I saw an article the other day aimed at father’s wanting to raise their daughters to be strong young women. And since I am one of those fathers, I decided to read the article. Right off the bat, I was cracking up as the author insisted dads should let their daughters wear what they want, and not try to make them always dress up in dresses and other girly outfits. For the first few years of your life, you did wear a lot of your brother’s hand-me-downs, but as soon as you were old enough to protest, protest you did. You asserted your strong female voice to tell us you did not want to wear T-shirts anymore, “Princesses don’t wear T-shirts!” From that day on, you only wanted to wear dresses, and under no circumstances did you want your hair pulled back into a pony tail.
While your brother spent what felt like a full year in pajamas, you’ve taken to picking out a dress every morning after you wake up and you get a bit grumpy if you don’t change pretty quickly. Dresses every day, constantly pushing your hair out of your face as you run around the house. In fact, the first morning I’ve seen you wearing a t-shirt in over three months was on the day of your third birthday party, but you did change many times into several different dresses before the party started.
Because your Grammie and Grandpie were going to be gone on your birthday, we had your party a few days early. This threw you for a bit of a loop. The day after your birthday party, and the day before your birthday, I asked, “Can you believe you’re going to be three tomorrow?” To which you responded, “I already had my birthday.” I told you about the travel and the early party, to which you questioned, “So I get two birthdays?” The morning of your special day I wished you a Happy Birthday, to which you casually responded, “Oh yeah, it’s my second birthday.”
For you Birthday all you really wanted was a pink cake with strawberries, so that’s what your Mom made you. You were very fixated on the cake, but once it arrived you only ate the frosting. You constantly beg for desserts, but rarely eat them. When we get ice cream you take tiny licks, letting most of it melt all over your hands and typically throw it away with less than a quarter eaten.
Of course, I can’t believe you’re already three, or how much you’ve changed. The gap in your teeth is gone, but the adorable inflection in your voice remains. Although lately, it’s turned into the quintessential toddler wine, “But Ma-maaaa, Dad-deeee.” You still give amazing hugs, tightly wrapping your arms around my neck while lifting and squeezing your legs up around my ribcage. You’re really tall for your age, nearly as tall as a lot of the kid’s in Arlo’s Pre-K class, who are nearly two years older than you. Maybe because of this added height, you’re a bit clumsy. Your legs are still constantly covered in scraps and bruises, sometimes from the wrestling your brothers and other boys in the neighborhood (did I mention how tough you are?), other times the result of you tripping over your own feet as you attempt to jet around the house.
You’re still unbelievably sweet, most of the time. You crawl into bed with us in the morning, wiggle up close and say in your little growl, “Snuggle!” You have a tremendous giggle and each night when I put you to bed you still ask for “beard scratches.” This term used to mean you wanted to scratch my chin, but now it’s evolved into when my beard tickles you when I give you zerberts and kisses on your neck.
You’ve got a really funny smirk you deliver when you’re trying to be sneaky, which also means you have no poker face. You love your Grandparents so much, and really look forward to your days with them, and then your afternoons with your brother. You are unbelievably sweet with Arlo and nothing makes you happier than when he wants to play with you. Just the other night you excitedly told you Mom, “Arlo is playing with me and being so nice!” When you were opening presents on your birthday you asked, “All of these are for me?” You immediately started sharing your new toys with your brother. You love playing with him and often all we hear is growling, laughter, running, laughter, a crash, more laughter which quickly turns to tears, then almost instantly back to laughter, more running, a crash… For the most part, you can’t get enough of him.
We can’t get enough of you. You’re quite the Sweat Pea, as your Mama calls you. I can’t believe my baby girl is no longer a baby, but I love watching you grow up into such a funny and sweet little girl.
Sept. 13, 2017