Happy birthday, sweets.
Time keeps slipping by and you keep getting older and I keep being shocked how quickly another birthday comes around. As cliche as it is, it really does seem like just moments ago that you were placed in my arms, all fresh and tiny and feisty. And here we are on your birthday having had the privilege of four whole years of loving you.
You are funny and witty; always cracking jokes and laughing at them yourself, even when they don’t make any sense (“Why did the fish go to fish school? Because it was raining fish!”). You are tender and kind; often playing with your stuffed animals as your babies, always giving hugs and kisses, and often saying randomly throughout the day, “Mama, I love you.” You are competitive and quick; mad when your brother beats you and not yet understanding how the playing field is currently not fair, but it will level out in the future. You easily get your feelings hurt, but also easily forgive and move on.
Your favorite store continues to be Target, especially if we stop at Starbucks for a treat. You are always thrilled to get your own coffee cup filled with water.
You are a pretty picky eater, but I am learning what the core of your dislikes are, which has made it a little easier to manage. You prefer a semi-vegetarian diet, with the exception of chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and hotdogs. Beef, pork, and other forms of chicken or fish are pretty much a miss. The biggest miss, however, is your dislike of pasta sauce. This rules out so many easy family dinners like spaghetti and pizza. I have discovered you’ll eat pasta plain or with Alfredo or cream sauce so that is my workaround for some meals. Of course, if given the choice, you would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all day every day. Now, on the flip side, you love fruit and a good amount of vegetables so I’ll happily skip the meat and give you something even healthier!
You started preschool this past fall, just two mornings a week, and the transition was really hard. There were many, many mornings of tears; not screaming tantrum, but just quiet, sad tears (which are 100% worse!). Your teacher said that one day during story time, she noticed you were just sitting there, listening and silently crying. None of this is a huge surprise. You had just turned two when the pandemic hit and everything shut down. Your brother became your only playmate and friend. We stuck together—our family of four—and so suddenly being in a place without any of the us was hard on your heart. It has taken several months, but you are coming out of your shell a little now and that’s really good to see.
You started your first ballet class this past year and loved it! You were incredibly shy and quiet during class, but always came home overflowing with dance moves and songs. When ballet ended, we got you into gymnastics. I don’t think you could pick a favorite between the two because you love them both! You are an incredibly good rule-follower in class and often get annoyed when others cause trouble or don’t follow all the rules. Gymnastics class is never long enough according to you.
Similarly, you take swim lessons and love being in the water. You are still working on your swimming itself, but you’ve become very comfortable doing back floats, even jumping into the deep end of the pool, surfacing, and flipping to your back to float. You are strong enough to pull yourself out of the pool and are getting more and more comfortable with your face in the water and trusting your strokes and kicks to propel you.
I pulled out all my Barbies this past summer and you and Henry played endlessly with them. You got your very first Barbie sets for Christmas this year (three different sets!) and, while I am scrambling trying to figure out how to keep them all organized, you mix and match Barbies with Legos with Magnatiles and create your own imaginative reality. I love seeing how you and Henry create things and am learning to stay back and let you play outside the “rules” that I self-imposed as a kid, like not mixing various kinds of toys. Barbie stuff could only be with other Barbie stuff, Legos could only be with Legos, etc. I fondly remember my childhood and the imagination I had, but now I understand that my own limited ideas of what could mix and match capped off some of my ability for creative play. I was organized and structured and you are not. Bless.
I keep a running journal of funny things you say and I constantly giggle looking back through some of your quotes…
Perrin: I like the color I picked because I picked the color I like.
Perrin: Mom, I love you.
Me: I love you too.
P: I love you andddd can I have a snack?
Perrin: Mama, I know how to fix my own problems.
Perrin, upon seeing me pull out a huge jug of bubble solution: That’s the spirit!!!
Perrin: I ate some salt and I thought, mmmmm, this is really delicious!
P: Is your nose big enough to fit your finger in it?
Perrin: I am making everyone fresh lemonade because I am a queen.
Perrin: Say my name.
P: That is a great name. It is the best name I have ever had.
Perrin: We should eat chocolate every day just to make sure we still like it.
Me: That means we are going to have to call the clean up crew.
Perrin, at bedtime: It is not time for sleeping. It is time for asking questions!
Kevin: How big was it?
Perrin: It was 4 pounds tall!!
Perrin: This sandwich is so flasty.
Me: What does flasty mean?
P: It means good in Spanish.
Perrin: You’re my favorite mama. We will be best friends forever.
Perrin: Mama, is it very, very difficult to control two children?
Henry, playing hotel manager: Okay, you’re checking in? What’s your name?
Perrin: My name is Perrin Princess Lorae Crall.
Perrin: I like being three.
Me: What will you do when you’re four?
Perrin, after a pause: I’ll try to touch the sky!
So now you’re four. Touch the sky, my sweet. I have no doubt you’ll blow us all away.
I love you.