Happy birthday, my darling.
You are three years old and overflowing with personality. You sing all the time; whatever it on your mind, you’ll sing it. You wake up every morning saying that Suzettey, your stuffy, wants a picnic. (You also speak in a high-pitched, squeaky voice when voicing her.) You love twirly dresses and painted nails. You love to draw, color, and paint. You can spend hours playing with Play-Doh or kinetic sand or rice. Same with the bathtub, where you’re always “mixing up” a new recipe with your bath toys. You love trains and Legos and space (you’ve been requesting a space ship birthday cake for months).
This past year, aside from being the now-infamous 2020, brought a lot of personal changes for you. We ditched your pacifier (and thought you were crying about it until we realized, days into it, that you actually had a double ear infection—a first for our family—and once you got on antibiotics, you were totally fine). We tried several times to potty train, unsuccessfully, until this past fall when we gave it another go and it clicked. The first day, you had zero successes, but the next morning, on day two, you woke up and said you needed to pee and that was that. It’s been undies from that moment on.
We moved you from your crib to a twin bed and you are so proud of your upgraded room. We got rid of the crib, the rocking chair, the changing table/dresser, and the diaper pail. I’m slowly swapping out board books for hardcovers. It’s an entire transformation from baby to girl and you are thrilled.
You still occasionally say things that have a hint of toddler language to them, like “lay up” instead of “sit up” and “unhot” instead of “cool.” You calls an easel a “weasel board” and an alarm clock a “relearning clock” and I’m never going to correct you. But overall, your speech is articulate with a heap of big words spread throughout. You are often uncomfortable with silence and you’ll fill it with compliments. For example, you were sitting on the toilet: “Oh, I like those hand towels. They are very nice. And I like that rug too. It’s sooo beautiful. … I like our sink.”
Last Christmas you got a scooter and now you fly around on that thing with so much speed that it’s almost funny to watch. You can nearly keep up your brother. You are itching for a bike and I’m guessing by spring, your legs will be long enough for Henry’s old bike. I’ll have to run a sprint pace to keep up with you both on bikes.
Your hair has grown and, with it, all my lifelong dreams of doing my daughter’s hair have come true. It’s long enough now for french braids and pig tails and top knots, though there are days where you prefer just a simple clip.
You have lots of opinions about your clothes and most days (and nights!), you insist on picking out what you want to wear. From top to bottom, undies to socks, you have a lot of feelings and you don’t appreciate it if someone tries to steer you towards anything other than what you’ve selected, even if it’s not seasonally appropriate. All of this is new territory for me considering I can still lay out clothes for Henry to wear without any fussing from him.
This next fall, much to my complete astonishment (but…how?!), you’ll start preschool. I remind myself of that on days when I’m juggling Henry’s virtual school at home and keeping you out of trouble that very soon, much sooner than I actually would like, there will be a time when neither of you are here during the day.
Speaking of school, with Henry doing school here at home this year, you’ve had to learn how to entertain yourself. I expected it to be more of a problem, but honestly, you adapted quickly. You’re much more self-sufficient than most kids your age and, for that, I’m grateful. Not because I want you to grow up too fast, but because it has helped make the juggle a bit easier. Sometimes I feel badly that you had to learn this so young, but I also realize how much we’ve all had to learn this year, whether we were ready or not.
Year two, my sweet, was not what I had dreamed of because of quarantine and precautions and “the big germs,” but I do think we made the most of it. We spent a lot of time outside on hikes (and “adventures” when the term “hike” became a drag for you guys) and playing at deserted beaches. We went on walks and played in the yard. We chalked and sprinkled and water ballooned. You have a favorite mask (the butterfly one) and are vigilant about wearing it if we are out. (We also play a game called Ducklings if we meet people on hikes so that we all get into a line together.) I’m so proud of both you and your brother this year. I have been astonished at how much you understand and how careful you are, but mostly, I’m so proud of how well you’ve adapted to our current normal.
It is a joy to watch you grow, Perrin. You have a kind heart and love to make people laugh. You are smart and funny and loving. You often spread your arms as wide as you can and then just free fall towards me for an all-encompassing hug. (This is truly my favorite thing right now.) This next year will, I imagine, bring so much more growth and maturity and independence and I am here, front and center, to cheer you on.
I love you, my darling girl. Happy birthday.