3, 2004 - Wednesday
Jeremy turned 3 today and I can think of no one who is more fun to watch open presents than he. With Jeremy, there's joy in finding a stack of presents, there's joy in the anticipation of peeling back the wrapping paper (which he seems to do at just the right pace and in the perfect balance between carefully finding the seams and just ripping), and there's always a smile of surprise and a happy, audible "oh, it's a ..." after every gift. Admittedly, at an age of firetrucks and police cruisers, there's a lot to be excited about and, judging from Harry, three is the perfect age for presents that falls just between understanding enough to be focused on the new but so worldly as to be jaded by expectations and the rest of the pile of unopened gifts that might hold something even better. Still, my sense is that this is who Jeremy really is at heart: an optimistic and joyful little boy who's quick with a smile and comfortable with himself. He is a sweet boy.
Of course, Jeremy is also finishing his third year of life and that has meant that even he, happy-go-lucky Jeremy, has needed to fight to find his place in the world. He whines and he cries at the drop of a hat because that mostly got him what he needed as a baby and that's all pretty normal, age-appropriate behavior. Yet, Jeremy brings a strident stubborn streak to it that can make this otherwise happy boy a real pill. We knew it would happen and I can remember talking with his mother a year ago musing about how that darling little boy would become a "terrible two." And he certainly did. But, I'm also going to bet that we, his parents, are the only people to see it. He's still a sweet boy with Mary and he's doing very well at school.
Mostly at school he's just a sweet, shy boy who's just starting to gain his confidence in a new setting. It took Harry about three months to open up to a group of new kids and Jeremy is getting there about the same time, if not a little sooner. He's got it a little easier than Harry did, because Jeremy is not the youngest in his class, or at least not by much, and Jeremy's class has a heavy majority little girls, just the opposite of Harry's first Preschool class. I suppose that might mean fewer like-minded (firetruck-focused) playmates, but also less competition for the same toys. But I don't really know. Jeremy's usually one of the first kids in his class to arrive in the morning and his Preschool teachers go home after lunch and the kdis then mingle with Pre-K. When I get there in the afterrnoon, Jeremy is almost always tagging along with Rip and Harry, being a little brother. Fortunately, while every now and then I sense that might annoy Rip a little (Jeremy's just not as fast or big and can't play the same games), I've never seen or heard that Harry minds it at all.
And maybe that's the best part of Jeremy getting older. At 3 and just about 5, he and Harry seem to be the best of friends, always playing together at home and rarely fighting. Jeremy pretty much saves his best terrible two stuff for his parents, although it's fascinating to hear Harry try to be logical with Jeremy when he launches into a two-year-old tirade over some toy. A lot of what I hear is Harry trying to calm Jeremy down so his parents won't come break up whatever fun they might have been having. But, I think Harry's also concerned about his little brother, and it's just wonderful.