Today you're three. It's cliche to say, "Oh, how the years have flown by. My, how much you've grown! You've changed right before our very eyes. I can't believe you're THREE!" But there. It's all true so I've said it anyway. You're our little lady, no longer our baby, and honestly I have to remind myself that you are three and not four or five because the way in which you speak, the things you say and the attitude you throw at me occasionally (OK, who am I kidding? More than occasionally. You are your mother's daughter, after all...) tend to make me forget. And it's not fair to attempt to discipline a three-year-old in a manner befitting a five-year-old, as my own mother constantly reminds me. But boy howdy do you know how to press my buttons and I'm truly starting to fear for your teen years because even at three you seem to be more stubborn and clever, in addition to smart and charming, than I ever was, even at 16, and I was hell on wheels, baby. They say, "Like mother, like daughter," and if that's true your dad may as well commit me now because since becoming a mother myself I comprehend fully the impact of what I put my own mother through and I shudder to think of the ways in which your sweet little self will torment me as the years roll by.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Three. That's you. Now. And you're so much fun. You entertain yourself for hours with the stories you tell and the characters you create. You ask us what words mean when you haven't heard them before. You pay attention (a little too well I might add) to things you overhear and surprise us by saying things like, "I voted for Hilary Clinton but Papa voted for John McCain!"
You love school and the friends you've made. When I told you that daddy and I will be bringing pizza and cupcakes there to celebrate your birthday you said, "Oh. You can just leave the pizza. I like to be at school alone with my friends."
You like telling me that I'm your best friend in the whole wide world and I'm glad you feel that way now because you won't feel that way forever (see end of first paragraph above).
You still have a love/hate relationship with your baby brother but the love part of the equation seems to be winning a little more each day. You make him smile and laugh and although it's probably early for this to be true, I really believe I see admiration in his eyes for you. His face lights up for you like it does for no one else. You tickle him to pieces.
You love playing outside, watching and talking about (but not touching) bugs, blowing bubbles and learning how to play hopscotch and hide and go seek. You pick leaves and flowers and find shells and give them all to me to keep for you. I see the world, and even seemingly small, insignificant things, in a new light when I see it all through your eyes and I realize this is one of the many amazing benefits to becoming a parent.
You sleep with The Grinch every night and now you must also have The Wicked Witch positioned perfectly at the foot of your bed to watch over you as you sleep. You sleep 12 straight hours nearly every night, although occasionally you wake and call out for daddy to hold you in your rocking chair. You're still taking a daily nap although recently you scared me into thinking that was going away. Luckily your nap seems to be back on track and that's good because you still really need it (as do I!).
You are insightful and compassionate, comical and beautiful all at once. And although I know that Three brings with it a special variety of tug-a-wars that we'll battle, I still can't wait to watch you continue to blossom into the stunning young woman I know you're destined to be.
Happy third birthday, my sweet girl. I love you!