great support here, thanks to all who took some time to share and type down the own experiences with family and children.
so, noa is 3 years now, we had some kind of birthdayparty, a small one with a cake and a few presents. we have never done this before, but he saw many children at day care celebrating, that is why we decided to do is this year. he was actually quite happy about it and fell asleep at 5 pm cause of all the excitement (I don't bake cake every day).
the whining is getting much better and if he comes to me in the morning to cuddle in the bed he asks me for a book now. but still I can't read to him, he wants to hold it and control what is going on.
when he comes home from day care I am trying to express how glad I am to see him again and it seems to work, the whining got much better. in other situations I might still be to soft, sometimes I catch myself feeling pitty for him, for no reason. what I've noticed is that all of this is related to his speaking skills. he is developing fast a.t.m. and we can have some kind of conversation or comunicate. that wasn't possible before. I would f.i. like to ask him for a solution if we have a problem, but I can't right now, since he will not be able to understand and offer me a solution.
the diaper situation is still difficult, he doesn't like the potty training, but he is tellin me now (not every time) if he has to pee. the poo thing is complicated, he kind of wants to do this on his own. he goes away and hides somewhere, he often takes of his clothes, but doesn't tell me he has to, so I smell it in the end...
anyway, there are certainly many factors influencing our relationship and it's impossible to handle them all at once. I wouldn't say I am not treating him as an equal, but sometimes I am just not sure what that means. I also have trouble staying with the word "no" and sometimes have the feeling I am allowing him to much, at the same time I doubt my approach if I am to strict or to often saying no and giving him a "time out". I would like to try it in a different way but since I can't speak to him and expect him to understand me, it can be sometimes quite stressful for all of us. I do not see myself as superior to him, but as the responsible one. if we have some sweets in the evening and forget to put them away, so they are still on the table next morning, our son can find and eat them. it happens sometimes and I will not say to him to not eat, since it is my fault, not his, that's the rule.
mirroring the emotions is what I have also tried, but this only works if you are really experiencing the emotion. when I really cry cause I feel helpless my son stops crying and even asks me what is wrong. if he can see I'm really desperate he will stop his tantrums and try to be there for me. sounds not good that a grown up mum starts to cry sometimes, but it happend and since I am a human being (means not perfect) it will probably happen sometimes again. mirroring the whining is not good at all, it will make it worse, making him laugh does work sometimes (not in the morning). I have not experienced him angry till now, only if something doesn't work the way he wants to, but he usually starts to scream and cry in his frustration.
the word wimp doesn't mean anything to me. it's an english word, but the word "weichei" that my friend used means "soft egg". that would be a bit insulting, but actually for me it is not anything bad. I also haven't been a 'tough girl'... but I guess when someone is telling you your son is a douchebag you do react to that, cause it's a picture in our heads, males have to be strong and solid etc. I do not expect this from my son, I only want him to be able to defend himself in case he needs to.