Letter to Matthew - Today Is Your 3rd Birthday

Dear Matthew:

You are now 3 years old. When you turned two last year, it was definitely a turning point in your life. Firstly, almost exactly one month after your birthday, you were totally out of diapers. It took a little longer for the breastfeeding. I had to wait until you fully understood that breastfeeding is for babies only, and you did. It was a little emotional moment for both of us, and for the record, it was exactly 2 years and 10 months. No worries; breastfeeding is very healthy and getting more popular in Canada, and you were not the only one to go that far.
Matthew, the last 12 months have been a great learning experience for you, for me, and for your dad. You brought smiles and true happiness, and every day we love you more and more. You are a true miracle. I had to take notes on things you learned, played with, experienced, and said to us; there is no way I could remember them all. This letter will only outline a few things because the last year is a book by itself.
Learning How to Spell and Read: I have to tell you, you are just one great student. This year you learned the concepts of spelling and reading, and every day we saw and keep seeing great progress while you spell everything you see and slowly also memorise spelling for words like on, no, yes, off, and play, to name just a few on the list. You forced yourself to remember the difficult ones, like Pingu (your favourite cartoon show) and Iron Man (your favourite super hero). This is because you wanted to Google them. When I read the newspaper beside you, you try to read the titles and find words you know.
Learning How to Draw, Colour, and Trace: I introduced school to you, and you loved it, but then you realized that you were doing all the work and I was just sitting and demanding. You decided to switch with me. You told me once that "Matthew be teacher, Mommy be student," and you yelled at me, "Mommy write!" You are good at tracing, but you stopped at the letter J. You made a few greeting cards for your friends. You coloured nice winter snowflakes and Easter eggs. You can also draw faces. This year, you were introduced to playdough and painting. Sometimes you don’t like too many instructions, and you caught me by surprise with your little demand. When I was telling you to wash the brush before you put on different colours of paint, you told me, "Mommy, go away".
Storytelling: Throughout the year, you enjoyed our stories about you. You were always a main character in our stories, and you loved them all. On your first treat or trick adventure, our neighbour Ron gave you the little pumpkin man on the bike. This pumpkin became your favourite character and friend in every story, especially this year—he is the famous pumpkin Pupi.
Reading Books: It all started a few months ago when we switched from storytelling to bedtime reading. The Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book made a great impression on you, along with The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. Matthew, you practically memorized all the lines in both books, not to mention the author and illustrator. You enjoy the Robert Munsch books, and now you are into the Dr. Suess series. It is amazing to hear you talking and giving us the outline of each book we read.
Computer Skills: You know it all. You turn your computer ON; type an access code, and go to Google Chrome or Firefox (you prefer Firefox). You Google for your favourite things (Pingu, Iron Man, Treehouse, TVOKids, Fotoflexer). You play educational games, and I am always amazed at how sometimes you figure out how to do it by yourself. When you are done playing, you shut down.

Eating: You were and are a good eater. It was just about three months ago when your first molars showed up. At no time did you figure out what they were for, and I did not have to make special meals just for you. For each parent these days, it’s a blessing when a child eats vegetables, and we are definitely blessed. You eat carrots, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cucumbers, mushrooms, and lettuce. You don’t like very salty or sweet foods, but just like your dad, you love chocolate. One day, when we arrived at the shoe store, out of the blue, you said, "I am chocolate-holic". I guess you remembered when we told you that you were a chocoholic.

