As a three-year-old, I don’t have too many responsibilities. One of those, though, and it is a really important one I have learned, is to give love. When someone leaves, or when I go to bed at night, or when Mama or Daddy is leaving for work, my job is to go up to them and to give them “a hug and a kiss.” If someone forgets when they are busy or running late, I run as fast as my little legs will carry me and I will shout, “Wait, WAIT!!! I forgot to give you a hug and a kiss!” It is with a sense of urgency that only a three-year-old can have. I must do this, and I must do it before anything else can happen.
The next step is very, very important. I have to “stamp” those kisses and hugs to make them “stick.” I have learned by using the stamp and ink pads that I have in the house, when you stamp something, you push down hard and then you let go of the stamper. It then makes a picture that “sticks” on the page. As long as you have that piece of paper, that picture will be there forever. Kisses and hugs, after all, are done when they are done… but if you stamp them, they must stick, too. So when I give my family a kiss and a hug, right afterwards I say the word “stamp” and push down with my little stamper-hand. My hand becomes a stamp, and I make them stay there just like the ink on paper. They will stick all day, they will keep my family safe, and they will keep my family with me until the next time that I see them again.
Why is this important? It’s because big people can seem to get lost in all that they do that they do not remember what is most important. Hugs, kisses, and love– they are the most important of all of the things. If we don’t have that, what do we have after all? What we all need to remember is that we can all stamp those hugs and kisses on the people that we must leave for a little while. Stamp those hugs and kisses, everyone, and seal them on the people that you love.
You see that? That’s me running my first race. I just got to run with the Healthy Kids Running Series, which helps kids like me who love to run to get to do races that are built for little legs like mine. Mama and Daddy asked if I wanted to do a race with other kids, and I said “YES” in my big kid excited voice. I didn’t even know that little kids like me could run in a race.
I have always loved to run. Ever since I practiced enough that my legs were so, so strong from moving, I have run more than I have walked. My Mama and me have this game. She says, “I’m going to eat your feet!” and she pretends to go in and chomp them up. I always say the same thing back to her, “No, you can’t eat my feet, they’re for running and walking. I LOVE RUNNING! I don’t want to walk, I want to run.” It is a fun game, but it’s true. I love to run. That’s me running through cattail “floof” as my Daddy likes to call the inside of a cattail.
My Mama and Daddy started running when I was really little, just over 2, and ever since I saw my Daddy start running so that he could get healthier, I started running after him. When my Daddy first started working to run every day, he had to go and get shoes that would help keep his legs happy, so we went to the running store to try them out. I might have been very small, but I was already very fast for my little size… and I squealed in the hallway trying to work hard to catch my Daddy.
I got better and better at it, and pretty soon my legs carried me so, so fast for my little size that Mama and Daddy told me that I was good at running. Of course I am, Mama and Daddy, that is what we are all meant to do after all. Isn’t that what legs are for?
If you see me running, I am smiling too. That is because that is joy… being free and getting to feel like the birds in the sky because I can fly too. I can fly with my feet, and they can carry me fast, fast, faster. I tell my Mama, “I’m soooo FAST!” all the time and tell her that she needs to run with me. I tell everyone to run because I want to share flying with everyone.
I have gotten so very fast now that cameras can’t always catch me right and they come out blurry.
I would be happy to just keep running and running everywhere that I go, but when my Mama and Daddy told me about the Healthy Kids Running Series, my Mama said my whole face lit up. Mama and Daddy do races, so I know all about them and the bibs and medals. I have touched them and worn them, but they weren’t mine– they were Mama and Daddy’s. The best part is getting to run with other people who love to run too, they said, so I was more excited about getting to run with other little kids my size. After all, Mama and Daddy have the long-leg advantage over me, so they can be faster when they want to (wait, though, Mama and Daddy, because one day my legs will be long like yours too).
They signed me up as soon as they knew that I wanted to do it, and before I knew it, I was there at a race. First I got my very own bib number, 100, which Mama and Daddy said was a very good number to get because it means complete and full effort… giving 100 percent is giving it your all.
