And just like that, you’re three! My sunshine girl, my whirlwind, my smart, funny, cuddly independent one. My middle child (that’s a new one!). The jam in our sandwich. The child that strips off her clothes whenever possible. The one with the wild hair, the dimples and the baby blues. My bestie, my snuggle-bug, my little bird.
All of a sudden you’ve grown up. I’m not quite sure exactly when it happened, but one day you were little and the next, less so. I expected it to happen when your little brother was born but it crept up on me early. Now, I look at the photos and videos of you from a year ago and I realise just how much you’ve changed in a year – from barely more than a baby through to this big pre-schooler I’m met with now. Your voice has changed, your face has changed and you’ve become bigger, braver and even better than before; something I didn’t think was possible! A part of me feels sad that you changed so much in the last year, I feel like people close to you missed it thanks to the restrictions from the pandemic. That your grandparents weren’t able to soak up as much of you when you were growing up before my eyes. And yet I’m grateful as well because I got to be here through every moment of it – a little bubble of you and your brother.
Over the last twelve months, it’s been the pair of you that have gotten me through things. Even if you did get the bum end of the deal sometimes. You’re always so good at entertaining yourself that it’s made working from home whilst teaching your brother that little bit easier. Sometimes I feel guilty that you’re left to your own devices but you always seem so happy doing so… pottering around the playroom acting our scenarios with the dolls house or the cars. I come to check on you and you’ll often shut the door in my face, wanting to be left in your own little world. I get that. There’s always someone around and you want it to be just you and your imagination.
Oh but when your big brother is here, that’s a thing of the past. It’s hard to remember that there are two years between you when you’re running around with him, keeping up and almost the same height. I hear your little games together, the way you look out for one another and scream with laughter when the other is being silly. You go from best friends to mortal enemies in the blink of an eye, seeking me out for cuddles and full of recriminations for the other one, only to then be back to besties before I can open my mouth. It’s exhausting yet beautiful to watch.
And now you have a little brother and just like that, you’re the middle child. Before he was born I was so torn about whether to hope for a boy or a girl; I wanted you to find the sister relationship that I grew up with and yet if he were a boy, you wouldn’t ‘just’ be the middle child. So here we are, two boys and you sandwiched in the middle. Everyone knows the filling is the best bit, but shush, don’t tell your brothers. Seeing you blossom into a big sister has been an adventure. We thought you’d love a baby around given that you enjoy dolls but the first few weeks you’d run from him clutching your stomach and screaming about his ‘stinky winky’ – who knew seeing his umbilical stump would have such an impact on you?! You went from spending every moment stuck to me, to coming nowhere near me. I felt lost and like I’d somehow let you down and yet two months on and you’re back to the affectionate cuddly little bird I know so well. In the week after he was born, you decided you’d stop breastfeeding and in typical fashion just got on with it. Another bout of independence… you’re so keen to grow up far too quickly!
I suppose I should jot down memories of what you’re like right now. Well, independent is certainly one of them; we put you in your room at night and you lay for hours sometimes, chatting to yourself before drifting off to sleep. You’re strong willed, stubborn and there’s definitely a streak of crazy in there – you love making us laugh by being silly over and over, always watching to see if your big brother is joining in as well. right now, you’re obsessed with unicorns, although I’ve no idea why given that we’ve never encouraged that. You love the colour pink, unicorns and Octonauts… what a collection! You’ve just started letting me put your hair up nicely although you’d rather it was knotty, wild and free as you run around like a whirlwind both at home and out. Right now you go to nursery a few days a week and love it, you’re moving into a bigger room and starting at the school with your brother and you’re so keen to do those things that it hurts my heart a little – I’m not sure I’m quite as ready as you are for all this growing up! You spend another day a week with Grandma and ask me every morning ‘what my doing today?’ before screeching with excitement if it means going there. You have all of your grandparents wrapped around your little finger, charming them with your personality and those big blue eyes…
This year I hope that we’ll get to have the adventures that we missed out on last year. With one year left before school, I’m all to aware how quickly it will fly by and I want to pack every moment with things that you’ll love. I want to snuggle up with you on the sofa when you’re tired and sucking your two fingers. I want to run to keep up with you on your scooter as you giggle uncontrollably. I want to video all of it so that I don’t forget a single second of you at this stage because so far, it’s my favourite.
My bestest girl, you are growing into everything I could have ever wished for. Don’t ever change.
Happy third birthday baby,