Sunday, August 30, 2015

Big Week for a Big Kid

I'd say it's been a pretty big week for Kiddo.

Which Kiddo, by the way, is the most recent nickname for our Miss Beans, formerly known as Chunkin. It's funny how kids naturally outgrow certain nicknames, and sad all at the same time.

Lyla turned three, had a birthday party with her little friends and started preschool all within a week. I'm not quite sure how all of that happened. But it sure happened quickly, and life has been pulling in so many directions, I haven't really digested all of this growing up just yet.

Yet, alas. Here we are. With a three year old preschooler.

I've heard over and over to watch out for the year of the threenager. But quite honestly, I really like three so far. It can't be that much harder than two. It just can't. Ly has never really been "easily adaptable", and there were a lot of life changes that took her nearly a year of adjusting. And this adjustment period was complete with a lot of tears, public tantrums and melt-downs (both Lyla and myself).

Needless to say, we've noticed a huge change in Ly recently. She has really matured, gained confidence, developed stronger coping skills and is learning to better adapt to new situations. Case in point : At last year's birthday party, Ly cried opening every present and through the entire happy birthday song. This year, she only cried once, and it's because she had her first potty accident in over 6 months - she was having too much fun to go inside!

Or last year when she started Kids Day Out, the teachers didn't think she knew how to talk for the first few months. Until one day she was finally comfortable and started speaking like an adult in full sentences. This year, she couldn't wait to start school and talked about "Big Kid School" for weeks. At Meet the Teacher Night, when her teacher asked her name, she put her hand on her chest and confidently said "My name is Wywa."

As a mom, it makes me teary and so proud to see her confidence grow!

And it was so much fun celebrating her birthday this year. She'd been talking about August 19th for so long, so we made sure the day lived up to her excitement. First on the agenda was to wake her with balloons and streamers, a breakfast picnic of eggs and chocolate chip pancakes and opening presents!

And to burn off that breakfast energy, the birthday princess took a ride in her birthday chariot. 

Her best little buddy Callaway came over for lunch, followed by a big kid nap and lots of post-nap mother-daughter(s) birthday fun. We got some birthday "coffee", got fitted for dance shoes and leotards, visited a local book store and met dad for dinner.

And then we finally went home for cake. Which is all she talked about all month long. "I'll be fwee on August 19th, and I'll get cake."

And then we celebrated some more a few days later with her Backyard Splash Bash birthday party. We have never seen Ly so excited, so confident and so in her element. She talked about her friends coming over all day and couldn't wait to go outside to splash about. Her favorite part of the day though was probably her big 3 balloon, in fact, she's still talking about it. "Moooommm. I want to watch a movie/take a nap/eat lunch with my big fwee." Oh, and her strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from Brown Sugar Bakery.

Oh. But the fun was just getting started. Because then, we started preschool 4 days later.

Which, once again. Ly blew us away with the confidence. We talked a lot about preschool leading up to the first day, trying to prep her as we know how she tends to handle new situations. But she woke that morning and said, "I'm ready for preschool today! I'm going to meet new friends" and there was no whining, no struggle to put on clothes and no tears!

We got to school, she actually wanted to hold our hands and was excited to have Addie along for the ride to show her big kid school. It was so comforting and reassuring to see her in her element - happy to be at school, and proud to march into her classroom, hang her backpack and wash her hands.

We all got hugs and kisses from our new preschooler, and she even *happily* let us take pictures.

It was such a memorable day, and my mom-heart is exploding with joy and anticipation for the year ahead.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday, Lyla Beans!

Dear Lyla,

I have so many thoughts on the eve of your third birthday.

I guess I'll start by saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Sweet Girl! We've heard, "I'll be fwee on August 19th" for the last six months, and that day is finally here.

Three years, and I can still remember every vivid detail of your birth day. The moment you were first placed on my chest, the way I stayed up all night that first night putting my finger under your nostrils to make sure you were still breathing, the comfort I felt as I cradled you in my arms, how proud I was to be your mom.

This is why I adore birthdays. I love the thought of celebrating everything about you, and I love reflecting on the year.

This past year in our house can most accurately be described as, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. There was laughing and joy and exploring and moments so sweet I nearly melted into a mommy puddle of mush. But there were just as many tears, melt-downs, time-outs and power-struggles. Who knew such a tiny human could elicit such strong feelings of anger? Luckily those feelings are fleeting (for both of us), but I guess that's why they call it the terrible twos (now is not the time to tell me the year of the threenager is worse).

To be fair, this was also the year of change. We started potty training the week you turned two, (WHAT WERE WE THINKING), brought home a new baby, and mom started a business. It took most of the year for you to adjust to potty training, and some days, I think you're still adjusting to your sister. You love her more than anything in the world, but you don't love change (or sharing).

