Three and a half 

Dear Molly,

You are huge. Remember that Friday, a few weeks back, when I had to roll up your size 4T pants so you wouldn’t trip over them, and then on the following Monday, when they fit you perfectly? You have grown so much over the past few months. You’re not even a toddler anymore – you’re an actual kid, who can think abstractly and conceptually and who asks so many questions that sometimes I just have to say, Molls, let’s take a break from questions for a minute so we can get to the end of the story/page/sentence/thought before school/dinner/bedtime/the end of days.

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Growth spurt

You’ve started soccer, and every Saturday the entire outfit stays on all day – shin guards and all – because Saturday is Soccer Day! You can write all of your letters and numbers and you’re starting to sound out consonants and vowels and phonics. You sign yourself in and out at school and make up stories and draw multiple-page books that have a defined beginning, middle, and end. You love robots and skeletons and dinosaurs and monsters and are planning to be a mermaid (possibly a skeleton mermaid? Still working on that one) for Halloween. You create intricate pretend play games with your (imaginary and real life) friends and will differentiate your voice and let me know, “oh that’s my brother talking” if I’m not clear on if I’m speaking to someone who exists in this world or exclusively to you.

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You are intermittently the best and worst sister ever to Lucy. Some mornings I’ll hear you two over the monitor before I even realize you’re awake, and I’ll turn on the video to a picture of Lucy snuggled up against you while you read out loud with one arm around her shoulder. Other times you get right up in her face and scream at her, pushing her over or smacking her until she cries and I come running. And sometimes when you’re in the middle of a whining fit, she will straight up laugh in your face and you’ll shout, “it’s not funny, Lewc!” and I have to admit, it’s so very satisfying when she goads you.

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You’re developing a taste for mine and your dad’s music and that has made car rides so much more fun. Pink Floyd, the Ramones, The Lumineers, and Arcade Fire are in heavy rotation and there’s not much better in life than hearing you sing “Home is wherever I’m with you”. You tell me you want to be King of all the Wild Things and I tell you that you can be whatever you want. We spent Labor Day with my college friends and their kids and seeing you and Lucy play with the children of my best and closest and oldest friends lifted me up in a way that I have needed for months. I didn’t stop hearing, all weekend long, how great my girls are. My friends love you; their husbands love you; their kids love you – you are just so very easy to love.

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You are funny, thoughtful, silly, strong, sassy, smart, moody, beautiful, stubborn, amazing, wonderful and all of the adjectives I can think of still don’t sum you up because your sparkle is infectious and magnetic and truly unique to you and even the words I love you feel like not enough to capture the depth of how you bring me to life. I’ve started to tell you one nice thing every night before bed, because I get so caught up in the day to day and the logistics and the repeating myself and the moodiness and the whining and the exhaustion that sometimes I feel like a whole day goes by without giving myself a chance to pause, to remind you how much you amaze me; to acknowledge that I see you, in there, ensconced in crayon and scotch tape and emotion, and I appreciate who you are and who you are becoming. I tell you one nice thing and no matter how much of a battle the day has been I can see it push through to your core, shift your confidence, build you up. There are so many nice things about you, Molly, that even if I started today I would die before I cover them all. I can’t tell you all of the nice things but I can promise that I will always have one to share with you, because I’m yours, and you’re mine, and that alone is the nicest thing of them all.

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Happy 3 and 1/2, Monkey. You’re my whole world and everything else, besides.

Love,
Mama

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21 Months

Oh, Lucy. You make my breath catch. At 21 months we have started to share special moments, you and I – when I’m driving and turn around to give you a smile, and you take your blankie out of your mouth for long enough to smile back – or when I go into your room in the morning and you give me a big grin and a “Hi, Mama!” or when I chatter to you about any given thing and you look at me like you’ve known me my whole life, nodding, smiling, saying, “Yeah!”, and I know you’ve got my number.

