Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Monkey

I can't believe my Monkey is four. Somehow, four seems to cross the line into official childhood. She's clearly not a baby, toddler hasn't applied well for a while, and preschooler is too combersome. So what label could apply now other than plain old 'kid'?

How do I have a KID? I'm actually having a hard time with this. I nearly teared up giving her "my last hug as a three-year old" last night. Clearly, she is not struggling with this at all. Full steam ahead, Monkey.

My Monkey is everything. She is all the best, purest parts of me, unblemished by life's ups and downs. I am cowed by the responsibility I have been trusted with in this little person, in who she can become. Someone thinks I won't screw this up? Someone thinks I can do this justice? I sincerely hope I am up to the challenge.

Dear Monkey,

Happy Birthday! I hope you know by now that you are endlessly loved. That just thinking of you makes me smile and swell with pride. That you have endless potential, and that it is Daddy's and my job to make sure any path you want to travel is open to you.

You are strong, and sweet, and full of life. Grammy says you glow, and she's right. You wake every morning and greet the day with happy feist. You are turning into a wonderful friend. You understand the value of taking care with people's feelings, and you are a wonderful big sister to Lion. Do you see how his face lights up when you enter the room? That one laugh from you can make him giggle in his sleep? Keep taking care of that bond and you will have a best friend forever.

As you get ready to turn four, you are in full Princess mode. Your birthday party is going to be outside and not especially girly, but you chose Princess plates, and decorations; mostly because you love Beauty and the Beast. You are my ballerina in training, and you hold lots of ballet (and sometimes tap) classes and performances for us. Often we must dance alongside you. You also love to dress up, and you are developing strong opinions about your clothes. We've had a lot of all-one-color outfit days lately. Monday you wore all blue, including socks, shoes, and bow. You tell us your favorite colors are blue and red, but you added pink to the list this week. While you won't eat meat except as chicken nuggets, you love sushi. My little enigma. You don't know you're little, though. Smallest in your class by far, you regularly tell us you're the biggest.

You are very interested in letters, and you can write your name easily. Your letters are getting neater, and you can make them small now if you want to. You know all of the letters and can figure out the beginning and ending sounds of words. You are starting to sound out and guess at the words you see on paper. You are also starting to turn numbers around in your head, and you will count anything. "Mommy - how many arms are in this car? How many toes are in this car?" You and Daddy started a game taking turns with numbers, and you can get all the way to 100! You are also starting to understand adding and taking away numbers, especially since we've been counting down to your birthday for 23 days now!

You are beautiful, inside and out. People stop us and tell us you're gorgeous, stunning, lovely, and I wish they'd stop. It was fine when you were too little to understand, but that is not what I want you to value about yourself. Please don't pay any attention to them. You are also smart and kind and strong.

You love to give hugs, and we love to get them. At night, we decide on our favorite part of the day, and we do our gratefuls to make sure we remember just how lucky we are. Tonight I will tell you that YOU are my grateful. Truth is, you are my grateful every night, because we are just so, so lucky to have you.

I love you, Monkey.


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