My Favorite Subject Turns Four: Happy Birthday Michael!

Dear Michael,

It seems appropriate that I post this birthday letter to you on my blog, since you have single-handedly provided much of my material for it…and frankly some of my best quality material. Every time I finish a new blog post and read it to your dad, he always says, regardless, “I think it’s your best one.” Well, I know that’s not always the case, but I think we would both agree that “Dancing on Betsy Ross’ Grave” is probably one of our favorites. And that is all thanks to you and your “unique way of living life.” Mostly, I love that post because it means I will always have something to remind me of exactly the boy your were at the age of three-and-a-half. But today, my little man, you turn four years old, and I can not wait (and frankly, am a bit frightened) to see what this next year will bring.

Michael the cowboyYou certainly keep us on our toes, which (while not always amusing at those very moments) has certainly provided us with lots of after-the-fact laughs, suppressed smiles while trying to scold you, and I give up giggles. I have often said about you, “It’s a good thing he’s cute”…and you really are, in my completely unbiased opinion. But truthfully, I don’t want you growing up with the notion that those charming dimples and lashfully luscious baby blues will buy you a free pass to make your own rules…because guys like that are big fat jerks. And you, my little buddy, may have had a salty three-year-old tongue sometimes, but you are powered by a heart that beats sweet and pure. Besides, now that you are turning four, I’m fully expecting the “terrible threes” to kindly be on their way.

One thing I hope will stick around, even though you are getting older, is that I can always count on you for some really fantastic snuggles. You…are…momma’s…boy. Plain and simple. Though it is sometimes burdensome that I am always your first choice to do pretty much everything, I really adore that you adore me so. It is hard to resist your nightly request of “Momma, will you snuggle with me?” even in spite of the massive number of time outs I had to put you in or “Michael messes” I had to clean up that day. And in those moments where you are lying in bed on the brink of sleep, all I can see is a perfect little boy.

Reflecting on this past year, age three has really been something. Exhausting? Yes. Frustrating? Yes (by the way,…PLEASE get his whole normal healthy eating habits thing down. It’s just annoying.). But you have made it all worth while because it is impossible for your genuinely lovable and inquisitive nature not to shine through. And you may be getting wise to ways of covering up your indiscretions (like when I catch you sneaking a cookie and you almost instinctively hold it up and say, “I was getting you a cookie, mom.”), but it also seems that Osmosis Boy IS starting to catch on to the right way of doing things as well…like saying “okay” when we ask you to do something instead of ignoring us or blatantly refusing. And might I say it is pretty adorable when we reaffirm this by saying “Good answer!” and you reply, “Yay! Let’s have a good answer party! Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo!”

Instead, let’s have a birthday party today to celebrate the fact that you have made our lives complete for another year. And pretty jam-packed-super-full as well. I feel certain that age four will bring many more blog posts to come, but I would be lying if I said I was not excited to see what you will bring to the table, and how you will refine the talents you already posses. For instance, your emerging negotiating tactics that usually only consist of what you will get out of the bargain: “How ’bout you take me to the ice cream store. Would that be a deal?” Well buddy, I’ve got one for you…

How ’bout you just keep being exactly who you are, and I just keep on loving you all the way to Heaven and back. Would that be a deal?

Love, Mommy

Dancing on Betsy Ross’ Grave

What a strange title for a blog post you say? Perhaps I am about to launch into a commentary on civil liberties in our country. Or possibly I am researching unusual burial rituals throughout history. Maybe it is just a clever ploy to attract readers.

Or maybe on our Spring Break trip to Philadelphia last week, my son did just that: danced on Betsy Ross’ grave. Aside from being utterly embarrassed and a little afraid he may have committed a federal offense, what else can I do but blog about it?

So, yes. While perusing the grounds outside of Betsy Ross’ Philadelphia home, reading various plaques extolling her act of bravery in facing charges of treason by creating the very first flag of our grand country and bearing the heartache of losing not one, not two, but three husbands, I look up to find my son has climbed up onto the little wall protecting the sacred ground and is hopping around on the cement marker of her final resting place.

I would say I was horrified, but that would be a lie. In order to be horrified, there must be some element of surprise. No surprise here, as unfortunate as that is to say. There was a split second I thought about slowly backing away and saying to no one in particular, “Where are that boy’s parents?” But then I quickly faced the truth that I must own him…and it would have been pretty crummy of me to let my husband take all the judgmental stares boring into him alone.

Sigh. Nobody knows the woes of the mother of a three-year-old boy…except for another mother of a three-year-old boy. Like I said, there was not one hint of surprise at the sight of my son doing a jig on the burial ground of a beloved historical figure. Because frankly, the boy is a destructor of just about anything, sanity included. The number of near catastrophes that would have landed us on the news as “the family who destroyed the [fill in the blank with your choice of historical Philadelphia buildings]” caused me to wonder how history ever survived thousands of years of three-year-old boys. I wouldn’t be surprised if the REAL culprit of the Liberty Bell crack was a small grubby-handed child of the male persuasion.

****BREAKING NEWS**** Right now, as if on cue, my husband just yelled down to me and asked if I was still working on “The Michael Blog.” Because apparently the kid just rinsed off his toothpaste-sudsy toothbrush in the hubby’s iced tea. Now, back to our program…

I know, as a reader, you will be disappointed to find I do not have a photo of my son dancing on Betsy Ross’ grave. For once I did the responsible thing and stopped my child from doing something outlandish instead of prolonging it so I could get a good picture…which I may have been known to do in the past.

So here are some of those other pictures (which also serve to illustrate why the above incident was not surprising in the least):

And then there’s the poop story. No one wants to see pictures of that.

There it is. My son, in a nutshell. It’s a good thing he is cute. Hopefully Betsy Ross thought so too and decided NOT to come back and do some vengeful haunting.