Both good days and bad, I love everything about you. From your physical features - like your pudgy toes to your protruding belly (that gets smaller by the day and makes me sad) to your amazing curly hair that you get compliments on everywhere we go. And I love seeing your personality develop, still resembling the same characteristics from when you were a baby - cautious, thoughtful, playful, sensitive and very independent. You've never been much of a cuddler, but some days, you act out until I finally figure out that you just need to be held. I love those moments. And every night you demand (we're working on this) "snuggle me, mom/dad." The day those requests end is the day my mommy heart will shrivel up.

I do not want to forget who you are on your third birthday. You are such a delight and our pride and joy!

- You are just like your dad in so many ways. You are a processor and I can see the wheels turning, as you take time to really think about things. Like upon the mention of any of your little friends, you like to talk about their moms and dads. Or anything Addie does, you point to yourself and say "I did that when I was a baby?" Or how you always want to know if our activity for the day will be before or after your nap - "I'm going to swimming after my nap, mom?" It's your point of reference for everything. Well, nap and lunch of course.

- Also like your dad, you love to have a good time. But you have your limits and hit a point when you immediately need some alone time to recharge. This is something that taken me three years to finally figure out, and I always want to respect this need. You like to explore new places but prefer to be a homebody who enjoys reading and quiet time. And you are sure to tell me (usually after a weekend full of activities), "I'm feeling grumpy today, Mom. Everybody gets grumpy sometimes."

- I love how you say "Wywa" and "Adawine", "Hickory Ickory Dock", "skeeto bite" and "Addie say umph *mimicking her grunting noises*.

- You are very particular with everything. The way you color, the way you eat and even how you play with your toys - it's so methodical. You do not like anything out of place. You can't stand sand on your feet, anything in your shoe, or water on your clothes. You notice if a piece of fuzz is sticking out of the carpet or if a blanket has a snag. Those things drives you crazy.

- You have become quite the negotiator. With everything. "No mom. I want 3 more grapes. No, I want 2 more stories. No, I want 5 more minutes of snuggle time."

- Two has been so fun because you get excited about the smallest things : You jump up and down and squeal to watch the TRASH TRUCK every Thursday. You light up when you get new socks/underwear/cup (anything new) and talk about it for the rest of the day. Or like, when Dad and I decided to take you and Addie to KC for the night just to get away, you found everything amazing : the hotel bed, the indoor swimming pool, the elevator. That was a parent win for sure.

- Your grandparents are everything to you. And the feeling is most definitely mutual. You love to pray for your Grams and Papa and GiGi and Bots. And you like to tell me, "I'm my Bots' Lyla."

- You constantly blow my mind with the things you remember. Like the other day when dad was wearing his argyle socks and you told him, "Dad, you got your new socks from Uncle Zac's wedding." (which was six months ago). Or how every time we go to the zoo and the hippos blow water out of their noses and you say, "The hippos get the bees out" because of the time months ago when Grams and Papa took you, and there were bees flying around. Or how you say things like, "where'd my little back owie go? Is it in the trash? Or in the sky with my balloon? (in reference to a balloon that flew away almost a year ago now). It's absolutely amazing (and slightly terrifying) the things you remember, kid.

- You LOVE food. This is both a good and bad thing. Good because you will eat absolutely anything. Well, anything except pizza. (I know, what kid doesn't like pizza?) Bad because food is the cause of all fights/tantrums/melt-downs. You don't have an off-switch and make yourself sick if we don't stop you. Which you do not appreciate.

- You are so innocent and sweet, and I want to preserve that as long as possible. You say things like, "I feel sad today, Mom" (usually because I won't give you cookies or something) or "Mom, will you fix my balloon? It doesn't feel very good (when the helium came out). And I often find you helping Addie when she can't reach something or "nursing" your babies or rocking your Teddy Berry and saying "shh-shh-shh" like I did with Addie when she was a newbie.

- You absolutely love all things girl right now. Like putting on my makeup, trying on my shoes and dressing up in play clothes. But, I absolutely love that you also play with trucks and trains and tools. And you love playing with all your little boy friends.

- One of the things your dad and I have noticed over anything else this year is your newfound confidence. You've never been much of a risk-taker (it's quite alright, neither is your mom) and are definitely not the first to try something new. But since we started swim class last winter, you have all kinds of confidence and love to tell us all about "stream line" and "I go back to the wall!" The first time I saw you confidently jump in the water, roll to your back and swim to the wall - my eyes welled up with tears. I was so proud and you had no fear! Swimming has helped you grow up and face your fears. (So much, in fact, that you try to jump in the water without floaties and without mom and dad present).

Oh my sweet Lyla Girl. What a wonderful year it has been. I feel a bit weepy as this year has gone so fast. And I presume the years will only continue to go faster. That's life, I suppose. But, I am so thankful to be home with you and spending quality time with you every day! I have completely and finally found my place and my comfort, and you are the one who helped me find it.

I love you more than I can even put into words. Happy Birthday to my best girl!