We did warm up exercises, and at first I didn’t really get it. We did high knees and skips and runs across the big lawn, but when it was time to turn around, I just kept going until Mama shouted for me to stop and turn around. My Mama shouted “Stop, Dorian!” and I heard her say, “Alright little Forrest Gump.”I didn’t know who he was, but Mama explained that he’s a character from a movie and was a man that loved to run so much that he ran all the way across the country back and forth for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours, which is about my entire life up until now, so he must have really, really liked to run. He runs all the way through that movie from the time that he was a kid because he “just felt like running.” When he ran for a college football team, he got to the goal with the ball and just kept going just like I did when we were practicing, so I guess I am a lot like him. My Mama and Daddy said that being like Forrest is not a bad thing because he is what they call a “role model.” I like that, me being a role model. It sounds fancy and important.
When we were done practicing, we got in a big line of all of the girls my size. There I am waiting on the end in the pink pants.
When we were all ready they said, “On your mark, get set, GO!” really loud. I looked at my Mama, who told me it was time to run, and I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me. I ran and ran and ran all the way across the field to get to the end.
When I got there, though, I told Mama that I wanted to do it again. It was the boys’ turn, though, and my turn was over. That was hard for me to understand and I was sad, but Mama promised that I was going to come back and do it all over again, and when I did… I would get my very own medal.
Mama and Daddy were going out of town with my big sister on race day, so my Granny took me because no one wanted for me to miss it. My big, big sister Lilli and my giant brother Jonah got to come and see me run too. I understood the rules a bit better that time (although I did just keep running when I was supposed to stop every time still) and we got to play fun running games with all of the little kids, boys and girls.
After we got our muscles all warmed up, I got in line, and this time, I ran right when they said “GO!” to us. I ran faster this time too, but when I got to the end, I stopped because I didn’t want it to end and when I went over the finish line, I knew that it would be over. My giant brother Jonah told me that I would get my medal, though, so I went with him cheering me on to the finish.
When I crossed the line, they gave me my medal… my very own medal just for me. It went around my neck and I stared at it for a long time. It was my very first medal just like Mama and Daddy’s medals. I earned that medal just like Mama and Daddy… I ran and I earned it all by myself.
The best part? The kid on the medal looks just like me, a little running person with hair just like mine. I told everyone that I was the kid on the medal, that it was me on that award.
There it is up close. See? That’s Dorian, that’s me, that’s me running on that medal. Mama says that “symbolizes” me and all of the other kids that were running as hard as they could, whatever that means, but she’s wrong. It’s me on that picture because I love to run and running is me.
Next year I get to run the whole series again, and I’ll be older and bigger and I will be even faster and stronger. Get ready for Dorian, Healthy Running Kids Series, I’m coming and I’ll be running fast.
“Now you wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but I could run like the wind blows. From that day on, if I was going somewhere, I was running!” — Forrest Gump
See that? It’s a train, and I made it all by myself this morning. My Mama was in the kitchen making me breakfast, and I came over and said, “You want to see my kitty train? I made it, come see it.” I then grabbed her by the hand and I took her over to our little library room to see my masterpiece.
This morning I got the blocks out all by myself, putting them all over the floor. I have done this many times because I love to build with blocks, but I usually just build towers that I make as tall as I can so that I can have an “earthquake” and I make them fall. I do this over and over. This morning, though, I wanted to make a train for my kitty. My Mama says that this was special because I was looking at the blocks and trying to figure out how to make a picture with them in my mind, and then I had to make that picture look like the one in my mind.
I had to get the Jenga blocks first (I took those for my projects instead of the game because they make for good building) to make the bottom part because they are bigger. Then I took the little blocks and built it up, and I put the round one at the front for the “steam” (as I explained to Mama) just like on Thomas the Tank Engine. I love that show, so I wanted to make my little train look like Thomas and Percy. I put the round piece up front so that it could have a “face” just like Thomas, too. Once I was done, it was time for my kitty to be the conductor of the train.
I was so very proud of my work as you can see from the giant smile on my face, and my Mama said she was very proud too and that it showed how my imagination is growing. My imagination is huge, Mama, as you can see from all of the games that I play every day. All that it takes is a bit of mind power, and I’ve got a ton to spare.
