Monday, July 1, 2013

The Big Three Point Five

Dear Em,
Yesterday we celebrated your three and a half birthday (as a woman at the library said, that half is really important at your age). It was an amazing day filled with all your favorites in food, family, friends, & fun. We celebrated with a 3.5 SuperHero Birthday Party (I'll be writing more about that in the upcoming weeks), lunched at Newport Creamery, played at Grandma & Papa's pool, & then headed home to unwrap gifts & play with your very best friend. It was the perfect day, but the day ended in tears. It actually ended in loud sobs. It's hard to say goodbye to your best friend & the perfect day. You couldn't bear for it to end.

I know that I've come to sound like a broken record, but I just can't believe you are three and a half. I feel like it was yesterday that we brought your teeny, tiny, squishy body back from the hospital. The good days, the bad days, the great days- it's all gone by in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, you're this feisty & smart & boisterous & active & amazing little girl. Things move so fast, sometimes it's hard to really take it in, but I truly want to take it in right now. To me, you are the most amazing little 3.5 year old, & I wish I could bottle you up- the way you are at this very moment- & save for always.

So, here is a little about you & your 3.5ness...

Favorite food: cupcakes
Favorite thing to do: play with Mommy & Daddy
Favorite thing to play: Barbies with Nonnie
Outside or inside: outside
Favorite thing to do outside: play on the swing set
What do you want to be when you grow up? a Princess
Favorite book: anything Fancy Nancy
Favorite song: Sweet Caroline
Favorite color: pink & purple
Favorite TV show: Sofia the First
Favorite movies: Lilo & Stitch & Wreck It Ralph

You are a bouncing ball of energy. I get tired just looking at you. You literally don't stop until we put you to bed- & sometimes not even then. We worry a little about you being able to sit still at school, but hope it will come in time. For now, you're a swirling dervish. Your favorite is to run & jump & swing & swim outside. You get a little frustrated when you can't do things perfectly the first time- like trying to hula hoop or do jumping jacks. You say "I'm not very good at this" & want to quit. We're working on learning that there will be a lot of things that you won't be able to do perfectly the first time. The important thing is that you keep trying & little by little you will get better.

You are a little learning sponge. I love hearing about the new things you've learned each day. You know all your numbers, all your letters, & almost all of their sounds. We work on math through playing at word problems (which you think are jokes). Right now you're working on writing & reading your first words. You get so excited to show me what you can do, & it makes my heart so happy. You've always loved to be read to. You have a ton of books filling your shelves, & now you & Nonnie come home with a pile of books from the library.  I hope that you & books will always have a special relationship, especially as you begin to read the books on your own.

You're such a sweet & loving girl. The best thing we heard from your teachers during our last parent-teacher conference is that you don't discriminate. At such a young age, clicks are already starting to develop, but you play with everyone. You walk right up to kids & say, "hi, my name is Emma. Want to play with me?" You are devastated when one of your friends is devastated, & you want to help in whatever way you can. You love to give out hugs. We've worked on asking people if they want a hug before tackling them with your love. I can't tell you how proud I am of you for your caring heart. That's not to say you're not very much an only child. Sharing can be a real challenge for you. In your world, everything is yours. We're working on that.

When it comes to our family, you're such a little love bug. You often leave what your doing to run to one of us & tell us you love us. Yesterday, out of the blue, you told Grandma she was so beautiful. She beamed. I can definitely say for all of us, you are such a ray of sunshine. Your compliments are never in short supply, & your hugs & kisses are more valuable to me than anything else in the world.

You're funny. Sometimes you're funny on purpose, but mostly you make us laugh completely by accident. The things you come up with bring so many smiles to my face & laughter to our home (although, sometimes we're laughing in secret). Yesterday you walked over to Daddy with a severely aggravated look on your face. Your hands were on your hips. "Do you see my face?! Do I look happy right now," you asked him sternly. I know you were trying to be gravely serious, but we couldn't help but giggle. Where do you come up with these things?

You're such a warrior. The past six months have been tough. You've battled ear infection after ear infection, & we've battled some behavioral issues through it all. We understood that you felt off health-wsie for six months, & it was hard for you to express that, but that didn't really make things any easier. There were days where I felt so overwhelmed by the tantrums & disciplining you that I cried after tucking you in at night. I questioned if I was a good parent & if we were raising you right. I wondered why everyone talked about the terrible twos when the twos were a breeze compared to the threes. Luckily, I think we've seen the light at the end of the tunnel. Since your surgery, we've seen fewer tantrums. No, you're behavior isn't perfect, but you're three. It isn't supposed to be.

Fashion is very important to you, maybe a little too important. You've begun to dress yourself over the past couple months, & that has lead to you wanting to choose your own clothes which has lead to multiple outfit changes in the same day. You are very particular. You will study your outfits in the mirror, & sometimes declare "this doesn't look very good."You would prefer to only wear dresses & only wear the colors pink & purple. That has become a little bit of a battle between the two of us, considering you have a entire closet of multi-colored shirts & shorts that I prefer we didn't waste. What can I say, there are some days where we battle it out, & there are some days where I just don't have the energy & you wear your Easter dress while you roll around in the grass & dirt outside.

We try to minimize it & you actually don't watch all that much but, you are obsessed with TV. Offering to let you watch an hour of TV is the biggest treat to you. When you're behavior is becoming a problem, the worst threat we can give you is no TV for a week or the weekend. We use it as a last resort, but when we use it your eyes get really wide & you rethink your actions pretty quickly. When you do get to watch TV, we try to stay with shows & movies that have some type of educational value. I feel like in the kids TV realm Strawberry Shortcake & My Little Pony can be equated to trashy TV talk shows, but you love them. There are days when we embrace being awful parents & let you watch it anyway. We sometimes pay for it. You're a little parrot, & you'll innocently repeat things without realizing that it can be hurtful to say to people outside of the witty banter of TV world.

The iPad is also something you've quickly picked up on. We gave you my old iPhone, & you'll also use that to play games & watch Netflix. You know right where to go to find your games & videos. Out laptop is a different story. You touch your finger to the screen repeatedly wondering why the computer isn't working. Watching you with technology is both fascinating & terrifying to me, because it is so different than when I grew up. We just try to limit & monitor it & pray for the best in the future.

You're our little buddy, & I'm relishing every moment of it. I know that it won't always be this way, & I love that you're favorite thing to do is play with Daddy & I. It almost doesn't matter what we're doing as long as we're together. With that said, it can be tough to play Barbies for the millionth time that week (especially for Daddy), & we're glad that sometimes you'll play on your own or snuggle up with us & watch a show on HDTV.

The past 3.5 years have been the fastest & most amazing of my life. I don't know how, but my heart grows a little each day as I find myself impossibly loving you more each day than I did the next. You are our greatest challenge & our greatest blessing, & I don't know how our lives could have felt complete before there was you. Each day is a new adventure, & I can't wait to what are moments will be like six months from now (gasp, how is it possible that I will have a four year old in six months?!). On the other hand, I can totally wait.

I love you so,

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