If I could bend time and hold him just a little longer at the age of my choice… it would not be three. Three has the impulse control of a two-year-old, only stronger, faster, and more determined. Three can use scissors, climb, and unscrew lids. It’s rough and it’s hyper… and it won’t take a nap. But as morning rises over my sleeping birthday boy, I think I’m going to miss three.

Three is funny without even trying: “I kissed the dog on his beak!”

Three is innocence unfiltered: “Mama, when can I have dark skin like that lady’s?”

Three learns stale words through fresh ears: “I’m going to eat this too fast, so I can have a stomach cake!”

Three is a reminder to make room for silly: “Let’s all sing and move our big bottoms!”

Three is career aspiration, unlimited by ego: “I’m going to be a Woodcutter, Exterminator, and Puppeteer.”

Three has the imagination of a brilliant lunatic: “My goblin went underground to burn lollipops and eat dirt.”

Three is a steady supply of new-and-improved words: “But mama, I set the table Lasterday!”

Three is a relentless interrogator: “Why do I call him ‘Daddy,’ but you don’t call him ‘Husband’?”

Three breathes perspective into my bad mood: “Mama, can you be a little bit happier?… Can you be all-the-way happy?”

Three finds magic in the produce section: “Look, a pile of snowman noses!”

Three is a dagger of sweetness, straight through the heart: “Mama… will you kiss me forever?”

Three is stubborn, charming, sneaky, and cute. It’s tedious and tender and seemingly endless… until you wake up one day and it’s gone.

Rise and shine, my love. It’s time to show me what four is.