Daddy loves animals, and a while ago he started buying sunflower seeds to feed our neighborhood bird and squirrel buddies. I help too and throw out seeds with Daddy in the mornings so that no one will go hungry.
We have lots of different birds of all colors that come around now, and we have a few squirrels that come every day too. One new squirrel buddy, though, seems to want to come inside to play (and eat my food). He puts his paws on the glass and looks back and forth. He is a curious little buddy, and I like to play with him because he does not run away when he sees me and puts his paws on my hands instead.
See him there? There he is while I am eating, looking in at me. I think he may have wanted his seeds and my pasta, too. I am learning all about sharing, little buddy, and I could let you in and give you pasta if Mama let me. Mama says that he would not really want to come in, though, because our doggie Django is a “rat terrier” and he is made to go after little creatures that move fast.
I guess his place is outside looking in, and that’s okay… after all, he is much different than me. I just watched The Fox and the Hound, so I understand that sometimes relationships have to be done a different way in order to make them work. You can still play with me, little fuzzy guy, at the window, and we can still be friends like Copper and Todd.
“And we’ll always be friends forever.” — Young Todd, The Fox and the Hound
I love Bob the Builder, and I even have a little wooden toolbox of my very own that I can use to fix my toys. I usually just fix little things because I am a little person. When I broke our big speaker, though, by hitting it when I was playing with my Nerf sword, I got to fix that all by myself.
Daddy asked what happened after he got home, and I didn’t say anything… after all, I know when staying quiet is a good idea. Mama ratted on me, though, so my cover was blown. I jumped in then, saying, “I can fix it! I can fix it all by myself!” I went and got the tape and kid scissors. Daddy helped me cut the tape, then I put the front of the speaker put on just right and put tape all around it to make sure that it didn’t move.
After I was done I stood back and admired my handiwork and was so proud. After all, I had never gotten the chance to fix something without help. I think that I did a great job for a 3-year-old. Even though Mama and Daddy chuckled (and Daddy had to come back to make slight changes to my fix), I think they thought that I did, too.
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
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.
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
I have been told that I am “beautiful” for a while. I knew what pretty was, but “beautiful”… well, I could not really understand that one. I responded every single time for a while, “I’m not beautiful, I Dorian.” My Mama and Daddy laughed at me, but I was serious. I know who I am… I AM DORIAN.
The other day, though, my sister Adalyn took me upstairs to her room, and she put me in some of her dress clothes that she is too big for now. I tried on dress after dress, and Adalyn called down to my Mama and told her that she couldn’t come up to see what we were doing. Mama usually won’t listen to that one because it can mean trouble, but this time she waited for the surprise.
Then we tried it… the most fancy white dress that looked like a princess dress. It was a teeny bit big on me, but it was just the right one. Adalyn smoothed out my hair and brushed it, and then she put on the finishing touch, blue clip-on earrings that made me just like the princesses that I watch. I felt so very pretty.
When I walked down those stairs, just like a princess would in my fancy shoes and earrings and dress, I felt different. I felt so very grown up and big, but I did not know the word for how I felt.
Then Adalyn said it. She said, “Look Mama, doesn’t Dorian look so beautiful?” My Mama said, “Oh Dorian, you are so very beautiful. You look like a princess.” For the first time, I did not argue back. I knew what it meant, and I was… I was beautiful, just like the flowers outside and the stars in the sky. Beautiful is how you feel. Beautiful is flowers and trees and sunshine and mountains and water. Beautiful is me. I am Dorian, and I am beautiful.
Spring has finally come, and with it are beautiful things in all kinds of colors everywhere. I love seeing all of the bright pinks and whites and yellows and purples that the Earth has this time of year. I stop to see (and smell) all of the flowers. After all, isn’t that what you are supposed to do? I know that it takes longer, but enjoying the world is what us little people do. We are really good at noticing what big people miss sometimes… after all, we are closer to the ground, and we have a better view.
