No longer a little baby. There is really no trace of it anymore. Maybe the fact that you are still clinging to your binky, or wearing a Pull-Up overnight will give me a fleeting, backwards glimpse, but for the most part, there is no baby left in you – only a spry, young girl. A big girl.
This year has flown by. Even with all the harder moments of the “terrible twos”, it seemed to go by quickly. While your personality has always been pretty evident, even at a week old, it’s fun to see it magnified as the months and years go on. And while the physical changes are not as evident as they were the first or second year, with the exception of your taller, leaner legs and longer hair, your emotional changes and newfound abilities continue to fascinate me every day.
You’re funnier, smarter and to my disadvantage, more stubborn. You are figuring us out a little bit more, planning things to get your way. You’re a creature of habit. You have the do the same things over and over again, the same way until we have to break you of it. You thrive off of your routine, which can be a blessing and a curse.
This was a year of big-time firsts for you: first time sleeping in a big girl bed, first time using the potty and more. And while we struggled with some (sleep) others were surprisingly easy for you (potty training). I always wondered how I would “teach” someone to use the potty and other random things I never thought I would have to do. But come to find out, kids are a lot more intuitive than we give them credit for.
As the months go on, you are becoming more aware that you are not a baby anymore. Your school had told us that you love to help out the younger kids in your class. You like to comfort other kids when they are upset and you are enjoying your role as one of the “big girls” in the class. I notice it at home too: the way you play with your baby dolls, the way you ask me if I’m ok when I’m coughing, the way you always asked me how my tummy was feeling when I was sick for 8 weeks during this pregnancy. You can be a stubborn goat at times, but you really are a sweet, caring soul - even though you love to act tough. You can’t fool me.
One of the best things about the past year has been your newfound verbal skills. You say things every day that leave me wondering where you may have heard it for the first time. I know I should be writing down all the things you say, and I wish I could, but honestly, I can’t keep up with you. You talk constantly and every other thing you say cracks me up. Being three years old may make you a huge pain in the butt, but right now, you are also one of the funniest people I know. And the good thing is, I don’t think it’s an accident. I mean, some of it is. But you honestly say things to try to be funny. Even your teachers have mentioned it. This, for some strange reason, makes me extremely proud. As long as you can keep your sense of humor in life, you’re going to go far.
One of the most satisfying moments for me as a parent is the split second after you say something funny or sensitive for the first time. Your dad and I will lock eyes from across the room and exchange a quick smirk. Those are the moments I live for. That look we exchange that says, “Did you hear what she just said?” We can’t say it out loud of course, because it would just feed into your goofball ego and spiral out of control. But it’s a moment that happens often these days and every time, it creates that moment of realization: this is what it’s all about. These are the memories.
Of course, we also exchange similar glances when you are screaming and throwing a fit, but instead of cute smirks, we exchange rolling eyeballs and sighs. That’s a different story.
You pronounce the Philly Phanatic, “Phiwwy Phanatalick” and flamingo, “flamingalo”. You ask lots of questions and when I answer them you always say, “Oh, I see what you’re talking about.” If I complain about something or stub my toe or drop my phone, you always respond with, “Awww, it’s ok, Mommy.” Even if I’m not really upset.
Your likes and dislikes change almost every day. I can’t keep up with the foods you will or won’t eat, the songs you will or won’t sing or the books you insist on reading or don’t want anything to do with. And don’t get me started with your clothes. I can only imagine how much fun you will be to dress when you are 13.
But at this moment, there are a few things you continually enjoy: Hello Kitty, Little Einsteins, Minnie Mouse, Cinderella, purple, dress up clothes, 24 piece puzzles, pasta, cereal, anything chocolate, stickers, your binky, singing Jingle Bells in the car, dancing, and of course, your baby dolls. Especially, your favorite: "Baby", who you sleep with every night and carry around everywhere you go.
You still insist I sing “The Other Song” to you every night before falling asleep. “The Other Song” is “I Will” by the Beatles, but for some reason, you don’t call it that. After I sing it 5-6 times, you ask for “The Bird Song” (Till There Was You) which I usually sing once, before dusting you with “dream dust” (so you can dream about “Hello Kitty, unicorns, kitty cats and sparkles” - your words) and kissing you goodnight.
The past few weeks, you are finally getting a little better at staying in bed at night after the lights go out and once you are out, you are out all night. Our biggest struggle now is getting you out of bed in the mornings. We have to drag your limp body out of bed every morning at 7am. You sleep in like a 15 year old boy.
You are finally getting better at brushing your teeth, one of our biggest fights. You are pretty good at putting your shoes and coat away when we walk in the door from school. You say “Thank You” on your own free will about 85% of the time, and “Please” about 50% of the time.
You go through “Daddy phases” often, usually for about a week or two at a time. And while it does make me a little sad when it’s happening, you always come back around. This morning while I was in the shower, you screamed cried and howled for Mama until you finally ran in the bathroom and tore the shower curtain back. You haven’t asked for mommy in a long time. And I would lie to say I didn’t secretly love it a little bit.
You’re full of hugs but aren’t a big kisser. You’re curious but don’t like getting into things as much as you prefer to ask a lot of seemingly mature questions. You’re still an observer, but aren’t afraid to jump into something, especially when it involves all your favorite friends - Evie, Mia, Nori, Maddie, Lily, Finn and Landon. You love watching and learning from your older friends and you love teaching and guiding (that’s a fancy way of saying “bossing”) your younger buddies. And because of that, you constantly tell me how excited you are for “our baby” to come out. I know people often say this, but truly believe you are going to be an amazing big sister. I think you were made for the job.
You’ve already broken and mended our hearts a million times over in the past three years. I know there is more to come and I can’t wait for it. All of it, the good, the bad and the ugly.
I love you, Quinn. No matter how many birthdays you manage to sneak in, or who else comes along, you will always be our baby girl.