Letter to Camille: Forty-Two Months

TireHello sweet girl, and happy Forty-Two Month birthday! Today you are as close to four as you are to three. How crazy and how cool! This month, we finally shed the baby accessories in your room, transforming your domain into a proper and precious big girl space. You’ve grown so much lately, and it was time your room grew along with you too.

Big Girl Room!Your crib-turned-toddler-bed was replaced by the bunk beds your Daddy slept on as a child. He sanded, primed and painted them white for you, and you couldn’t be more pleased. You love going up and down the ladder and playing on the top bunk.

Top bunkYour room has a nature theme, complete with trees, owls, birds, hedgehogs and squirrels. You got new valances and bedding with matching wall decals. Woodland creatures, flowers, mushrooms and leaves are scattered along the walls of your room.

QuiltWindow Treatment and OwlPeeking HedgehogSquirrelyYou requested a pink owl be placed on the wall beside your pillow. “She keeps me company,” you explained.

Hootie the OwlNot only do I like the look of your new bed – I like the functionality, too. Sometimes when you wake up (at 7, of course), your Daddy or I will come in the room and crawl in bed with you – something we couldn’t do with your toddler bed. Some mornings you’ll even fall back asleep that way and we all enjoy a quick snooze. Other mornings you just want to talk, and I treasure those times too. We were talking and cuddling one recent morning and I finally said, “Ok Camille, are you ready to get up?”

“No,” you said, “let’s cuddle some more.” How nice!

What a fun month we’ve had, visiting family and friends and celebrating Christmas! I think you’ve finally decided that this Santa guy is ok after all. I believe your favorite Santa gift was a pink, white and silver ballerina tutu, adorned with lots of sequins and glitter. You wanted to put it on right away, and kept it on all day. You also got a Hello Kitty bike, complete with streamers (of course) and a baby seat so you can strap in one of your dolls or toys for a ride.

Ballerina on a BikeHere you are on Christmas Day, taking your bike for its maiden voyage. You look so grown up! And you’re concentrating very hard.

Maiden VoyageAnother big hit this year was anything having to do with dinosaurs. Between the grandparents and Santa, you got lots of toy dinosaurs, a dino play set, a dino puzzle, a Tyrannosaurus Sue t-shirt and dino books. I love this picture of you from Christmas morning, lying on a new pillow, snuggling with a Parasaurolophus while wearing your tutu.

A Ballerina and her DinosaurI absolutely love that you are a vision of contrasts – my girly girl who still loves non-girly things. My dinosaur-loving ballerina. My princess construction worker.

Princess Construction WorkerThat last picture was taken during our Christmas travels, when we spent a few nights with the Leonard family. Wow. We all had fun, but I think it was a real adventure for you. The Leonards have four young children and you became fast friends with all of them except the 14-month-old, whom you accused of trying to take your “things.” But once we worked through that, you got along with them quite well. You’d disappear into the playroom and I wouldn’t see you for ages, relying on the sounds of happy playing to know you all were ok and having fun.

The Leonard Kids Plus OnePerhaps the biggest adventure was having a sleepover with the kids. Curtis claimed the top bunk of their bunk bed, and you joined Ansley and Zoe on the air mattress in a sleeping bag. We usually stick strongly to our bedtime routine at home, which involves you being in bed around 8 p.m. But all bets are off when four kids try to sleep in one room. Here’s a pic your Daddy took with his cell phone as we tucked you in. This was also about the time I realized you were not close to being sleepy.

Party Animals!Finally at 10:30, when the giggling and general partying hadn’t tapered off, I couldn’t take it anymore and moved you to a bed in our room. I know, I’m such a party pooper. The next night we tried it again, and you all finally fell asleep around 10. We parents barely outlasted you!

On that trip we also spent a couple of nights with Uncle Jeff, Aunt Michelle, Stella and Baby Jane. It wasn’t that long ago that you would get quite jealous if I held another baby, but you were nothing but loving toward y
our new cousin. When I held her, you wanted to be close so you could see her and kiss her. When I fed her, you wanted to help me burp her on my shoulder.

You also enjoyed playing with Stella, and I think you’ve embraced your role as “big cousin.” We spent one morning at a playground, and you liked to position yourself at the bottom of the slide to catch her.

Catch!The really amusing thing is that you wanted to catch your Daddy too. Silly girl.

I've gotcha Daddy!While in Birmingham, we visited the Science Museum, which was a blast. They have a great dinosaur exhibit, including a paleontologist’s office. Who knows what you’ll want to be when you grow up, but you seemed quite at home here, assembling bones and studying artifacts. Goodness knows you already have a head start on all those dinosaur names. It’s a trip hearing you say things like Zigongosaurus.

PaleontologistTomorrow your Daddy and I have a meeting with the pre-k coordinator at one of our local elementary schools. Can you believe that? I have been a bucket of mixed emotions about this. It’s exciting to watch you usher in this next big phase in your life. But at the same time, it will mark the closure of your current phase, and that’s always hard for us mamas and daddies. We took you to visit the school last week, and my heart was pounding as we walked up the big front steps together. I’ve grown quite fond of your little preschool, with its four rooms and small, friendly staff. This elementary school felt mammoth in comparison.

As we toured a room, I kept thinking, “She’s not ready for this. She’s not ready for this.” After all, we don’t have to enroll you this fall. We could wait another year until kindergarten. But then I realized that maybe I’m the one who doesn’t feel ready. When we first moved you from your daycare to your current preschool, I didn’t know if you were ready. But of course you transitioned perfectly, and soon I realized you were exactly where you needed to be. I hope we will make a good decision about this as well.

Ok sweets, I’m off to bed too. Sleep well my big girl, and know that your Mama loves you more than you could ever imagine.

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