Let's start with the statistics. You had your three-year check-up this month and we got a glowing report on your 3 foot, 1 inch, 31 pound self. The doctor said you were in fine health, although we gave that resident a brief moment of concern. Not about your physical health, but concern about our treatment of you. Let me explain.
A resident came in the exam room first to give you a once-over and ask a few questions. He was trying to make small talk with you and asked what you'd been doing this summer. You said, "Playing." He then prodded for a bit more.
"What else have you been doing?" he asked.
You fidgeted, then looked down with a bit of a sigh, and said "Working."
You sounded like some middle-aged workaholic who is burned out on the cubicle life. The resident looked at us questioningly, and once we finished laughing we told him that your Montessori school refers to playtime with toys as "working." Let's make sure he doesn't see this photo of you at our office:
While you're still many years away from a professional career, you have been talking this month about what you want to do when you grow up. One thing is clear, you want to be famous. Here are some of your most recent career prospects, in your own words:
"When I grow up, I will be a famous ballerina and you will be my partner."
"When I grow up, I will be a famous cowgirl and I will ride on a big horse."
"When I grow up, I will be a famous worker and I will hold a hammer in my hand."
"When I grow up, I will be a famous pooper."
Umm... that last one gave me pause, especially because we've experienced some backsliding in your potty training this month. But enough about that.
As for being a famous ballerina, we began chasing that dream this month when you took your very first dance class! You've been asking for dance classes for a while, and the "dance season" is just starting in town so we signed you up for a toddler class, one hour each week. You do ballet, tap, tumbling and baton.
When we arrived for the class I wondered if you would be nervous. I asked you to sit by me while I filled out some paperwork in the hallway before class began, and you burst into tears. You were sobbing so hard, but finally choked out an explanation for your outburst.
"I (sob) WANT (sob) TO (sob) DANCE!"
You were inconsolable, so I finally had to take you outside where some very nice older girls showed you their baton routines until you stopped crying. By then, class had started so I led you back inside to the teacher. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to watch your class, but quickly had my answer when the teacher took your hand, pulled you inside the room and unceremoniously shut the door.
I sat in the parent's waiting area just outside the door with other nervous first-time moms. I'm not ashamed to admit that we took turns kneeling in front of the door, trying to peek through the keyhole to see what was going on. All I could see was legs. And I don't think they were your legs.
Let me just take a moment now and apologize to you for the major faux pas I committed in reference to your first dance class. In my defense, when I called to sign you up I asked if you needed to wear anything particular to class. The nice gentleman told me no, that you could show up in your play clothes. So we did. Only after class did I find out that every other child in class was wearing a leotard, tights, tap shoes and ballet shoes. You, the queen of costumes, was not dressed up, and you were not pleased.
When class was over, the teacher carried you into the waiting room and you were in tears. She said you did well throughout the class, but finally lost it at the very end. She said you continually pointed at the other girls' shoes and said, "I want some of those."
So fast forward to this week. Just before your second class, we went to the dance studio's store to buy all your gear. You are now the official owner of a leotard, tights, ballet slippers, tap shoes, a baton and a pink dance bag. You were thrilled to get your new clothes, but seemed a bit tentative about dance class and and weren't pleased I couldn't stay with you. You were one of the first in class, and I took my place in the waiting area. But as I watched all the other girls come in, I knew your outfit wasn't complete. Nearly all of them were wearing tutus. PINK tutus.
Frantic, I scanned the walls of the dance store and spotted a rack of tutus. I quickly bought one and asked an employee to take it to you. "Tell her it's from her Mama. She'll think it's better than a bouquet of flowers."
The employee came out of the classroom all smiles. When she announced that the tutu was for you, she said you gasped and clasped your hands to your mouth, as if you'd just won the lottery. You beamed when she slipped the tutu on you and said you began doing a very happy dance. She was also nice enough to grab this picture of you with my camera during class.
You came out of class this time walking by yourself, proudly carrying your bag and baton. When you spotted me, you ran over and exclaimed, "Look Mama! Look at my ballet moves!" And proceeded to do a kick. It was glorious.
Another exciting moment this month was your very first haircut! Ever! It's hard to believe your hair existed for three years before ever meeting up with a pair of scissors. I wasn't sure how you'd react to the salon, but I should've known better. Getting a haircut is a fairly girly thing to do, so it was right up your alley. Check out this progression of photos, as you move from unsure to absolutely giddy!
You've also enjoyed frequent games of make-believe, and I love seeing what scenarios you create. One of my favorite games is when you pretend to be the "Fairy Godmother," and apparently your sole purpose is to make me and your Daddy go to sleep. You ask us to lie down, you bring us toys and books and pillows, you bring us a drink of water, even rub our backs and sing songs. "Close your eyes now," you'll say.
The other day, Daddy and I were both supposed to be sleeping when your Daddy started talking. You marched right over and snatched the teddy bear from his arms. "Daddy, be quiet. It's night night time. I'm going to take your bear away."
A taste of our own medicine, perhaps?
You are also quite the drama queen, and the other night your Daddy happened to have the video camera while we were playing in your room. You were dressed as a fairy (as usual), and decided to re-enact your favorite movie, Tinkerbell. So tonight I close with this video, starring my very favorite fairy princess.
Bravo, my sweet. Bravo for your Tinkerbell movie, bravo for your dance class and haircut, bravo for all your fun make-believe games. Bravo for being you. I love you so very, very much.