Last Saturday, on your birthday, you had a surprise party with a couple of your neighborhood and family friends. Traditionally, at a surprise party the guest of honor has no idea (well, at least in theory) that the party is going to happen. However, in this case, you planned the entire party: the guest list (your two very best friends, your sisters and the family friend who introduced you to surprise parties), the activity (drinking tea) and the theme (Frozen, naturally), including how you were going to walk into the surprise. The entire week before, you were so excited about THE! SURPRISE! PARTY! that you practiced your surprise face in front of the bathroom mirror many hours per day.
And the day played out like planned, your birthday morning included Daddy’s Pancake Breakfast and concluded the day with hamburger’s and French fries and a new book. It was the perfect way to celebrate four years of wonderful, darling, because it was everything you love in the world: cupcakes, people you love, a party and a controlled surprise.
You insisted on roller skates for your birthday, regardless that they are off-limits for another 4-6 weeks.
At four you avoid washing your hair at all costs and love to sing “Happy Birthday to Me” all the time. You do not believe in sleep, and I’ll often find you happily having a dance party down the hallway at midnight. You want to wear sundresses everyday, maybe with leggings if it’s very cold. You almost never get in your car seat in a timely manner and you always forget your jacket. Pouches of pureed fruit and vegetables are your very favorite special snack. You ask to cuddle and to be read to everyday. But, my very favorite: You are the queen of spontaneous kisses.
Last week after a grumpy morning and a few days cooped up from the rains, we went out for a local hike. We tromped through the mud and rode dragons made of fallen tree logs. We fed imaginary baby dinosaurs, yelled at the top of our lungs and danced in the grassy fields. Sweet girl, I hope you never lose your adventurous spirit and your amazing creativity.
Two weeks ago you fell and broke your arm. You cried for a few minutes, and avoided using your arm, so the next morning I made you an appointment for an x-ray. At the doctor, when recounting the story, you told her: “I just tripped. I just tripped over my own two feet.” You were so brave and so calm in the midst of a very challenging afternoon. You were articulate in telling your story. You were so polite while even in great pain. I saw you a bit different in those four hours. You were mature, no longer my baby, but I saw glimpses of the woman you will eventually become. As we sat waiting for the cast to dry I declared a new family rule: Anytime you have to have a cast you should go out for a treat afterward. Would you like a scone or a milkshake? I asked. And you pondered momentarily, “Momma, can I get both? Please Momma? Look at my arm cast.”
And so, I saw you again, just as you are: my negotiating little three year old.
Three was cuddles and tears. Three was crazy outfits and strong opinions. Three was stories and books, chalk and paint, scraped knees and colorful bandages. Three was temper tantrums and hours of pretend. Three was dress-up and imaginary friends. Three was made-up songs and play-dough. Three was independence and dependence.
Oh how I love the sparkle in your eyes and the smile on your face
I wonder what adventures four will bring: I can’t wait to find out. I love you more than all the stars in the sky and all the water in the ocean.