Three Years Of You

Three Years Of You

Dear, sweet Jenna Paige:

Happy third birthday! Or, in your words, happy day of your number turning three! It’s so exciting that you’re an official big girl now!

As I thought about what I wanted to write for this post, I realized the issue wasn’t what to include about you. It was about what I could possibly leave out of your vivacious, big personality. So this might be a long one :)

You don’t do anything halfway. You are committed to your joy, tears, and everything in between. You love to love people, and you love to let them know how they have crossed you. And you have to do everything yourself. I mean, everything. Every. thing. Honestly, that used to frustrate me. But as I watch you become more and more determined to finish a task by yourself, I am so proud of your independence and courage. You will try anything once, and you almost always finish it, too.

Your independence is fierce. You do not back down from an idea or a challenge. You don’t care what people think or what they say. You are always ready to do your own thing and take no prisoners as you do it. This amazing attitude and strong will are going to help you do great things, little girl.

I love the way you crack yourself up with your own jokes. I love the way you play with your princesses, putting them in your little pink castle and giving them all different voices and stories. I love the way you are almost always dressed up as something else: a princess – or, as you say, a Disney “pincess” – Doc McStuffins, or sometimes a creation you thought of on your own. You are always ready to head off on an adventure in your high heel Little Mermaid shoes and your clip-on earrings. Everything about you glitters pretty much everywhere you go.

It’s been so fun to listen to you learn to talk in long sentences and tell me about your day! You love to give me lists of things you’ve seen or done, and you love to tell me all the facts you’ve learned about a new subject. You chatter away about your favorite dolls and your princess bed and your sparkle shoes and your teachers and your friends and church and everything under the sun. I love to hear your little voice. I love that you still haven’t mastered some of your Rs and Ls. I love it when I ask you a question, and you look to your left and your right, put your hands in the air, and say, “I don’t know!”

I love the way you still cuddle with me, and how you’re always willing to give me a kiss or a hug. I love how you are always determined to sleep in my bed, on my pillow, with my blanket. I love how devoted you are to your own special blanket, appropriately named Purple Blanket. I love how you lovingly choose a baby (or two or twelve) to put in bed with you at night, and kiss it good night, and tell it you will take care of it because you’re the mommy.

You are so unique, Jenna. In the same thirty seconds I can see you in a princess dress, twirling around, and also eating dirt. You aren’t afraid of bugs or any of the things that make Mommy scream. You ask us to dance and shake our hands and tell us “Nice to meet you!” You say your Ns as Ms so you tell me that you “meed help” or ask to watch “Finding Memo.” You have the littlest lisps on your Ss and two dimples that I can never resist. You love to choose your outfits, paint your nails, paint MY nails, and decorate your room with drawings (and the occasional stamp).

Jenna, I just love you so much. In one way I am sad that you’re growing up, because I still remember my last little baby and how small you used to be. But I also love each new phase of your tiny little life, and to see you grow and learn every day. Even though you recently announced that you will “never EVER grow,” I know you will. And it will be amazing.

You will grow up to be an incredible, strong, independent, fashion-savvy person. But for now, I can’t wait to see what year three brings us.

I love you, I love you, I love you, my Jenna girl, my Jenna Bear, my Neener, my Jen, my baby girl, my little love, my sweet, precious baby. Happy third birthday!

Love always,

Mommy

How to take a toddler to the pool in just a few, easy steps

How to take a toddler to the pool in just a few, easy steps

1. Tell toddler you will be going to the pool if they finish their lunch.

2. Immediately regret this decision as the toddler now spends the rest of lunch time saying, “Pool? We go pool? Pool now?”

3. Repeat the phrase “After you eat” so many times you’re thinking it would look nice as a tattoo.

4. Threaten toddler with no pool ever again if they do not finish EVERY BITE OF THAT TOAST.

5. Remove toddler from high chair. Throw the toast they didn’t eat in the garbage can. Realize you no longer have principles or resolve.

6. Look for sunscreen. It should be on the shelf. It’s not on the shelf. Maybe it’s in the bathroom. It’s not in the bathroom. Maybe under the couch. Not under the couch.

7. Oh, look – the toddler has it.

8. Try to rub suncreen all over toddler. Mutter things under your breath like, “We are NOT doing this again until Daddy is home to help.”

9. Realize toddler is now covered in fuzz, hair, and crumbs from rolling around on the carpet after being slathered in sunscreen. Decide not to care. The pool is basically like a bath, right?

10. Pick out a swimsuit for the toddler.

11. Pick a different one.

12. Pick a different one.

13. Pick a different one.

14. Put chosen suit on toddler.

15. Repeat step 14 for the next 12 minutes. Wonder how this suit got so impossibly hard to put on since the last time the toddler wore it.

16. Realize the suit is from last year. Pick a different one.

17. After finally dressing the toddler in his swimsuit, gather all accessories: pool float, pool key, extra hat, extra sunglasses, extra sunscreen, extra vodka, extra goldfish, extra towels.

18. Remember you have another child.

19. Put aside guilt in order to slather and dress the other child.

20. Yell for toddler after you realize he has escaped to parts unknown.

21. Swear to toddler you will put him in his crib for the rest of his life if he does not get out of the kitchen RIGHT NOW.

22. Convince toddler to go out to the car. Think about how much you want a nap as you wrangle the toddler, baby, and 473078402 additional items into your car.

23. Tell yourself you are going to stay at the pool for at least an hour. It’s a beautiful day and you are determined to tire these children out for bedtime.

24. Drive to pool. Contemplate driving into the pool.

25. Unload items.

26. Unbuckle toddler and tell him to stay right there as you unbuckle the baby.

27. Watch toddler ignore you as he heads for the pool gate.

28. Grab the baby and crap-ton of stuff and race toddler to the gate. Feel good about winning but then feel bad that you feel good about winning a foot race with a toddler.

29. Walk toddler to pool steps.

30. Convince toddler that this pool is not an agent of Satan sent to destroy all mankind, but is in fact the same pool that he has been asking to go to for the last hour.

31. Insert toddler into pool float against his will.

32. Insert baby into pool float, also against the toddler’s will.

33. Get into the pool and push the floats around, making high-pitched noises intended to convince the toddler that this is fun.

34. Spend seven minutes in the pool avoiding the glances of others noticing your crying child and his terrible mother who forced him into the pool.

35. Give up.

36. Remove toddler and baby from the pool.

37. Dry everyone off. Change toddler’s clothes. Change baby’s clothes.

38. Wrangle toddler, baby, and pool accessories that have somehow increased back into the car. Buckle everyone in.

39. Listen to toddler cry. Ask what’s wrong.

40. Bang head into steering wheel repeatedly upon hearing the answer, “I want pool!!!!”

Repeat as needed.

See? It’s easy.

“I can’t believe you forgot about me. Again.”