Gone! Gone! Gone!
Pacis - GONE! Diapers - GONE! Chubby baby cheeks - GONE! Chunky baby thighs - GONE! Round little baby belly - GONE GONE! Toddler # 3 - GONE GONE GONE!!!
In the place of all that stuff gone missing is a brand new preschooler! And it's an awesome exchange! Zane is turning 3 on Saturday. It's been a long year for the little guy! And SO much has changed. He's a big brother now; he's not the baby anymore. He gave up his babyhood - quite willingly as a matter of fact! He's in preschool now and learning about "his letters" and sounds and the very beginnings of how to read and write. He's able to memorize songs and entertain himself and he has no problem whatsoever making his wants and desires known.
This new found ability to get his way (for lack of a better phrase) is something that Zaney Pie got behind with gusto! Turns out that the combination of new baby in the house plus busy big brother schedules added to a couple of tired parents equates to a 2 year old with an impressive ability to get whatever he wants - when he wants it - how he wants it. Thankyouverymuch!
And anyone who has been through the "terrible twos" knows that they are called "terrible" for a reason. We knew the trying times were coming (ain't our first rodeo, ya know), but the timing caught us a little by surprise. Spencer and Quinn really had more terrible THREE'S than two's. So as Bob and I were despairing (around 6ish months ago) about our complete failure in boundary setting for our spunky 3rd child, it dawned on us that maybe Zane was just early. Maybe he's an overachiever. Maybe we were in the midst of his terrible twos. And somehow that realization made everything better. We just hunkered down and waited!
And what do you know, things are better now than they were just a few short months ago. We still have times when Zane feels the need to push the limits or make sure that we're well and truly aware of his little presence. He still likes to test our patience from time to time, but it's not a daily occurence any more. And that's really nice! Because Zane is a super cool kid when he's not freaking out about chocolate milk or whining about some imagined injustice!
He loves to be outside and if there's a ball involved he wants to play it. Z would be perfectly happy if we would sit outside with him all day long. Actually he'd be more happy if we would oblige his requests to rotate the game he's playing about every 20-30 minutes. He plays baseball (with a T and bat and glove) and lacrosse (had to get him his own stick) and golf (has used the set we got for Spencer more than S ever did). He likes to throw balls and catch balls and tackle our tackling dummy - or a brother, whichever is closest! Zane is more coordinated at *almost* 3 than most 5 year olds I have seen - and certainly more coordinated than his big brothers were at 5 (or 6 or 7).
And in a way that makes Bob's eyes sparkle with promise, Zane also has an aggressive streak that can only come from being the youngest first-born* in the family. He has confidence that has come from his brothers challenging him just enough to make him better, but regularly letting him "win". He is going to be, if current observations stick, a force when he starts real organized sports. The fact that he's still 2 years away from being able to legitimately play is laughable. I suppose growing up at the parks has it's perks!
*Not sure if anyone has ever done any reading on birth order, but there's a pretty interesting idea that if there is a big gap between multiple kids in a family then there are first born traits in multiple children. In our case, Spencer couldn't be more first born if he were concocted in a laboratory and Zane is first born #2 with the added benefit of having built in playmates and role models. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think Zane is the luckiest of all the boys simply because of his position in our family.
Zane loves to play with his brothers - probably more than anything else. He will wrestle with them and giggle with them. Sometimes the 3 oldest will all be sitting together watching TV in the toyroom, perfectly content to have legs overlapping and be leaning on one another. It's a heartwarming invasion of personal space to witness! And there's already a pretty special bond between Zane and Beck. It mostly stems from the shear and utter delight that B displays whenever he sees Z at the end of the school day or first thing in the morning. It's pretty hard to ignore such blatant adoration, and Zane certainly isn't immune to the clear ego boast that he gets from his little brother.
I've particularly enjoyed watching Zane's imagination come to life. He doesn't have much of an opportunity to play alone, but when he does it's really fun to watch. He makes up stories and voices and plots. He bends the original intent of his action heros and cars and dinosaurs. When he gets into his own little world, he has a blast! Very cool! One time that he can regularly relax and play is when he's in his crib (yes, still a crib because he hasn't pushed for a bed and I'm not pushing him to one!) before he falls asleep. We often watch him playing with the million stuffed friends he has in there with him. He sometimes pulls books from the shelves. (His room is always a mess with books on the floor!) He sometimes plays under his blankets. Sometimes he sings. He has lots of fun up there before he puts his pillow pet on TOP of his head and falls asleep!
There are definitely things that Z doesn't love. Eating pops to mind. I swear that child can go for days without eating dinner. I learned long ago (thank you Quinn) not to worry about it. If he eats, great! If he doesn't, he's not gonna starve. He drinks enough chocolate milk to live on, for one thing, and I'm sure he eats when he's at school. So dinner time isn't a big deal. Normally he just sits with us anyway and plays with something on his plate. Sometimes he whines and fusses that things are too hot or he doesn't like them. Whatever... it's just dinner. It wasn't until I stopped and really looked at him getting ready for a bath (something he still loves even though he also takes showers now when the big boys let him in with them) that he's thinned out SOOOOO much. He looks like (sniff sniff) a little boy now. Flat belly and longer legs. His face has changed... it has features now. No more round baby face. It's an awesome thing to notice the changes. Because they are so very swift! Putting together this year's collage was another eye opener! This time last year Zane was still such a baby! Not anymore!
We're having a dino themed birthday party for him in about a week. I'm excited for him to get a chance to play with his friends - because he has friends! And he can tell you which are his "best friends" and which ones are "mean". I hope his personality is as magnetic at school as it is at home.
When we were choosing names for Zane we had a fairly easy time. I loved the name Zane from the first time I heard it and Bob didn't take too much convincing. It seemed like fate when we looked up the meaning for his name. Zane means "God is Gracious". And with Zane, God really outdid himself. We are so very thankful that He was kind enough to give us such a special boy in Zane. Bob and I were just talking the other day about how very glad we are that we didn't stop at two kids. I can't imagine a world without a Zane. And I can't wait to see what changes the next 12 months bring!
Happy Birthday to our Zane! I wish him a smooth and easy year full of smiles and laughs and as much chocolate milk as he wants to drink!
PS - We're off to football practice tonight with 3 dozen cupcakes to celebrate Spencer's birthday. I hope I made enough!!!