I am sad all the time, lately. The sadness has nothing at all to do with you or Molly and everything to do with me. I can’t quite keep the darkness at bay these days. I’ve been talking with friends (one of my many wishes for you and Molly are that the two of you are able to cultivate the types of dear, dear friendships that I am so lucky to have) and started seeing a professional and am working hard to process my sadness. These things take time and I’m at just the beginning. If you were older I would be asking you for patience with me as I sort through my messy mind – except knowing you I wouldn’t need to ask, because you get me. You would just know that I need some gentleness, some tenderness, some extra Lucy snuggles right now, and you would provide, because you are everything good in the whole world, and a part of my sadness is wrapped up in the fear of putting cracks in your world that you don’t deserve.

I never thought I would be here. I didn’t know I would be rapidly approaching my mid-30s without ever realizing how I got to this place; I didn’t know that I could feel such joy and overwhelming sadness and love and fear all at once, emotions circling each other in my brain like the lustful lovers in Dante’s second circle of hell; I didn’t know that it was possible to feel such self-loathing guilt while drowning in privilege.

I am so lucky, Lucy. I have everything I’m supposed to have ever wanted. I have a loving husband and a great job and a gorgeous house and amazing friends and the two smartest, strongest, most beautiful, most loveable girls who have ever existed. I’m going to work hard to win this battle with my own mind. You deserve all of me, all of the time – and I’m going to get there. Just hang in this space with me for a little while, please – I need your sweetness and your kindness and your giggles and your fake-pouty faces and your “Look, a choo-choo train!”‘s and your obsession with hats and your affinity for books and your funny snort-laugh and your sweet smell and your hand in your sister’s and your head on my chest. I need someone who understands me, because I’m theirs. I need my Lucy, my funny little birdie, my darling girl.

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20 month post

I’m not comparing the girls at all. They are so different! They have entirely different personalities that are somehow perfectly symbiotic and it’s no use comparing one to the other because together and individually they are a combination of everything good that’s ever existed in the world. I’m really not comparing them, but I can’t help but think back to when Molly was 20 months old, because in her 20th month she got a new house and a new sister in quick succession, which was, shall we say, a series of tough transitions for all of us.

Lucy’s 20th month involved a beach vacation with her extended family, including a series of first-and-second cousins, ranging in age from 10 months to almost 7. Not that I’m comparing, but I think it’s safe to say that Lucy’s 20th month was a little easier on us all than Molly’s 20th month. I mean the hardest bits on her were the family photo shoot that my mom arranged so that we could capture my grandmother with her seven great-grandchildren (some were more engaged than others, ahem, Lucy and Elliott), and maybe the bit where I wouldn’t let her run head first into the ocean and she got really indignant and actually threw her first full-on screaming tantrum. Whatever, girl – the answer is still no, you may not drown yourself in the ocean on my watch.

I’m not comparing, but I remember the second half of Molly’s second year as being really tough. She had so much transition in such a short amount of time and I felt so unavailable to her between moving into a new house, being massively pregnant and then a completely overwhelmed mom of two. The second half of Lucy’s second year is tough for different reasons, as I continue to struggle to define and refine and adjust my self-definitions and self-expectations of mom, wife, 30-something-year-old woman. The thing about kids, though, is that they thrive almost regardless of the churn around them. Lucy at 20 months is the most delightful human I have ever encountered. She has a way about her that can bring me out of my deepest navel-gazing funk with one batted eyelash or one belly giggle; one moment of watching her feed Hop a snack or snuggle next to Molly on the couch; one time hearing her say “thank you” or “bye bye octopus” or “oh, hi Tyson” or “nite nite Molly” or “Mom. Mom! Mom. Ma. Mom. Mom!” I love her more deeply and harder than I ever knew would be possible and she regularly makes my breath catch in my throat just by running by me with her hand in Molly’s or putting herself to bed or contentedly reading to herself out loud as she narrates what she sees on the pages. Both of my girls make my whole world spin, individually and together, and there is no comparison to the feeling of wholeness I get watching the two of them grow up together.

Snaps from vacation and more below:

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MJ #2?

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Playing in the pool

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Snoozing on Papa E

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Snacks with KK

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Bathtime with Elliott

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Sisters on the beach

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Forward facing!