I am now 3, and I have been through so much in my long, long life that I don’t remember a lot of it. Apparently my brain is still catching up with all of those memories, because I remember some pieces of things and don’t remember others. One of those things is Halloween. My Mama tells me that I was a ninja when I was a baby, and Daddy and Mommy took me all around in their arms because I couldn’t walk yet. I don’t remember that at all, but I can see the pictures of when I was a teeny baby. I think that I made a good little ninja, although I don’t think that I look too dangerous. My lightning fast grip on hair, though, you had to watch out for that.
The next year I was walking, although I wasn’t that good at it yet and couldn’t go too far. That year I got to be Spidergirl. I have never been shy, and so once I got the hang of this “Halloween” thing, I went all by myself to trick or treat. My Mama says everyone was so very proud of me going all on my own. A girl knows what she wants even when they are small, and what I wanted was candy… lots and lots of candy.
Last year I was so into Frozen that I couldn’t have been anything but Elsa. I was a miniature Elsa and my big sister Addie was Anna… backwards I know, but Halloween costumes don’t have to make sense after all, and I couldn’t have been Anna because my favorite is Elsa, plus I have hair just like her. That year we went all over and I got the hang of things, and I got lots of candy with just a bit of help from my Mama and Daddy when by pumpkin got too heavy for me and when my legs got so heavy and sleepy that I couldn’t keep walking. I don’t remember being a ninja or Spidergirl, but I remember a little bit about being Elsa. I felt so fancy, and I did get the hang of collecting as much candy as my little bucket would carry.
This year though… this year I got to choose my costume for the very first time, saying what I wanted to be. At first I wanted to be a witch, then Shimmer and Shine, then a zombie, but I didn’t really want to be any of those things… I didn’t know what I wanted to be and I kept changing my mind every day, because that is what 3-year-olds do about pretty much everything (lunch, treats, what clothes to wear, what books to read…all of the things). When my Mama said I could be Kung Fu Panda, though, that one stuck. I could be my favorite hero, getting to take out Tai Lung with my iron fists? It was no longer a decision. I was Po, and I was going to carry a nunchuck and to be very, very tough (but with a soft and funny side, just like Po).
That is me with my nunchuck on the way to our friends Jill and Stacie’s neighborhood. I might not look too tough, but I played the part well. You wouldn’t have wanted to be a bad guy and to cross my path.
We had to wait until it got dark after we got there, and although it seemed to take forever for the sun to go to sleep so that it was dark enough (I kept asking over and over), the sun did go down and we did get to go out with all of our neighborhood kids. There were so many, big and small, in all sorts of scary and pretty costumes. There were decorations too all around us, light up ghosts and pumpkins and cats and monsters. It was very scary, but the good kind of scary where you know that nothing is really going to come out and hurt you.
I went up and down the streets collecting candy in my little panda suit, and my Mama said my whole suit shook when I ran just like Po’s big belly. I was told I was cute a lot, but really… they had no idea that I have a scary side too. They just better be glad that they were treating and not tricking.
I have Halloween down pretty well now, although I had to keep being reminded to say “trick or treat” and “Happy Halloween” and “thank you” (Mama told me that is the most important one to remember, but sometimes I grabbed candy and ran away and she had to shout it for me). I could have said, “trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat, if you don’t, I don’t care, I’ll pull down your underwear” to them because I know the whole thing, but Daddy said that “Happy Halloween” was way nicer because that song might make some people upset if they don’t have “a sense of humor.” I thought that everyone loved to laugh, but Daddy says some people like to be very serious all of the time. I think that I need to watch out for those people, because I don’t know if I can trust someone who doesn’t laugh about underwear.
We trick or treated for a long, long time, and I got a lot of candy even though I didn’t always remember to say trick or treat or thank you just the same. My bag and legs got all heavy again, and I said I wanted to go back to Jill and Stacie’s house. I checked out all of my candy first…
Then I was so very tired that I took a mini-nap on the couch (I didn’t really sleep, but I needed the rest for my legs and eyes).
Then, at last, I got to meet Jill and Stacie’s little new baby, Jaden. He is 2-months-old, and he is so very little. He was a dinosaur! My Mama said it seems like it was just a bit ago that I was that little, but you can see how big I am now next to him, so it really was ages.
Mama and Daddy got to play with him too, but then I got oh-so-sleepy and we had to go home. I think that I am now a Halloween expert, and next year I’ll do even better and my legs will be even stronger to take me further faster so that I can get oh-so-much-candy. Thank you, Jill and Stacie, for letting us be a part of your family for the day. We love you and your little dinosaur Jaden too.
