The winter you were born, Dad and I spent a lot of sleepless nights in our bed, peeling and eating clementines while we fed you. It was funny that this was our food of choice, because your middle name was almost Clementine, after a song you danced to in my belly. Your middle name was also almost Bean, since that was your nickname, but we decided that was maybe a little too out there for a resume, and we’re all about fair chances and such. You know.
Anyway, all winter long we ate these little oranges to keep us happy during these bleary nights, and you nursed and smiled and cooed back at us. Today a whole heaping bowl of clementines sits on our kitchen counter and you ask me to peel them for you, one by one. Today you turn three.
Holy cow, lady. How are you three already? You were just teeny tiny, and at the same time I can hardly remember it. All I can remember is you the way you are today – smiling and friendly and brave and strong. You are such a good person, Lil, so caring and funny and sweet. You are all the good things, and I include stubborn and headstrong on that list, even when you drive me crazy, because those are good traits, too. You know exactly what you want. You ask for it. I mean, sometimes when you don’t get your way you throw yourself on the ground. But still, I hope you always keep that strength and drive.
In honor of your birthday, here is a small list about you at age three.
- You love tattoos, permanent and temporary. When you see someone out in public with tattoos, you ask to see them. And at home, you pile on as many temporary tattoos as you can fit on your arms.
- You love long hair. You won’t let me dry your hair at night, because it’s longer when it’s wet. You also want to dye your hair. And you can when you’re older, kid.
- You love anything to do with colors and painting, including painting canvases and your fingernails. But you bite your nails, so the nail polish is always gone by the next morning.
- Your favorite dress is a tie between an “Elsa dress” from Frozen and a colorful maxi dress. The maxi dress is a summer dress, thin and strappy, but you want to wear it year round. You call it your cozy dress, even though it is not at all cozy.
- You refuse to wear long-sleeve shirts unless we say we are just putting on your sleeves.
- You wear dresses all the time. All. The. Time. Nothing makes you happier then laundry day, when you come home and see all your dresses hanging in your closet.
- You love the quilt on your bed, call it your spotted blanket, and wear it like a princess dress. Sometimes you won’t let us leave the house in the morning unless your blanket comes in the car with us.
- You adore animals of all kinds, except for spiders. You’ll pick up ants on the street, call them “Cutie,” and try to trap them in your hands.
- We tell you that you are in charge of our pets, and you like this. You love feeding the cat and dog.
- You really enjoy tea, and will randomly ask for jasmine tea. Sunday morning, Tuesday night. Whatevs.
- You say you like chocolate, but you really don’t. You will, however, gobble up Andes Mint Chocolates as fast as you can unwrap them.
- There are some words that you can say that you mispronounce anyway. Like “scabetti” for “spaghetti.” You call steak, “Steakums” and chips will forever be known as “chippas.” It is one of your favorite foods, lucky girl.
- You also love English muffins with cream cheese. It’s kind of your thing. But sometimes you will ask for beans for breakfast, and that’s ok, too.
- You can count to twenty, but you skip the number nine and nineteen every time. I’m not sure what nine ever did to you, but you’re pretty consistent about it.
- If you find a puddle of water, you’ll jump in it. It’s like a magnet for you. You can’t not jump in a puddle.
- You rarely complain about being cold, and you can outlast your dad and I outside every time.
- You have nightmares about monsters, so we spray your doors with monster spray. Your dad and I tell you that you should think about happy thoughts instead. Your happy thought is about snow and glaciers. You know that it has to be freezing for it to snow. You can’t wait for winter.
- You are working on potty training right now. It’s going ok. Nothing makes me happier than seeing how proud you are when you succeed.
- When I asked you what you wanted for your birthday, you said, “Candy. And a dark green cake that looks like a rose. With Ariel.” Ok, lady.
- You’re really into Disney movies. When you see the castle come on the screen, you tell me, “We’ll go there someday. It’s in Los Angeles. We’ll have to share.”
- You are terrified of the Aladdin movie, but you tell me, “Protect me. I’m not scared.” We’re working on understanding the difference.
- Your favorite songs are “Home,” “Get Home,” and “Pumpin’ Blood.”
- You sing when you’re happy. Other people’s songs or your own, no difference.
- You love talking to strangers. Your icebreakers are, “What’s your name?” followed by, “What’s your favorite color?” Some people are surprised, but most people answer you.
There are so many, many more wonderful things about you, and we think you’re just the best. You bring us a lot of joy, Lily, and we’re so happy you are ours to love.
I love you so much,