My sweet, funny, charming, quirky Hobbes,
You turn three and a half in a few days. That half is so big. This time last year, I sent you off to Chinese preschool way too soon. You were so young. There was still so much baby in you, in the pudginess around your face, in your neediness when I rocked you to sleep, in the way you followed your big brother's lead in everything. Your articulation was full of adorable mistakes that made you seem even younger than you were.
Six months ago you started becoming a little boy. You were almost three months into the role of big brother, and you loved every minute of it. You still wanted a space shuttle birthday cake, just like Calvin. There was still some pudginess clinging to the edges of your face. You still needed me to lie with you at bedtime. Your words were still often difficult to understand, but they were getting clearer every day.
And soon you will be the oh-so-big three and a half. There is no baby fat left on the angular boy face, a face that already shows me some of what you will look like as a man. You are no longer the littlest boy at school, and though you still prefer to be home with mommy, you walk into class with more confidence than before. You are asserting your individual preferences every day, contradicting your brother's will in play, and insisting that he follow your idea for the adventure or game. You are no longer Calvin's shadow, often to his great frustration. You love being responsible for your baby brother. Your imagination is coming alive and sometimes blows me away. Sometimes it frustrates me, too, like when you have a battle between the good guy and bad guy spoons when you are supposed to be putting away the silverware. Your speech is more clear. Your body is thin and strong. You are not a toddler any more.
I should not have been surprised. I've been through it once before, this transformation. But it caught me by surprise. That half is so big.
But Sunday, when you agreed to let me rock you instead of having to go down for a nap, when you fell asleep in my arms, your long body draped across me and your sharp chin digging into my shoulder, there was still some bit of the baby you were hanging on inside of you. And at night, when you still need me to lie with you, I think you are not quite grown up yet. Not yet.
I love the boy you are becoming and the light that you bring.