You learned from TV about McDonald's. We would take you there for small fries we share among the three of us. You always ask for hamburgers but never eat them. But I always come prepared with my home made meals for you in the thermos. Your other favourite place is Tim Hortons, and because of you, a few times we ended up with a free coffee. Going out with you is always fun; it is not really about eating. You get to press the handicapped door button, order your favourites, and pay. Your honesty always amazes us. Once, when you saw the handicapped sign on the washroom door, you laughed and said, "That man is doing poo-poo’. Now you know what it is. I am sure you will always remember your first lollypop from the A&W man. Matthew I am always thankful to see you eating all the home-cooked food I always prepare for you at home and when we hit the road. Lastly, I don’t have to tell you how much you love eating chicken soup.
Daily Adventures: Always, weather permitting, we spent a lot of time outside. Our town has boardwalks, trails, and a lot of nice playgrounds. You also got to see your first fireworks last summer. We took you to the zoo the first time, but when we came back, it looked like you enjoyed the backyard pool much more. It is amazing to see you walk long distances, especially in the last couple of months. Last summer, I had a stroller with me, but I used it only half the time. This spring, I don’t even take a stroller, and we walk around the town, sometimes for as much as 2 ½ hours. I don’t know how you do it. The best is to see you collect stones, flowers, and sticks that you throw into the pond or creek. You stop and look at the garbage people throw. "What’s that crazy man doing?" you say. Sometimes I wonder, Do you really need toys? Because you really enjoy exploring nature. You know I like taking pictures of birds; sometimes you lean on me when I click, and sometimes you run on purpose to scare them. It is really fun to watch you talk to the birds: "Hey bird, come here, come here to Matthew". Or "What are you doing, bird? You silly bird, don’t run away". The past winter was a blast, and thank you for all the help with snow shovelling. I am sure you will also remember the first snowman you made with Daddy.
Toys: The hit toys this year are characters from Cars. You've got a lot of superhero toys, such as Iron Man and Spider-Man; it may be too much. When we play, I have to be Pepper Pots hundreds of times a day to deliver your Iron Man suite in the briefcase, just like in Iron Man 2. You have the pretend kitchen, and I am glad to share some of my kitchen tools with you—and I know where to find them too. You cook for me all the time, and we very much enjoy all the ‘stinky’ doughnuts you make for us. You started to build with megablocks. You've got all the possible handyman tools with which you can build and fix the Iron Man suite. Whatever I forgot to mention, I am sure we will see in the photographs taken by you. You own pretend phones. I love hearing you when you have conversations with firefighters, police, handymen, Iron Man, and the 'electricity man', Ivan Vanko, the bad man from Iron Man 2. You also talk on the real phone with telemarketers, and unfortunately, they are on the timer, so they hang up. But then, when Daddy calls, you tell him everything you did during the day and ask him, "Daddy, can you come home?"
Singing: Let's just say you love singing. You even hum songs when you walk outside or play with your toys. Lately, you started to play piano and sing, and I have to play this silly guitar. I hate to tell you, but we would never make American Idol with our musical band. I don’t want to make a separate category, but you love to dance too. Your moves kill us every time we watch you.
Friends: You've got many of all ages, some not in the neighbourhood anymore, but here are some of their names: Ryan (gone to school), Ashley (you two hug on hi and bey but never play), Brendon (a very nice older kid who likes you a lot), Riley (see her very little lately), Emily (gone from the neighbourhood), Melody (you continue to win her heart by sharing and dancing for her, as she continues to ignore you), Logan (you two are buddies, talk like old men, even though he is older by almost 2 years), Daniel (neighbour and you saw him last fall), Dimitri and Sofia (brother and sister and your neighbours who like you very much, they are almost teenagers). You make friends with everyone in the area; people wave from buses to you in the car; you never miss a person to say hi to. You call your Daddy your friend: "I am going downstairs with my new friend Daddy", or "I am playing with my new friend Daddy".

