Little Boy by Alison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds is one of my all-time favorite children’s books. I’ve read it to my boys hundreds of times. It’s the story of a random day in a little boy’s life. He spends a gloriously average day, jumping in puddles, wearing space pajamas, taking adventures in a cardboard box and sipping from a yellow cup. The story highlights the humdrum magic that occurs in every day life with little guys.
I imagine the boy in the story to be three years old. I’ve been a mom for over 8 years now and I have to say that age three is hands-down my favorite. There is so much magic and wonder in three year olds. A simple walk around the block can turn into an adventure with super-heroes chasing aliens. Three year olds will confidently rock a cape or an astronaut suit to the grocery store and believe that rain boots make the perfect statement with any outfit. Three year olds have often outgrown the exhausting insanity of toddlerhood and are capable of sitting through lunch without destroying a restaurant. Granted the restaurant may be Chick-Fil-A but this mama isn’t complaining about eating warm food with a sweet boy.
Three year olds can hold legitimate conversations and investigate their surroundings with an intense interest that is simply astounding. They still hold the innocence of little ones but have learned a handful of social graces that make life so much easier as a mom. They also learn to talk-back and exert their will at this age, so three it has its drawbacks too. But I have simply loved being the mom to two three year old boys.
And today, one of my favorite people in the world, will turn four. Camden Jai is our party-starter. The boy was born with swag in his hips and a sparkle in his eyes. He was born 4 years after his older brother and after we endured 3 miscarriages and a year of infertility treatments. He is our little-big boy; he has lived in four homes, three cities and is less than two years older than his little sister. He is tough and kind and funny as hell.
When he walks into a room, he assesses the situation with his huge brown eyes and good times begin to happen. There are no strangers to Camden Jai, just friends he hasn’t met yet. There is no task too big for this three year old. He just needs time to train and he’s sure he’ll be the next American Ninja Warrior. If you don’t believe him, he’ll show you his monkey bar skills anytime!
Cam is a classic middle child but not a classic kid in any other way. He fights and pushes to be as big and strong as his older brother. This summer, he was literally doing hurdles and sprints at speed and agility training with a group of 8-10 year olds. And he kept up! His push-ups may have been humorous and his brain and body didn’t always work together as quickly as he might have wanted, but the boy never stopped or let it hold him back.
And with his sister, Cam is kind and patient. He is silly and loving and exceptionally thoughtful. He is happy having tea parties with floral hats while snacking on goldfish. And conversely he enjoys having ninja fights with Mia’s princess Barbies and knows his way around a nerf gun. He helps her with her bows, picks out her shoes and fiercely protects her at the park.
He is such a happy go-lucky kid at age three and I pray that he keeps his sense of confidence and joy as he turns four and becomes more big guy and less little one. The most beautiful part of a three year old is their freedom of expression. They have not yet learned to be embarrassed or influenced by peer perceptions. Cam walks through life humming a song and literally stops to dance whenever a good beat hits him. I hope that never changes.
The closing line of the story goes like this, “Little boy, you remind me how so much depends on days made of now.” I am consciously soaking in the remaining magical days with my little-big boy. We love you Camden Jai!
What are your favorite ages with your kiddos? I’d love to hear about your experiences!