Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Three Times a Lady

My dear, sweet girl,

One day you'll get tired of hearing how I blinked and you were bigger, taller, stronger and more mature. If I ever find something else to be true, I'll be sure to let you know. For now, however, I am stunned.

You told our friend, one of your many admirers who happens to own our favorite restaurant, on the day of your party that you were two and a half, but that soon you would eat your cake "and then I will be three." Just like that, you were. I think there might have been something magic in that frosting after all because suddenly there you were - looking just like a little girl and no longer like a baby. Seemingly overnight you no longer want to play baby, and when I call you baby you set me straight. You are a big girl now. I'll try not to cry in front of you.

Three years ago, on a beautiful spring day, I gave birth while the daffodils started blooming. So much more than petals opened up in my world that day. When you were born I immediately felt that "I know you" feeling, and I'll never forget telling you as you cried to "Tell them, and keep telling them until they get it right, baby girl." I fear your inability to stop talking some days may be my fault. Some people, sweetie, are just never going to get it.

At every turn, you amaze us. If we were to look at typical milestones, especially for speech, we'd know without a doubt you are consistently ahead. We are immensely proud of you, but don't really focus on all that...to us you are just you, and we love you with a fierceness we didn't understand before you came into this world.

So many things to say about who and how you are these days. Some days you are a mini teenager, full of attitude and spunk, fire and and ferocity. Luckily for all of us, you put as much energy into fighting bedtime some nights as you do into hugging us so tight we can't breathe. In the moments when you kiss us over and over, tell us "I love you so much" and "well, you're just my best friend" we just can't get enough of you. You are funny, loving, smart and so tender sometimes that it takes our breath away. You may not always like that having a little brother means you have to share our attention, but you love him with an intensity we could not have expected. Just let someone suggest that he stay there with him while we all leave and there is a price to pay!!!

I love the wild abandon of your signing and dancing, the lack of inhibition when you decide to strip your clothes off and twirl like a dervish, or when you sit looking prim and proper in a party dress only to burst into giggles.

One of your biggest frustrations these days is your serious anger about not being able to read the words in your books all by yourself. We try not to laugh, and we're working on teaching you at your request, but you want to read!!! You must, after all, be ours. There's no denying it. What you can do is so much fun to watch. You know your alphabet, of course, your colors, and you can count from 1-31 in both English and French thanks to your school. I could listen to you speak French all day long, even if you seem to derive great joy in teasing me by either not telling me what you are saying, refusing to repeat it or doing so only when it is convenient to YOU.

You are the sweetest little mommy I've ever met, mothering your dolls in a way I aspire to emulate. Though, if I'm being honest, the truth is that I know you are imitating things you've seen me do, and I have to admit to great pride in watching you breastfeed your babies, put them to sleep, rock them and tell them stories. I never felt more like Wonder Woman than the moment you first put a baby doll in your shirt to pretend to be pregnant, then laid your palms on the table, rocked your hips side to side and took some serious deep breaths. I knew you were watching in those moments before we left the house on the day your brother was born, but I didn't know that I'd watch you imitate those moments. Simultaneously I feel pride in the fact you got to see it, that it wasn't scary, and I feel a twinge with the hope that one day you might let me be there when you have babies of your own. Yesterday you told me you had two children and three grandchildren. I pictured you old and gray, spinning around the living room in a dress with three small children and it was such a lovely picture. Somehow I can picture you always having a bit of a childlike nature.

This year was the year of the butterfly birthday party, the tricycle and (you don't know it yet) a robotic pony from grandpa that's going to blow your little mind. It is the year of you getting excited over multicolored hair bows, barrettes, bands and ponytail holders and the fact they can Match. Your. Outfits. Oh. My. Goodness! You're a girly girl if ever I have met one.

No matter how much you change, no matter what the future brings, I can't imagine a day when I'm not infinitely curious about what the next will bring. You keep us on our toes, pretty princess, which is just perfect for when you're asking us all to pretend we're ballerinas or doing "gymastics."

Happy happy birthday, my sweet, sweet girl.

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