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Cutie pants

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Snuggles with Dad

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Seesaw

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Accidentally color coordinated

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Human pyramids

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Snacks for Hop

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Budding artist

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Sisters in the sand

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Beach hat

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Best sisters

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Whomp whomp

 

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Lucy the XIX

“Up and over. Arm one. Arm two.”

This is my mantra for putting on my kids’ shirts. I started this way way back in Molly’s early infancy, I don’t know why, but since then if I am helping the kids put on a shirt.

“Up and over. Arm one. Arm two.”

These days when I am helping Lucy get dressed I get a resounding “TWOOOOOOOO” every time. Lucy knows 2, she actually pretty much knows 1 – 10. In any of the various counting books we have she is about 90% in numeral recognition, for a 1.583333 year old that’s pretty amazing.

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Counting is just the beginning, the whole world of language and communication is flourishing at alarming speed. About 30 days ago I would see her point and grunt at things as a means of saying “I would like that book.” Just today she clearly said “the owl book,” a harbinger of what’s coming. I vaguely remember Molly going through this same process in which one day she woke up and quoted Siddhartha (not really…well maybe). Lucy is at the cusp of a mental explosion.

Did I mention that even though she doesn’t always have the words for things she basically understands every single thing we say to her?

“Lucy do you want a snack?” “SNAAAAAA!” and off she runs into the kitchen to rummage through the cabinet.

“Where is the (insert animal name) in this (insert picture of animals)?” A quick pointer finger slams down on the correct answer.

“Lucy let’s do a drawing” Off she runs to the art table yelling “PAINT!!!”

 

Beyond just the milestones of listening and speaking, Lucy is the most good-natured kid I have seen (yes I’m biased). She always has a smile, she always laughs at a joke, she always wants a hug, she always wants everyone to be happy. My great wish, she maintains her sunny disposition through the challenges ahead such as potty training and preschool. I do not worry though, half of Lucy’s cheerful personality is enough to get you through anything.

Three and 1/4

This was the picture that was posted on Instagram: img_1557

The caption said something like, “three year olds are so so so so so so so hard. But there are moments that are magical”. Because not three minutes before I snapped this shot, while we were in the car heading to the airport, I had my eyes tightly closed as tears welled and my fingers jammed into my ears while Lucy shrieked bloody murder and Molly screamed – screamed – over and over again, “I don’t want Mommy’s water bottle on the floor! I want Mommy to have it! I want Mama! I want Maaammmmaaaaaaaa!!!” And then we parked the car, got into the shuttle, and not three minutes later here she was, still hiccuping away the hysterics but more than happy to snap a happy selfie with me.

Bygones, I guess.

These were the vacation pictures that went up on Instagram:

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I wrote about vacation, but I didn’t write about how it ended. I didn’t mention the bit where Molly was running through US customs and immigration screaming “I want Mama!” over and over again and when I would try to stop her, try to talk to her, God forbid try to pick her up, her whole body would go rigid and she would slip out of my grip, screaming all the while. The part when, sitting on the shuttle bus on the way to pick up the car, I leaned over and said, Molly, I’m sorry I couldn’t help you back there at the airport, to which she shoved her hand in my face and said, “No, Mom! I don’t want you in my space! Get out of my space NOW”! and even when I started to cry, even when I told her she was hurting Mama’s feelings, there was no counting the amount of fucks she gave because there were none to be given.

This is the ice-cream date picture that went up on Instagram:img_1007

I didn’t mention that I had taken her for ice cream as an excuse to get her out of the house after a day so full of whining; so full of on and off tantrums; so full of screaming at me, hitting me, stomping her foot while tears rolled down her face while I tried with my whole heart to figure out what the hell was happening, what the hell I had done wrong, that eventually I just put her in the car because I had run out of ideas.

Three year olds are really hard, is what I’m saying.

But they are also magical.

