Another birthday? I am so not prepared for this! HOW ARE YOU GROWING SO MUCH?????
Well, my dear, however you're doing it, you're doing it quite well. Happy 3rd birthday, my love!
The most consistent theme of the past month has been a continued and increased sense of commraderie with your sister. You're looking forward to sharing a room with her, and as I left the room with her after putting you to bed the other night, instead of your usual protests you called after me: "Sweet dreams, Hazel!" Of course, you would rather that I'd left her there, since a big thing for you has been wanting hazel to stay with you at night. You're super proud of her, and still tell absolutely everyone your encounter, whether you know them or not, that you just had a new baby sister! Then you introduce her and talk at length about how you take care of her...it's really sweet and remarkable...though it does have a tendency to slow us down a bit. It takes a long time to have that conversation with so many people in the course of a single commute!
Our journey to go walk Charlie begins each day with these introductions to anyone else who happens to be waiting for the bus with us in the shade of the little tree down on the corner. These conversations exhausted, your attention usually turns to the Dunkin' Donuts that sits on the corner across the street. I think because it's got funky bubble letters in cute colors, and you can see it while sitting on the steps of the apartment building by the bus stop, usually without leaving the shade, that you've latched on to this one particular sign, but each day we'll look at it and you'll read out each letter; first the orange word, then the pink one, spelling out D-U-N-K-I-N' D-O-N-U-T-S...you only have trouble with the 'K', because in its bubble-font form it looks a bit too much like an 'x' for your taste, but even that doesn't really trip you up much anymore. I've been doing my darndest lately to try to get you to take it the next step and sound out the letters to figure out what they spell, alas, you inevitably get about halfway through one word (whichever you've chosen to start with) and decide you're "tired" of reading and want to do something else. Which is fine, I'd rather keep it lighthearted for now, I know that if I persist without pushing you will eventually figure it all out. I just hope you enjoy the journey.
And you have certainly been learning! You've been practicing your writing a lot lately, and are learning how to spell very simple words. Especially your name...you know how to spell it, though you usually get coy when we ask you or point out that you know. You can write very recognizable letters, when you're in the mood...A is one of your favorites to write, your 'c's are coming along nicely, and D, H, V, E, F are all decent, but you claim your favorite is W. (Your M's aren't bad either...O and P...basically most of your letters are there, to varying degrees of execution, but I'm plenty proud regardless. You only just turned 3. You're doing just fine.
Your precociousness is growing with your age, too, in ways that are often at once heartwarming and squirm-worthy...you certainly keep us on our toes, kiddo. Like how you have taken to tricking me into letting you wake Baba up when he's sleeping but you want to play with him. You'll know that you're supposed to let him sleep, but you also know that sometimes I will give you permission to wake him up - though usually I only do that if it's a certain time, like after 9am, for example, but I guess you wouldn't really know that outright...but anyway, you'll do things to get me to say something that you can them creatively interpret as permission to wake him up. For instance, the other day you found his goggles, brought them to me and, knowing full well who's they were, asked me who they belonged to. I told you they were Baba's and you said that you would give them to him. I thought you meant you'd give them to him when he got up, so I said ok...but instead you ran into the bedroom and woke him up to give him the goggles. Smart kid.
That said, you are generally a remarkably considerate kid. You think of others before yourself more often than not, and statements like this one are commonplace: After I poured you some orange juice, you berated me for giving you too much, and said: "I only wanted a little 'cause if I drank it all up there wouldn't be any for you and baba, and I want you guys to have some, too."
You also do a remarkable job of explaining yourself to us...the best example I have of this is a bit odd, but it certainly works...you and baba were playing some game and you wanted him to ride a broomstick like a witch. He was pretending not to know how as part of the game, and so you were trying to give him very clear instructions. It was a difficult task, it is kind of a strange thing to describe, and after a couple of less than successful attempts, you thought about it for a moment before very authoritatively telling him: "You put it under your penis," and then, as you demonstrated stepping onto the broomstick to prepare to ride, you thought to clarify, adding "I'm a girl, so I put it under my vulva." and then off you went, leaving your parents in awe of your blunt truth.
Your play has certainly evolved into a very complicated undertaking...you have characters, stories, costumes, settings, very varied endeavors...you have some consistent rules, like how you use the term "honey" to refer to a child ("this is my honey!" you'll say, or "no, that one's the mama, and this is her honey.") and the term "love" to refer to a spouse ("that one is her love, and this is their honey.") But some rules only apply to some games...and sometimes its more of a class of games, if that makes sense. You have a class of games revolving around "the cake making show" (Food Network Challenge). You have a recurring character that is the Princess of Cakes, and sometimes I hear you declaring "3-2-1 stop your work!" Sometimes you'll be building with your blocks and I will ask you what you're working on and you'll tell me "it's a cake that looks like a building!" You certainly seem to enjoy that one. I always find it endearing when you turn to me and ask "is the cake making show on?"
I predict a lot of fancy cakes in our future. Probably not this year, though...your Nai nai is very excited to make you your birthday cake this year (your party isn't until the 11th). As per your very specific request, it's going to be a chocolate cake with GREEN frosting. We didn't have cake today, but we didn't need it...we've had QUITE the adventure today already. After walkin' charlie (and having a great day in general) we headed to the Museum of Natural History so that you could see the 'dead dinosaurs'. You were SO excited, and it was wonderful to get to experience it with you, little lady. I have to admit, I've always been a bit creeped out by the fossils, and have never spent much time in that room or enjoyed the experience of seeing fossilized skeletons before, but getting to see it through your eyes, it was fascinating and SO MUCH FUN...I genuinely enjoyed my time there, and you certainly enjoyed yours...thank you for that gift Cadie B...that was a truly unique experience that was totally something you taught to me. Beautiful.
We had such a great time that day, starting off with the folks at the bus stop giving you your own dollar for your birthday, and then at the museum (which you oh so cutely pronounce "muse-EE-ya-yum") the first security guard we met was so kind and played with you, the second let us in for free since it was your birthday, the third picked you up after you fell and broke the bucket (full of plastic sea creatures) that you'd picked out from the gift shop as your birthday gift, and raced through the closing museum, cinematically radioing other gurads to open locked doors and winding through off-limits exhibits, just to get you a new bucket...it was truly amazing and such a great show of good humanity. And then at shack shake (uptown) after that, they gave you a free custard without even knowing it was your birthday...you are a special lady honeybug, and everyone can see it.
Baba had to work that day, but your sister and I LOVED getting to hang out and celebrate with you all day long. watching you chase pigeons in the park afterwards, and play with other kids there...what a great day.
and ending it all in song...oh Cadence I can't describe how much it means to me that you have started wanting me to sing to you every night again. I spent so much (all) of your babyhood singing to you constantly, it has been a little sad in this interim time when you refused to let me sing, but I respected your wishes and let you alone...now we're building music back into our daily routine and it just feels very right. Thank you for this gift, too.
Oh, and it's also very gratifying to hear you belting Moonshadow at the top of your lungs. I have very distinct memories of what if felt like and the images in my head when my dad would sing me that song when I was little, and for whatever reason I couldn't wait to sing that particular song to you when you were born...I expected it to feel somehow different, to be on the other side of it, but instead I quickly found that I got the same comfort and feelings from singing it to you as I did from hearing my dad sing it to me. It has kind of been 'our song' ever since, too.
Thank you, also, for that gift, my amazing, 3 year old girl.
I love you SOOOOOOOOOOOO much, my ladybug.
Here's to many more amazing years.