For 1096 days, this one has been squirming and screaming. 
Smiling and snarling. 
Getting into things. 
Getting out of them. 
Talking non-stop every minute he’s been awake. 
Being a best friend to his brother, being the best lover of me.
If you could hear the way he says, “I’m so excited!” you’d be excited too. 
His squinty-eyed smiles make my world.

On your third birthday, Holden, I want you to know that you are boisterous and imaginative, talkative and energetic. You barely ever sleep, but when you do, it’s with me. You mostly eat sweets. You dance by galloping around in a circle. You say, “hold hands” when we cross the street or sometimes just at the dinner table when we’re all somber. You refuse to sit in Brandon’s car seat. You still sleep with blankies. You’re afraid of nothing except flies and bees.

You hang out with the older kids: you think you’re Brandon’s age. But you occasionally poop on the floor to remind us of how young you actually are. You always want to swing. Or shovel dirt and toss it into the air and watch it scatter. You like Calico Critters and babies. If we go to a restaurant, you mix fruit or pepper into my water glass to make me soup. You’re tough as nails but soft as your train blankie. You don’t care much for tv but you love the iPad. You sing aloud anywhere, unashamed.

You want to be a chef when you grow up, at Red Robin specifically. But Brandon suggests you become a construction worker. I can see you in one of those tough professions, with tattoos on your arms one day. Or I could see you as a counselor or teacher or something softer.

You are a chameleon, adapting always to those around you, being for us what we need. You will hug me one minute and wrestle Brandon the next. You will help a girl up the stairs, then push down the boy who elbowed her.  From day one, you’ve been for us what we didn’t know we needed, and still now, 1096 days later. And I imagine you always will be. Our youngest boy, the icing on this cake.

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