Today, my Button Boy, you turn 3! I can't believe how big you are! 3 years since there were only 3 Smiths, just moved into St Peter's House with Andy starting at Vicar Factory. 3 years since we went from a female focused household to a more balanced one! And 3 years since you came into our world and oh how you live up to your name = He Laughs!
I know you won't be able to read this little post of mine for a while yet, but I wanted to make a memory of how I feel and what I remember at this juncture...and hope you enjoy reading it when you can.
I'm not sure you're much impressed by birthdays really - whenever we ask you whose birthday it is you usually say Oscar or James or Timothy, your special buddies! Your arrival in our bedroom, en route for your toilet visit is our new alarm clock, usually before 6am and you pretty much never stop talking from that point on!
This time 3 years ago yesterday, I had been sent home from the hospital in Chelmsford after a very long day of scans and tests and monitoring and hushed discussions. You were much smaller than was expected, your heart rate was doing strange things and there was barely any amniotic fluid left. Scans revealed that most of it was in your bladder! Despite the fear and uncertainty, we were reassured that the hospital allowed us to go home that night and return first thing the following day. We repacked my bag with the tiniest baby clothes we had as they estimated you would be less than 5lb in weight. The short story of that long day is that you needed to come out and come out QUICK - induction got going quickly but your little body wasn't coping so you came out the front door in a rush of anaesthetists, surgeons, midwives and a fast asleep Mummy, which meant Daddy couldn't be present either :-(
Your first 8 weeks were pretty tricky - you were so tiny that feeding was exhausting and so you were fed drops of milk from a cup and I was constantly either trying to feed you, spoon feeding you, expressing, sleeping or expressing again. Suddenly, in late November, you woke up, latched on and never looked back!
Of course, we've know you a little bit longer than 3 years - from that first positive test, 4 weeks in, in the downstairs loo at 63 Coopers just before the evening service at All Saints Church. You have been a part of me, our much longed for and much wanted second child. After the pain of losing the twins, there you were. And when we found out that you were a boy....it felt complete.
There are so many things about you that I know are 'me' too, mannerisms, habits, ways of reacting...and there are so many things in you that are what I love about your Daddy...you are our perfect mix and a uniquely created individual at the same time.
Here are some things that I love about you: I love the way you slump in the armchair, making yourself comfortable and cosy.
I love the way you insist on being naked as much of the day as possible.
I love how tunefully you sing the Octonauts theme almost constantly.
I love the way you are so very particular about your pants.
I love the way you smile at the camera - full face of teeth, eyes all scrunched up.
I love the way you deliberately wind up your sister - I don't love the consequences, but I love your comic timing, your mischievous smile and your giggle/belly laugh when you just can't keep it in!
I love how you moved all the kneeler cushions around the Cathedral for Daddy's ordination and now try and hide up his 'dress' in church!
Just like your sister you LOVE pasta! But you do not love milk!
I love your explanations for why you won't or can't do things 'It's too big!' 'It's too small!' usually totally irrelevant!
I love how you embrace everyone as your best friend and how you welcome people into our home - once you've met them once, they are friends for life!
I love how you can while away a good hour in the bath, in your imaginary world of boats and planes and fishes and mermaids.
Some of my best times in the last 3 years have been the insignificant times, the everyday things - taking you on a train for the first time, seeing your joy when you reach the top of the slide all by yourself, putting you on the Jubilee line with Didi for the first weekend sleepover on your own, listening to you singing with or playing with your big sister and the adoration on your face, watching you pick up conkers or put on your batman rucksack for preschool or dance when you think no-one can see......the list is endless!
There have been hard times too - the concerns over your weight gain and speech. The transition from your beloved childminder Mel to a new one in our new place hasn't been easy. We're so proud of how you have handled all the changes, we don't always know how you feel but we just try and love you through it all.
You are fiesty and full of fun and opinion. You do things in your own time - like those early weeks, you have now shown us that we can't encourage you to walk, talk, eat, toilet train or anything else like that. When you are ready, you will do it and your way is in Isaac time! Your tantrums are epic - you have perseverance and determination and whilst your illogical reactions are infuriating, you don't give up easily. I admire that in you!
You help me to understand how deep the Father's love is for us - how wide and deep and high and strong, in a way which passes all understanding. You make me grateful for all the things that I have been blessed with and you enhance every blessing in my life by being in it. I seek to put the word of God and the love of Jesus in your heart so it becomes part of you - something that is at your surface shining out but also at the very depths of your being. You are my miracle - the second baby they said I would never have and the handsome boy to match our beautiful girl. We cherish you and enjoy you - and we're speechless with wonder so often when you come home having learnt something else new or having had a wonderful adventure that you are excited to tell us about. How did we get so lucky?? You are growing up fast and I wouldn't want it any other way - but when you are all growed up and getting your life settled - who knows who with or doing what? - I want to remember what it was like when you were 3 and I was 36 and we were getting ready for your birthday...if only we could bottle it...? I remember it sweetly and with thanks and with tears too, just a few. Happy birthday Isaac Thomas Andrew - we love you and we know you love us. Thank you God for this wonderful gift - help us do our job well.