Dear Tanner & Morgan -
Happy Third Birthday! I can't believe that you are turning three tomorrow. It just doesn't seem like enough time has elapsed that my itsy bitsy babies have become full-fledged little kids.
Tonight, we weighed you - like we have every 3rd or 4th night since birth (some habits die hard). You weighed in at 27 lb 5 oz (Tanner) and 27 lb 7 oz (Morgan). This is over 12 times your birth weight. At first, this didn't seem such an extraordinary thing, but then I started considering that if a "normal" baby born at 7 lb had done the same thing - they'd be an 84 pound three year old. So, this is actually a pretty extraordinatry accomplshment. You've also both grown from around 13" to just under 36".
Do you remember where we started this year? I didn't - until I took a peak at this picture:
I saw that and I thought, was that really a year ago? Where did my babies go? You don't look like the toddlers in that picture. This past year, you have accomplished so many milestones. In June, you started preschool...and in October, we went one step further and put you in two separate classrooms. Morgan, you are now fully potty-trained, and Tanner, you are pretty close. You guys pretty much dress yourself each morning and are opininated enough now that you actually have to help assist me in deciding what you want to wear.
Morgan, you have grown into a sweet, beautiful child this last year. Oh, don't get me wrong, you still have your stubborness, but underneath that hard shell is a very sweet center. You watch after others around you - especially Tanner. Just this past weekend, you helped Tanner get up and then brushed him off afterwards. You love your brother so fiercely...it warms my heart. But, your love extends beyond your brother...you've been known to stop us in the middle of our day to tell us "I love you, Mommy" or "I love you, Daddy" and at Aunt Sherry's wedding this weekend, you turned to her and said "Aunt Sherry, you have the most beautiful dress."
Oh my, and you are smart as a whip. You are so determined to be in "Pre-K" that you keep telling us that you are going to be FOUR instead of three so that you can start pre-K. You know your entire alphabet and can count consistenly to about 20. On top of that, you've started to sound out letters and can identify starting letters for almost any word we can throw at you.
Your concentration is astanding for a child so small. You will sit and work on something for a VERY long time...until you figure it out. It doesn't matter if it's helping daddy with work...
Or helping him tie his shoes...
Or playing with Grandma....
You have the determination and will power to sit and work at things for over an hour...where most kids your age (well, at least Tanner) give up after only a few minutes.
You are very observant, and mommy and daddy have to constantly watch what we say around you. Earlier this year, you told your teacher that "my mommy has to go to jail". All because I told you it was the law for you to wear your seatbelt, and if you didn't wear it, mommy would get in trouble.
Just a few weeks ago, your daddy & I splurged and took the two of your to Disney World. We knew that we would have fun, but Morgan, I never knew how much fun it would be to see Disney through your eyes. You absolutely lit up when the characters came around, and the look on your face when Mickey Mouse brought your birthday cake out...well, it pretty much made the whole trip worth every single penny.
I know, Morgan, that we have many battles in front of us. How do I know this? Because, trust me, I put your Grandma Crazy Woman through the same battles (ever wonder what made her Crazy?) But, I just want you to know that I love you from the bottom of my heart, little girl. I promise to stick through the tough times...and help you grow into a beautiful, strong, smart woman. I'll be there for you in the hard times, and I hope that I'll be able to support your decisions as easily as your grandparents supported me. I love you, Morgan Olivia.
And you, Tanner Anton, you have developed into such a different child this past year. I'm not sure who gets the credit for all of that - but you are not the same little boy that you were a year ago.
Oh, don't get me wrong. You are still my sweet little boy who loves a good hug...every single morning when you get out of bed, you run towards me and throw yourself into my arms for a good morning hug. You wrap your little arms tight around my neck and give me a good squeeze, and some mornings for good measure, you'll even through in a kiss.
But you have blossomed so much...
A little over a year ago, we started you in speach therapy. At almost two years old, you barely had more than 15 words - well below the norm. We knew you had been delayed for awhile. Your speech has blossomed, you have so many words now. And, while they aren't all so clear, most of the time you do a pretty good job of getting your point across.
I think one of the biggest factors in your chnage has been preschool. We started preschool in a toddler room that you shared with Morgan. A funny thing happened one day, Morgan stayed home and you went to school by yourself. The teachers told us that they saw a whole new Tanner. A boy who came out of his shell and talked, laughed, and played with the other kids. Two months later, we put your and Morgan in different classrooms when you moved up to the "big kid room".
That was a big turning point for you and your sister. No longer did you give in to her requests...you got to make your own decisions. It didn't take you long to decide to apply that philosophy at home as well as school. You also started to initiate some of the fighting that happens occasionally between you two. (Ok, who am I kidding, regularly happens...)
I have to admit, your father and I have been secretly amused by your new found confidence. Morgan no longer bamboozles you by taking your toys...you have been known to outright take things from her hands. And, occasionally, we've caught you instigating the fights and trying to get your sister in trouble. We're actually a bit relieved to see this fiesty spirit.
And, you became all boy. Tractors and cars are a thing of passion for you. I think you are anxiously awaiting the day you get to help Daddy mow the yard. Whenever he mows while you are supposedly napping, I will go downstairs and find you sitting in the window waving to Daddy every time he drives by on the mower.
Like any good boy, you love getting into messes. There have been several times when we've found you head to toe in whatever strikes you...
Easter egg dye...
Cheesy Dipping Sauce...
Occasionally, we see glimmers of a class clown inside of you. Whenever you do something that you know explicitly you should not be doing, you try to avoid trouble by giving us your little grin and your infectious laugh. While it does work occasionally, mom and dad are starting to wisen up.
And recently, we've seen a glimpse of serious Tanner occasionally. Serious Tanner comes out whenever speech or phystical therapy is involved...or whenever any of the Disney characters tried to visit us at Disney land. It is strange to see my little boy who used to be so people happy, having stranger anxiety now.
And, at the ripe old age of three, I think your strongest asset is still your courage. You just don't give up...whether it be speech or physical therpay or learning to do something that your sister is doing...even when things aren't on your side, you don't give up. I know that life hasn't dealt you an even hand, Tanner, but I am so proud for the little person that you have become against these odds. I am so glad for your ability to love and laugh through it all. I am so glad for the light that you have brought to my life. I love you, Tanner Anton.
To both of my twins...I sometimes find it very hard to be the mother of twins. It's not an easy game. You're told not to compare the children...but you can't help but do that a little. It makes you worry sometimes...and it makes you ferociously proud other times. Sometimes it's hard to share my love and time, equally. I hope that is something that your father and I can work on this year...so that you can each have personal time with Mommy & Daddy. That's been kind of tough to do the last three years.
I love you both so much...you have taught me so much about being a mother and a better person...about what is really important in life. Thank you.
Happy Third Birthday, Tanner & Morgan.