We have a THREE year old!
Last night when she put her little hand around my neck, pulled my face close to hers and said, “Thank you for cleaning dat!” I thought I was full to bursting with love. Her sweetness and sensitivity were distilled in the simple gesture and phrase. My baby is big enough to connect even in moments when I am focused on the task at hand. It is an incredible feeling.
Robin and I looked at each other after she went to bed and the realization dawned that, “She has a chance of remembering this one!!!” We wanted to make the whole day “psecial.” (Eej often adds a “p” to the beginning of words beginning with “s” followed by a consonant. Got that? So “Squash” becomes “Psash” and “sparkly” becomes “psarkly.” It’s terribly cute) For her first two birthdays we were either just getting ready to leave Rwanda or just arrived State-side so we didn’t personally do much for her. We left that to thoughtful friends and eager grandparents. THIS birthday was the first one on us.
She woke up whisper chanting, “Today is da day. Today is da day. Today is my boarthday!” And proceeded to discover the already-hung happy birthday banner and gift from Aunt Beth and Uncle Tyler. I asked her if she’d like to help me fix breakfast and she gleefully exclaimed, “We’re having Dutch Babies???” Yes, sweet girl, we’re having your favorite breakfast food. It’s your psecial day. She carefully cracked 3 eggs “Because you are 3 today” and I realized that I just left that job to her without any supervision because she’s so careful and because she can finally count to three! Ha. She still jumps to “six, eleven, thorteen, sixteen, eighteen” but at least she gets to three sequentially.
Uncle Lukie came to the house to have lunch with her. He walked in bearing a blue gift bag. “Oncle Yukie has something psecial for meeee? With a bow??” Ah, a pair of headphones so she’ll stop swiping his when she watches a movie on the laptop. She delighted in how “tiny” they were compared to his. This girl loves tiny things.
Then Grandma came over to whisk us to a strawberry jam making field trip at the farm. Ellie Jo helped wash strawberries, pick raspberries and carry Rainier around by his sweater. She got some leftover “hot chips” (french fries) from Grandpa and drug Oncle Daniel around the farm. The only reason we got her to leave was because she knew Daddy was coming home soon and would have “pesents.” On the drive home she serenaded Grandma with You are My Sunshine and Last Kiss (complete with the Oooohhhhhs).
Her first Mylar balloon and her very own pack of gum. What a daddy.
Onto Skyping with Grammy and Poppa. Ditch Skype after opening a gift from them and becoming immersed in the joys of magnetic paper dolls.
Time to help bake a birthday cake. She was an excellent helper. 3 cups of flour – check. Oh! A phone call from Aunt B. Yes, she hung up on Aunt B after hearing the last note of Happy Birthday. Apparently the girl wasn’t in the mood for chit-chat. I called Anna back to let her know that the call WAS appreciated. Aaaand returned to the cake operation only to discover that EJ had carefully measured and dumped 1/4 c. of SALT into the dry ingredients! She was so proud of herself. I began a new bowl of batter while she played in her salty concoction.
Her gifts from us were a new pair of Keen sandals and a Light Bright Cube. I could very easily get addicted to the Light Bright and she was right there with me, punching colored pegs through the black paper and reveling in the glow. I foresee a lot of mother/daughter bonding with the light at the center of our focus.
She’s in bed now. She’s had more sugar than substance today. And she has thanked us for every little thing. It was a psecial day for everyone.