Dear Gavin: A Love Letter To A Three (and A Half) Year Old

After putting Gavin to bed last night, Dan and I started talking about how awesome our three-year-old is. He had made me laugh so hard as I was getting his pyjamas on him. They were his “cozy peegees”, fleece, and footed with a zipper that runs from the ankle to the neck. I zipped half way up and then he took over, pulling the zipper up to his chest.

“Mor?” he asked me. He zipped until he was very close to the top and then stoped. “Mor?” He had a sparkle in his eyes. Then he zipped down really fast and says “WAY MOR!” and I busted a gut because he is such a goof ball. When he finally zips to the top, he asked me to snap the strap that protects his chin from the zipper. “Snap me!”

“Please,” I reminded him. At which point he does the most exaggerated eye roll ever and says “No! We only say please at lunch!”

This kid, man. He brings me joy.

Love Letter to a 3 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

Gavin is three. And a half, actually, as of the end of October. You’ve heard about the “terrible twos” but the big secret that most parents in this stage of life know is that three is always worse than two. And while I sit here thinking about my life with my middle boy, I need to insist that Gavin really is a good and wonderful kid, and that three hasn’t been that bad. But there are times when three is really hard.

The other day as we were at the school picking Cameron up, I noticed Gavin running off school property towards the sidewalk and the road. I left my baby with a friend and ran after him. It was such a physical example of everything that we have experienced with him lately: Pushing boundaries to see how far he can get – physical or otherwise. There are days when I am so infuriated by this type of behaviour and the way he pushes me, but those days aren’t the majority.

Love Letter to a 3 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

Typical to any middle child experience, I did not write Gavin a letter or do an interview with him on his birthday, half a year ago. To be fair, I have a three month old baby and was only three months into this parenting three kids thing. I just couldn’t handle another big “three” thing. The poor guy didn’t even get a proper birthday party. Looking back, I kind of feel bad about the whole thing now.

Love Letter to a 3 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

When Gavin turned three-and-a-half last week, I gave him a cupcake with a candle, took some photos, and finally got around to interviewing him. While this means I won’t be able to necessarily compare him year to year, I do want to capture this year that he is three, even half a year late. And I so, very much, want to honour him with a love letter.

Love Letter to a 3 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

Dear Gavin,

The other day we were standing in the bathroom when you told me you wanted to get your hair cut. You were definitely due for a cut, but I don’t ever force the issue until you’re ready. For you, being ready means that you’ve probably endured weeks of facing skywards so you can see past the long fringe of hair that covers your eyes. I am happy to trim, and encourage it, but you fight me until you’re ready. So we wait. This time, like the past times, I was expecting you to tell me that I could cut it, and I’d trim your bangs and maybe the back if it was starting to look uneven. Your Dad would be mad at me for it for maybe three days but then it would start to look normal again and you’d be able to see comfortably and that is what matters. Except this time, you wanted something different.

Love Letter to a 3 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

“I want to get my hair cut,” you told me. “I want sharp hair.”

“Yes hunny, the scissors will be sharp, but it won’t hurt your hair,” I reassured you.

As you continued to talk about your haircut over the coming hours, I came to realize that “sharp hair” meant spikey hair – even a mohawk. You wanted your hair short. A drastic change. And something I really couldn’t do by myself.

Gavin, you have gotten stress-hives in the past when you’ve gone to get your hair cut. You have held my hand and been very scared at other times. So, I knew I needed to be brave for you. But I came very close to tears many times as we prepared to cut off your long, beautiful hair.

I don’t know what it was about your hair, but I loved it. Maybe part of it is that I know I will never have a little girl. I will never braid a daughter’s hair. I won’t share a lot of things a mom shares with a daughter. And that is okay. I love having boys. And I don’t care what you look like. But. You’ve passed for a girl before, Gavin. You are beautiful. One day this past winter we were at the mall and an older gentleman was talking to Cameron. “What’s the girl’s name?” he kept asking. Eventually we made him understand that your name is Gavin and you are a boy. “Oh my goodness!” he said. “I didn’t know a boy could be that pretty.”

Love Letter to a 3 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

I just didn’t want to lose my beautiful baby with the beautiful locks, regardless of your gender. It felt like we were moving into a new, big-boy stage, and I wasn’t ready.

But so much has changed in this last year anyway. These changes have been so good. A year ago, you were the youngest in this family and you were so wary of my growing belly. When Cameron wanted to feel the baby move and kick, you wanted nothing to do with the pregnancy. You just carried on as if we weren’t getting a new baby, ignoring and avoiding every sign that we were. But when Logan got here, you became an amazing big brother, right away. You have consistently been kind, helpful, loving, and gentle to Logan. As I type this, you’re playing with him in our basement. Because Cameron is in school now, you and Logan are forming a bond that I hope will keep you close for life. You call Logan “my baby” so much now that we sometime’s call Logan “Gavin’s baby”. I am proud of you for embracing this new role in our family.

Love Letter to a 3 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

Other things haven’t changed. You’re still this amazing boy who loves snuggles and blankets and sleep toys. You go to sleep best when covered with multiple blankets, surrounded by Gavin-sized plush toys, or snuggled by Daddy or I. You still look for opportunities to spend time with your family and help out whenever there is an opportunity. Daddy loves taking you, and only you, on errands with him. Cameron like to stay home but you like to go. And when you do, you are helpful and enjoy the one-on-one time.

Your smile is infectious. You make us laugh with a sense of humour that is surprisingly good for a three-year-old. Your eyes are so big and expressive and brown and I could stare into them for days.

Love Letter to a 3 Year Old | Mommy Miracles

You wanted me to hold your hand under the barber’s cape for some of your hair appointment, but you were so incredibly brave. Robyn cut off your hair and made it sharp, just how you wanted while I held my emotions back from spilling all over the floor with the rest of your hair. As she held up the mirror for you to see what she was done, your face just lit up. I am not sure how many other times in my life I have seen you that happy, and that is saying something because you are one happy kid. There you were. My Gavin. Your hair was gone but you were still there. You look different. So much more grown up. So much like your big brother. But the things that make you who you are – that smile, the way you make the world around you feel – that is all still there.

The many faces of Gavin. Note: this is how it goes every time we try to take a photo of him.

A photo posted by Laura O’Rourke (@lauralorourke) on

I’m so lucky that you’re in my life, Gavin. I’ll keep holding your hand, I’ll keep on being brave, as you continue to make the world a brighter place.

I love you. So very much.

Love, Mommy

Instead of posting Gavin’s interview in text form (I usually make that a seperate post), I’ll leave it here as a video. It is precious. And yes. He is pretty darn good at sneaking food, much to my chagrin.

Most photos included in this post are either from the day of Gavin’s third birthday or the day he turned three-and-a-half, with a few exceptions.

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