What a difference a year makes. My youngest is three. There are no more babies in my house. There is no more napping at my house. Instead, I have a big boy jumping fearlessly into the pool, trusting that I will catch him safely. His sweetness is evident in the many times he says I love you, in his cuddles and hugs. And yet, he has discovered his stubborn, defiant streak. He will make his own choices, or else.
It is our job to help him revel in his independence, so he may be comfortable and happy as a big boy. I will love him regardless of his defiance, and together we will find a path through his inflexibility.
I have been reveling in his well-rested smiles. The corners of his sweet mouth tip us, showing his white teeth and apple cheeks; his eyes sparkle. And my heart warms like strawberries in the June sunshine.