Ollie at 3

This morning, as I woke up, stretched and opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was your cheeky grin.

You laughed, snuggled in for a cuddle, and whispered "I love you so much Mummy".

And my heart melted into a big, gooey puddle.

This is you all over. Adorable, affectionate, funny, mischievous and cheeky. You love to cuddle as much as you love to play, you're sweet but naughty in equal parts, you're headstrong and independent.

I may still call you my baby but you are certainly not. You are flourishing at nursery, know your colours and can count (a little). You like to sing nursery rhymes to yourself and the theme tunes to your favourite TV shows - still Paw Patrol and Thomas and Friends but also Rescue Bots and Power Rangers now too. Daddy introduced you to Power Rangers but I hate it and have to grit my teeth every time you beg to watch it. When it's on you stand in front of the TV and do little karate moves which is kinda funny.

You have tons of toys and it's hard to pinpoint a firm favourite. Other than cars. You love anything with wheels, especially fire engines. Based on your current preferences I would bet that you are heading towards a career in the Fire Service!

You're into everything right now. You like to paint and draw. You like puzzles (especially Fireman Sam - see the theme?). You like dinosaurs, playing outside, reading stories and playing with Lily.

When Lily is at school you miss her and often ask when you'll see her again. You keep asking when you will go to school with her and it's hard to explain that you have a couple of years to go yet!

We've had some adventures this last year. For your 2nd birthday we went to Chessington for the day and then a couple of months later we went to CBeebies Land at Alton Towers. We had a wonderful holiday in Devon last summer (even after your sister broke her arm) and then we had our Father's Day steam train ride and our visit to Bekonscot for just the two of us when Daddy took Lily to Selhurst Park.

You got a scooter for Christmas and we've had snow days, beach days and garden days.

It's amazing to take you on days out but I have to admit, I love spending time with you on our normal, quiet days. We have our own little routine after dropping Lily off at school and I treasure the times we have together going to toddler group or just popping into the cafe, where you chat with the staff and insist on spreading your own butter and jam on your toast.

Sometimes you come into work with me for a little bit and you have charmed my colleagues into spoiling you with biscuits and treats. Everyday, daddy picks you up at lunchtime to take you to nursery and you stand at the window and watch for him.

The worst thing about the last year? Was when you were ill before Christmas. I want to apologise for all the blood tests, prodding and poking but it had to be done and I console myself that by the time you read this you will no longer remember it. When we were told that you were OK I think I offered up the most heartfelt prayer of thanks ever and I will never forget the fear of having you taken from us. It reminds me of how blessed we are to have you and Lily, that we have a warm and loving home, that we have our health and our family and our friends.

We are blessed as a family to have so many wonderful people surrounding us. The ones who help us out by looking after you sometimes, or taking you to nursery. Those that we spend time with every weekend and those we treasure because we see them less often. I know you love them too (because you tell me) and I hope you continue to appreciate them as you get older.

You're not exactly the same as Lily, you each have your quirks and peculiarities, but based on my previous experience I'm pretty sure that the next year or two with you is going to be a rollercoaster ride. Tantrums are to be expected and I'm determined not to be caught out a second-time when it comes to three-nager attitude. I know that there will be times I will be so frustrated and overwhelmed that I'll want to smash my head into a chocolate cake just to drown out the noise.

But I love you my darling boy. I loved you from the moment I knew you existed and I will love you everyday to come.

Happy Third Birthday.
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