Three years ago a tiny dimpled serious little baby with big brown eyes and an old man hairline entered the world and it's been one wild ride ever since. Nothing can prepare you for the emotions that hit you as soon as your baby is placed in your arms. A scary amount of love and protectiveness, overwhelming responsibility, which is often tied to that infamous mom guilt, joy, fatigue, a crazy super mom ability to know exactly how many sharp corners there are in every single room. A sudden shift happens and the world seems both brighter and more dangerous all at once. Somebody put me in charge of a completely helpless little creature with absolutely zero survival instincts and somehow we've all survived three years. Hallelujah!
And what a three years it's been. Ez has already lived in four different houses, he's been to Disneyland approximately thirty times, he's been my constant sidekick, and in three years I've only spent one night away from him. He's gone from stiff and serious little newborn who liked to hold his hands in front of his face like a boxer ready to strike at any moment, to a wobbly toddler who took his first steps right when he turned one and then spent the next month pushing a toy lawn mower around until he felt steady enough to walk by himself, to an energetic, loud, sports and car-loving rambunctious little boy who loves snuggling and wrestling with equal passion.
Some things have remained constant over the years, like his love of anything with an engine and his need to kick or throw any ball that crosses his path, but other things have changed so much in such a short amount of time that it boggles my mind. Looking back through photos and videos I came across so many quirks and phases that seemed to consume our lives at the time, but in reality were so short-lived and over in the blink of an eye. Like how he used to sit in swings with a stony face, looking like he would humor you and let you push him on this crazy contraption, but he was not going to like it one bit. Now he begs to go on the swings and giggles the entire time. Or how he used to yell and chant when he was tired, right before he'd conk out. Or his sweet little voice when he used to babble incoherently for hours on end.
Ez is my incredibly sensitive and empathetic boy, and I'm constantly amazed that someone so young is so in tune to other people's emotions and constantly trying to cheer up anyone who's sad, whether that means giving extra snuggles or goofing off like a ham to get a laugh. He can be incredibly stubborn and focused, and true to his Taurus sign, he is definitely my little bull. But as stubborn as he can be, he is also incredibly reasonable for a toddler. Not a hundred percent of the time, but often as long as he feels in the know and clear on what is happening he'll help us out. His name means "little helper" and he has always been exactly that. From helping with laundry to cleaning his toys to baking, he loves to be by my side helping with chores and I hope that never ends.
This past year has really been all about language and communication. Prior to having kids I had no idea what a process it was to learn to speak. I thought it was just a few simple steps to go from babbling to baby talk "wawa" "baba" type stuff, to actual understandable words. In reality there have been so many subtle variations to a word before Ez finally says it correctly. Like cement mixer, which started as "mamama" to "mamamix" to its current stage: "mament mixer". Pre-kids I never would've thought that I'd miss those mispronunciations so much. Each time Ez suddenly says a word correctly it's like the end of an era and I get a little sad.
For Ez his language really started with sounds, mainly animal and engine sounds. For awhile our daily conversations consisted of "what sound make??" for every single thing Ez came across. What sound does a stop sign make? What sound does mac and cheese make? What sound does Daddy make? (Farting sounds, in case you were wondering.) Explaining to him that not everything makes a sound got a little tedious and led to quite a few meltdowns, so eventually we just started making up sounds for everything. After sounds we moved on to vehicle names. The importance of vehicles in this house really can be overestimated. I'd say about 70% of Ez's language is currently tied up to vehicle related vocabulary. Ez can also remember lots of songs, even ones that we don't sing regularly and haven't sung in a long time. He can count to ten, knows his ABCs and what letter several words start with. Seeing his mind develop is without a doubt the greatest joy of parenthood and I hope his curiosity and imagination continue to grow forever.
Other firsts this past year include Ez's first time taking soccer, or any organized sport for that matter. Ez is a shy and cautious kid, but each week we see him come out of his shell a little more and that has been so amazing to watch. Also, perhaps one of the biggest changes of the past year has been Ez's transformation from only child to big brother. While I can't say that it's been a completely seamless transition, and we probably say "don't push your brother" at least a hundred times a day, Ez is also the first one to come to Declan's rescue if he's crying, trying to cheer him up and pleading with him not to cry. He'll bring bottles or toys for Declan to play with. And, my favorite of all, whenever Declan wakes up from his nap Ez waves and says "hi brother!" in his adorably sweet little voice and then Declan's face absolutely lights up. Declan is lucky to have such an amazing big bro and I don't think that fact is lost on him.
We couldn't be more proud of the little boy Ez is becoming and we feel grateful each and every day to be on this journey with him and to be the ones he calls mommy and daddy. We love you more than you'll ever know!