For some reasons, the 3rd birthday is an important milestone in my books. Partly because I still have in my possession, a faded yellowish b/w photograph of a big, old-fashioned Number 3 butter-cream cake taken on my 3rd birthday at home. Our son Alexander (more affectionately known as ‘Buddy’ on our blog and social media accounts) turns 3 today. He’s our last baby and for that reason alone, this milestone got David and I all sentimental.
We still remember vividly how, after a phone call from our adoption agent, we rushed to the hospital one evening to receive him home. How unprepared we were, no diapers, no sterilizer, no beddings, no milk bottles, no milk powder. So after sending us home, Daddy had to make a quick detour to the 24 hour NTUC to stock up baby essentials. Close friends delivered some items over that very night and in the days that ensued. Each year, as we celebrate his birthday, we are reminded of the kindness showered on us. We didn’t want people to shorten his name to ‘Alex’ (as we have a cousin by that name) so David nicknamed him ‘Buddy’, with the intention that he and his sister will become best buddies in life, having each other’s back always.
I remember the infancy days were very tough: Buddy was born into the 95% percentile in height and weight, this translated into an insatiable appetite, which means he demanded for a milk feed round the clock at every 2 hour interval, yes even in the wee hours of the morning. As adoptive parents, we weren’t able to enjoy any maternity and paternity benefits right away. We had to care for the newborn while holding on to our full time jobs, it was tough, especially when we were constantly sleep-deprived but the days eased when he started to sleep for longer stretches after developing a proper bedtime routine. We also had a scare when he had to undergo multiple blood tests for an anomaly in his blood count but we are so thankful he’s perfectly healthy now. Whenever we gaze into his eyes, our hearts are full, we never dare imagined we would be blessed with a pair of daughter and son we can call our own.
Today, on his 3rd birthday, Buddy still rarely sleeps through the night but our struggles have been rewarded by an intrinsic joy which stems from seeing what a happy, inquisitive, lovable boy he’s growing into. Don’t be mistaken, he’s has his ‘terrible three’ days too where he would throw angry tantrums when he doesn’t get his way but by and large, he’s very good-natured, sensitive and attuned to his surroundings. He precedes each sentence with ‘Why’ and would articulate his concern for people by asking, ‘Daddy/Mommy/JieJie, why are you not happy? I want you to be happy’. As a cheerful and cheeky little boy, he wakes each morning with a wide grin on his face, runs towards us for an embrace. That fuzzy, heart-melting moment would take place, right there and then. We wish we can keep him little at this adorable age for as long as we could…if only we could…
To our dear son Alexander,
As a 3 year old, you already display very strong preferences! You get thrilled at the sight of crane trucks, tractors and excavators. You love it when we sing in the car, when we read to you at bedtime and when we allow you to soak in the bath on staycations. Recently, you’ve taken to legos, much to our delight. You’re also a foodie, you love bananas, blueberries, durians, corns and yes, you even love your greens (double-yay)! We are pleased that you are game to try eating spicy food, and you even asked for second helpings of sambal kang kong, A1 chicken curry (which you quickly then gulped down with mouthful of water). We enjoy watching you self-feed your meals with such gusto. Your gregarious laughter never fails to ease our stresses when we come home from work, you’ve brought so much joy to our lives.
You used to be rather cautious and easily frightened but on our recent holiday, we saw how you stepped out in courage to pat and ride the Icelandic horses. You even rode on the ferris wheel and other thrill rides Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen! That’s when we realised our little baby is truly growing up. You’re ready to explore the greater world outside of home and the childcare centre. You’re a little person now. Like your sister, you’re starting to exert your own independence, you want to wear your own sandals, shower yourself and pack your own toys. You beckon us to play with you and teach you how to read and count. You are curious about the world and travel well on long flights. That makes us mighty pleased, because it means we can bring you to more places as a family!
Buddy, we want you to know that as you continue to grow, so will the way we love you. We are so privileged to be your forever Mom and Dad. We pray for God’s protection and blessing over your life everyday. As you turn 3 —which we’re sure will bring its own surprises and heartaches thrown in for good measure—we are filled with thanksgiving and anticipation to watch you become more uniquely you. Our hearts will be right there, growing alongside you and our love will spread to cover every new inch of you.
So dear son, thank you for being one half of our tiny miracles. Know how much we love and adore you. Happy Happy Happy Birthday!
XOXO, Daddy, Mommy (and your JieJie Dana)
Post-note:The Biblical baby name ‘Alexander‘ is Greek in origin and means “Defender or helper of mankind.” The name has a brave connotation and was borne by Alexander the Great (356—323 B.C.), a Macedonian king and military conqueror.