On Saturday, my baby boy turned three years old. Birthdays are always so bittersweet; I love to reflect on how Avery has grown but in doing so I remember him as a squishy little newborn and wonder how that baby has been on this earth for three whole years already. I've never before experienced time passing so quickly and so slowly all at the same time.
Avery has developed the most magical little personality ever. He picks up on everything and has a beautifully wild imagination, always telling stories and acting out incredibly detailed scenes (usually involving hunting or some sort of work with heavy machinery) He is still the world's best big brother (minus an incident involving a can of sunscreen and Cullen's face) and goes out of his way to look out for his little brother and teach him new things on a daily basis.
Currently, Avery is really big into:
Big trucks/tractors/machinery (his construction birthday party theme was inspired by this obsession!)
Every morning, we ask Avery what he wants to do that day and the first thing he says EVERY day is 'play Monster trucks'. It's a simple request and the majority of our days revolve around just that - monster trucks in the living room, excavators in the sandbox, tractors in the stairway, dump trucks in the kitchen.
Hunting. He 'hunts' bears, deer, scary cats, coyotes, and occasionally snakes with a golf club. He stalks quietly throughout the house making strange noises he says are animal calls until he spots one and takes it out. Sometimes he recruits me or Cullen to be a fellow hunter and other times we're the [insert whatever animal is in season for the day]. This child is all boy. In part, he was born with this love of the hunt, and partially encouraged by dad's stories and the few survival shows he's seen on TV)
Bird watching. We have a bird feeder out the window next to our dining room table and are entertained during every meal by the birds that hang out there. He knows them all by name and has little conversations with them over his oatmeal.
Dancing. He's been a strong rhythm/movement guy from the start, but after accompanying me to Zumba a couple of times a week he now puts together actual routines and can associate moves with different songs. And now that the new season of So You Think You Can Dance has started, he's adding all kinds of new moves to his repertoire. It's a dance party every night in the Olive house!
Motorcycle riding. He calls his balance bike a motorcycle and will correct you if you call it otherwise. He LOVES it and is getting really good on it, so good that he has no interest in learning how to pedal. Something to work on in year 4 ;)
Gardening. His excitement when he sees that plants are growing or producing some fruit/vegetable is amazing, he really has a love for watching things grow and I hope that only continues to grow within him.
Hugging/tackling Cullen. It's become a daily occurrence in our house, one boy goes in for a 'hug' that is really sweet for about 20 seconds and then one of them tackles the other to the ground and they both break out in a fit of giggles. I just sit back and make sure nobody gets tackled into a wall, I see no point in trying to fight nature here ;)
Fishing. He is SO proud when he helps reel in a fish and after only fishing a couple of times, will hold the fish all by himself (shoot, I won't even do that!) and gently release it back into the water.
Mowing the lawn. He is a very dedicated helper when it comes to mowing, and will walk with dad behind the mower for the entire time. He breaks concentration only to give me a thumbs-up on his way by.
Sunbutter and Jelly sandwiches every day for lunch. Thank God for sunbutter - Avery doesn't have to miss out on that childhood staple because of his peanut allergy.
Giving hugs/kisses/high fives. Avery is much more willing to open up and talk to people (other than Justin and I) than he was 6 months ago. He has also become more comfortable giving hugs/kisses/high fives to family and friends, even those he doesn't see very often. My shy boy is coming out of his shell and makes "best friends" with every little person that he meets. Sweetest thing ever.
Avery has his moments of defiance and tests me daily, but overall is a really reasonable boy and listens very well. If he gets cranky, I know he's tired, overheated, hungry or not feeling well. 99% of the time if I remedy these things, he's back on track. He's at a really fun age right now where his vocabulary has become much more clear, he's hilarious and he's so excited to learn and see/do new things.
Avery knows his ABCs, recognizes almost every letter and knows it's sound, counts to 30 (but gets a little tripped up with the teens), knows every color (and knows what colors make up other colors - art teacher mama for the win!), bites his nails, is so genuinely kind and polite, wants to pray at dinner and say what he's thankful for, is fully potty trained during the day (still wears a pull-up at night), and still sleeps in his crib with no less than 6 friends that must be accounted for before he will rest. (big Tigger, little Tigger, Panda, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Seahorse, and depending on the day - baby Charlie.)