During our last visit to the pediatrician, I was carrying Max and another little boy came up to us, pointed at Max, and said: “what a cute baby!”
I just smiled, but Max didn’t think it was funny. With a stern face, he answers the little boy: “I’m not a baby! I’m a big boy! I’m three years old!”
We officially have a three year old! How did this happen? How did we get here? We’re officially on his last year as a toddler. I almost can’t believe it. I still remember holding my little lolo alien baby in my arms.
His third birthday celebration lasted for about a month. We’re not big on big birthday parties so we had a bunch of intimate gatherings throughout the month. Some planned and some accidental, but all equally wonderful.
Max’s first birthday party was at school! I can’t believe we’re having school parties now! It was really simple. I got some cupcakes, juice boxes, pizza, and Jollibee Chicken Joy and spaghetti.
We brought small goodie bags for Max’s classmates, but they loved the cupcakes! I sprinkled some M&Ms on top of them and they went nuts over it. I guess you can’t go wrong with M&Ms and toddlers.
On the eve of his birthday, Mikey and I set up a small salubong for him. It’s a little tradition we have, and I hope we can continue it until he’s older. We got him a donut (because we ran out of his birthday cupcakes) and we set up his birthday gifts. He blew out the candles and opened his gifts in a frenzy.
We got him a toy cash register and while he was playing with it, he said: “best gift ever!” I like getting him generic toys because I feel like they age better than toys associated with movies or TV shows. Mikey’s the opposite, so he eventually got Max a big Optimus Prime for his birthday too.
On the day of his birthday, we took him to play in Adventure Zone. The yearlong membership was his birthday gift last year and we don’t plan on renewing it again because he’s so busy with school now. As we watched him play, we were feeling sentimental about how much he could do now. He could barely slide by himself when we started. Just like last year, we ended up having a Xiao Long Bao dinner in Din Tai Fung.
Mikey planned an impromptu playdate with some good friends, and they ended up in Adventure Zone again the next day. They had so much fun that Max fell asleep right after he had a few bites of his Shake Shack cheeseburger.
He had so much fun that he came down with a really bad cough. He was coughing through his big birthday lunch with my family the next day. But it didn’t stop him from playing with all his new toys with his Ninong Charleston.
His last birthday celebration was with his Lala who helped us end the month with a bang. His Lala took him to Toys R Us to pick out his birthday gifts. We also had a great dinner at Sakura Yakiniku, Mikey’s favorite restaurant—and now, one of Max’s too.
Maybe when Max is older and he expresses his desire for a big birthday party, we’ll finally throw him one. But for now, his month-long celebration was pretty perfect.
When Max was about to turn two, everyone warned us about the terrible twos. As the year progressed, I kept thinking: it’s actually not so terrible. In fact, it’s pretty magical. I didn’t want to say it out loud because I was worried about jinxing it.
But now that the terrible twos are over, I can finally admit that it was amazing! I mean, of course there were hard days and I’ve locked myself in a kitchen out of frustration a couple of times. But I got to witness him grow so much in a year. I watched him become more independent and expand his vocabulary. Last year, he only spoke in two- or three-word sentences. These days, we can hardly get a word in without Squish interrupting.
Our world looks so different these days. Max is in school, and, on top of my writing gig, I’ve taken on a research position in my old university. I miss those days when Max and I would spend most of our time at home. It’s been tough to work in family time, but I hope that things will normalize within the month. But maybe more on this later.
Today, I get a rare morning off at Starbucks while I wait for Max. I can finally finish writing this post and watch an episode or two of Downton Abbey. In about half an hour, I’ll start packing up so I can walk back and pick up Squish. A three year old. Who goes to school. WHEN DID ALL OF THIS HAPPEN?!