My very favorite flower is the dandelion. My Mama says that is her very favorite too because my Daddy calls her his dandelion, so it is very special for her. Dandelions are “weeds” though so I hear, which is a type of flower that a lot of people want to get rid of. Why they would want to make any flower go away I don’t know, but my Daddy says that they can take over the yard and they can go everywhere with their little blooms, so a lot of people don’t like them because they just want green grass and nothing else in the yard. Doesn’t make sense to me, but big people often don’t make any sense at all, so I just have to go with these things when I don’t understand them.
What those big people don’t understand is that Dandelions are really special flowers because they start as one thing and become another. They start out as little yellow flowers, then that part goes away, and then there are little bitty white fluffy seeds that blow in the wind and make new yellow ones all over the place. This, my Daddy says, is why the are called a weed, because they end up all over the place when the little seeds blow around. There end up being too many, he says. Silly big people… don’t they know that there can never, ever be too many flowers?
I think that my little dandelion friends are beautiful, and I do my part to help them to grow instead of stomping them down. Us little people (and big people who never wanted to grow up like Mama and Daddy) get to grab the white puffballs and blow on them, making their seeds go up in the air into the wind to go to new places to grow. They do this on their own, but I like to think that I am helping nature along to be faster when I spread them around.
I am busy making brand new dandelions, and they are all so very beautiful, just as nature intended them to be. We are all like dandelions if we want to be, beautiful little flowers that are wild and free and can move in the wind.
My Daddy is so silly, and he made me a little apple buddy to play with that had a face and little hands. I called him Mr. Apple, and I played with him, telling him, “Don’t worry, Mr. Apple, I won’t hurt you.” I had him play with my little Barbie dolls, and they talked to each other and had a great time. I was even wearing my Snow White dress, and I know that an evil witch gave her an apple too, so I was just like her (well, except for the fact that my Mr. Apple was not a poisoned apple and was a dressed up apple instead, but otherwise, it was just like the movie).
See? There he is. Isn’t he cute? The problem with Mr. Apple, though, is that deep down I knew that he was an apple. Deep down I knew that he was one of my favorite foods, and I knew that he was delicious under all of that cute. After a while of playing with him, I took his hands off and took a bite of him. My Mama heard me chomping on him… I just couldn’t resist his deliciousness.
He was just pretend after all, and he was food, so he couldn’t go to waste. He couldn’t have stayed my play friend for long because he would have gotten all yucky, so I made sure that he was nice and happy in his new place… in my belly. I’m sure that there will be a new apple buddy soon, and he just might meet the same fate… because apples? They are one of our very best foods. Crunch.
My Nana bought me a little magnet drawing pad to use in the car as I get bored these days really easily, and my Mama and Daddy are not “stay still” kind of folks. I love my new board so much because I love to draw. I draw on paper all of the time, but I have a hard time with the pen sometimes, and I run out of paper. When that happens, sometimes my art has spilled onto the furniture and a few of my toys. My Mama says, “Only on the paper, Dorian,” and I know and understand, but it is really, really tempting to keep making art everywhere that I go.
With my little magnet pad, though, I never run out of room to draw, because when I get tired of my picture, I just make it go away and then I start right over again with a blank magnet page. I can do this as many times as I would like, and there are no art accidents that way. Everyone is happy.
In that picture up at the top, those are two pirates. When I drew them I told Mama and Daddy, and Mama took a picture of me making my art. Mama thought that they were ghosts, but that is the beauty of art… we can all see different things.
Sometimes I draw something really scary to me, though, and I have to scratch it out really fast before erasing it because that takes longer. Our minds can sometimes create really weird things when we do not mean for them to, just like when we dream and things start to go wrong and everything gets dark. I don’t know why the scary guy came out on the magnet pad, but I made him disappear, and fast.
No matter what, though, scary mind people or not, I am going to keep making art and making pictures on paper and on my magnet pad. It is the way that I can show the world that there are so many beautiful pictures in my mind… and those pictures can become my art on canvas.