Somewhere along the line you lost your round baby belly, little boy, and now you are growing into a tangle of skinny arms and legs like your brother. Yet you’re somehow still made of soft edges and dimples, round cheeks and curled lips. You are teetering on the edge of big-boyhood—one foot there already, the other firmly stomping a toddler-sized tantrum.

I am forever swinging between thinking ahead to the easier days of the little-bit-older you, and wishing with everything in my heart I could keep you forever as you are now. The affectionate, angry, curious, stubborn, loving, thrillseeking, rambunctious, needy, troublemaking, happy Dylan that is you, at three years old.

You talk and talk in your tiny high-pitched voice and I know someday I will have a hard time remembering just what you sounded like when you were this small and I suppose it should make me more patient when you are talking and talking but oh, Dylan, OH, you can talk. You are silly and strange and I feel a bit like I’ve been dropped down a rabbit hole when you’re talking to me because wait, what about a coyote now?

You are full of endearing mispronunciations and bizarre convictions and you have a meaty full-bodied laugh. You still love horses and you love to dance to Parry Gripp videos and you love to play whatever game your brother is playing and you love to shout “LOOK AT DIS PARKOUR, MOMMY!” right before you launch yourself off the couch at top speed.

You are prone to fits of rage and you love to kick the back of the passenger seat in the car and you still wake up every night and you won’t eat a single goddamned thing these days except Yami vanilla yogurt, the stupidly expensive kid-branded kind that come in tiny cups and half the package includes the lesser-loved raspberry and what I’m saying is that there are things about you that drive me right up a wall, my boy.

If it is true that you are capable of flaying my last nerve, it must be said you have an even stronger hold on my heart. Dilly, my tiny monkey, you are everything that is wild and weird and wonderful in the world. I could never have imagined what delicious joy and chaos you would bring, and how my life is infinitely better for having you in it.

dylandrawing

dylandandriley

We celebrated your birthday this weekend at a cabin in eastern Washington and it was an absolutely perfect time. I kept marveling at what a good team we make, the four of us. How happy our little family is these days. How incredibly lucky I am.

Dylan’s 3rd birthday from Linda Lee on Vimeo.

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Sunny
Sunny
10 years ago

Glad you had fun. We have friends with cabins just north of Roslyn on Lk Cle Elum. It’s a fun place in winter and summer. I saw a pic on your Twitter of the Roslyn Cemetery. I find the older sections segregated by nationality fascinating. My Dad’s best friend is buried there and I stop a few times a year. So peaceful.

Donna
Donna
10 years ago

I didn’t fell off the sled!
You ARE truly blessed.
Happy Birthday Dylan, may you have a hundred more!

Lesley
Lesley
10 years ago

Dylan’s earnest little face, at the beginning and the end is just the sweetest thing.

How adorable they both are and how blessed you are.

Faye
Faye
10 years ago

That was beautiful. Just beautiful.

sooboo
sooboo
10 years ago

Awww.. They are both really beautiful and wow they DO grow up fast!

Shane
Shane
10 years ago

Man, this post actually made me want to cry in the manliest, most 21-year-old way possible. I was looking at old pictures of my family today and they remind me so much of how yours look now; so happy and full of promise and love for one another and each other’s company. Now everything is so different, and those pictures don’t even seem to be of my family because I can’t remember us being that happy. I miss being three years old. God, I really do. I can only hope that when I start my own family one day, that they are as rambunctious and as full of energy and spirit and pure love as yours is. Happy Birthday to your boy and thanks for writing so beautifully about this milestone. I mean, really, you just write about your children so beautifully. They will cherish that when they look at this one day, trust me.

Shit, I’m going to bed now. Reading blog posts shouldn’t make me this emotional and I can’t believe I’ve been this sappy. Peace.

NancyJ
10 years ago

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing Dylan’s birthday with us!

My husband, son and I have always been “we three”. A little tight knit family always there for each other. That’s what I felt when I was watching the four of you.

alison of a gun
10 years ago

Ohhh geeezzzzus, you made me bawl my eyes right on out. I am at the baby-having age but don’t plan on having any babies, but that video got me good. Your kids are so cute and sweet and hilarious and good-natured. Thanks for sharing that, Linda.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
10 years ago

Happy Birthday Dylan! I can’t believe he is 3!!

Christine
10 years ago

Aw. Happy birthday Dylan. I’m glad my baby is still 2. For now.

Shannon
Shannon
10 years ago

Your birthday tributes to your boys always have me in tears! I should know better reading them after I’ve put on my make up!

AndreAnna
10 years ago

I loved everything about this. That video was awesome – Sawyer is on my lap and sang Happy Birthday to Dylan.

Diane
Diane
10 years ago

Yup…ya got me crying again…I very seldom comment..I just quietly come back everyday looking for your latest post…you make me roar with laughter and cry with joy while sharing your life…thank you so much!!

birdgal (another amy)
birdgal (another amy)
10 years ago

Too cute! Happy Birthday Dylan!

Lawyerish
10 years ago

Well, for whatever reason that video made me cry my eyes out.

Happy birthday, Dylan! He looks so grown up now I can hardly stand it.

M.A.
M.A.
10 years ago

I cried too. Classic Sundry. Happy Birthday, Dylan. Happy family. *sniff* (L — what is the background music? Love it!)

samantha jo Campen
10 years ago

I will never tire of hearing his voice. EVER.

