3 years old

Dear Bam Bam,

You are 3 today. Somewhere between 2 and 3 something magical happens to children. Something magical has happened to you. You start using words at least as often as you use pointing grunting and screaming to communicate. We finally get to hear some of the things that go on in your head. Being here with all of these kids has been great for your language development.

You've figured out that playing works better when you use your words with people and that was pretty good incentive. Now when I walk by you and you are playing with someone you stop to yell at me gleefully, "Mama, me an [insert name here] are pwaying!"

The other lovely thing that happens is that you start peeing more often in a potty than outside of it, even at night! Though for you, that ratio tipped drastically back in the other direction the day you saw your cousin Eli, who is almost 4, drop his pants just enough to pee off the side of the porch while standing on the edge.

Your first attempt to do this ended up in pee all over your pants, as did the second, and the 3rd. But you are apparently mastering this skill at last, because your pants stay dry longer now. I'm happy about that. I'm also happy to let you keep peeing outside in the yard as long as you've stopped pooping in the driveway and use the toilet instead.

You are sweet, so so sweet sometimes, showering me with kisses, and saying, "Me wuv you mummy! Me wuv you!"

Sometimes you shove another kid who is smaller than you for no reason other than that they are standing in front of you. You are still figuring out this empathy thing. But most often you aren't trying to be unkind, you just aren't aware that you are strong enough to hurt people yet.

You love being a big brother. You hold Dek and grin, "Me howding da baby mama, he not cwying."

You lay beside him and smile and give him your finger to hold while talking in a gentle little chirruping voice, "It's ok baby, it's ok."

You run to tell me, "Baby cwying mama, baby cwying."

You can never say anything just once. Once you have discovered a phrase that communicates you find it so exciting that we have to repeat the conversation over and over and over again.

"Mama, me done eating mama."

"Ok, put your dishes in the sink."

"Ok mama. Me aww done eating mama."

"Good. Are your dishes in the sink?"

"Yah my dishes aww inna sink? Mama, me done eating mama."

And on it goes.

One day last week you disobeyed and I had to discipline you. (Ok fine, you do this several times, on several days.) On this day however, when all was done, I pulled you close to hug you and kissed you on your temple, where I always kiss you, and said, "I love you."

"NO MAMA!" You screamed and pulled away. "NO, YOU NO WUV ME."

You were very angry at the injustice of being disciplined for hurting someone who had been mean to you. But life isn't about what the other guy did my son, and you will learn this. It's about who you are in the face of what the other guy did to you, and the choices you make.

You screamed, "No, you no wuv me mama," for several minutes, louder when I quietly told you I would always love you, and so I would help you learn when you needed my help. When the storm had passed you came, whimpering still, to where I was sitting and buried your head in my lap until I picked you up and kissed you again.

Today you walked to the little muban store down the street with your big brother, and no parents along, for the very first time. (The Boy had my cell phone in his pocket in case he should need any help but you didn't know that.) You spent the few coins that he gave you with your birthday present on some candies and came home, very proudly, showing them to me. "Mommy, me back mommy. Me buy caneee!"

You also went for breakfast with daddy on your birthday for the first time, and it was fun and you weren't sad to leave without me.
You are finally ok with the separations that must occur. You understand now that we will come back together again. When we first got to Thailand, I still had to sneak away to keep you from crying the whole time I was gone whenever I went somewhere, just I had to do in California. But the day came when you saw me getting in the truck from where you were playing with the other kids on the playground and came running over.

"You going to da store mama? Can me come wif you?"

"No honey, I'm going by myself, but I'll be back soon."


And you joyfully waved me out the gate.

You were thrilled to be the one getting birthday presents at long last.
 My favorite thing about coming home, and your daddy's too, is the way you run to greet us yelling, "Yay! MY mommy's back. Yay! My Daddy's back." All while doing a little celabratory sort of jump up and down dance. Your daddy felt a little cheated when he came home from two nights away and I was keeping you busy inside with something and he didn't get his greeting. It's one of the best things ever.

I love to watch you get stronger and smarter and funnier each day.

You spent all week playing birthday party. I managed to record a bit of it. It's amazing.

"Mommy, me put fire on da cake."

Happy birthday Dear BAM BAM! Happy birthday to YOU!!!



  1. Carrien, this is a beautifully written letter to your son. I loved reading it and all the stories that came with it. How blessed the children are to have such a wonderful and thoughtful Mama. :)


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