The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

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Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

November 10, 2013

On turning three

Birthday loot from the grandparents
He has fully rounded the bend past babyhood. Boyhood is clear on the horizon. I am watching the transition happen, right in front of my eyes. Suddenly, the child who would throw a fit because he didn’t want to walk is refusing the Ergo, insisting that he trot beside me for most of the almost half-mile to the el. He is trick-or-treating without a stroller, climbing steep porch steps without help. He is hanging off the bars at the playground, swinging his feet.

The child who had no words at all, really, is asking for more juice, more book, a big bowl. A glass of wine is “Dad’s juice.” He is saying “no dress,” “no bed.” He is singing the last word of each verse of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” saying the last word of each page of Goodnight Moon. He is pointing out blue, green, purple, yellow, red. He is saying “ummm” when faced with a choice. He is saying Dad? Dad? Dad? Mom? Dad?

He has said “Love you” back to me when I turn off the light at night.

He will never take a step off a curb or over a bump in the sidewalk when a full-throttle jump will do.

He has a sense of humor, slyly making the sign for “more” when he finishes a treat, grinning at us because he knows he can’t have seconds.

When I read him a book, he points to the page, giggling at a silly picture or crying "uh oh." It’s still so easy to make him laugh.

He can pedal a tricycle, draw a circle, comfort a fallen toy with a rocking hug, say that he’s 3, and give the best kisses, especially when they’re unsolicited.

He demonstrates more empathy than I'd expect from a child his age.

He has opinions about what shoes he wears.

He will sometimes throw the nearest object when he’s mad. He will hit. We’re working on this.

He has never been a good sleeper, and that hasn’t changed. We’re working on this.

He has peed in the potty twice.

He sometimes waves and yells “Bye bye!” to people exiting the el.

When he wakes in the morning, he says, “Up, Mom,” and brings me my slippers or glasses.

He loves the beach, the water, the hose, his Cozy Coupe, his tricycle, firetrucks, trains, Thomas, Bob the Builder, construction vehicles, his soccer ball, balloons, sticks. Ice cream, grapes, meat, fish, beans, rice, cereal with milk, M&Ms, sweet potato fries, “juice,” yogurt, ice cubes. He loves to walk on Clark Street and visit the dog store, the frozen yogurt place, the dry cleaner, the bookstore, of course the toystore. He is afraid of spiderwebs.

He remains a big fan of music and will pretend to play a horn when he hears it. He asks for music in the car. He loves the Native American drumming songs on his music class CDs.

A few weeks ago we toured a preschool that we’re considering for next year, and my heart leaped and ached at the same time, imagining him filing down those halls with the other big kids. It’s such a strange feeling to want and not want something at the same time.

It seems so unsatisfyingly inadequate to say how much I love him. How special he is. How deep my dreams and hopes are for him. How hard it is sometimes to parent a toddler, yet how grateful I am to parent this particular person. These days are so maddening and so sweet. They’re studded with such highs and lows. I would not trade them for anything.

Happy third birthday to my one and only Will Jiho. 

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Blogger Betsy said...

I loved reading this! He has grown so much...has made so many discoveries. A blessing, indeed!
Can't wait to spend some time with him!
Love, Betsy

9:35 PM  

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