Hello sweet sleeping girl, and Happy Thirty-Eight Month Birthday – plus one day! I’m sorry I didn’t get to write your letter yesterday, but we were enjoying a wonderful visit with a friend in the mountains – more on that in a bit.
Do you know what I have said to myself so many times this month? “I love age three!” Of course I have loved all your various ages for different reasons, but one of my favorite things about your current stage is how easily I can BLOW YOUR MIND. I absolutely love giving you some exciting tidbit of information and watching your fireworks.
For example, we ordered your first sleeping bag the other day. I pulled up several options online and let you choose your favorite (which to my surprise was the green one instead of the pink one). Two days later, we came home from work/school to find a cardboard box on our front porch. You spotted it quickly and said, “What is it? Is it for me?” And when we told you it was probably your new sleeping bag, you’d have thought we handed you some grand prize. “MY GREEN SLEEPING BAG!” There were gasps, squeals, sprints and a near-constant urging to “Open it! Open it! Openitopenitopenit!”
Just two days prior, you didn’t really know what a sleeping bag was. But to watch you open your new sleeping bag, it would be easy to believe you’d wanted one all your life.
Knowing what a thrill it is to watch you react to fun news or new experiences, I have been positively giddy about an adventure your Daddy and I are beginning to plan. Next month we are taking you on your first camping trip (hence the sleeping bag purchase). You seem pretty excited when we talk about it, but I think the real joy will come from experiencing all these firsts with you. I’ve wanted to take you camping for a while, but I’ve been nervous about how you will (or won’t) sleep in a tent and whether or not you’d get bored hanging out in a campground all day.
We made reservations at a campground that has lots of activities for kids, so I’ve been feeling much less anxious about the boredom issue. But this weekend, you made those anxieties dissipate completely on our trip to visit Mr. Glen at his home in the north Georgia mountains. Saturday morning we announced we were going on a hike. “What’s a hike?” you asked.
“It’s a walk in the woods,” I told you.
“Oooooh! I’m so excited!” you exclaimed. And you were. Despite a slight drizzle, you could hardly contain your joy as we wound our way through the woods along a creek, admiring the leaves and talking about wildlife. You practically skipped along the path, singing one of the tunes you learned at school called, “We’re going on a bear hunt!” Now I absolutely cannot wait to take you camping. I’m not naive enough to think just because you liked one hike you’ll like everything about our upcoming camping experience. For all I know two nights in the woods may drive us all insane. But I’m really looking forward to watching you discover the potential delights of camping (s’mores, anyone?), and sharing those experience with you and your Daddy.
I also know that one day it will take more than a new sleeping bag or a walk in the woods to elicit in you such a sense of pure wonder and joy, so I’m soaking all this up now.
This month you got to spend some more time with your cousin Stella – and I know I say this every time, but it was so fun to see how much more you two enjoy each other as you get older.
We all met at Nana and Granddaddy’s house for a weekend. I wondered if you’d be territorial about the toys since you usually have them to yourself, but you did a great job of sharing with your cousin. But do you know what your favorite thing was? Chasing each other in circles around the house. One of you would take off, and the other was quick to follow with shrieks of glee. You’d run and run a circuit until you couldn’t run anymore, and you both were so fun to watch.
You experienced another first that weekend in Tennessee – your first real boat ride.
Some of Nana and Granddaddy’s friends were nice enough to take us out on their pontoon boat, and you loved it! You even got to drive the boat!
This month your independence seems to be growing, as well as your focus. One of your favorite solo activities right now is a puzzle. You got a big floor puzzle for your birthday, and we helped you put it together a few times. But now, you don’t need or want our help, and you seem to love the feeling of accomplishment you get from putting all the pieces together on your own. And I feel very proud watching you.
One of your other favorite activities is playing with your bunny house. It’s a cute little dollhouse full of teeny-tiny furniture, and currently occupied by a family of bunnies (although you generally prefer taking everything out of the dollhouse so you can spread it out on the floor). As I’ve mentioned before, I had something similar as a child and still have fond memories of playing with my woodland animals. It looks like you are creating some similar memories now too.
I think another thing that makes your current age/stage so special is that, although I see signs of budding independence, you are also still small enough and willing enough to curl up in my lap and snuggle. The other day we were playing in your room and I asked you if I could have some cuddles. You stopped what you were doing, wrapped your arms around my neck and stayed that way for a long time.
Sitting there, holding you, my arms felt almost tingly. I tried to decide what that feeling was, what name I could give it. The only name that made sense was love. Love from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes. The kind of love that makes a hug feel like magic. Thank you for being so generous with your love. I love you, my sweet girl.