We were at the zoo this weekend and I watched Molly stand up in front of an entire amphitheater and confidently ask, “Why do birds live in trees?” after patiently waiting her turn for the zookeeper to pick her out of the crowd. This is the girl who will tell me, “I’m feeling shy about meeting new people” before tucking herself behind my leg – standing up in front of a crowd, hand in the air, shouting, “I have a question!” until she was called on.img_1680

We can hang out now – like actually just kick it and chat and have lunch or run errands or go to the park without me worrying about whether or not she needs to be entertained or is going to have a meltdown or if I need to bring anything with me. She makes up games to play and songs to sing and stories to tell and she has a couple of imaginary friends and I lay in bed with her every night after stories and we talk about our day. She is loving and sweet and so so funny and honest and kind and still so beautiful she makes my breath catch in my throat when she looks at me.  img_1479
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She will say things like “I’m not being a good listener right now” or”I’m not using my words like a big girl” or”I’m feeling anxious about going potty on the airplane” or “Yeah, I’m okay with that” or “Ok-aaaayyyyyyy, Mom, jeez” and I think, who have you become?

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Someone told me recently that kids never change, they just grow older. By that logic, Molly will always be a perfectly enigmatic combination of challenge and magic, drama and humor, curls and toothpaste, monkey and unicorn. And even though she may break a piece of my soul once in awhile, she will always be my sweet, brilliant, funny, amazing girl, and there will always be more joy than pain, and she will always have my whole entire heart in the palm of her hand.

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One and a half

So it feels important to paint this picture of Lucy at one and a half: her favorite past time at the moment is taking off and putting on socks and shoes. Here she is on the airplane to Denver this weekend, sitting in my seat while I was crammed against the window, playing with her socks for 45 minutes until the flight attendant told me that I needed to get back in my seat, please, and put my seat belt on because we were landing.
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She will sit next to the shoe bin for ages, trying on (mostly Molly’s) shoes. It’s one of her strange and wonderful habits and she’s lovely and wonderful and amazing and there are many more stories; many more anecdotes, but first: vacation! She was ready with the sunnies, that I consequentially forgot to pack.

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Mexico was pretty amazing. We got so much solo time with Lucy and she got so much time with us while MJ was cavorting with her grandparents. Also her hair gets curly in humidity. Like, really curly. Like, really really really curly. Lucky girl seems to have inherited a combo of both her mama and dad’s childhood hair. See?
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Lucy had so much fun in Mexico. On the one hand, she loved playing on the beach, running into and out of the ocean, and running (and slipping) into the pool and all over the place. She ate more and better than I’ve ever seen, loved hard on her grandparents, Auntie Kristin and Uncle Mike, Connor and Emmy, and picked up more new words than I can even count (but my favorite was definitely “turtle!”). On the other hand, she caught sun poisoning and spent a night dry heaving while Lee and I alternately shout-whispered at each other and sleep-paced because we had no idea how to help her. Poor baby broke out in heat rash and her feet are still recovering from all of the blistered skin. I know she was the least traumatized Springer but it still put a bit of a damper on the end of vacation. More snaps from the week:

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img_1441So, now we’re home from vacation and back to reality, with an 18-month old on our hands. An 18-month old who gives the best hugs and the sweetest kisses; but also one who does that high-pitched harpie scream that makes my ears feel like they are bleeding. A one and a half year old who loves to sing Baa Baa Black Sheep and EIEIO; who is still obsessed with her blankies and Hop the frog (and now her blue monkey from Mexico – I think she has named him Ooh Ooh); who can climb up into a big-girl chair and feed herself with a big-girl fork and run and jump and climb and practices somersaults by rolling around on the floor looking cute. A little girl who drew me a picture worthy of hanging in my office and has grown three inches in six months, who makes me feel like I never have enough time and I’m never present enough because she is so funny and sweet and special and amazing that I don’t want to miss even a moment of my last little baby who is not a baby at all, anymore.
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Seventeen Months 

Oh, Lucy! Seventeen months and so much to talk about. Well, most top of mind first – you have transitioned into a toddler bed! It’s so early, but I had a feeling you were ready when, for the first time in your life, you started crying when we said goodnight. I told your dad I thought you were feeling abandoned and even though he thought it was too soon, agreed to give it a try. You are so happy! You love being able to climb into bed to get Hop, your lion, your fox, your elephant, or one of your seven blankies at any given time. The morning after your first night in your new bed we heard a distinct “Up!” over the monitor and by the time your dad got to your room you were out of bed and running laps around your room like a puppy. Of course, today you decided that you would rather rearrange the furniture than nap. Most babies don’t realize that they can get *out* of the toddler bed for awhile. It took you literally 30 seconds to figure it out.

