today, my son is three. very, very three.

Exactly three years ago today, I met my son and it was amazing. (Down to the minute even because I totally scheduled this blog post.)

He had dark curly black hair, not only on his head but all over his arms and back, too. He was fat. So fat. They couldn’t even find diapers in his size during our quick stint in the NICU because was so fat. Clothes in the newborn or 0-3 range were completely pointless in our house.

We stayed in the hospital for four days. I only left long enough to make sure my big white dog (pretty much my original baby) didn’t hate me and to bring my postpartum wife a cherry slush from Sonic. When I came back from the Sonic trip, I was about to lose my mind because he was having his hearing test in the hospital room without me present and I was certain they were shoving needles into his eardrums and I wasn’t there to supervise. (Sleep deprivation is real.)

I can’t even describe the last three years in words that would make sense to anyone at all. My unsolicited advice to new parents is that it is the hardest thing you’ll ever do and the best thing you’ll ever do, all at the same time. And no matter how you decide to parent, you will figure out what works for you, your family and your baby and, once that happens, that means you’re doing it right. This little dude has changed my life in a million different ways and I’m sure there are 12 billion more to come.

I always knew I’d be a mom at some point in my life. I wasn’t sure how because I sure as hell have ZERO Interest in feeling like I’m on an episode of Monsters Inside Me. I never questioned how it would happen because I just knew. And now, here I am – the mom of a stinkin’ THREE YEAR OLD.

He loves every single sport, even when I’m not sure how he knows how to play them. He’s a “championship go go player”. He likes playing football and will let you know that you need to “throw the ball like a rainbow”. He’s the “championship” anytime he’s running a race (against himself) or throwing something into any container. When he visits his great grandma, he turns the garage sale toys from 1985 (not an exaggeration) into either a hockey game or a baseball game. He only used his tee-ball set for about three months before his Nana taught him how to hit without it this summer. He’s not afraid to jump off of anything and will ask if you say his “big hops” in the event you didn’t see him jumping off a table two feet off the ground.

He’s left-handed for most things. He hates vegetables, except for egg rolls stuffed full of cabbage and rice noodles. He loves grapes and will bring the entire gigantic bag into the living room to eat if he thinks he can get away with it. He’s independent, which is so awesome to watch, and hella slow in doing those independent things, which is the opposite of awesome when we’re trying to get into the car and he’s hell bent on buckling his seat belt and can’t quite understand why I’m impatiently telling him to hurry as the sleet goes down the back of my shirt. He sleeps with a stuffed frog half his size that he has named Beasto, a Captain America action figure and stuffed version of Lightning McQueen.

He’s in daycare full-time and I love it. He loves it, too. He talks about the other kids every day and has a special kind of bromance with his daycare provider’s high school freshman son. Our kid calls him “Mashew” and gets all googly eyed when he talks about him. It’s adorable. He always says his best friend is Liam, which is working out nicely because Liam’s parents are our close friends and those dudes don’t have a choice as to whether or not they want to be friends or not.

I’ve learned to rail in my profanity, which has not been an easy task. I’ve learned to accept the fact that my personal space is his personal space, day or night. I’ve learned to slow down. Sure, it could take me five minutes to go get dog food at Target if I threw him in a cart and hightailed it in and out of there. Or, I could take half an hour to let him “walk by my own self”, which also includes walking down four aisles of toys because “I never seen all these toys before”.

I’ve learned that I hate unsolicited parenting advice when I post something on Facebook like, “man, I sure do hope my son will eat a carrot one day in his life” and I get one million pieces of advice that involve smoothies and hiding vegetables in his waffles and treating rickets with some multi-level marketing homeopathic oil. I. DON’T. CARE. How did our parents do it back before the internet, man?

Parenting has taught me so much about myself and I can’t think this child, who currently has a clothes hanger hanging from his living room basketball hoop, enough for all that he has done to teach me. It still remains the best thing and the hardest thing that I do every single day. I’m this title in my professional life or that person in my personal life, but nothing makes me prouder than to talk about this little guy any time I get the chance.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Ozzy. You’re the greatest. I can’t wait to see what this next year is like for you, my man.

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