Tuesday, September 16, 2008

You at Three and a Half

Dear Hunter,

When you turned two and a half, it was somewhat of a turning point for you. Over that summer from the age of twenty-four to thirty months, you went from a chubby, babyish toddler to an undeniable, full-fledged little boy. I was amazed at how much of a turning point that age was for you, and I wondered if three-and-a-half would be the same sort of turning point. For a while, I didn't notice many drastic changes, but looking back, I see how much you have truly grown.

In the past six months, and past year, you have grown so much it amazes me every time I think about it. Not only in size but in intellect, sociability, and character. If two-and-a-half was the turning point from little toddler to little boy, then three-and-a-half has certainly been the turning point from little boy to little man.

Just looking at your pictures and seeing the difference in your face is incredible - and not just in physical features, but your whole face just shines with budding maturity. You're still so small, so young, and have so far to go - but you've come so far in the past three and a half years that it is extremely difficult to comprehend that you've only been around that long.

You want so desperately to be big, to be a man. You are always offended if anyone speaks of you as "little" or "small". "No, I'm a BIG boy!" you always say. And indeed, you are.

You are absolutely ginormous! Just a couple days ago I had to give away all of your summer clothes because you had out-grown them all. Holding up the shirts that you so recently wore, I could not believe that you actually fit into them in the beginning of the summer. You're huge! Everyone thinks you're five or four, but the thing is when you're around other kids your own age you're not really bigger than they are. Perhaps it's just the way you carry yourself and the way you talk is what really makes people think you're older.

You've also become so big with your budding maturity. It's true, you've got a lot to learn before you're truly a mature young man, but you've come so far and you're getting there so fast! You're constantly aware of your manners, of being responsible, of being big. You are reiterating back everything I've taught you, making sure you hold the door for ladies and asking before you take food. You use your toy guns to protect Mommy from villains. You love to help and want to help with everything. You would much rather fold laundry than play with blocks, much rather help move furniture than watch a video. You want to be part of real life and to be a big, strong man.

We've been talking so much about how to be a man, to be brave and strong and not get upset when things don't go your way. I've failed a lot in letting you pout and get upset over the years and let some ugly habits of such effect your character, but you're really learning how to be a man and "not a pouting little boy" as the result of good training. I've been really focusing on correcting any unfavorable attitudes in you and teaching you how men behave, and it's been sticking. We've been reading books like How to Be a Man: Useful Hints for Boys on the Formation of Character by Harvey Newcomb (written in 1862!), and The Book of Virtues by William Bennett and Created for Work by Bob Shultz and Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family by Steven Maxwell and, of course, many chapters each day of the Bible. Instilling in you a noble and responsible character is my main concern as of now, and you are rising to the occasion with joy and soberness.

You are so much more compassionate to the younger ones among us these days. You take great pride in taking care of your little cousins. You're so gentle with Jordan, and you love singing to him, kissing him, and talking to him. You think babies are the greatest thing in the world.

You're so much more gentle, compassionate, and concerned about Anthony now. For a while there you were somewhat of a little tyrant to him, proving always that you were bigger and stronger than him. But now you are eager to play with him, hold his hand while we walk somewhere, and are very, very sorry when you accidentally hurt him. You get mad at him sometimes when he takes your toys, but you're learning how to control yourself and ask for them back nicely without getting upset. This didn't come about overnight, and I've been encouraging you regularly to "take good care of your cousin". You've really stepped up to the plate and are becoming very responsible with him.

You love learning new information. You don't care whether it's pictures of vertebrae or famous composers, Japanese kanji or classical music - the world is your oyster and you love learning about everything there is to know.

You have me constantly on my feet because you learn materials faster than I can create them. It sometimes takes me an hour to make a set of bits for you and seconds for you to learn them. But I can truly say that of all the problems there are to have, this is one I don't mind having! I love that you're learning so much about God's amazing world and that I get to share the adventure with you! (and learn a ton of things myself in the process!)

I wouldn't trade my occupation as your mother for anything in the world. All the pleasures and riches in the world couldn't make up for even one of your precious, beautiful smiles of pure joy and delight in life and in me.

You're so happy, so joyful, so full of life and love. You love reading and science and geography but you also love finger paints and bubbles and spinning around in circles and dancing. Every day is a new adventure and you wake up eager to start life, to explore the world and to help everyone in every way you can. You're such a pleasure to be around and I love having you as my helper, playmate and friend.

Funny things about you:
  • You will test my on my knowledge on colors, animals, etc. and hold up two things and say "Good job! You're so smart!" when I get the right answer
  • You always tell me that your cousin Noah is your best friend
  • You like to spell everything
  • You swing on your rope swing probably fifty times a day
  • You want to ride on my back all the time
  • You adore your family - every last one of them
  • You love reading Beatrix potter books and those are your sole requests these days
  • You love playing with other kids, but love playing with Mommy even more
  • You love playing with your animals and want to take them with you whenever we go somewhere
  • You want to have ten kids when you grow up and teach them "how to obey God and me"
  • You're highly independent and want to do everything by yourself
  • You're much less shy than you were and love saying hi to everyone you see
  • You're actually beginning to be an honest help when we're working together and it is wonderful having you around
I am so blessed to be your mother and your friend. You are the most wonderful blessing I could have ever dreamed of and I know that you are going to change the world for the better and that you will be well-prepared for the task, whatever it may be. It is my pure delight and supreme privilege training you and preparing you for whatever special purpose God has for you, and watching you grow into an honorable young man right before my very eyes. What a blessing motherhood is! I'm so proud of you, my wonderful little man.

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
3 John 1:4

Hunter is 3 years, 6 months old

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