Occasion: Third Birthday
My daughter turned three today. When you're pregnant, it feels all-encompassing. It is difficult to imagine the baby you'll soon be holding, much less the little girl she will become. It is difficult to believe that in a few short years, you'll hardly remember the pregnancy part of things.
Ava is such a wonderful part of our lives. She's the first person to wake up in our home. Through much effort, we've convinced her to stay in her room until a decent hour. When she does come to join us she's happy and cheerful and bubbling over with thoughts to share. She greets every part of her day with enthusiasm and often brings a smile to the face of others.
She's also a fascinating study in contradictions. She'll bound halfway across a room to reclaim a toy she wasn't playing with from her brother because she thinks it is "hers." And yet, most of the time she shares with her brother unthinkingly and with a truly generous spirit. He is never far from her thoughts. At the end of her speech sessions, her SLP gives her a treat and she asks for an extra to bring to her brother. Immediately after telling someone her favorite color she volunteers her brother's favorite. When discussing her birthday party she wants to be reassured that Michael will be there.
After her brother, her family members are close to her heart. She loves to name all the members of her immediate and extended family. Her favorite book is a small photo book with pictures of all her family members. She loves to hear stories about when she was a baby or about when her Daddy or I were babies.
If I ask her for a hug, she'll drop whatever she's doing and wrap herself around me completely. She really does give the best hugs. A hug from my daughter will instantly lift my spirits. A hug from me is the first thing she wants when she is hurt or scared. If I sit in my glider, she'll hop up on my lap and ask to rock with me. She loves to be held, tickled and snuggled and I dread the day when she'll decide she's too old for all that.
I miss the baby, but I adore the little girl who is appearing before me. She loves pink and purple. She has distinct opinions about what she'll wear. She'll put a jacket on only under duress. She still prefers to run around the house half-naked, but loves to wear play shoes. She'll appear before me at random moments asking if she's gotten them on the right feet. She'll let me fix her hair and asks to comb or brush mine. She begs to hear books and songs at naptime and bedtime and is starting to sing songs and tell stories herself. She'll reappear several times after going to bed just so she can be tucked in tight another time or two.
She's not fond of her bike, but she loves to run. She's fast too. She runs with all the speed her little body can conjure. She runs so fast that I worry when she happens to head downhill. When she stops, she'll come to me and place my hand over her heart so that I can feel how strong it is. She begs to race and loves to race Michael on his bike.
She loves to draw, paint, glue, and cut. She loves to play in water. If I give her some toys and let her fill the bathroom sink with water she'll disappear happily for an hour. She likes fast music. She knows how to put the electronic piano in demo mode. She'll slide open the piano, choose a fast song and dance or run to the beat.
There's so much more to say. All of these thoughts are just the ones that swirl to the top of my mind most easily. They are one tiny snapshot of who she is right now. She's my little girl. The privilege of getting to watch her grow and change over the next year is her gift to me.