For my sweet little Lucy bug...
I have been an inconsistent record keeper for the past year. Milestones have come and gone and maybe at the time I looked at you in awe and discussed it with friends, but a few weeks later I don't remember what the milestone was and I am kicking myself yet again.
So, here it is, a day late and a dollar short, my feeble attempt to make a memory of you and preserve what this feels like so that when you and I are old we can look back and smile. But, don't think for a second that every little change is not the most important thing in my world, because it always is for me.
I suppose the most striking thing about you is that you are very much a little kid these days. I woke you up one morning and you were big. Your shirts no longer covered your belly and your pants were just a few inches too short. You spoke in complete sentences, followed orders, and made reasonable requests at appropriate times. I am holding on with a tight grip to the little clues that indicate my baby is still there underneath what appears to be a little girl. I smell the sweet lavender and chamomile shampoo in your hair, I grab your soft, chubby thighs and pray that they never change. I remember my thighs at age 14 and am mindful about not wishing too hard. I can tell you are still very much my baby when you quickly fold yourself between my arms and under my chin if I so much as look at another child with interest. And, at the end of the day, when we are rocking in the chair and you ask me to read you Tumble Bumble I know that I have at least a little bit longer while you are like this - satisfied to be rocking in my arms and reading silly stories.
You sing and read and run and jump. You dance with near-perfect rhythm and even to complicated songs. You love playing with your tea sets. We begin and end each day with some concoction that you have thought up for our delight. You are still very much a caretaker of all of your animals. They are often invited to join us for tea. You are even thoughtful enough to include Loki on occasion. You make sure Loki has plenty of treats each day and have commanded enough respect from him to get him to sit and give you a high-five before getting a treat. I love watching this play out each day. You have the memory of an elephant. You know the different paths to certain places in the city we frequent. You can recount events from over a year ago with alarming detail. You remind me of every single promise I ever make to you. Every one. It is bordering on Rainman-esque and is only mildly freaky. To take advantage of your sharp memory I introduced you to the game, Memory, which you refer to as Remembery. We only play with a few 'matches' at a time but you are pretty good already and are totally hooked. I would say that you are actually a bit obsessed with 'matching' and constantly point out when things do and don't match. Or maybe you have simply inherited my impeccable taste.
The other morning I was drying my hair, getting ready for work as usual, and you appeared in the bathroom doorway and had a huge smile on your face. I looked down at your feet and saw that you had put your shoes and socks on. You did this by yourself, without my prompting. I have not taught you how to do this. I don't know who did, but thanks. I was totally impressed and completely caught off guard and I gave you two stamps, your favorite new reward. You love these things. You constantly barter for stamps and, consequently, you are usually covered in red ink by the end of the day.
You are great about using 'please' and 'thank-you' but you seem to think that adding please before and after any request makes it a guaranteed victory. "Please can I eat that bag of Valentine's candy, please, mama" does not get you an entire bag of candy, but it does sound really cute and make me smile.
Maybe it is because you are uniquely mine, but you make me smile every day, even when you are not around and nothing else in my life has ever had that effect on me. What used to be the thought of you grabbing at my face and drooling as you bit my nose when you were 6 months old is now the image of you carefully putting your almost-grown-out bangs behind your ear and starting a sentence with "Actually,". C'mon, you are not even three, there is no need to begin 75% of your sentences with the word actually, but you do and that is just one of the many things that you do that makes me laugh.
You still love everything orange. You prefer yogurt drinks and cheese over anything else. You still call me "Julie" and your father "Christian" if you really need our attention. You still wear diapers and are only occasionally interested in the potty. You still love princesses and fairies but your favorites, the scenes you always want to go back to, are the bad guys and that troubles me a little. You still can't pedal your Dora tricycle. You love drawing with chalk and your pictures are finally starting to become more interesting. I love when you draw something and ask me what it is and I have no clue because the images are not yet obvious. I usually try a safe bet, "dog" or "cat". This morning you drew a huge ball of orange and yellow and when I responded that it was a "sun" you looked at me like I was crazy and responded that it was "actually, dadda". Well, excuuuuse me.
Even after just 32 months together there is nothing in my life that has made or ever will make me luckier than the time spent as your mama. Thanks for being a constant reminder about the capacity of my heart.