Lovely boy with the almond eyes, you can climb a flight of stairs now, open all cabinets, be choosy with your food, take apart mechanized toys and peer at their guts, count carefully to 10 (seven is vesen?), put together your Lego blocks. You like neatness and order, will spend hours arranging books in a line on the floor, lining up stuffed animals on the windowsill just so.
Snub-nosed boy with such red lips, you are a potato-monster! You devour chips one by one, and wipe away the crumbs. You know which brand you want and will not settle for substitutes. You will pretend to drink from my big glass and then say “aaaahhh” because that’s the way the grownups do it. You can say “French fries” clearly but only if you want to. You nibble at chocolates from my fingers, and demand that I open my hand to see if there are more. Your other favorite is chicken, the drumstick, and you eat it round and round on the bone, mouth open wide. You climb up on my chair at dinnertime, sit on my lap and pick at my food, and we wrestle with the fork.
Happy boy with the bright grin, you can grip my heart in a tight fist when you turn away in a sulk. You send me to sleep with your soft snoring, only to wake me up with an arm carelessly flung at my face. I love the yummy smell of your neck when we snuggle in bed, it makes up for those times when you sneak in your cold feet under the blankets and bury them in my tummy. You can wave and say buh-bye now, and send me off to work, and at the end of the day, I hurry home to your brown arms, to that warm hug.
I am carefully marking the years, you know. I know for certain that childhood days are fleeting. One day, you will run away from me instead of towards me, will no longer plead to be carried, will no longer say, “Mama lang,” will not seek me out in the darkness as you struggle with a bad dream, will find other more amusing playmates, will miss me less and less as the outside world draws you in more and more. I will love you even then, still. And I will love you always.
Beautiful boy, Jeremy Isaac, first-born, long awaited and prayed for, you are three today.