Should I go on? As I told you, if I don’t stop now, this could be a book of hundreds and hundreds of pages. I will conclude here, but just a few more things about your demands and affection. Well, what can I say? You are a very demanding little boy. The other day I was washing dishes and making too much noise. "Mommy, can you stop washing dishes and not make any noise?" Then, while you were playing on my computer and trying to access some of the software, I kept saying, "Matthew, no, no". "Mommy, can you stop saying no to Matthew, I am running some programmes." Sometimes I demand some love from you: "Can you say you love Mommy Matthew?". "I love you!" you yelled the other day, but Daddy thought it was for him. "I love you too," Daddy replied. "Daddy, no, can you not say I love you? Matthew says, I love you to Mommy". Well, Daddy did not hear this since he was washing dishes. Yes, love is very important, and I know we don’t have to demand that from you. You are very spontaneous; out of the blue, you will always give us hugs and kisses; you will say, "I love you", and you enjoy saying "Oh, we are family", and you spread your arms and hug both of us. When you cry at night, and realize that it is just a nightmare, you turn around and grab my cheeks with both hands and say, "Mommy, I love you," or kiss me, and then you go to sleep. My heart breaks when you call me or Daddy, "Oh, sweetheart, are you okay?"
Matthew My dear little boy, I and Daddy love you so much—how much, "that much", same "much much" you love us. We love every moment you are with us, and we love seeing you enjoy your "little" life, but as you can see in this letter, it isn’t that little.

You are the greatest miracle gift a mother could get for Mother’s Day and for my birthday too. Happy Birthday, Matthew! You are now three years and zero months old.

~ Anna

[Previously published on My Only Photo Journey Blog]


Peter said…
Love is a splendid thing and so are birthdays. Well done to the both of you, and, may happiness follow you until the end of time!

Take Care,
kRiZcPEc said…
thanks for sharing~~ Cheers to you and your family.
To Matthew:
"May you sail fair to the far fields of fortune
With diamonds and pearls at your head and your feet
And may you need never to banish misfortune
May you find kindness in all that you meet"
"May there always be angels to watch over you
To guide you each step of the way
To guard you and keep you safe from all harm
Loo-li, loo-li, lai-lay"
What a beautiful, happy post. A dear boy and dear parents, brimming over with love. Happy birthday, Matthew! May all your birthdays be as perfect as this one. Happy Birthday to your Mom too! I missed leaving a comment on her last post.
Zbyszek said…
To już prawdziwy facet, wszystkiego dobrego.
Happy birthday!!!
What a wonderful little boy he is turning into. Can not believe he is already 3.
Happy Mother's Day to you!
Marka said…
An amazingly wonderful & heartfelt letter. Matthew has been such a blessing to you both, and I am certain this letter will be a blessing to him as well.
luly said…
Today, 8th May 2011, it's Mother's Day in Italy. I dedicate this day to you and your little, wonderful son......you're so beautiful!
Happy birthday Matthew...and Happy Mother's day, dear Anna:)
angryparsnip said…
Beautiful letter.
What a wonderful thing to do and just the perfect length to read.
I used to write things down for my children but a fire destroyed them all along with all my photos (before computers) so I never really started up again, the younger years are the best.
So your idea of writing a letter that is saved on the computer is smart.

Happy Birthday Matthew and Mothers Day Anna

cheers, parsnip
Marvin said…
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, ANNA! What an adorable boy Matthew is. You are one proud, lucky mom.
joshi daniel said…
belated birthday wishes and he looks so cheerful and has a gorgeous smile :D
Sandi McBride said…
What a cutey! Easy to see how you could want to celebrate his life!!!
Priyank said…
Oh wow he's so cute and not camera shy at all! :-) Mothers day and birthday is a double celebration!
Will said…
This is a wonderful write up Anna. He will treasure it when he is older for sure!

A very handsome kiddo. They change so much the first few years. It's great that you have documented it all so well.
Max Coutinho said…
Hey Anna :D!

I left a B-day message for Matthew on FB (Last Sunday) - I hope you saw it.

Matthew is gorgeous. He is getting so big!
Of course, looking at him makes me feel old because I remember when he was born - God, time flies!

Anyway, your baby boy is big and beautiful and I wish him nothing but love and sunshine :D!

Big hug
beanow said…
Hi, Matthew! Happy Birthday to You! :)
Sandee said…
♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
♪♪Happy Birthday Dear Matthew,♪♪
♪♪Happy Birthday to you.♪♪

I can see why he makes you smile. He's one handsome young man.

