And Then You Were Three


NOTE: Muffin turned three on January 30th, and I wrote the bulk of this post on that day. A few family things transpired that kept me from finishing. But we’re back on track :-)

Dear Charlie,

Well, I don’t know how it happened, but today you turned three years old. The past couple of weeks I kept talking it up with you. “Charlie, you’re birthday is coming! You’re going to be my big three-year-old!”

And then I would quiz you for the big day. “How old are you?” I would ask.

“Two,”  you’d reply smiling and holding up your two pointer fingers touching them together.

“And how old are you going to be on your birthday?”

For a while, you resisted. You’d say, “Three” and then quickly giggle and add, “No, two!”

But today you didn’t. Today, you just said, “Three!”

And it was done.

What a year it has been. It hasn’t been an easy one. We moved you across country away from our home and routine in California so that you could grow up near family.  We imposed this crazy new life on you where we travel back and forth between your grandparents’ houses while we wait to find a new home of our own. It’s had its share of growing pains, but we know it will be worth it. Because we get to have days like today.

Today was your very first birthday where all of your family could be there with you to celebrate. Well, all of us except your Grumpy. It hurts my heart every day to know that you didn’t get enough time with him, but I know that he loved you and tell you that often. I know he watches over you.

Today, my heart was smiling because you got to be surrounded by your Nonnie and your Grandma and your aunts and uncles and cousins–and you knew them. You knew them because we are here.

You love your Nonnie who spoils you rotten. She gives you ice cream and teaches you about the important things in life, like lipstick.  And you give her great joy at a time when she needs it the most. You adore your cousin Izzy and ask for her all the time. You don’t leave your Uncle Larry and Uncle Tommy alone when we are at Grandma’s house because they play with you and let you order them around for hours. And the other day, when I started to list all of the family members who would be at your party, you chimed in and added all the rest. You missed no one. Because you love them all. And they all love you.

This third year of your life has been so incredible to watch. As a teacher, I spent time learning about language acquisition, but it didn’t quite prepare me for experiencing it first hand with you.  Your personality and your vocabulary blossomed this year, and both are forces to be reckoned with. You talk up a storm (mostly to give orders). You have gestures and mannerisms that are way beyond your years. You’re nothing if not spunky.

These days you are still obsessed with Scooby Doo and your bedtime routine includes watching an episode in bed on Mommy or Daddy’s laptop (or as you say,”on the pewter”). Your daddy recently got his box of Disney DVDs out of storage for you, so you just recently discovered Snow White and Belle and Ariel and Sleeping Beauty, and the princess phase has begun! Now you play with your Scooby gang while dressed in your princess dress-up clothes over your jammies.

You go to preschool three days a week and love it. In fact, I just recently had my very first parent/teacher conference as a parent! Your teacher, Ms. Lori, tells me that you take a little while to warm up, but once you get going, you’re just a joy. And she also said that you LOVE music and singing and dancing which was no surprise. You went through a phase where “If You’re Happy and You Know It” was your absolute favorite to sing and dance to, and you’d ask to watch the YouTube video repeatedly.

When I pick you up at school, you still run to me full force with a big smile. “You have a treat for me, Mommy?” you’ll ask, and I have to remember to have a fruit roll-up or some pretzels on hand. And when I give you your treat, you’ll shout, “Oh, thank you, Mommy!”

You really loved Halloween and Christmas.  You were finally old enough to play an active role in the holidays. You picked out your Halloween costume and trick-or-treated for the first time. You loved to look at all the lights and holiday decorations. You helped decorate the Christmas tree. You learned who Santa was and asked him to bring you a “dolly house” which he did.

You make each holiday a brand new experience for me because I get to see things through your eyes–your beautiful blue eyes that melt me every day.

You’re a pretty willful little girl and know what you want. Mostly, you love to play. You wake in the morning and ask for your cereal, and then, “You play with me, Mommy?” We’ve had record snow this year, and we’ve spent many days together snowed in and playing everything from dolly house to hide and seek. Thank goodness we live with Nonnie who can take over when Mommy needs a break!

You are still very much a Daddy’s Girl, and maybe just a bit of a drama queen. You are very affectionate, and your daddy and I never ever tire of the many hugs and kisses you give.

Yes, Charlie, today you are three. You are no longer a baby. You are my little girl. And I couldn’t ask for a better little girl. You give me reason every day to live a good life and to want to do the best for you and by you. I have to work a little harder at it these days, because the toddler years can be a challenge. But to say you are worth it would be the biggest understatement of my life. I go to bed each night thanking God for you.You give me joy, and I am honored and I am grateful to be your mom.

Happy Birthday my big three-year-old! I love you.


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  1. Helene says:

    You made me CRY, Kelleroo!!!! That was so beautifully written! The part I loved the best was that you get to see life through Charlie’s eyes. After we went to Europe a few times as Melissa and JJ were growing up (I think they were 10 and 14 the first time) I realized that the reason I LOVED LOVED LOVED the experiences was because I got to see it all through their eyes. The wonder, the joy, and yes, for JJ, the boredom (“if you make me go to one more Church or Museum I will just lay down and die”) and those moments that are forever burned in my memory (Seeing the statue of David and having JJ say, LOUDLY, we waited on line for THIS… it’s BROKEN!!!) You have been given an opportunity you would never have had if you stayed in California and continued to work. You’re blessed and for the first time, I think I’m glad you moved back!!!! You may be grateful to be her mom but Charlie will grow up being grateful to be your child!!!!

    PS The snow you guys have gotten? NO THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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