Could it be? You’re three? When did this happen? Overnight, it seems.
How far you’ve come, from a tiny, red, skinny 3 lb 2 oz preemie to this: a bouncing, vivacious, curious, sweet, giggly, beautiful little girl. You hear that? You’re a little girl now. Not a baby, not a toddler. A little girl.
1 day old, on a short break from the bilirubin lights. Mommy’s still too drugged up to visit you.
You’re 31 pounds of awesome with a mop of curly hair that’s the envy of all the playground. A natural athlete, you blow me away with your agility and daredevil attitude. No slide is too steep or playscape too tall. So it’s funny how the dog barking unexpectedly sends you running for the hills, screaming like a girl in a horror movie.
Watching you bound down the sidewalk and hop around the living room, I swear you are spring loaded. And man, if I could tap into that energy at 7:30 in the morning…
A few of your favorite things, in no particular order…The Princess and the Frog, scrambled eggs, riding in the car, painting, puzzles, swimming, your baby sister, early morning dance parties, Angry Birds, Kai Lan, Buzz and Woody, stickers, snuggling in “the big bed,” your tiny purple frog, popcorn, bubbles, “moon cakes” (pancakes), reading, catching bugs, and helping Mommy “make” (cook).
You hate going anywhere without your Sissy. And you talk about her the entire time you’re apart.
Your smile is radiant, your laughter golden, and your hugs are something I truly cherish. You have really turned into the sweetest little girl. You wear your emotions on your sleeve, whether it’s happiness, sadness, or disappointment, but you’re still a tough cookie, and you work through those emotions on your own like a pro.
My favorite Claire-things of the moment?
Your hugs. Hands down, best ever.
“Mommmmmyyyyyyyyy…..I’na babyyyyyyyyy!” (This came from you being babied a lot when you had the flu. I’m in no hurry to see it pass.)
“Oh no! Here’s a car coming! It ‘onna hurt you!” (At least I’m instilling a fear of heavy, fast moving machinery.)
I don’t even have to ask what the skirmish is about. You never fail to offer up, “I pulled the hair!” It’s pretty handy, actually.
“No….I stiiiillllll painting!”
Narrating the entire first segment of Toy Story 2 to me as you watch it.
Your habit of repeating everything — and I mean everything — that we say.
The fact that you will still take a 3 hour nap every day if given the chance (*ahem*, Rachel)
Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe you. I know you are bound for greatness, and I can’t wait to see where you lead us throughout your life.
‘Cause you are definitely in the lead.
Weeeeeee! You’re threeeeeeee! Happy birthday, sweetie.
From the start you were on your way, progressing quickly in the NICU and melting my heart with more sweetness than a 3lb 10oz body should be able to hold. And now? Your body is bigger, and your heart keeps growing right along with it.
Snuggling with Mommy and wearing your first “outfit.” The sleeves were rolled up 2 or 3 times.
In two words: Super cute. If I may add a third it would be clumsy. Girl, you could trip over air. And you frequently do.
You’re a master of pretend, bringing your little Squinkies or buggies to life, or eagerly leading us on a walk to the “Ladybug Festival.” And yes, even pretending you have a boo boo when your sissy has one. Also? I believe you survive on milk and snacks alone.
A few of your favorite things: Tinker Belle, being pantsless, fruit candy, your blankie (and only your blankie), drawing with pens, snuggling, Angry Birds, Kai Lan, spinning in circles, hide and seek, playing with light switches, popcorn, bubbles, hugs, throwing crap behind the TV, playing catch, swings, and snacking on Cheerios while pretending to help me cook.
Always a perfect ringlet curl in your face, your big beautiful brown eyes observe everything around you, taking it all in, and I often wonder what innocent little thoughts have you so lost in them. Perhaps you’re imagining Buzz and Woody on another adventure, or trying to figure out how to get the purple frog from your sissy. So you can give it back to her and say, “Sissy! Here’s your pupple fwog!”
Some of my favorite Rachel-isms:
Post nap Pachey snuggle time.
Your forgiving nature, never holding a grudge against your sister.
“Oops! Scuse me!” …after burping.
The way you say your name: “Rachez!”
Dropping something and ordering me to “Get it, Mommy, get it!” You have me trained well.
Your facial expressions. Your happy face, sad face, and mad face, complete with arms crossed.
Watching you flip through your coloring book and diligently color on certain spot.
Your sassy walk.
You melt my heart when you run up to me and tell me you love me. You’re so genuine, so loving. And so darned silly.
You’re definitely forging your own way.
I can’t believe I’ve been blessed with two such unique, beautiful individuals. We’ve all come so far, survived countless struggles, and still hold tight to each other at the end of each day. As much as I can’t wait to see where life takes you both, I just want to freeze you right here.