You’re so smart, Lucy. You remember everything. This morning we were playing in your room and you requested Itsy Bitsy Spider (you know all the hand movements) so I took Hop and had him act it out. You were so entertained that this puppetry extended into several additional songs, with you high-fiving (high-footing, even) Hop after every one. Then tonight when I went to put you to bed, you hopped out (no pun intended), got your stuffed bird beanbag chair (because you know it is supposed to help keep you in bed at night and I had forgotten), pushed it across the room in front of your bed, crawled up, handed me Hop, and said, “More?” You’re also incredibly strong. You can climb the three stairs in our backyard with no handrail, just like I do – up, up, up. You also like to pick up the biggest, heaviest rock in the whole backyard and put it in your shopping cart to push around…or pick up the entire variety pack of applesauce and heave it across the house instead of just pulling out the one. I’ve heard you grunt with the effort but you never give up.

Watching the cows with Dad


Whee!


Excuse me guys, I’m trying to see something behind you

We had a bunch of family fun this month, flying to Denver for your cousin Elliott’s first birthday party and going to SLO for Nana Sandy’s birthday. The trip to Denver was an adventure, for sure – between the 9-inches of snow that caused a power outage at the hotel, switching hotels after bedtime, and waiting in the lobby for about 45 minutes while your dad gathered up our things in dark, you maintained your usual sunny disposition through it all. You were also a total champ on the airplane, even though you had to share your seat – gently drifting off to sleep on your dad and playing with the remote/tv screen most of the flight. I used to get so stressed about flying but you are such a good natured kid that it’s really not too bad (although screentime certainly helps, to be honest).

Enjoying air travel


Some post-bedtime hotel lobby entertainment

As for (both sets of) Nana and Papa, they really just can not get enough of you. In fact, you attract people like bees to honey. The other night we were at a potluck for Molly’s school and one of the moms honestly said “don’t tell my girls but Lucy is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen”! I saw her teacher give you the most loving hug and another mom was just loving on you so much. You are just the most kissable, huggable, lovely, sweet-natured girl. You know which animals are “Molly’s” and will hand her bunny or penguin when you see she’s dropped them. And you are so good at sharing – at Elliott’s birthday party, you noticed your Papa Erling standing in line for food, went (cut the line) and got him a cracker and handed it to him. I saw him practically melt into a puddle right there in line.

Swinging with Nana and Papa

Tomorrow I’m leaving for a work trip for five nights and I am so very sad. This is the longest I’ve left you girls in your whole lives and while I know you’ll be fine (Nana Sandy is coming up to help your dad with mornings and bedtimes) I wonder if I will be able to stand the ache of being away from my family (I haven’t even been away from your dad for more than a night or two in years). I made sure to get lots of snuggles in with you today and I’ll bet you’re wondering why I keep leaning in to smell you and kissing you even more than usual. This stage is so full of development and I know in just five days you’re going to have so many new words, mannerisms, and expressions that I won’t get to see the first time they happen. The good news is that shortly after I get home (one day, actually) we’re leaving for our first real vacation of your life! We’re heading to Mexico with your Papa Marc, Nana Laurie, Josi, and Auntie Kristin, Uncle Mike, Connor, and Emmy, and it’s going to be so much fun. I can’t wait to see you with your toes in the (Atlantic) sand. Meanwhile, a few more snaps of you in all your glory:

Sliding. Some baby, indeed.


