Dear Merritt,

Daily I say, "I love you, you know." And recently you tried to reciprocate: "I love you, I know."

You've started giving options at the end of your questions. "Can I have a snack from the pantry? Yeah? Or YEAH!" Your inflection kills us and you typically end up with two snacks. And a pony.

You're also making strides in conversation management. When I put you to bed one night last month, you asked if I was going to "rub your back to sleep." I flatly said "no," and you responded, "If you say, 'Yes! I sure can!' that would be a cool fing to say." Noted. I like saying cool "fings."

We marvel at your ability to turn anything into a game. Walking backward with a book between your knees? Fifty points if you can make it all the way to your bedroom. Standing on the drain and filling the shower basin with water? Haven't figured out the scoring on that one yet. Closing your eyes and letting us surprise you with a bite of dinner? Nutrition for the win!

Not this nutrition:

Or this:

Lately, you've been requesting to watch shows on "Neckflips," (Netflix) and you've been commanding things, both inanimate and living, to "crop-a-ate" (cooperate) with you. You worry about leaving your nightlight on when you're not sleeping because you don't want to be "wasting trickilly" (electricity). You mention that things are "'stracting" (distracting). When you're afraid (truly or while pretending), you request that we "'tect" (protect) you. You make statements like, "I didn't realize I was ready," and, "Oh, look! Here's my whole family!" and, "You have an adorable house." You utter "oh, dear" and "oh, my" to indicate anguish. You exclaim "OH MY GRACIOUS!" when the situation absolutely calls for it.

... Like when we were strolling through Zoo Lights recently and you came to a juncture where we had five different options on directions to go. "OH MY GRACIOUS! There are so many path-es!" Your ability to pluralize words is as precious as your reverence for expressing polite surprise.

Zoo Lights is a spectacular luminescent celebration of the winter holiday season. I last wrote on your birthday. Two months ago. Not during the winter holiday season. So here are a few of the events I have yet to document:

-Halloween. I made you a mime costume, like, with my hands. See, it's funny because there's no such thing as a silent three-year-old. Also, I made it with my hands. Then I bribed you with candy to do some mime poses for the camera. Signifying the end of our photo shoot, you removed your vest, threw it down on the ground, and then announced with words, not mimicry, "I'M AN ANGRY MIME!"

-There was an election. Kind of a huge one. The day before the election, you spotted a double rainbow and called it out (you are seriously the best rainbow hunter). And Mommy and I were all, "What does it mean??" And we held our breath and hOped it meant something awesome. Then we passed an Obama bumper sticker and I shouted, "Go, Obama!" And then Mommy shouted, "GObama!" And then you shouted, "GO, MERRITT!" And that's the story of how you became our nation's 55th president. And also, how your rainbow-spotting tipped us off to Obama being reelected the following day.

-Illness. Over the span of about three weeks, you've dealt with croup. And a stomach bug. And now pink eye. And between the whole closing-throat-need-epinephrine bit and the vomiting-forty-gallons-onto-random-dining-tables-and-parents bit and the surprise-attack-ointmentings-for-ye-olde-pink-eyes bit, you're kind of a champ. The kind of champ who knows how to work an angle. "I think ice cream will make my throat feel better," he said, for all meal requests during every illness.

-Uh, we totally went to the North Pole. We checked the mail while out running errands one day and found that Santa had mailed you a ticket because Santa is a creative genius. We were (conveniently) already in our pajamas, so we ditched our grocery shopping and headed straight for the Polar Express. And now, you make up little ditties about having been to the North Pole as you sing yourself to sleep.

Mommy has been working on teaching you to tie your shoes, despite the fact that you don't own any shoes with laces, only velcro and crazy toggle technology. So you guys sit down and practice on hers. She's careful to say and do the same thing every time so you can learn the pattern. And you have. Sort of. The other day she asked you what the first step was. You said, "Make an 'x,'" so she did. And then she asked about the second step. Your instruction? "Tie it." And scene.

Lately, you've been really "feeling" music, and you let us know by demanding that we watch you "sing this song with my head!" And then you bob along to the lyrics, eyes closed, serene, with a hint of goofball. When the backbeat of a song kicks in, we know that a half-beat later we'll be met with the request, "Watch me play the drums with my whole body!" Which looks an awful lot like singing a song with your head, just with more (and sometimes less) rhythm.

You've had a couple of months to marinate in "being three." And you're pretty excited about this whole aging process. You constantly explain that you're three now, and then you rattle off some of the other ages you plan to be. You think you'd like to try six next. We're not so keen on this.

We're sure it will feel like a mere matter of seconds that pass between now and blowing out the candles on your sixth birthday cake and then moving you into the dorms and then your presidential inauguration. The only thing that will change between now and then is that every day--every single second--we will love you more than the one before it. Which, just like you being three years and two months old, seems impossible. How could our hearts be any fuller? How can you keep growing up?

But our certainty will never stray. We love you, WE KNOW.

Momma & Mommy 

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