Have a terrific day. :)
George said…
What a perfectly delightful post. Matthew has grown and learned a lot this year. It's amazing to read about all the things he's done; I can only imagine how wonderful it has been to experience them with him. Your photographs are excellent.
HI Anna, What a gorgeous young man you have... Matthew is adorable... I raised three sons (all are adults now) --so my advice is to enjoy him NOW because they do grow up so very, very fast...

Thanks for sharing.
Jeevan said…
To say the truth, pictures impressed me more than his past since a year! You have grown such a fabulous child Anna. I loved the sweet gestures you described about him here is very beautiful. They say love is in air, so I blow lot of love for your family. There could be love among many others, but mother’s love is very special and unparallel to any other, since so pristine, caring and blessing unlike any other relationship. Congrats to both of you and my best wishes along with you.

My hugs to Matthew! Many more happy return...
Kelly said…
...gosh, Anna, what a wonderful idea. I wish I had recorded a beautiful letter for Matty when he was this little. Your little Matthew will love reading this when he grows up! Beautiful...(and Matthew is adorable too!!)
Pietro Brosio said…
Happy Birthday Matthew! :-)
Anna, he is so cute, and his expression is so sweet and clever!
Have a pleasant day!
Pearl Maple said…
Congratulations on this special anniversary
Loving a child is a special part of life
Our little granddaughter turns 3 this week, it is a delightful stage of life
Anonymous said…
Wow. Nice birthday for Matthew. Like your photos very much.
Rajesh said…
Wow! he is very cute. It is delight to watch the kids grow.
Louis la Vache said…
What a handsome young man!
Happy Third, Matthew!
Wow, Anna! It's hard to believe he's already three years old!!!! I remember when you posted about him being born. Where does the time go? Happy Third Birthday to your adorable little man.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage
John Maslowski said…
Oh my goodness, definitely an adorable child. Hard to believe Matthew is 3 years old already. What a lovely series of photos and memories. Anna your love for Matthew is truly felt through your writings and photos. Both of you are fortunate to have each other, the best of health and happiness to you and Matthew.
RuneE said…
Take as many photos of him as you can. Time passes more quickly than you know, and soon you will find that you took to few.

We have four children, so we know.
What a beautiful and loving mother you are, Anna! You have me misty-eyed reading about Matthew's growth and enjoyments.

I'm a little late, but Matthew, I wish you the best of the best as you approach birthday number 4. I think you will be a Prime Minister one day. You have charisma. :D

Super photos and post!!!

Love, JJ
Unknown said…
Anna...Please convey my belated birthday wishes to Matthew. I am so sorry I missed out on it.

Going by the images, He seems to have a natural liking to being photographed or should we saw he seems to have a liking for photography.

btw that's a beautiful series of portraits of Mathew. Well done Anna...Thomas
Yacek said…
Maybe, I fly closer :)
Swubird said…

What a wonderful post with all that narrative and all those fantastic pictures. I really feel that I have gotten to know little Mathew over these past few years. And what a great little boy he is. Lucky you, and it's a beautiful thing you are doing by chronicling his life the way you do. Someday he'll read your words and cherish these short reports.

Thank you so much for your kind inquiry on my blog. I have not been able to post for quite some time now, but, hopefully, I'll be back in the saddle real soon. I am plugging along on a follow story to my last post, but I haven't had the time to devote to it in the way I would like to.

Again, a wonderful post and a great little boy.

Happy trails.
Marie said…
What a beautiful post about a handsam little man :)
Lynda Lehmann said…
Oh my gosh, I can't believe he is three! He is so handsome and happy and you've done a great job loving and raising him--it's apparent. And your photos are incredibly beautiful!

I wish you all "forever happiness"!
Preity Angel... said…
OMG! Anna,

Matthew is growing so fast..he is a big guy now.. aww i just loved his pictures.. Happy belated birthday Matthew love you baby so very much!!

Preity Angel
Robbay said…
Hi. Anna ..What a beautiful child you have . I remember when he was just a new born baby...How time flies. YOur photos are great as ever and I truly wish you the best for this Holiday season.