Children
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You Are Three.

By: Jen Shoop

Today, you are three. I have written too much too frequently about the agony of watching you grow, so instead, today, I will offer you the affirmations I issue you every single night after our prayers:

“Hill, you are my curious, outgoing, caring little boy, and I love you more than anything.”

You have heard these words, in the same order and with the same intonation (occasionally accelerated by your mood), nearly 1,095 times, as you have been gracing us with your blithe, inquisitive, affectionate self for 1,095 days. I know both you and your sister slick them away like rainwater. Her affirmations, by the way, are different. It is striking to me that the words I picked for you as infants based solely on motherly intuition have proven true: rare, gem-like instances of parental prophesy. I have felt ambivalent on some matters of parenting, but I have known with a dead-center kind of certainty the shape of your tender heart since the day you pressed your tiny mouth to my cheek on the operating room table on which you were born, anointing me with dozens of birdlike kisses I desperately needed.

But on the days you doubt yourself (there will be days), I hope these affirmations return to you not only in their meaning but their constancy. There is power in repetition. There is poetry in ritual. If you remember nothing else I have said to you over the past three years (you seem particularly keen on forgetting my nightly dinnertime chorus: “keep your bottom in your seat”), I want to pin these words onto you, to remind you over and over what a wonder you are and how widely and fully loved you have always been.

Tiny Things I Love about You at Just-Three.

The way you unfailingly say “God bless you” when somebody sneezes — even in the middle of the consecration at Mass to a complete stranger three rows back.

The way you sing “Hallelujah” all the livelong day.

The way you say “Hallelujah” — with four or five extra l’s.

The way you say “Mmm, nummy” when you are eating something you like.

The way you run when you are showing off, with exaggerated movements of the legs and arms.

The way you squint in churlish dismay and say, “Already did that!” when we ask if you’ve used the toilet.

“No, me do it!” — the most common phrase in our house at this time.

Your chirping voice, in constant conversation.

Your focus while doing puzzles.

Your orderliness: the stepstool in front of the toilet is always returned to its resting place after use.

The way you call your sister “dee-tu,” which was at one point the way you pronounced “sister” (?!) and it has stuck.

The way you search for the letter H everywhere, always, and happily herald its sighting each time: “H, Hill!”

The way you say your own name, almost with a cockney accent: “‘aaaaayyyhhllll.”

Your go-with-the-flow attitude. You’ve been this way since birth. (Second child thing?) I remember at your sister’s third birthday, on the eve of the pandemic, when you were only nine months old and probably desperate to explore, that our apartment was overflowing with visitors and commotion and cake, and we installed you in a little seat and you just sat there, placid and pleased, for what must have been an hour as the world spun around you. At one point, one of the dads at the party said: “I like his vibe. Chill dude.” It is true – that is you. Even now, we say it’s time to leave, and you leave. We say it’s time to have breakfast, and you eat. You are relaxed in a way I have never been and accommodating in a way I aspire to be.

The way you cupped my face in your hands during your sister’s graduation from Montessori and said: “I love you, mommy. I’m happy.” Golden moment.

Everything.

Post-Scripts.

+Parenting is a long string of firsts and lasts.

+The lasts are really killing me.

+That time I totally lost it after dropping you off at school.

+Would you believe…

Shopping Break.

+All of the gifts we bought micro for his birthday today.

+Such a chic summertime knit. With white jeans or white shorts?! GET OUT OF HERE! Love.

+My mom has been raving about this moisturizer, and I found it for 30% off here.

+This fan favorite swimsuit (apparently ultra flattering) is on sale!

+OMG – this shop sells the cutest stationery for us dog moms.

+I have been hearing so many people extol this salad cookbook, starting with Grace, who mentioned it over a glass of wine while I was in Charleston in April. I was skeptical at first — a cookbook solely on salads?! — but her energy on the matter was winning. Now I’m thinking it would be a fun lunchtime regimen to make one of these salads once a week for the rest of the summer.

+A dead ringer for a style from S&L – but only $40. Cute in a boy’s room.

+Excuse me, I need this dress.

+This tee dress in white with these sandals in black.

+An absolutely fabulous dress for a bride (her getaway dress? a bachelorette? ahhh love!). I love it so much I added it to my list of contenders for my 12 year anniversary this August. Also love this scalloped number for a bridal affair.

+Someone said that this summer is the summer of ugly sandals — haha! The styles are definitely skewing substantial and slightly clunky, but…comme il faut. I am wearing my platform fishermen everywhere! What do we think about Dad sandals?

+LOVE this scalloped mirror.

+I’ve featured this dress a ton but I love this punchy new print it comes in!

+Sweet enclosure cards for a little lady.

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4 thoughts on “You Are Three.

  1. Happy belated birthday to Hill! How sweet are these recollections of age three?! So precious! I hope he had the best day 🙂

    xx

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