Monday, July 2, 2012



My Belle. You're three today. Three years ago, my world changed so completely. It changed in every way I imagined. And then some more. You have made my life perfectly lovely. Do you know that? Do you know how you changed me in all the best ways?

I used to do periodic updates on your growth and development, on things you were up to. I'm not sure why I stopped doing that at two years old, because you surely haven't stopped changing and growing and completely astounding us with who you are. And so here are some things about you at three.

You are no longer a baby. This year marked a definite transition from a little girl to a big girl. You act different. You talk different. You look different. You're growing tall, your face is changing so much, and you look like your Grandma Lichelle more than anyone. Your hair is growing into long ringlets, not just bouncing curls on your head. You are not just my baby - you are truly my friend. My confidante. A little person who has ideas and responses and understands. You have an opinion, and a will - a strong one. I've struggled some this year as I've learned to navigate teaching you right from wrong and also letting you grow into yourself. I hope you know I'm trying so hard and I'm sorry for the days I get it wrong. You are a very good girl, and you're growing up beautifully.

You have an extraordinary memory. You remember details, faces, names, facts. One day a song came on the radio that I barely knew, and you said, "Mommy, this was the song that was on in the little store where we bought my favorite chips!" And you were right. You memorize songs with just a few listens. We crack up when we hear you jamming to some song with full sentences that you don't really understand but that you can fully repeat.

You still have a working memory of the entire alphabet. You can write several letters as well, mostly letters composed of straight lines, like A, L, E. I love when you're busy coloring and you yell to me, "Mommy, come look at this HUGE A I drew!" You also drew your first blob person a month or so ago. That blew my mind, I'm not going to lie.

You're starting to learn to put letters together into words. When you do it right, it thrills you. And me. I never knew how amazing it would be to watch my baby learn to consume words the way I love to. You get frustrated when you can't do it, however. You've always been like this: you don't like to do something until you're confident you can do it right. So we're taking it very slow, and I'm so proud of you. If I read a book two or three times to you, you usually have it memorized. You love the Olivia books right now, and I often hear you reciting them as you play, as though they're a part of your regular conversation. You also know all your numbers and can count to twenty. You know all your shapes and colors and have informed us that your favorite colors are pink and turquoise. You know your entire name, you know my maiden name (as that's legally what I go by), you know both Lou Lou's and your dad's name, you know every relative's name (and their pets), and you know not only your friend's names, but their parents' as well. You understand concepts like "tomorrow" and sometimes say cute things like, "Did we go to Hawaii a few weeks ago?"

You know how to pick matching outfits and often request "choices." Then you usually mix them up and pick something else (always matching). You dress yourself. You hate wearing pants or shorts or capris. You can only be coerced into them if we're going hiking. You wear skirts every day. In the winter, you just add tights. You also hate tie shoes. You like flip flops the best, and hate the kind with a strap on the back. You like your hair "normal," but sometimes ask for braids, pony tails, or a "crown" around your head (a braid all the way around). You pretty much look ten years old with your hair pulled back.

You are getting the hang of being a big sister. You get irritated when she pulls your hair (so would I!) and steals your stuff. But you're learning to share. And you're very protective of her. You hate when she's hurt, and you're quick to help me when something is wrong with her. She adores you, by the way. She imitates every little thing you do. She beams when you give her hugs and kisses and play with her. I think you will be good friends as you grow up. I hope so.

You are very cautious. You are an observer. You watch people and situations, and you won't participate until you're comfortable. I rarely push you much because I understand. I am just like that. It's not being anti social; it's simply understanding the situation in your way.

You eat pretty much anything. You'll try most anything, and you usually like it. That said, you have to be reminded and sometimes practically forced to eat. Like your dad, you don't seem to have a need for food. (Your mother, on the other hand, pretty much has to be chewing on something all day.) Your favorites are salad, wraps, Ruffles sour cream and onion chips, quesadillas, anything Mexican, any pasta with sauce, watermelon, carrots. Honestly, you just love most food. You love apple juice. Admittedly, you probably drink too much. I do water it down, and I do require some water consumption, but heaven help us, you and that apple juice.

You understand the differerence between right and wrong. Sometimes the difficulty of making the "right" choice (when they're all good choices) almost kills you. I learned that the hard way, after many screaming tantrums because you didn't understand. Once I realized it, it became much easier to help you see that sometimes there are just lots of good decisions. You are very aware of when you do good things and love to be recognized for your achievements.

This is mostly because of what I've exposed to you, but you love musicals. The Sound of Music is, of course, your favorite (and little do you know - you're going to the play TONIGHT!). But Mary Poppins is a serious winner in your mind too. You can sing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Because that's normal for a three year old. Like every word and syllable. It's kind of awesome. You love playing Legos with your daddy. You always have, since you were that funny tiny baby who didn't put things in her mouth. But now you really play - you build and play pretend and you cannot imagine the joy it brings your daddy. You love doting on your children (your word, not mine, and they include dolls and stuffed animals). And you rotate through them quite equally, which I find interesting. You also love playing pretend - house, restaurant, store. And then there are the stories you've start telling. They go on and on. Your imagination seriously knows no bounds right now, and I think it's really amazing. I wish I could capture everything that's going on there and bottle it up.
You are such a beautiful little girl, and I'm so lucky to call you my first baby. Three years ago today, you made all my dreams come true. And you've made my dreams even bigger than I imagined. I love you more than I have words. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, for teaching me so much, and for being such a lovely daughter. You make me so proud, and I'm so happy I get to watch you grow up. I love you, I love you, I love you. Happy third birthday my Belle.



Photos by dc photography, all but one taken at her epic
Sound of Music birthday party, photos to come.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Umm, darling. She is getting so big and beautiful. We'll be there with my family at the end of July/beg of August. Hopefully we'll get to see you pretties


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