|Photo credit: Megan McCoy|
Knox Thomas Steele. My little man turned three on October 19th, surrounded by family and ice cream and dinosaurs. And trampolines. If Purslane is my wild child full of determination and imagination and color, Knox is my full speed ahead, curious, snuggly, hold nothing back speeding bullet. They are so alike and so different.
Knox often starts every day in the middle of night crawling into our bed, still asleep but somehow able to wriggle an arm around me and twirl my hair. Knox is a hair twirler and when we cut off his long baby curls, he began finding comfort in the hair of others...namely his Mamas. So he sleeps a few more hours inbetween Grant and I, until he wakes up for reals with a jolt and I HAVE TO GO POTTY. He potty trained himself two months ago (!!) and can't wait to change into his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle undies.
These undies were his Dad's brilliant idea to introduce Knox to the idea of going potty, and he went for it, full tilt. I think in two months he has had four accidents and each time we learned about it from a wailing "I peed in Michelangelo!!!". He does not like to pee in these undies and the biggest role Grant and I have played in this milestone is to make sure there is a clean pair in his drawer for the morning. We gave him Trader Joe's penguin gummies for motivation, but often he doesn't ask for them and we end up eating them instead...it is amazing. Not one hesitation about stopping play to run to the bathroom, no issues with pooping into the void, and almost overnight I am done with diapers.
This feels like the defining characteristic of Knox growing up. Maybe because he is our last baby, but I feel like changes in development happen overnight before I have a chance to enjoy or even think about doing things for the last time. The week before his birthday we moved him over to his big boy bed, and the day Grant chose to set it up was when he had help from his Dad. So I didn't know that the night before I would put Knox to sleep in his crib for the last time. I didn't have that time of standing over his crib, watching him sleep and thinking about the past three years of nights when I put my baby boy to sleep. All of a sudden, the crib was gone and the bed was in its place.
I don't know what would be better. I tend to be quite sentimental and I wonder if I would be more sad about Purslane and Knox growing up if I knew in advance when things would be happening for the last time. But rocking chairs break and we need to get them out of the house with no time to cry over memories of nursing babies in my arms and piles of bedtime stories with little people small enough to smush in next to me. Favorite board books get replaced with new exciting ones with more words and more pages. One morning Knox doesn't want to eat in his high chair anymore and that stage is over. No more discard piles of peas in the cup holder or vacuuming out the padded seat. And even though my sentimental heart won't miss being up to my elbows in poop rinsing out diapers, no more diaper changes means my babes are growing up. I hope I enjoyed as many diaper changes as I could. Knox lying on the changing table chatting with me about whatever, while I cleaned him up and gave his bare bottom a tap to finish the job.
We take Purslane to preschool on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and Knox and I have alone time for the first time in his entire life. Four hours of the two of us playing dinosaurs, going to whatever park he wants, lunch on the floor while we play trains, grocery shopping where he gets to choose the snacks, library time where he doesn't have to take turns reading the books he picked out. And sometimes just sitting in the back seat of the car while I run all the errands that are so much easier with just one kid to take in and out of the car. Somewhere in there a trip to Zeke's for coffee and a snickerdoodle. Which he calls "a cookie with doodles".
His language skills are fantastic, as the second child's often are. Our favorite Knoxisms right now are Knock Knock Jokes (knock knock, whos' there? peanut. peanut who? peanut butter!), the theme song to TMNTs while running through the house with a paper towel roll for nun chucks, and his hopeful confession for the conclusion to a time out (I'm ready to be pweasent! Mom? Moooom?? I'm ready to be pweasent!).
This past year we dealt with our first surgery, as he had a lesion on his chin that the dermatologist want to have biopsied. In these cases, being a nurse can get in the way of being a Mama, and I found myself uncomforted by statistics and what the doctors called a "routine surgery". I woke up in the middle of the night panicking about rare side effects to anesthesia and seeing my little boy in a hospital gown lying on a table. My amazing husband decided to take the day off of work to take Knox to the surgery center for the procedure. The morning they left, I hugged Knox and prepared myself for the next few hours where I was completely out of control. Grant sent me updates and photos, and our dear friends texted me words of love and support until I got the final word that Knox was awake and eating a popsicle. It was the first time I felt very acutely that as a parent, I am not in control of my children's lives. I prayed hard and tried to fall into the peace of Jesus. Everything ended up fine, the lesion was benign and because he was under anesthesia the scar on his chin is perfect and almost invisible.
His favorite things. Pickles. Macaroni and cheese. Peach juice. Cucumbers and Carrots with "dip dip dip". Cereal with almond milk. Popcorn. Kefir. Edamame. Green football feetie jammies. David and Goliath story in the Jesus Storybook Bible. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. His chopstick and hanger bow and arrow. Sliding down the stairs on his belly. Anything where he is running free and fast. The kid loves to move at full speed.
I can't wait to see what this new year holds for my son. It will be our last year with a kid at home full time, as next year he will be in preschool at least a few days a week. I want to eat up every day where we can make our own schedule and have each other all to ourselves.
I love you, Knox. Your personality is getting bigger and bigger and fits right into our loud and colorful family. You are up for anything and everything you do gets your full attention. I admire your determination and energy and pure little boy happiness. Happy third year, my son.