Yesterday afternoon we were all playing outside. The big girls were helping daddy build the playhouse you three girls received for Christmas and you were playing on our little tykes slide. Up you climbed the ladder and down the slide, roller coaster arms and big smiles. Up and down. Up and down. Then you fell. You lost control and tumbled down the slide landing smacking your forehead against the concrete. I picked you up, offering hugs and kisses as I checked you over for bumps and bruises. Almost immediately after your fall you picked yourself back up, wriggling away from me, and tears still streaming down your face, and a large bruise already developing on your forehead, you climbed right back up the slide and did it all over again.
This is you in a nutshell: You fall down and before you even brush yourself off you’re back on the wagon. This tenacity, determination and spirit are characteristics I hope you never lose.
In these last six months you have learned so much and are growing into a very independent little girl. Besides learning how to climb up steps and ride down slides, you learned to walk! And run! You can kick a ball. You can throw a ball (often better than your two older sisters!) You love to play with your musical instruments. You can stack blocks. Your favorite word to say is “sisters.” You feed yourself at nearly every meal. You’d rather sit in a booster seat at the dinner table than your high chair. You love bubbles and magnets. You love to sing and clap along with the music. You wave hello to people and blow kisses to say “thank you.” You love shoes. To say the word, to hold them, to try them on. But, you refuse to keep your own shoes on for any length of time. You love to push your pink Minnie Mouse ball in the baby stroller. You love to climb up the step stool and brush your four little teeth at every opportunity. You understand almost everything we say to you, honestly. Although, one of my very favorite things has been watching you play and interact with your sisters. You want to do EVERYTHING they are doing. Art projects, tree climbing, dress-up, and nothing makes you happier than being with your sisters, being a "big girl": just like them.
You refuse to sit in the cart unless you have a snack you picked out from the store. It doesn't matter if we just ate, or if I brought a snack from home. Your favorite is bananas. A second favorite is cereal.
I find you amazing little hazelnut. It warms the very corners of my soul to find that a sturdy and adventurous toddler has replaced the flimsy, helpless infant we first brought home. Everyday you make new connections that astound me. I know I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but watching you and your sisters grow and learn is the greatest gift. At the end of the day, regardless of my exhaustion or frustration, I am struck by just how grateful we are to have you three in our lives.
Grow, little hazelnut, grow.
I love you more than all the stars in the sky and all the water in the ocean.