Today was Vincent’s first day of school. This year he has graduated to the pre-school classroom of 3-6 year-olds, the same class Matteo was in last year. When I dropped him off he was nervous to be there without his big brother, but happy to be back among friends. He has several friends from last year’s class who have moved up with him and, of course, the older kids all know ‘Bubba’ as Matteo’s brother so he received a warm welcome when he arrived.
At almost three -and-a half he is confident and independent. He chooses his own clothes and dresses himself without much prompting. He has very strong preferences for what we wears and how he wears his clothes. (Lately, he’s been borrowing Matteo’s t-shirts and tucking them in, like the one in the picture.) He is more self-sufficient than Matteo was at this age. He likes to get his own breakfast and snacks, pack his own bags and is generally very responsible around the house.
He thinks he can do anything Matteo can do, which means he’s a little dangerous on the playground. But he’s also more capable than we give him credit for. Yesterday he learned how to slide down a pole with very little help from me, and within two or three tries he was telling me, “Mama, don’t touch me. I can do it!” when I reached out to spot him. And you know what? He could do it! And this summer he was fearless jumping off the dock at Green Lake, which he says was his favorite part of our vacation there. Not only wasn’t he afraid to jump off, he even started jumping and shooting baskets and catching the football mid-jump, just like the older kids.
He went to soccer camp this summer and he LOVED it. After years of sitting on the sidelines watching Matteo play sports, he finally could play. He listened intently to the coaches and followed exactly what they did. And although he was one of the smallest kids on the field, he didn’t let anyone push him around. While running the length of the field a larger kid accidentally ran into him and caused him to fall. Vincent got up, finished the sprint. And then on the next sprint back to the other end of the field he ran with the other kid and pushed him in the goal when they reached the endline. (Like his brother, he maaaay need some help with sportsmanship.) We signed him up to play on a U4 team this fall and he’s thrilled.
He’s a chatterbox and, much like his brother, loves to start sentences with the word, “Actually.” as in “Actually that storm trooper doesn’t wear that helmet.” or “Actually I don’t like this show.” He also has a bit of a potty mouth these days and his favorite words are “butthole” and “nuts.” He loves to say goodbye to people with a hearty, “Bye bye, BUTTHOLE!” and talk about other people getting “kicked in the nuts.” (Yeah, we’re working on these.)
He can be a maddeningly picky eater, rejecting everything you offer him, going days on cereal and macaroni and cheese and plain hot dogs (no toppings, no bun). But then as soon as you take a bite of a slice of pizza, loaded with gourmet toppings you thought for sure he’d hate, he quickly rejects his own simple slice of cheese with sausage and demands you trade with him.
He has a strong sense of order and one of this favorite things to play continues to be lining up his sports figurines (he has basketball, baseball and football players) in different formations on their respective playing fields. We’ll often find the refrigerator magnets on the dishwasher lined up by color, thanks to Vincent. He also loves to play dress up and has a bin full of costumes he changes into daily with cowboy, storm trooper and Spiderman being the current favorites.
He’s a big lovebug and loves to give us hugs and kisses and snuggles. “Huggy!” he’ll say, and run at you with arms wide open. He’s thoughtful and kind and always says “please” and “thank you”. And at the dinner table he’s the first one to ask each of us, “So how was your day?”
Three-and-a-half is one of my most favorite ages. It’s a wonderful time of growth and independence coupled sweetly with the best parts of toddler-hood. Vincent is on the cusp of being a little boy, and I’m trying to savor the last bits of babyhood about him while I can. I’m so proud of who he’s becoming. We all love him so very, very much.