Monday, 20 July 2015
Dear E, Now You are Three.
Three years ago at this moment, I was in labour. I was probably just having a bit of backache at this point, and your Dad and I spent the early part of the evening sat in the conservatory of our rented house, eating a broad bean risotto he had made, and trying to decide whether I was just having bit of backache or whether it was something more. It's funny what you remember. It seems both a long time ago and yet hardly any time at all now.
Tomorrow you will be three. You're gradually becoming more of a small person than a toddler, and your baby years are behind you, although you'll always be my baby. You may not be much taller than you were at two (sorry, you've got the short genes), but the past year has seen you grow up in many ways.
You've lost your adorable wobbly toddle, and now you walk and run with confidence. You can jump and climb, so much more than before. You like to scribble and do puzzles, and love helping cook in the kitchen. FINALLY after what seemed an eternity, your last molars came through this month. You actually now have some hair - enough to have needed it to be cut, which you think is brilliant because the hairdressers sit you in front of a DVD while it's done. I like your cute pixie cut, but your Daddy prefers your hair longer. Who knows what you'll go for one day?
Lots of the changes we see in you have happened slowly. After 10 months of living in our flat, you're now at home chatting to the neighbours without being too shy, although put you amongst a group of strangers and they would never believe you're a chatterbox. The two children in the flat opposite, both cuddly by nature, have helped you learn that cuddles can be a good thing. Not for Mummy or Daddy, or other family members of course! We still have to force them out of you at times. But whereas you didn't like being cuddled by friends much before, that's fine now. If you see another child cry, you want to give them a cuddle and make them better. It's utterly sweet to watch.
You're a determined little girl, always wanting to "Do it MYSELF!" and be independent. At heart, you're a kind yet shy little one. You're very aware of the feelings of others, and a keen observer of the world around you, a.k.a nosy like Mummy! Example: We went out for the day today, and you took forever to eat lunch because you were so distracted by everything you could see! If another child or baby is crying, you want to know why. There's a lot of "Why?" at the moment. You're full of questions, and share your ideas with us and we love that about you. Dinnertime in the evening is great because that's when we get to sit down together and have little conversations. I also love you watch you play with your toys. We see you act out your life with them, making up little stories and songs, talking about their likes and dislikes, mimicking your own. I'm so glad you're still at an age to play aloud. I don't know at what point that stops, but I know I will miss it when the time comes.
We may be biased as your parents, but we think you're pretty intelligent. You've got a very cheeky sense of humour and it shows when you make up silly things on purpose. There's a certain grin you do that gives away the joke. You catch on to ideas quickly, and we can't get anything past you! That's why, as much as you hate it sometimes, we're determined to hold on to our boundaries with you. So "No" means "No". Believe me, we have certainly dealt with our fair share of the "terrible twos"! Not fun, but a necessary part of life. You might think we're strict at times, but it's only because we want you to learn the limits to your world, and to keep them safe and consistent for you. Maybe you'll appreciate it when you're a parent yourself one day? Maybe not! But we do it because give you an inch and you'd take 10 miles, and remember it for next time! Your memory is amazing. I write lists to remember what to do tomorrow. You will randomly bring something up in conversation that happened 6-12 months ago!
You're starting Pre-School in September, and I think it will help you to feel you can join in games and play with other children a bit more. Often when we see friends, you're doing your own thing while they play together. I feel sad watching it sometimes. I know that's because I spent many years as a child feeling left out of "the group", always not quite part of things. So I know it's my issue, or interpretation of the situation, that worries me, rather than it necessarily being a problem for you. When I see you standing in a group and looking a bit lost, feeling unsure of you place in the world, my heart breaks for you. That's why we try to help you spend time with others, to help you become more socially confident and join in. You go to Gym Tots, because you love it (and the soft play afterwards), and we take you swimming, because we're both rubbish and wanted you to have that life skill! I must admit - I always said I wouldn't live through my child, but I did encourage you in those activities! However, if you decided you hated something, you wouldn't be forced to do it (except swimming. You're only allowed to stop that when you're able to swim unaided a reasonable distance - because that might save your life one day. But any other hobby......).
Mostly, you're not unhappy. You're just a bit in your own world. You're much quieter when among large groups of people, whether adults or children. We had a birthday party for you on Saturday, with a bouncy castle and lunch after. You had a brilliant time bouncing, and when asked what you thought of your party, you said "It was lovely". But it was still a bit overwhelming for you. Overall you had a good time, and that was what mattered. I think your friends had fun too, and it was something we wanted to do as a celebration of the last three years and the friends you (and us) have made along the way. Because your life is something to celebrate. You make the world a better place just be being in it.
I miss the baby cuddles we used to have, and the way you used to smell. But I'm so proud of the little person you are becoming, and you make us laugh and smile so much. You're this little mishmash of our genes, and when we look at you we see ourselves, and combinations of grandparents and aunts/uncles and that's something special. Your Dad and I both agree, that having you was the best thing we've ever done. I'm hope we'll always feel that way.
As each birthday approaches, I'm sure we'll feel that time is moving too fast, that you're growing up rapidly. I want to hold on to each year that passes, to remember how it felt to be your Mum at that age. So, my angel, I plan to write to you each year, so that one day we may always remember each stage of our lives together.
For now, sweet dreams, and happy birthday for tomorrow.
Lots of love,