Happy birthday Dilly. You’re one cool little dude.

(And per usual I cried but I’m sure you already knew that)

SJ
SJ
10 years ago

That was awesome. In the weepy, tears streaming down my face sort of way.

You and your family are just lovely. And you are absolutely right – you 4 make the most perfect team.

Happy Birthday to Dylan, three already!?

Colleen
Colleen
10 years ago

I feel the exact way about my soon to be 4-year-old son. He’s my youngest and probably last child. Watching him grow up and negotiate new emotions and developments is both thrilling and infuriating! Thank you for putting those feelings into words so eloquently. :-)

ZestyJenny
10 years ago

I would like to post the same comment as M.A. above.

Happy! Crying. Music?

Linda
10 years ago

Damn, I always forget to credit the music. It’s “Welcome to Mali” by Sabali.

Angella
10 years ago

A happy third birthday to Dylan and a big “I’m so happy for you” to you. :)

Jacqueline
10 years ago

He is growing up so fast!
Happy birthday, buddy.

Christie
Christie
10 years ago

So sweet! Happy Birthday Dylan!

deanna
10 years ago

happy birthday (a few days late) dylan! it looks like it was fantastic!

Gaby
Gaby
10 years ago

I love Dylan’s “HEY GUYS!” shout into the walkie talkie. Adorable. I hope he had a magical birthday (that glimpse looked like he must have), and I’m so happy that you guys are all happy.

Katie
10 years ago

I love your first paragraph. It made me reflect on my own little boy who just turned two. I’m not ready for him to get any bigger, although potty training would be okay. Got any sage wisdom in that area? And my 6 month old girl, I’d like her to stay that size just a bit longer. Wouldn’t it be nice if each kid came with a remote control so we could zip through the tantrums and slow-mo the cuteness? No, I suppose not. It’s all wonderful really.

Smitty
Smitty
10 years ago

Man, his face when he looks up at you after hearing the walkie-talkie work for the first time? THAT, right there, is a happy childhood captured – the wonderment, the excitement, the joy. Pure awesome. Happy birthday, Dylan.

lara
lara
10 years ago

Awesome. Happy Birthday, Dylan!

Linda, can I ask what you used to edit the video?

Nicole
10 years ago

Damn you and your birthday tributes making me all weepy at work… Beautiful as usual! Happy 3rd birthday to your handsome baby Dylan!

Emily
Emily
10 years ago

Your family is awesome!! Happy Birthday Dilly!!

melissa
10 years ago

My favorite part is the last two seconds..bye bye…can i see? My three year old does that exact same thing :) Happy birthday Dylan.

mixette
mixette
10 years ago

“Hey!” (favorite part). Happy Birthday Dylan! Can’t believe its 3 years since you were just a henna’d D on your mom’s belly.

agirlandaboy
10 years ago

GodDAMN that was fast. Happy Birthday, Dylan! It’s been a pleasure.

Victoria
10 years ago

Why’dya gotta go make me cry?

Claire
10 years ago

You know how sometimes people show you pictures or videos and you’re like, I wasn’t there so I don’t care? Well, you never do that. Everyone of them makes me totally tear up. Happy birthday to your boy!

Abby Stavig
10 years ago

Oh god. Here I am crying at work….

My little turns 3 on March 13th and I am trying to comprehend having a 3 year old at all let alone throwing a party for her! The emotions of parenthood are SO FUCKED UP!

Great little family of four you’ve got there….

Mol
Mol
10 years ago

I have been a lurker/follower of yours for a very, VERY long time. your words, thoughts, pics, and videos are always so beautiful and honest. Thank you for for all the smiles and tears and most importantly, thank you for sharing with all of us in cyberland. you have a lovely little family and happy birthday Dylan.

Kristine
10 years ago

Of course I’m crying. I’m gonna go hug my kid before he (also) wakes me up for some mundane 2:00am announcement.

Happy Birthday to that cute-ass kid. My god.

#6
#6
10 years ago

I think you may have slightly transposed the title and album of the music. I think it is “Sabali” off of the “Welcome to Mali” album by Amadou and Mariam, a husband and wife who met at the Institute for the Blind more than 30 years ago in Mali (West Africa)

Jane
10 years ago

Happy birthday Dylan!

I love the bit in the video of you guys doing the cake. I don’t think I’ve ever seen video footage of all four of you together, and yes – don’t you just make the perfect family.

Coleen
Coleen
10 years ago

I just dropped my 11 week-old son at his sitter for the first time, and I needed something to remind me that it just gets better and better in many different ways. (I know it gets worse too, sometimes, but the better is what will keep me going.) Happy birthday, Dylan.

Maria
10 years ago

crying, crying. OHHHHH. This is perfect.

lindsay
10 years ago

super sweet.

Mary
Mary
10 years ago

“Ca’ I see?” – my 4-year-old niece says the same thing after I take her pic or a video. Ah, digital camera technology… when I was young I had to wait EONS to see the pictures from the trip… EONS! :)

Laurel
10 years ago

For some reason, this made me cry. I just imagine them watching this when they’re older and thinking back to all their great childhood memories. Very sweet. Happy birthday to your boy.