Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My 2nd at 3 (Happy Birthday, Jude)

I look at this innocent boy above, this flaky-fresh body of my and my husband's making, and I marvel again. Is that really my Jude? Was he ever really that tiny? Was I actually basking in the I-did-it high of birth at this time exactly three years ago?

And was Jack ever really that gentle with his younger brother? This might be the last photographic evidence of tenderness and affection between these two, folks.

And it was posed
. Ahem.

On Jack's third birthday, just two weeks before Jude arrived, we threw a massive, super-creative John Deere party. There was around 40 people at our house to toast the birthday boy, complete with a pinata, photo spot, games and matching cake.

On Jude's third birthday, however...


...we Face-Timed with the grandparents from a foreign hotel room, for starters. We had a party of five, including the birthday boy, and only four could say the phrase, "Happy Birthday, Jude."

But there WAS a basketball and hoop involved -- guaranteed winners in Jude's world. And the mama and the daddy rejoice, for long has this little man outgrown his baby hoop and ball.

We went to the on-base jungle gym for an hour before church, and Nick, true to his awesome-daddy self, organized a rousing game of hide-and-seek. Jude can count to 20, but sometimes, just to be goofy, he gets a little off-track. And then tries to cheat.

The evidence:

After a children's church Christmas pageant -- "Since when do the wise men have British accents, Mommy?" -- it was time for requested mac 'n cheese and cheap Sainsbury's cupcakes, complete with candles I had managed to throw in the suitcase before leaving the States nearly a month before. (But had neglected to use for Jack's special day. Go figure.) The fire that lit the candles came courtesy of a forgotten lighter in a borrowed jacket pocket.

It was birthday serendipity.

Here, then, are Jude's facts of three:
  • His favorite foods are pizza, mac 'n cheese, PB&Js, deli meat, cereal (he eats more than me in the morning!) and anything sweet.
  • His prized possession is his brown-and-white baby blanket, given to him by his grandpa's boss' wife. Do not mess with Jude's blanket. 
  • Jude is just starting to understand the concept of friendship. His favorite little buddies are Lizzie, Maura, Ezra and his cousins Nina and Amelia.
  •  He can count to 20 and recognizes every letter. 
  • His favorite books (surprise, surprise) all revolve around sports.
  • Besides Nick and me, Jude is Avinly's favorite person. He can get her to smile every time, and watching the interaction between them is seriously heart-melting.

What a good big brother!
  • Every Sunday (no matter what church we're at) he throws a fit when it's time to go. "But I don't WANT to weab!"
  • When asked, he will bat his looooong eyelashes on command.
  • His hand-eye coordination is ridiculously advanced for his age, if I do say so myself. I'm guessing that if it existed, he would hold the two-year-old free-throw game record at Chuck E. Cheese. Catching, throwing, pitching, batting -- heck, he can even beat Jack at bowling!

He is his father's child FOR SURE.
  • Jude is definitely a second child. He rolls with the punches, shares so much better than a certain firstborn did at the same age and just wants everyone to have a good time.
  • He is just starting to learn the concept of a joke, and his attempts are all spectacularly awful...but still so cute. 
  • His personality? About as goofy and hammy as they come!

  • Arguing and fighting with his big brother are full-time occupations. Yet he often sighs, "I miss Jack!" during a normal school day. (Who remembers what that's like? Not us!)
  • Following in Jack's footsteps, he looks EXACTLY like his Grandpa Dale did at this age. And okay, me too. 
  • He has wildly blessed our lives, and I thank God I didn't let the trauma of an awful first birth keep me from having another child. He is the longed-for second son of our hearts, and we wouldn't trade him for anything!
Messy spaghetti face!
Happy third birthday, Jude Andrew!