Zinadine, you are all of three years old today. It's a lot of years for someone who is little. Except you're not little, you're big; as you like to remind me.
You have milkweed soft fly-away hair and the best laugh ever. I tickle you just to hear that laugh. You like puns and fake surprises and the Ba-Shooom! game (which involves throwing rolled up socks with Safiya and Babo (Mr. S.) and rules Mama doesn't get - on purpose).
|that halo is your hair in the sunlight!
You walk like Pocoyo. You jump from things as much as you can. You walk your fingers all over my collarbone when you nurse. You are passionately attached to particular shoes, and whatever small object with four wheels has your fancy on any given day. Sometimes, you tell your sister not to "bug me! she's bugging me!" when she hugs you, which makes her hug you again. Sometimes you tell me "Doooon't look at me!" I always sneak looks, just so you know.
I want to keep listing things so as to not forget every little bit years from now when you zoom by or glance up from a book or hole up with friends. You say "Awwwww" at tiny baby animals. When you're angry (which is very rare), you stare at me and chuck whatever it is in your hand. You want to do everything yourself - "Can I do it?" I think you chirrup.
You so look forward to your Babo coming home, and immediately show him, very seriously and importantly, whatever you've got clutched in your hand or whatever is occupying you that very second.
You only eat the icing.
You've hated both socks and baths since you were a babe. You always have very dirty feet.
Every time we cross the Don Valley bridge on the subway, you say "O!" and get up on the seat and look out the window and start reciting all the things you see: "I see cars and trees and river and tracks and trees and cars and buildings and tracks again - I see world everywhere!" Your best is being outdoors.
Most mornings; anytime we're in the upstairs playroom, actually, you open the window (which doesn't have its screen on yet) and start yelling "HI!" at anyone and everyone on the street just below. And everyone smiles and says hi and waves back (after momentary confusion at your little voice from the heavens and split-second consternation which evaporates when they see me too). And that is you, I think. All your energy, like your hair, radiating out and beaming at all of us around you.
These are all things you do and say as your three-year-old self; how you makes us feel and love and be our family is even more complex and spring-fed and wonderful and, I think, more than your after-midnight-Mama can write right now.
We love you, little man. Every second, every snuggle, every hand-hold, every jump. Every everything about you. Happy Birthday, sweet Zinadine.