Happy Birthday, Teddy!

A certain someone in the Sklar household had a birthday today… Teddy Bear turned three!

We’ve been talking about Teddy’s birthday for weeks. What we’d eat (pizza and birthday cake), what we’d do (play with visiting animals), who was coming (Mommy and Daddy and Jo Jo and Geoffrey and, of course, Ivry). We also talked about some of the things Teddy himself would do once he turned three—go in the toddler pool by himself, sit on the potty, give up his afternoon nap and instead agree to go to bed at 7 pm with Jo Jo.

This morning when he woke up Jamie and I went into his room to sing him Happy Birthday. He smiled and said, simply, “thank you.”

Then we went downstairs to show him a very special present from Pop Pop and Nana.

A new red tricycle!

The tricycle has intense symbolic significance. My father apparently got a similar red tricycle from his grandfather on his third birthday. It was right after the second World War and luxuries like tricycles were few and far between….but somehow my grandfather got one. So Pop Pop wanted to make sure his first born grandson—who is his doppelganger in so many ways—got his very own red tricycle to mark his third birthday.

So my boy did…and he loved it. And although I cried a bit because my father will never be able to actually see Teddy ride it, I take comfort in the fact that Teddy will be able to see Pop Pop in a few weeks, and tell him all about his new riding adventures.

Teddy also had another big milestone recently: he spent four nights away from me when he went with Jamie up to Canada for a long weekend. I’ve never been away from Teddy, other than Geoffrey’s birth and when I was in Boston with my father last November, and I missed him terribly. When he came back, he seemed different. Older, taller, more mature, and I got a glimpse or two into the man he is going to grow into someday.

He reminds me so much of my father sometimes it hurts. It’s not just that he looks like him, with the same hair color and facial structure and coloring. It’s the way he focuses on a project so intensely, his tongue between his teeth in concentration, or the way he protectively grabs Jo Jo’s hand when we’re all walking together and she starts lagging behind, or the way he slowly but methodically puts on his bicycle helmet when he’s riding his tricycle or insists on buckling up his seat belt himself (like my father, he is meticulously safety conscious, much to the chagrin of my adrenaline junky husband).

He is so much the big brother, both to Geoffrey and to Jo Jo. My in-laws wanted to get Teddy some sort of toy car to ride around in for his birthday and he insisted he wanted a truck that both his siblings could ride in to. When we go to the park, his favorite activity is playing on the toy bus, and he makes sure both Jo Jo and Geoffrey are sitting down and have strapped in their imaginary seat belts.

He’s really something, my middle child. It’s almost as if he was born to be the protector.

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that my eldest son is now three. I still remember his birth day like it was yesterday, including the nurse carrying all 21 1/2 inches, nine pounds, ten ounces of  him over to me and exclaiming, "He's a moose! What a moose!"

Happy birthday, my little moose. I love you very, very much.