Sunday, May 12, 2013
Letters to my Daughters
One thing I really wanted this monther's day was to get a picture with all of my girls, and I got it! I know it's not a perfect photo, but I seriously just love it so much.
Thanks for cooperating with me little ladies. I love you! Thanks for helping dad make this Mother's Day so wonderful!
One of my friends was commenting on how crazy it is to see a child go from a little tiny baby into a walking, talking, functioning human being.
She was talking about babies transforming from little blobs to babbling toddlers, but when she said it, I immediately thought of you. I feel like you're really starting to stretch your wings. At the beginning of the school year, your friend asked if you could come over. She lives just around the bend of our secluded little neighborhood, and we walk by her house every day on the way to school. The other kids were sleeping so I asked if you wanted to walk there by yourself. "Sure!" you exclaimed and grabbed your scooter to take off.
While a torrent of anxiety filled my chest, you excitedly walked out the door. I couldn't take it. I waited a few seconds, then quietly sneaked out after you. I secretly watched you confidently glide to the end of our street where you paused, just for a moment, looking around the corner ever so slightly unsure. But the moment was so brief I almost questioned if it had been there at all. And then you were off again, pushing your way out of my sight. The anxiety choked me again as I jogged to the corner to make sure you made it to your destination safely. Your friend met you before you even got to her door, and in my mind you were safe again.
On my brief walk home, I thought about those first few weeks of school. All the tears and extra goodby kisses at the kindergarten drop off were quickly replaced by laughing with friends and playing games. It makes me happy. It makes me happy, but also a little sad. Happy because you're making new friends. Happy because you have overcome something that you were so nervous about. Happy because you're becoming more independent. Happy because you're growing up. But sad because it won't be like this forever. Sad because before I know it you will be all grown up. Making your own decisions. Doing your own thing. Becoming your own person. It feels so strange to be so happy and sad about the exact same thing. But more than anything Addison, I'm just proud! I love you so much, and really am excited to see the little lady you're becoming.
Oh Hannah. I remember, very distinctly when Addison was little, seeing her playing among the flowers with her wild hair and thinking she looked like a little imp or wood sprite. Addison may have had the look, but I think you have the personality. You do what you want to do, and if someone tries to get in your way, you look at them for a moment, not quite certain why this outsider expects to have any control over you, and then go right back to what you were doing. It's so infuriating, and yet so endearing all at the same time.
The other day as I was putting you down for your nap, you turned to me, and out of nowhere, gave me a big hug and said, "Mom, I just love you so much!" If you never said anything like that ever again, that one moment would make up for every ounce of frustration or tantrum I have ever endured from you. But lucky for me, you seem full of those random intensely loving moments.
You also have such a quirky little personality. Sometimes you come upstairs dressed in the funniest outfits, and nothing I say can talk you out of them. Whenever someone asks to take your picture you make crazy faces and hand movements. And fairly frequently my questions to you are answered with little dances or facial gestures instead of words. You definitely march to the beat of your own drum.
You're also slowly figuring your younger sisters out. Although you have always loved playing with Addison, you, more than any of my other kids, are perfectly content playing alone in your bedroom with your Barbies or Polly pockets. Lately, though, you are starting to really interact and play with the twins more and more. Sometimes it seems so incongruous (not to mention humorous) seeing this unpredictable little imp trying to mother and reason with her two-year-old sisters. A lot of the time you get frusturated that they don't want to do exactly what you want to do, exactly how you want to do it. But when it works out, you all play so well together. It just warms my heart.
I love you so much my sweet, unpredictable child.
It's no secret that I worried about you when you were first born. And ever since then, I've been watching you, looking for any sign that you are having a harder time than a normal child your age. There was one point, at the beginning of last summer when you and your sister weren't even saying mama much that I was especially worried. I even had some professionals come to our house and assess both you and your sister to see if you qualified for a special needs program.
While they were with us, they asked me if you were understanding some things I said. I responded, "Absolutely. For example, if I tell them it's time to get dressed, they run to wherever they can find clothes and start putting them on." The ladies were watching something behind me and started laughing and then said, "Yeah, they're not going to qualify." When I mentioned getting dressed you had climbed up onto the couch where I had a basket of folded laundry I hadn't put away yet, pulled out a pair of pants, and started putting them on. A week later you were not only saying Mama, but a myriad of other words too.
Now, I'm not worried about you at all. Sometimes I even think you're a little ahead of other kids your age. You put sentences together, and although sometimes it's hard to understand what you're saying at first, when I do figure it out, I'm often surprised at how complex the sentence is. Not only are you learning words for things, you're learing sounds animals make, colors, and even some of your letters and their sounds.
You're really becoming a mama's girl too. You've picked up from Hannah the term, "I want you!" And usually choose to use it when someone else has my attention. ;)
I've mentioned how your dimples are like kryptonite to my anger and motivation to punish you. That hasn't changed. A few months ago you bit Lilly so I ran into the room ready to take you to your bed. You flashed me that dimply smile of yours and I could feel my legs getting slower and my thoughts getting muddled. "It was only a little bite, it didn't even leave marks. And look, she didn't do it in anger, she was just playing." I cannot tell you the amount of will power it took to still put you in time out. You're going to get away with a lot because of those dimples you little stinker. ;) It's a good thing you're such a sweet heart. I love you!
Oh Lilly, My Lilly,
Seriously kid, you are my most challenging child yet. You are so stinking stubborn! Whenever you throw a fit because you aren't getting what you want, your dad and I just look at each other and think, "Why does she have to be so much like us!" And lately, everything you want to do, you want to do "Myself!" And if we try and help you, a huge tantrum ensues. I have learned to begin doing what I need to get done at least 10 minutes early so that I can just let you do it yourself. Planning for that extra time is WAY easier than attempting to force you to let us help you.
But on the flip side, you are our most cuddly, helpful child too. Bart says it's a survival mechanism. You're so sweet and cuddly so that we don't kill you when you're being so difficult and stubborn. He may be right. Although our days have multiple temper tantrums and frustration, they're also filled with spontaneous leg hugs, and hopping up on laps for snuggles and kisses. And you are REALLY helpful too. If you see me doing ANYTHING, you walk right over to me, look up and say, "I help!" I used to tell you no (generally speaking, letting a two year old help you means the job taking at least twice as long as normal), but for the same reason I let you do things by yourself, I started letting you help me. And you know what, you really do help!
One morning you were helping me move some laundry from the washer into the dryer and Hannah started crying in her room. I ran to see what was wrong, and by the time I got back, you had finished putting the clothes in the dryer, closed the door, and were attempting to push the buttons to get the dryer to start. You also have helped me clear out the dishwasher, water the plants, fold clothes, clean up toys, and put folded clothes in drawers. And if I am EVER making a meal, I can count on you pulling a chair up to the counter where I'm working and, if nothing more, just watching me work. I LOVE it. You really are such a sweet heart!
Another funny thing you've started to do is ask for Maya's stuff. Like if I've made everyone a sandwich, and am passing them out, you tell me, "I want Maya's sandwich." All the sandwiches are the same, but if I try and explain that: tantrum. If I tell you no: tantrum. But if I tell you the sandwich I'm giving you is Maya's, you're content. Same thing with sippys, clothes, toys, and pretty much anything else. If I tell you it's Maya's (whether or not it is), you're happy. But if not, we're in trouble. I'm not sure what to make of that one yet, but for now it always makes me laugh.
I sure love you my little Lil.