Tomorrow you will wake up and be three and I can't quite believe it. This year has been crazy, full and sweet. Your little brother arrived soon after your birthday and the weeks that followed were stressful, fraught and I wasn't as present as you needed me to be. He finally came home and we all had to adjust to a new way of life. You became a big brother, and you are a great one. This year you have changed from a toddler to a little boy. I still cling on to the toddler label but really I see a small person in front of me with his own clear ideas, a wonderful way of communicating and a confidence that rarely wavers.
Your short sentences have become paragraphs and your ability to express yourself has grown exponentially. You are articulate, capable and always have something to say. You are the most loving child, you can't get enough cuddles and sometimes it feels like you are trying to get inside my skin. You crave closeness and touch, you want to love with your whole body and I find your arms wrapped around my neck, your legs around my waist and your head buried in my neck several times a day.
You want to experience everything with the whole of you still, something I saw in you early on that hasn't changed. A puddle can't just be jumped in, you need to see how the water reacts to your fingers too. You want to walk along every raised surface, touch every leaf and stop to listen to every sound. You are physical in ways your brother isn't and I was amazed to watch you skiing last month on our holiday in France. Not many two year olds can cope with lessons out on the snow, but you weren't going to let that stand in your way.
You are my wild one in so many ways, your hair being the first that people notice. You don't want it cut and I gave up trying to persuade you. People often think you are a girl, your blond locks have a life of their own, but we both know it doesn't really matter. One day you will want it all cut off and that is fine, but for now you look perfect, wild hair and everything.
As you turn three I know our days together are numbered. School is still a long way off, but preschool isn't and you are signed up to start in April. Your one day of nursery at the moment is wonderful but I can see you need more and I know you will love the new routine. I am dreading losing a piece of you though, not knowing so many things about your day and not spending every day with you. I know it is a part of you growing up, but when you cuddle in to me or ask for magic kisses I remember how little you still are.
You are still little in some ways. We haven't started potty training yet and you are still in your cot. I think it is a second baby thing, wanting to keep you smaller for longer. It doesn't mean you can't climb in and out of your cot quite skillfully, but I climb in every night to give you 'squeezy cuddles' and you are my baby.
Everything changed the day you entered my world. I became a different person because of you and you are still teaching me every single day. You encourage me to be silly and take chances, to stop and watch the squirrels climbing the trees or admire the flowers. You remind that we all have amazing imaginations even if as adults we don't use them often enough.
As you turn three my baby boy, please stay that, my baby. You already seem so old sometimes as you constantly check on me, asking me if I am ok, am I happy, is the baby warm enough in there, do I need a cuddle. Stay true to yourself Archie, as you are quite frankly a wonderful person to be.
Before you turn three, as I kiss you goodnight for the last time as my two year old, I just want you to know how truly loved you are