My little Lion is three-years-old now! It has been so much fun watching him grow and change, hit new milestones and become sweeter than I ever could have imagined.
Before his most recent haircut.
My favorite quality in Lion is his kindness and I’ve watched his generosity and care for others flourish over the last year. He is the best big brother, constantly doting on Panda. Now that they’re both in their new daycare and they have the opportunity to play three times a day during recess, they’ve only grown closer. I get pictures from daycare of them playing together. Sometimes, on water play day, Lion will tell me that Panda was sad and that he went over to play with his brother to cheer him up. A teacher will tell me that Lion was outside playing with chalk and when Panda approached, Lion immediately shared his chalk with his brother. We see the same behavior at home, with Lion eager to share and always concerned about his brother. That’s not to say that they don’t have their disagreements, of course, but I never even dared to hope that they would be so close. When Panda still hadn’t secured a spot at Lion’s new daycare, Lion befriended kids his own age, but also kids younger than him (around Panda’s age). He told everyone that those younger kids were going to be friends with Panda.
Lion dictated all of his favorites to me. We were surprised to see pickles make his top food list. Forgive my edits to protect their names.
His kindness extends far beyond his brother. Mr. Dolphin thinks that Lion has high emotional awareness and it does surprise me, at times, how instinctual he is about how a person feels or how to approach a situation. He is observant in how others feel and has great empathy for others. He is very polite and is obsessed with good manners.
My superhero obsessed Lion.
One of the biggest changes we’ve seen over the last year is how he’s outgrown a little of his shyness. I’ve always thought that he was a shy extrovert and we worked to help him become a little more comfortable around new situations. I’ve worked to take him out to new places a lot more, emphasized the importance of greeting people and saying goodbye, and gone to busier events with more people. A year ago, he would have clutched on to my legs, hid behind me or demanded to be carried in a new place, especially if other people were around. Today, he still has some shyness, especially if someone approaches him, but overall he’s willing to explore and entertain his curiosity more.
As we see his personality come out even more, there is no doubt that he is a serious child. I don’t mean to say that he’s not a happy child, because he smiles, laughs and plays like other children, but he is often concentrating hard at his tasks and his most frequent expression is what we call “serious face.” He likes to observe others and, even as he works through some of his shyness, by default is more cautious. He worries about many things in life, inheriting that trait from Mr. Dolphin and myself. He has an amazing attention span for his age, though, and doesn’t seem to bore that quickly when he really gets into a task. He is a rule follower and we’ve seen a great reduction in tantrums in the last six months. He has learned to say, “I need a minute” when he’s upset about something, and then is fine.
We were pleasantly surprised with how much Lion enjoyed the splash park since he typically hates water in his face.
The past year saw some changes and milestones, including potty training and a new daycare. He is now able to recognize all the letters in his name as well as a few other letters. He can now take his shoes off and undress himself. He (finally) learned to accept that brushing his teeth is not the end of the world. He became more comfortable with water. He is currently working on learning to write letters and put his shoes on.
While we’ve seen an improvement, we are still working on tantrums and his threenage years are most definitely upon us. After months of napping just three or four days week, he’s back to consistently napping about six days a week, but sometimes still wakes up in the middle of the night, at times crying hysterically. He’s still in a crib, but will likely move to a floor bed soon. We’re working on getting him to simply say, “I’m mad” or “I’m sad” to express his feelings, rather than screaming, “I’m not going to be your friend anymore!”
As you can see from the photos, he wears superhero clothing nearly every day.
You can see a list of what Lion thinks his favorite things are in one of the pictures above. I can definitely vouch for superheroes being at the top of the list and he loves running around the house with his capes and masks. He also enjoys Blaze and the Monster Machines, Pixar cars, trucks and cars of any kind, trains and pretty much anything else that goes. Reading is still his favorite activity and we hit 1,000 different titles earlier this year. We still go to the library every 2-3 weeks and pick out 50-60 books at a time, which he devours. I like that Lion listed Panda as one of his favorite things because there is no doubt in my mind that the two are best buddies. He also loves to sing songs, listen to music, and run whenever he can. He no longer wants me to carry him, insisting that he’s a “big boy” now. He says that he wants to be a fire fighter and a policeman when he grows up, then frequently follows that statement up with, “What do you want to be when you grow up, Mama?”
Love. Love. Love.
Happy birthday, sweet Lion cub! We love you to pieces!