Our son turned three-years-old yesterday. Oh, wait. It was two months ago to the day. How does time go by so fast? Our lives have been so busy, I haven’t had time to document his third birthday, but better late than never!
Since becoming a self-aware, naturally independent child, Leigh picked up his nickname “Leigh Bug” and took it as his full name. “Leighbug” – as in one word. When people ask what his name is, he tells them “Leighbug” as they look strangely back at him trying to guess what this toddler has said. “His name is Leigh,” I chime in. “But his nickname is Leigh Bug.” “Oh… okay,” they always reply, taking a step back away from us strange people.
When it came time to celebrate his third birthday, I decided a bug party was a perfect fit since he enjoys calling himself “Leighbug” so much. If you search for bug birthday parties, you’ll find all sorts of fun foods, creative DIY decorations and easy party favors. This was going to be a breeze after throwing a Blackhawks and Cubs party for his first and second birthdays. Nothing too fancy, just some bug cupcakes I could make at home, picnic-style sandwiches and gummy worms – lots of gummy worms.
In the aftermath, I’m not sure a Bug Party was the best call since he doesn’t really like bugs. Leigh won’t even refer to gummy worms as worms. He thinks they’re snakes (YIKES!?). But the goal of the party was achieved – everyone had a good time celebrating our son. And now he’s really into playing his new favorite game: Find the Bugs, where I hide little plastic bugs around the house and when Leigh finds them he throws them into his bug catcher. Like most things with a three-year-old, we repeat this game over and over until my little Leigh Bug falls down from exhaustion.
Leigh was a lot of help getting ready for the party. Not with cleaning the floors or scrubbing toilets but he’s really into baking and cooking, so he helped bake his cake. Knowing we’d make a big mess going into the experience made the whole thing a lot of fun. Leigh enjoys measuring, pouring and mixing – what else is there besides these three actions in baking? He’s a pro!
I decorated his homemade chocolate cake with Wilton Shredded Green Wafers to look like grass. And topped it with these edible butterflies made out of rice paper. Leigh proceeded to eat every butterfly off the cake before I cut it. Hey, it’s his birthday. He can eat all the butterflies if he wants to. We blew up balloons, stuck little bug finger puppets into floral centerpieces and spread out red and white checkered tablecloths to fit the picnic vibe. Everyone left with a goodie bag filled with Keebler Bug Bite Graham Crackers and their very own plastic bug trinket.
Knowing he is officially old enough to blow out his candles without catching on fire (thanks to his haircut), is nearly heartbreaking. Leigh is growing up right in front of my eyes. Every morning as I go to wake him up, I look at his sweet soft face and see the baby he used to be. Other mornings when he’s approaching my bedside at 6am on a Saturday are a different story.
On his actual birthday, my husband and I took off work and did exactly what Leigh wanted to do: ate lunch at Vegas Cafe and went to the candy store (our Main Street shop in Antioch called Something Sweet). He was a happy camper when he realized he could get anything he wanted off the shelves. We took home some of his favorites including chocolate bandaids, gummy bears and a Cubs rice crispy treat.
Leigh has his own thoughts and sayings. The other day while watching the neighbor install his pier in the lake, Leigh said to no one in particular, “Hmm. I’ve never seen that before.” My mom describes him as an old soul. He seems wise beyond his years at moments. But Leigh also has his fair share of three-nager times when he bursts into tears because I flushed the potty after he walked away from the bathroom.
Our son scored some very special presents from our generous family during his party. He got his very own Big Wheel, dino bank, pretend play kitchen (complete with break and bake cookies plus apron), John Deere tractor and animal farm, Plus Plus puzzle pieces and his favorite: 10 gold coins and 20 dollar bills. We’ve officially hit the age where cold, hard cash is just as pleasing as a toy. But only because he thinks money is a toy. He puts it right in one of his four piggy banks for safe keeping. Yup, our little Leigh Bug is growing up fast.
Happy 3rd birthday, Leigh! I’m happy you don’t scream every time you spot a plastic bug around the house. Keep up the curiosity and we’ll see what adventures we can find this next year.