Letter to Camille: Happy 3rd Birthday!

Three Years OldHello birthday princess! Can it be? Are you really three? It is hard for me to believe that in just three years you can change so much from a tiny, helpless baby into this beautiful, loving, vibrant and happy girl. GIRL! I definitely can’t call you a baby any more (although I’m sure I still will). I mean, you’re now old enough that even the toy manufacturers generally agree you can be trusted with small toys and other heretofore forbidden objects. Now “ages 3 and up” applies to you too, my big girl!

My fairyAnd what big girl things you’ve been doing lately! I’m very proud to say you are now … (do you hear the drum roll?) using the potty and done with diapers! Your school was closed for a week around July 4th, and since we weren’t traveling and had extra time at home, we decided to ditch the diapers and see what might happen. And you did so well! This was just the most recent in a list of huge transitions that have all taken place in the last few months – moving from a crib to a big-girl bed, giving up your pacifiers and now potty training too. And you’ve handled it all just beautifully.

Lollipop GirlDo you know one of the things I’ve enjoyed so much lately? Hearing you talk. And talk and talk. When you really get going, I can barely brush your teeth because you just can’t pause long enough for that kind of interruption. And I love this verbal insight into the workings of your mind. The other day Daddy asked you a timeless joke, and you gave it a new, rather practical twist.

Daddy: “Camille, why did the chicken cross the road?”

You: “Because it was ridiculous.”

I see your point.

A few mornings ago you finished brushing your teeth, handed me your toothbrush and declared, “Now my teeth are literally clean.”

Literally? I suppose they were, although I didn’t realize literally was part of your vocabulary. There are some other words you say from time to time that I don’t understand, but interpretation is becoming quite easy because they all mean basically the same thing. Earlier, out of nowhere you said, “Candle crackers.”

“Candle crackers?” I replied. “What does that mean?”

“It means, ‘Mommy, hello!'” you brightly declared.

Now, nearly any time you say a nonsense word and I ask for the definition, it’s either “Mommy, hello!” or “Daddy, hello!”

RadianceQuite often, we also see a reflection of ourselves when you talk. The other day you picked up your toy phone and announced you were calling Uncle Dave. You had quite a lengthy conversation, but it mostly consisted of the phrase, “So, anyway…” I started paying attention, and sure enough, I say that a lot.

So anyway…

You’ve had a very big birthday weekend, with a party at home on Saturday, a party at church on Sunday, lots of visiting friends and relatives, and then a party at school tomorrow. I’m afraid Tuesday may be a disappointment to you when you realize we’re not having yet another party.

Saturday we let you open a few gifts early, and you loved the new princess outfit Aunt Linda got you. You wanted to wear your new “party dress,” and looked adorable in your pink satin and tulle, some pink high heels (you walk in heels better than I do) and a festive birthday crown.

A Birthday PrincessYou’d asked for an Abby Cadabby-themed birthday party and an Abby-Cadabby cake. I enjoy making your birthday cakes myself, and was determined to decorate your cake using fondant to make the shapes for Abby Cadabby’s face. I’d never used fondant before and to be honest, I was a little nervous about how it all might turn out. I stayed up very late Friday night and into Saturday morning working on it, the whole time just hoping you’d at least be able to tell it was Abby Cadabby on your cake.

Abby Cadabby CakeWhen it was almost party time on Saturday, I uncovered the cake and you gasped, putting a hand over your mouth as you just stared at it. I knew the cake wasn’t perfect, but at that moment, watching the happiness spread across your face, all the hard work was absolutely worth it.

A birthday smileAs your friends arrived for the party, you greeted them at the door like a perfect princess host, welcoming them to your castle. After the cake we moved the festivities to the backyard where you and your buddies splashed around in the pools and sprinklers. Here’s a video recap of your fun day.

Saturday night at bed-time, we sat in your rocking chair like we always do, talking about the day. Our night time routine is something I treasure so much. We read a book, sing a song, and sometimes linger in that chair for a while chatting or just cuddling. You love giving and receiving butterfly kisses, or just holding my hand while we talk. And Saturday, I asked you if you had fun at your Abby Cadabby party. “Yes,” you said, “And Mama, you did a great job on my cake.”

I just couldn’t say anything for a minute. No one told you to say that. No one was talking about your cake at that moment. You just thought of it yourself and wanted to say thank you. I was speechless, not just because you liked your cake, but because I was overwhelmed by what a sweet and loving child you are. You are quick to tell me you love me, to throw your arms around my neck, to show your affection and gratitude.

That windblown lookWe have a little running joke. Sometimes when I give you a kiss, I’ll pretend it turns into nibbles. “No Mama!” you say with a note of indignance. “I’m not food!”

“But you’re so sweet!” I’ll rationalize. And it’s true. Sometimes you’re so incredibly sweet I think I might actually take a bite one day.

Big smileThree years ago I loved you, and I didn’t even know you. But over these last three years, as I’ve learned more about the kind of person you are, I feel so incredibly blessed. I am smitten with you, and so happy to share this life together. I love you very much, my birthday princess.

The Princess' Family

2 Comments on “Letter to Camille: Happy 3rd Birthday!

  1. I think I saw your sweet family at the Dawg House on Wilmington Island on Sunday evening….we (my husband, son and I)were in Savannah for the Special Olympics State Bowling tournament and were spending our last evening with my cousin, and eating at the there. Was it really y’all?

  2. Yes, we were there – Camille loves that place! She likes all the Uga pictures and statues, and we’re trying to indoctrinate her into Georgia fandom at a young age. Hope you had a great trip!

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