of things we had to do to get ready, and the truth is we wouldn’t have got it all done without help from both Grandma, Nana, and Auntie B (your Great Aunt Brenda). But at five minutes before party time, you were dressed (still wearing the crown), and waiting.

Great Aunt Brenda, Grandma, Fairy Godmother Sue, Nana, Erin, Westgate, Calgary, Alberta, 22 August 2010

The first ones to the door were Jenn and Braden. Braden can’t walk yet, but we were still thrilled to see him. It wasn’t long before others started arriving. When Michelle and Lindsay appeared, you shrieked, ran out of the house, and gave Lindsay a huge hug.

Mommy and I had to do all of the inviting this year, so I invited all of your family — you saw them all yesterday at Grandnana’s memorial dinner — while Mommy made sure your Fairy Godmother Sue could come, along with some of the friends you’ve made. Sadly, Christina and Luke couldn’t come, Luke was feeling very sick.

You played downstairs with some of the kids, you talked with your relatives, and you ate most of the Goldfish crackers. When the cake came out, you screamed “cake time!”, leapt off the couch, and ran into the kitchen and took your seat at the table. After a rousing chorus (I totally forgot to use my alternative lyrics), you blew out all but one of the candles without assistance (you needed help to lean in for the last one).

Although you take forever to eat ice cream, you loved your ice cream cake. And so did everyone else.

As is always the case with a good party, it was over all too soon, and people were headed on their way home. You said goodbye to everyone, and even hugged a few of them.

After dinner, the four of us sat down to open presents. You did the unwrapping, I recorded the event on video, Mommy kept track of who gave you what, and Choo Choo lay on the floor being intolerably cute.

I gotta say, kid, for a group of people who were told not to bring anything, they brought some pretty freaking cool stuff. You got a lot of neat things, especially to add to your growing collection of things in your play kitchen downstairs. Now you have a shopping cart, food, and ice cream to go along with it. You’ve got more colouring things, some dress-up dolls, a couple of more books, and your Auntie Cathy struck again with some awesome clothing.

Oh, you don’t believe me that you liked these things? We have video kid, cries of delight and all.

After a bath, we rolled you into bed for a long birthday sleep. It’s been a long, great day for you. And for us.