Today you are 3.You are beautiful, you are small, you are sweet, you are mischievous, you are strong willed, you are rebellious, you are loving, you are cuddling, you are smart.
So many things have changed in your sweet little life since your birthday last year. Our, AuPair, Sabine, your "Bean-Bean" arrived, and so did a sweet little brother who cried a lot at the beginning but who now smiles at you nonstop. Our family of 4 changed to our family of 6, and left you figuring out where you fit in. You aren't the baby anymore and you aren't the big girl either. You want to be both and neither. You feel like you are bossed around all the time and that leads you to be a very disagreeable person much of the day. You rarely will smile for the camera, and if I can get you to look, I'm LUCKY! It's not that you aren't happy, it's that you refuse to do something that isn't what you want to do. In person, your little laugh is so infectious. Oh my, do you have a beautiful laugh. Those of us who love you best are so lucky to hear that laugh often. The big sister that you used to just adore, you seem to now both adore and despise, sometimes simultaneously.
She talks all the time, so you talk all the time, she is usually in charge and reciting the rules, so you want to be in charge reciting the rules. Sometimes you want to be just like her, and lots of times you want to be the exact opposite of her. Every single thing you say, you say with 100% convention. Whether it is the truth or a lie, an interesting recap or a complete fabrication of nonsensical words. You OWN it. You mean what you say with all your heart.
At 3, you are definitely still trying to figure out your role in the world. You know you have some rights - you just aren't quite sure how to express them yet. And mommy and daddy are still learning about you too. When your sister turned three, we'd had you for only 2.5 months. And you were so easy, in every way. We could nurture every little thing about her, we knew every little thing about her. We knew what she was going to do before she would do it. We could anticipate everything and in many ways, control our environment and her environment. We also had an equal number of parents and children, so while I doted on you, Lily still had all the attention of her dad. Now on your third birthday, things are quite different. You have a 5.5 year old sister who is independent but still very much an attention getter, and a 6.5 month old brother who is easy and happy, but who takes a great deal of mommy's time. Sometimes just looking in your eyes, I can see that you are lost. It makes me sad that I can't give you the same attention that I gave to your sister at this age.
But I'm so happy that you get so much love and attention from Sabine. The two of you have a very special bond. And I'm also so happy that you get love and attention from your sister. Oh, how she loves and protects you. Just this week when you went to camp for the first time. I left and you walked away from your group and right up to Lily, without a word, you took both of her hands and looked up at her. I saw her smile at you and you smiled back. Neither of you said anything. I couldn't imagine a better way to describe the bond that you two have right now. I couldn't imagine a sweeter thing to observe. Sometimes with all the new found bickering and tattling the two of you do, I forget how much you still love and depend on each other.
Your favorite guy and number one best friend is your bear-bear. Man you love that thing. When you showed such an attachment at a year, I went on ebay and found two more, so we've had three bear-bears. When you were still in your crib, you would drop him out in the middle of the night or lose him, then cry. I started giving you two to sleep with so that you could always find one. I knew this wasn't the bright idea the first time that I tried to put you down for a nap and you held out both hands as if to say where is my other one? Then you did call it your "awdder" bear-bear. But I still had the one in reserve to switch out and wash them all equally, so you'd never know. Unfortunately you found out about #3. For some reason, you determined this is my bear-bear. You can tell which one is mine because of it's eyes. If yours are being washed, you will tolerate sleeping with mine. This honestly makes me batty. You always bring me mine or ask me why I didn't sleep with mine. The other day you ask me why I got myself a bear-bear!!!???"Why" is a favorite word of yours for sure! You'd why me to death if you could. Just like your sister. If I ask you why you say, "because" or "I dont' know". End of story. You still aren't sure what you think of your little brother, and boy is he gaining on you in size. It's hard for you to be gentle with him, you grit your teeth and make a crazy face. But you like to give him his "monk-monk". It is the most important thing to you. But in the next breath you will ask to help feed him, then shove a spoon down his throat forcefully. You do the same thing when you wrestle with your dad. He's never sure if you are going to head butt him or hug him. You are unpredictable. You change directions and moods often. Your siblings both adore you. So do your daddy and me.
Oh, Addie, I love you and I love you and I love you some more. You've started coming into my bed about twice a week since right before Bryson came. I snuggle you for a minute and you tell me you are ready to go back, and I take you back. You are so small and cuddly, I don't even mind. Sometimes I don't want to take you back. You sweetness and your fiestiness is so uniquely yours. There has never been a you before and there will never again be a you, and that makes me feel pretty darn special that I get to be your mom.
Last year I wrote about your second birthday and I included pictures of your first birthday and your birth. Last year, you were all sunshine and roses. This year, you are a little bit more difficult. But I've tried to describe you just as you are, so I can always remember you like this. Time passes so quickly, and I don't want to forget a thing about what you are like right this minute.
I'm doing my best for you, and I hope for the rest of your days you can feel that.