My beautiful girl


The girl with kaleidoscope eyes


Helping me get ready for work


Pure joy


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A glimpse of the future


Sisters


Hummus

 

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Sixteen Months 

Lucy is sixteen months old! At her 15-month doctor appointment (which was last Friday…a month + late…oops) we got a hand-out that said by 15-months, she should have 2-4 words she uses regularly. I had a running list going but stopped keeping track after the count surpassed 30. Hippo, cup, cat, car, purple, oval, no, more, flower, dog…new words almost every day. Lucy is truly incredible and regularly blows us away by how smart she is and how much she understands. She loves bubble baths, puzzles, and her stuffed frog named Hop. She will climb the stairs to her room when she wants to retrieve her blankie and take your hand to pull you in the direction she wants to go. She is adept at routine – if Lee says, “let’s go outside!” she will go get her socks and shoes (and even try to put on her shoes). When we say dinner time, she goes to the table and starts climbing into her chair. Yesterday she was so ready to take a bath that she climbed in fully clothed, and today both she and Molly helped me load laundry into the washer.

Lucy loves books, crayons (especially bath crayons), stickers, and play doh. She hates sitting still, listening to Mama, and when Molly forgets to trade her for a toy before taking whatever is in her hands away. She loves to dance, is a super fast runner, and is learning how to jump. We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to celebrate Molly’s 3rd birthday and we all had the best time. Lucy loved looking at all of the animals, especially the squid and the tropical fish. In fact last weekend we went to the pet store to buy our fish a tank upgrade and she kept pointing excitedly and saying “fish!!” She regularly flops on top of Tyson (he is much more tolerant of children than Clyde, who runs away in fright at the very sight of anyone under 4 feet tall) and will sit with her dad and watch the birds in the backyard for ages (minutes, in reality, but that’s ages in toddler time).

Although she didn’t gain much weight from her 12-mo appointment, Lucy has grown three inches and we know her svelteness is not from lack of interest in food – she regularly opens and rummages through our snack cabinet, pulling out what she wants, bringing it to you and demanding “op-n”! She finally cut the last of her first four molars which means the world of food has opened up even more – but mostly, it means bacon (so far it’s safe to say that she is a fan – she is a Springer, after all). She gives the best snuggles, running up to us and burying her face in our legs when she wants a hug. She is lovely and amazing and the sweetest, smartest, most smiley, adorable, hilarious girl I’ve ever met. Some snaps from the past month:

 

Big kid swing!

“More!”

Artist in residence

Out to breakfast with Josi

 

Climbing up a slide

Eyelashes and party dresses

Sister snuggles

Constant motion

Rock garden 

Left her alone for 30 seconds with an ink pad…

Cutie pie

“Snack”

 

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Three.

Dear Molly,

What a difference a year makes. I was reading over the words I wrote when you turned two and my heart aches for that woman – the Mama who was so clearly overwhelmed by two little children and putting so very much pressure on herself to be perfect. I kept writing about failing you. I was so worried about not being enough, and my fear is clear in almost every sentence. Thanks for hanging in there with me, through those dark, panicky moments. A year later we’ve come through the fog together, you and I, and Dad and Lucy, and we’re all so much more of a cohesive family now and everything really does feel, if not easier, decidedly less overwhelming. I think the biggest change from how I was feeling at this time last year is my sense of control. Clearly, last year I was overcompensating for my lack of control (likely closely correlated with lack of sleep) by diving deep into a type-A black hole of must be perfect, must do it all, can not fail or else… Or else what? I fail literally every day. I’m human. Why did I ever hold myself to a higher standard than imperfection? I wouldn’t hold your dad to that standard, or you, or Lucy, and I refuse to treat myself that way any more. You deserve better and so do I.

Sometime around Lucy’s first birthday, I looked at my soul in the mirror and saw some ugliness there. I heard myself near-constantly snapping at you, frustration simmering just below the surface and all too ready to boil over onto my sweet baby girl. The third year is not easy. You like to push riiiiiight to the edge and then scrape at my nerves like a hangnail, just to see what it will take to make me bleed.  I remember one particular moment when I really lost it on you. It was the morning of Lucy’s first birthday party and you were carrying on about not wanting to go potty, and I kept shush-screaming at you because I didn’t want you to wake Lucy with your hollering. Eventually I slammed the door of my bedroom and left you crying on my bed, stomping away with my fists balled up and shaking with anger.  Your Papa Marc was here and after taking one look at me, all he said was, “breathe.” Later on I apologized to him. He looked confused for a second until I burst into tears and said, this is not the parent I want to be. Your Papa put his arms around me and held me tight while I cried…some things never change in a good way.

