Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday, Carter!

Today, well, actually at 10:9 a.m., my boy turns three-years-old. What a memorable year this has been. I'm going to attempt to recap as much as a can, or at least the highlights, because I do not want to forget them.

A year ago (his second birthday) was somewhat difficult. He was still having a hard time adjusting to his baby brother who at the time was almost seven-months-old. I couldn't leave the room with the two of them alone together for any reason whatsoever because Carter was so aggressive and really testing boundaries. On top of that, he had some speech delays that were keeping us from being able to communicate well which was frustrating for both of us. I was desperate for anything to change, and God was very faithful to hear my prayer and answer me. Shortly after his second birthday last year, I called Early Child Intervention (ECI), and they send a speech therapist and case worker out to evaluate him. I was very anxious headed into this situation because whatever reason, I was afraid to learn that something was "wrong" with my child. They couldn't have been kinder or more understand and willing to answer any question that I had. To sum up his evaluation, they tested for six different areas of development. In every other than speech and language, he tested at anywhere from 4-8 months ahead of schedule. In speech and language, he tested three months behind schedule, and you have to be at least 4 months behind schedule in order to qualify for their in-home therapy. So she encouraged us to wait three months and see what happened, and then reconsider whether we wanted them to come back and test him again. It was a very wonderful experience, and I'm very thankful we went through it because it reminded me that contrary to what I commonly believe, I am not in control, HE is, and He has my children right in the palm of His hand and that His timeline is far superior to mine. I'd say that following that evaluation, within the next 4-6 weeks, his speech completely took off and flourished, and he most definitely made up for lost time. That's also about the time when we noticed that he began to reign in some (of course not all) of his aggressive behavior.

Here is my boy last year celebrating his second birthday with Me-Maw and at the Houston Zoo.

Dear Carter,

Today you turn three years old. Something happened this year that I never want to forget and probably won't since I'm sitting here bawling and have only written two sentences in this birthday letter to you. This year, from two to three years old, is when you transformed from a turd destructive, sometimes dangerous ball of energy and aggression into a still very active, but now very playful and likable little boy. I use the term "little" VERY loosely as you are now about 3.5 pounds heavier than your big sister. You went from being "cute" to being downright handsome. Seriously, son, I see trouble in the future as you have the most beautiful blue eyes and will most certainly be the star linebacker or offensive lineman of your high school football team. It is a miracle that you don't have permanent bruising on your cheeks from how often your mommy (and others!) squeeze them.

This year your interest in specific toys really became apparent, and it has been a joy to watch. Anyone who knows you knows that you're never without a Matchbox car (affectionately referred to by you as a "v'room, v'room") in hand, and usually two or three. Your favorite movies are "Cars" and "Cars 2," but your favorite Cars character changes weekly from Lightning to Mater to "Finn Missile" to "Ban-check-o" (Francesco). You love anything on wheels including trains too. You love pushing and pulling anything on wheels too like our wagon or the stroller or your "egg car" that's meant to be ridden in Flintstones style.

I love chatting with you. You are just like your daddy. You don't always have much to say, but you want to be heard when you finally do speak up! One of my favorite memories from this year is when you would get irritated because we didn't listen to you immediately when you were talking, and you would yell very sternly, "Hey! I'm talkin' to you!"

I love watching you play with your brother and sister. I'm so thankful that I can leave you alone in the room with them, especially Caleb, and not just because it means that you are less aggressive, but because it means that you are actually playing together and having fun. (And it means that Caleb is starting to defend himself.)
You have become a daddy's boy through and through, and I'm beginning to be OK with that. As soon as he walks in the door in the evening, you run to him and yell, "Daddy! You're home! Come play with me!"

As a two year old, you started preschool, and you have done so well. I'm constantly amazed at how much you've progressed and what wonderful things your teachers write on your daily reports such as, "Carter knows his shapes so well, and he won the shapes game today." Or "Carter is the only one in our class who knows the entire Pledge of Allegiance so he leads us every day." I'm so proud of you, Son! What a blessing you are to your class, and what a blessing First Steps Preschool at River Bend Baptist Church has been to us! Here's your birthday celebration at school yesterday. Your mommy and brother had such a great time celebrating with you. I'm so thankful you enjoyed your "bue cuh-cakes with 'pinkles."

Last night I put you down as a two year old overwhelmed with how redeeming this year has been. I know that might seem slightly melodramatic (get used to it, that's how your momma is), but it really has been because at this time last year, I was desperate. I hope that many characteristics of your personality never change. You are a raging ball of testosterone all boy, and I don't want that to change. You are not really very affectionate just like your daddy, and I'm OK with that too. This year was very special because I saw you become a playmate and friend to your brother and sister and to your friends at church and school. That was very special to watch, Carter. You are so very loved and so very special. I can't wait to see what you'll become and do over this next year. For now I'll refuse to believe what all the naysayers believe about three being worse than two. :) 

Your bedtime as a two-year-old! Wake up, Son! I'm ready to sing to you and smother you with birthday kisses!!

Love, Mommy

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