"Mom, you a-ways have to wear your sun-creams on the beach."
"I a-ways need-a-wear my baby soup (bathing suit)."
"Can we please go downtown (downstairs) and play trains?"
Sometimes it seems as if your brother is growing leaps and bounds right before our eyes but its you, Carter, who is growing and changing every minute of the day. Your brother's changes are mostly physical and therefore easier to notice. He's growing rounder, running faster, his hair curling longer in ringlets along his neck.
But you, you are growing up into such an incredible little boy with each passing minute of the day. It is almost unbelievable. Your changes, although some physical, are much more emotional, conversational. Blink and you might miss them.
What was once a "hop-tooey" has quickly become a "helicopter," a "moco" is now a "motorcycle." I needed to write these things down before I forgot them as quickly as you corrected them. All on your own time, too, as I swore I would smack the person who tried to correct you, for fear of losing the cuteness of it all. I know it's only going to be a matter of days before you replace "downtown" with "downstairs," a thought that already makes my eyes water.
My three year old.
You love to sing. Your favorites right now are Twinkle Twinkle, Old MacDonald and the ABC's. When we're in the car, you always ask to hear "Rock Me, Mama," but not the original version. The better version sung by Darius Rucker. You are always singing to yourself, wherever you go.
When you burp you say, "Excuse you! Sorry." rather than "excuse me." You are quick to get dirty and do so without skipping a beat. You love bugs but loathe spiders, just like your mama. You are such a boy. Absolutely fearless, almost to a fault.
You know all the first names of our family members and I'm the only one you call "Ash" on occasion, instead of Mom. We can thank your Daddy for that one. Whenever we meet a new "friend" you're quick to introduce us all as "Mommy, Daddy, Mackie and Carter." You never leave out Sheepie, either, even when he's not with us.
You stopped calling me Mommy months ago. Now I'm simply Mom. Or "Moooooooom" emphasis on the -om. You always say "please" and "thank you" which, more often than not, is usually just a "fanks!"
You are my sweet boy. My loving and compassionate boy. My sensitive boy. You love your brother and your family with every little fiber of your three-year-old being. If someone is sad, you're quick to rush over, stroke their cheek and offer up a hug. You sweetly command them to, "Don't be sad. Please be happy!"
You are a horrible listener. And I'm talking horrible but I know that comes with the three year old territory. I'm waiting for the day when I'll wake up and you'll start following directions. Most days it makes me laugh, some days it drives me absolutely crazy but your silly personality and sweet little voice are quick to make up for it.
You love trains, trucks, fish sticks and chicken nuggets. You love ketchup more than anyone should and chasing your brother all throughout the house. You love helping me in the kitchen when I bake and your best job is mixing batter.
You are such an incredible big brother. Better than I ever imagined you to be. What I mean to say is, I always knew you would be a great big brother. I just didn't think you would be capable of such esteem so early on, especially since you were only 23 months old when Maclane was born. But you are so, so awesome. Quick to help, quick to entertain. Quick to make him smile. Quick to love.
It's been nothing short of amazing watching the two of you grow together and I love seeing what adventures each new day takes you on. He is so lucky to have you, Carter.
I try not to get emotional about these things but my heart can't help but favor you. You were the one who made me Mama. You have taught me patience and strength, I never would have known without you. I love better because of you. You never, ever cease to amaze me.
I am so proud of you.
We're spending your third birthday at the beach which is exactly where you said you wanted to be. You also wanted "some trains, please" and as soon as we get home to Maryland, Bash, Dash and Ferdinand will be waiting on our doorstep to add your collection. Along with another little surprise from Maclane. It was all his idea, I swear. And your Daddy's.
Happy birthday, Carterito. We love you more than carrots!