Everything was smoothed over almost immediately, as it always is, because you’re three and wonderful and forgive me for my humanity. But my own words struck me – this was not that parent I wanted to be. I had a similar moment over Christmas where I lay awake one night thinking, yes, she listens to me, but I feel like all I do is yell at her. I don’t want to be the mom that yells. I don’t want my girls to obey and listen because I’ve shamed them into submission; I want my girls to obey and listen because they are respectful humans. I want my girls to be confident and to know that it’s okay to speak up, okay to disagree; that conflict is fine, but personal attacks are not. Last year, the only way I knew how to articulate these feelings was to hold myself to the impossible standard of perfection and panic when I couldn’t reach the bar. This year, I’m eliminating shame and guilt from my own diet, because already I can see you modeling my words, my behavior, my tendencies. If I really want to do right by you and Lucy, it has to start with me.

So, my third birthday present to you (other than the crocheted rocket ship blanket) is the conscious decision to choose the parent I want to be. I choose to be the mom who builds her daughters up; the mom who picks her battles; the mom who says thank you; the mom who is kind to herself. I spent your second year worrying about not doing right by you and now you’re old enough to tell me otherwise – Mommy, you love me even when you’re mad and Mommy, will you just hug me forever? and Mommy, this is Mommy and Molly’s song! and asking your teacher to write I love that my mommy loves me on my Valentine’s day giftLast year I wrote about trying harder than I’ve ever tried in my life to be the Mama you need. This year I’ve learned that I already am.

Happy third birthday to my big girl.  You are the most special, amazing, hilarious, brilliant, kind, sweet, loving person I’ve ever met and I am grateful every day to be yours.

Love,

Mama

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3rd Birthday, The Final Frontier

These are the voyages of the Springer household. Intergalatic, planetary, planetary, arts & crafts? Yes! Welcome to the birthday party of a 3 year-old. At 1 the party theme is just because the parents want one, at 2 the theme is mostly because the parents want one, at 3 the theme is suggested and then talked about in anticipation every day for months. 3 year-olds do not forget, so when you say we are going to have an outer space rocket ship party, we are going to have an outer space rocket ship party.

Unlike last year, when the weather was balmy and delicious, this year was cold and threateningly rainy, so our house had to become a galaxy unto itself. We managed to accomplish this with some homemade papercraft planets, appropriate signage, an epic rocket ship crochet blanket, space themed goodie bags, and mostly space themed cupcakes (cosmic colored frosting with space dust™ and planet sprinklage©).

Aunts, uncles, cousins, nanas, papas, grand-nanas (gra’nana), and many preschool friends joined us to setup, celebrate, color, wear silly hats, paint, eat, and party! Molly was a blur of activity, bouncing between snuggles with family to running around the house with her friends.

Then it was time to celebrate in earnest and issue the birthday girl her 3-candle-adorned cupcake. She had no trouble blowing out the candles this year. So much fun was being had that we almost forgot to open presents before our guests had to go. Shortly after everyone left, both of our girls completely powered down so that we could clean up.

And as I cleared the disaster that was our girls’ playroom, it started to dawn on me that we have a 3 year-old daughter, we have been parents for 3 years, and Leah and I have had a daily discussion about children/parenting for at least 4 years (thanks 9 month gestation). That’s almost 1,500 days worth of thoughts and worries (1,461 to be exact), and a collective 3000 days of experience. Yet, it all still feels so new and surprising. Tonight Molly giggled as I repeatedly made jokes by inserting the word applesauce into our conversation until she decided “Applesauce is too silly daddy. Let’s not talk about applesauce.” If there is a metaphor in that statement, surely Molly understands it better than I do.