A friend of mine wrote this post about helping her young one to begin a path to learning kindness. 🙂 I am working on this path with Dorian everyday as well.
This month, my sweet and silly 11-month-old baby has developed a new habit of swatting. She does it when she’s tired, excited, or frustrated, and it’s her way of communicating that emotion or need to us. Regardless, being swatted in the face isn’t pleasant, so 3-4 times a day my husband and I lightly redirect her hands and encourage her to be gentle.
That’s a powerful little hand.
Be gentle. I’ve repeated that phrase so often lately: patiently, calmly again and again.
I’m not always the most patient. I don’t always communicate my needs with grace. I can be downright demanding. I can approach a disagreement with a certain amount of righteousness. I’m often quick to judge and quick to speak, and the result is sometimes that I say things I wish I’d said kindlier—or not at all.
When I tell my daughter to be gentle, I’m asking her…
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Mama and Daddy and me all go out for walks and runs and play sessions outside a lot. I can go and ride on my little balance bike, and I can run as fast as I can, and I can go and play with the bugs under the rocks and throw little rocks into the water near our little house. I love being outside in the warm, warm sun, and I love to feel the ground beneath me when I run so fast, so fast, that no one can catch me… not even the wind can keep up. No one, apparently, but shadow me.
When I was outside last time, I noticed while I was on my little bike and I noticed that a bigger version of me had made the ground dark in the shape of me, but bigger. I said, “what is that?” because I had never noticed that I had another me following me around before. My Daddy stopped me, and he explained that it was my “shadow,” and that it goes everywhere that I go, all over the place. He didn’t get too much into the “how” yet because he said I wouldn’t understand until I was a bit bigger, but he showed me instead how he had a biggggg shadow and that when you lean down really low that you can make shapes with your hands and move your shadow around the way that you want for it to go.
Then I tried it out myself, and I made my hands move all around while my shadow-hands moved with me. Everywhere I moved, they moved, and Daddy was right… I couldn’t get away from my shadow. My Mama says there is a boy who once lost one somehow named Peter that had to have it sewed back on, but she says not to worry because that can’t happen to me. I’m glad, because I like my shadow Dorian. I am never alone as long as I have her with me after all.
My Daddy is so, so smart, and he says he will teach me all sorts of things as I get bigger. As I tell Mama, I am so, so big already that I am practically grown. I have to admit, though, that I still have a lot of things to learn, and my Daddy is the best teacher that I could possibly have as I figure everything out and as I grow.
“All children, except one, grow up.” — J.M. Barrie
My great aunt Chris’ birthday was yesterday, and a little bit before that, we had a surprise birthday party that my cousin Mandy planned so that we could all celebrate with her. My great aunt Chris is one of the very nicest people that you will ever hope to meet. She gives and gives and gives and gives all of her heart to all of the people around her that she loves (and there are a lot of those).
Chris’ celebration was also because of the end of her treatments for something that the bigger people around me call “cancer.” I don’t really understand what that is, but my Mama says not to worry because I don’t need to know anything about it quite yet. She said, though, that Chris had a long time of getting medicines that made her kind of sick to make her all better again. That is why she is wearing that fancy headscarf, but now that she is all done with the treatments, she won’t be wearing the fancy headscarves for too much longer (unless you want to Aunt Chris… you do look really fashionable you know).
I got to do a lot of things at the party like eating food before I was really supposed to (my Mama says that I can get away with these things because I am so little), playing with hula hoops and giant balls, and running around in the giant gym over and over again. I also got to stare at the Peanuts cake that was right in the middle of the room every time that I passed it.
The best part, though, was getting to help blow the candles out of that Peanuts cake with Chris. She said that she couldn’t blow candles out quite as well these days, so she needed to have my help. So suddenly, even though it was Chris’ birthday, it was like it was part mine too because everyone all around was singing the happy birthday song and I got to sit in front of the cake on Chris’ lap and blow out all of those candles with her. Everyone clapped and cheered, and I felt like the life of the party. Honestly, that was about it for me because all of that action packed adventure was a lot for a little person to take in. I slept like “a rock” that night, Daddy said, whatever that means.
Happy birthday again, Chris, and many, many more to come.