Dear Cricket (Three Years)

She’s sun and rain, she’s fire and ice 
A little crazy but it’s nice…

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Dear Cricket,

Three. THREE. Cricketkit, you have been looking forward to this day for practically a whole year. Me? Not so much. In fact, we have this little game, you and I, where you ask me, “Mommy, do you want me to stay little forever?” It’s my job to respond, “Of course. Will you stay little forever?” And with a mischievous grin, you always reply, “But I have to get big so I can be a mommy and have a baby and you can be a grandma. Look, I’m already bigger!” You giggle and hug me and move on with your day, but your words always linger with me — in good ways and bad. I don’t want you to grow up; this process is so hard. However, I adore watching you become You, and will gladly take the pain of letting go to be able to help you grow up.

…but that doesn’t keep me from reminiscing. The other night I was talking with a new mom about swaddling, and I remembered for the first time in a long time what it was like before you were here. I laughed as I recounted the story of spending an entire Broadway show holding the elastic waist of my pants away from my swollen belly because you forcefully and repeatedly kicked against it every time I let go and it snugged up to my big ol’ belly. It was unsurprising, then, when you refused to be swaddled as a newborn. It was as if, from the very first moments of your life, you knew who you were and weren’t about to let anyone hold you back. That idea has been true from your first breath until today, and I suspect will be for the rest of your life. You are warm and social and kind, but you know what you want and don’t care what anyone else is doing. You are a leader for sure.

To be quite frank (and I hope we laugh about this someday!), your dad and I refer to you as our “drunk sorority girl.” You are hilarious, little one. I often remind you that your name as an infant was “Smiles” because you are so wild in action and in mood, but you have retorted by coming up with your own alter ego, “Baby Starlight.” (You know insist that I call you that at least 50% of the time, and I oblige.) You insist on dressing yourself, so most of the time you’re covered in too many layers, clad in lots of pattern and pink. You think mismatched shoes and socks with sandals are very apropos, and you wouldn’t dare leave the house without a headful of bows. You stumble around, mostly on your tippy toes like a little fairy, saying the most ridiculous things and falling down more than you should. In fact, the other day you stumbled up to me, grabbed my hand clumsily, closed your eyes and grinned like a clown as you declared in a staccato manner, “I am the perfect daughter because I’m beautiful.” I couldn’t help but laugh, which only encouraged you. ;)

You are the girlies of girls. You love PINK to the nth degree; I’m pretty sure your blood is pink and that you dream of being Pinkalicious when you grow up. Every morning you wake up jibber-jabbering from the moment your eyes open, and I always ask, “Did you have any dreams last night?” to which you always promptly respond in a singsongy manner, “Yes. About Straw-ba-ba-ba-ba-berry Shortcake!” It never fails. You want to dress up like princesses constantly, and right now Belle, Elsa and Ariel are your favorites. You dream of wearing makeup, and several times you’ve snuck into my drawers and given yourself a red-lipped makeover. You adore having your nails painted, doing art, glittery things and anything feminine and fun. We often say that it’s your world, and we’re just living in it, and I’m fairly certain that that world is pink and sparkly and full of sugar.

Speaking of sugar, girl, you are a chocolate milk-aholic. You first tasted it about a year ago, and now you’re addicted. You love to go to Starbucks for a chocolate milk box and a bagel (and ask for a cake pop every time, although I’ve convinced you that they’re only for sale on special occasions), and I get bonus toddler points if it’s a Starbucks in a Target — your favorite place to shop along with Hobby Lobby. ;) You have a grown up’s tastebuds, and will eat just about anything. Our gym sells these disgusting cheddar and sour cream protein chips, and you are obsessed with them. You love broccoli, cauliflower rice, brussel sprouts — you name it! And, of course, any sort of treat. Your Papadon has taken over the roll of spoiling you since Yia Yia passed away a few months ago, and he always brings you something sweet to eat — and you know it’s coming! Anytime I mention that we’re going to the movies with him, you remind me that he has to buy Oreos, Butterfingers and popcorn (hahaha).

You gave up naps long ago, but every once in a while you pass out midday, and I’m reminded of the peaceful afternoons of your newborn hood. In fact, E.V. is always eager to see if you’ve fallen asleep because that means she gets to watch a show in her room all alone, a rare and coveted Big Girl privilege. The days you don’t nap, you get so loopy in the afternoons and sometimes cranky. But I love you anyway, and I can often reason with you, even when you’re in a bad mood, because you really are smart beyond your years. You are so intelligent, it’s scary sometimes. You remember EVERYTHING, and there’s a chance you have a photographic memory. Your preschool moved you up a class because you are so smart, and even though you are the youngest of your classmates, you run the show. You teachers adore you and are always amazed at the creative, thoughtful, smart things you have to say. (Although you did interrupt them reading a book once by saying, “Stop talking. I have a question.” Ha!) They are always baffled by your vocabulary and observations, and I could not be a prouder parent.

Cricket, in addition to being intelligent, you are insanely independent. You insist on doing EVERYTHING yourself, which is both wonderful and terrible. Getting buckled into the car takes forever, and there are multiple tears every day because I’ve done something for you that you wanted to do yourself. You will never rely on anyone in life, and I am confident that you will make your own path and own destination as you go on in life. I’m just happy to be at your side, cheering you on, girlie!

You do need me often in the middle of the night, and you cry out for me. I always come to your room (you never did take much to crying it out) and snuggle you back to sleep. You like to cradle my arm as you drift back to sleep, and most of the time I drift away, too. When I’m gone (mostly to the gym in the wee hours of the morning) and you call for me, your dad takes over…but you don’t have any of that. You’re kinda’ rude to him (hahaha), rejecting him and begging for me. But eventually you always give in, sidle up to him and cover him with kisses. It’s quite apparent that your means to having your daddy wrapped around your finger is to play hard to get. You love him, though. He is your champion and challenger, always reminding you to say, “I’m brave. I’m tough. I’m okay,” every time you fall down. He makes you better, and you make him better, too.

I pray that you and Emma Vance grow up close and remain best friends. The three of us dream out loud already of living together when you’re older; you and E.V. will be neighbors, and I will go back and forth between your houses to help you take care of babies. Sounds delightful to me! You guys are so different, yet so similar. The most important thing is that you are both very loving, which I am so proud of. In fact, you rarely ever fight unless its because you’re hugging her too hard, haha! I suppose that comes with the territory of being a Girl Mom! Always remember that she is your biggest fan, and be hers. Love and support each other; you can trust one another.

Your heart is as big as you, sweet girl. You can’t wait to be a mommy, and mother everyone around you. (Being bossy comes quite naturally to you!) You love baby dolls and pretending you’re a baby. In fact, you are very much an actress at heart, and are always asking me to role play some romantic tale where you’re a princess and I’m a prince, or where your the baby and I have to cuddle and coddle you. I won’t be surprised if you run away to Hollywood one day, sneak onto a set and charm some director into giving you the role of a lifetime. ;)

Cricket, you are the most passionate, fun, sassy, loving, smart, entertaining girl I know. You are my forever sidekick, and I love having you alongside me on all of my adventures. I can’t wait to go alongside you on all of yours as you grow.

I love you, we love you, more than you can imagine, and I am so thankful God chose us to be your family. I love calling you mine.

Love,

Mommy (and Daddy and E.V.)

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