On this, her third birthday, instead of writing her a letter, I'll simply jot a list to record this moment in time. This moment of her life that is moving and changing so quickly. This moment immediately preceding a time when a potentially fearsome Dragon may rear it's nasty, 3-year old head. It's okay, she's my third. I know what's coming.
Here are 33 of my favorite things about my favorite just-barely-a-3-year old:
1. Her hair. I love that she has such opinions about how she wants me to style it. Most days she wants it "low in a pony." Other days she'll want a head band or a barrette. My favorite days, of course, are the ones she requests either "Elsa" or "Anna" braids (1 or 2, respectively).
2. Her eyes. They sparkle. They are deep, denim blue. She stares into my eyes, inches from my face, her hands on my cheeks. She opens her eyes wide or squints one eye to make a Pirate Face. She rolls her eyes like a tiny, adorable tween-wannabe. She furrows her brow and cocks her head to one side as she asks a million times a day, "But why?"
3. Her laugh. From her adorable little tickle giggle to her full-on belly laugh to her totally fake "innit dat so funny, guys?" laugh at her own jokes...she kills me with her laughter. I'm a lucky mama to be able to hear it every day.
5. She calls anything small "little teeny tiny."
6. She sighs and says, "Never mind" at completely inappropriate times, like if I say, "Molly, it's time to brush your teeth."
7. ...and then, if I say, "I do mind, come on in and brush," she'll dramatically drop her arms and say "Rhine!" which is how she pronounces "Fine."
8. I love that when Molly sees a baby, she smiles sweetly and says something like, "Oh, hi, cutie baby!" before running away shrieking, "Ah! That baby's going to touch my stuff!" Like I said, she was born to be the Baby.
9. But her love for her Baby Dolls is unwavering.
11. She knows exactly what shoes she wants to go with each outfit. They are rarely sensible, as she tends to choose glittery, sparkly, strappy sandals or shiny "clippy cloppy" shoes or her red cowgirl boots. If she's going for a hike or to play on the playground and you want her to choose sneakers, make sure you call them her "super cute, super fast, super green sneakers" and she'll allow it...but just this once.
...but, oh, those boots...
12. She's so ladylike that, now that she Uses The Potty, she insists on going to the bathroom even when she just needs to pass gas. She says, "Mommy! Potty! But I jus' need to fawty fawt." And I die every time.
13. Like every other kid her age, she loves Band-Aids. She calls them "Bayn Ayns" and they must have princesses on them thankyouverymuch.
14. When sitting on the couch to read or watch a show, she needs to be on a lap or sitting so close she's touching the person next to her. She does not sit alone.
15. Her sense of humor. This kid is funny. On purpose. She's wacky, and goofy, and clever...although she not above falling back on the old stand-by potty humor for a cheap laugh from her brothers. (Um, and me and Sam.)
16. She still climbs into our bed every night.
17. From very early on, Molly had exceptional fine motor skills. I love to watch her manipulate tiny pieces, color so carefully, place stickers so precisely. She loves Small Things...or, as she would say, "Little teeny tiny things."
18. She's a vegetarian. Actually, aside from the fact that I bake with eggs and she'll eat a piece of pizza occasionally, she's vegan. Other than the one bite of a chicken nugget she accidentally ate about a year and a half ago, she's never eaten meat in her life and she doesn't drink cow's milk. Thank god Evan's nut allergies are not contact reactive...she lives on cashews, peanut butter sandwiches, almond milk, and fruit. She's my little teeny tiny baby bird.
19. "Hol' me, Mommy?" a hundred times a day. Yes, please, Baby.
20. After reading a book together at nap time, I lay with her as she falls asleep. Sometimes she wraps her hand around my neck and twirls my hair, our noses touching...
21. ...other times she turns away from me, as if I'm not there, soothing herself to sleep by singing quietly to herself...
22. ...but she doesn't sing lullabies. The other day, it was Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off." Before that it was "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction. She's into pop.
23. Molly has never spent a day of her life in school, but man, is she ready. When we walk into the preschool to drop Max off in the mornings, Molly takes off her coat and makes herself at home. I'm sure there will be some separation anxiety at the beginning of the school year next fall, but I'll be able to handle that knowing just how much she's going to Thrive there.
24. She's a great helper in the kitchen. I mean, really great...like the best kind of toddler helper. She's not the kind of kid who wants to "help" and ends up spilling a five-pound bag of flour all over your pantry or splattering batter all over the kitchen. When Molly "helps," she watches while I do the messy things. ("You do the eggs, Mommy. They're so yuck. And the sugar. It spills all over the place. You do all it, Mommy. I don' want my clothes to get so dirty.") Then she, maybe, sprinkles some chocolate chips on top of the muffin batter. Or not. Maybe she'll be the taste tester. Or not. Really, she just wants to stand there, hanging out, chatting, letting me do what must be done.
25. She calls cantaloupes "cantamelons" and carousels/merry-go-rounds "merrosels."
26. She has dance moves like Elaine from Seinfeld.
27. She has such a Big, Loving heart. Her brothers push her buttons, as big brothers are wont to do, and she inevitably ends up yelling at them to "Dop it, E'an! Dop it, Mats!" She'll stomp away, often towards me, so she can tell me all about the injustices of being the Little Sister. She'll take a hug, allow me to wipe a tear, then she'll drop her shoulders and look at the floor. She'll walk back to her brother, the one who (it's true, though I say it doesn't matter) started it. "I sorry for yelling at you, E'an," or "I sorry for pushing you, Mats," she'll offer, which usually then elicits a half-hearted apology in response. She'll smile big and hold out her arms, "Huggie?" she'll suggest. Heart of Gold.
28. She is an absolute Book Lover.
29. She can raise her voice, and hell, when she feels like she's not being heard. She Will be heard. Oh, yes. My little Dragon Lady will Roar. And I'm thankful for that.
30. She will play any game, at any time, with her brothers. From Lalaloopsies to Lego to Attack of the Zombie Pig-Men from Mars, Molly wants in on the action.
31. She gives great, tight, arms-around-the-neck hugs...
32. ...then she pulls back, puts her hands on my cheeks, kisses me on the lips, and says, "I love you too tight, Mommy."
33. I love the way that, through the very act of Being Born, Molly filled up my heart and our family. She completes us.
And that doesn't even scratch the surface. I love everything, Every Thing, about you, sweet Molly. Happy, happy Birthday. Be nice to mama, this year, okay? I know three is hard. But we can do this. You can do this. [smooch]
Here's a little photo montage of Molly's year. Stay tuned until the end to check out some of those Elaine moves for yourself: