My princess ladybug,
At the moment I’m sitting on my bed, trying to think of how to condense your last year into a reasonable-sized letter, while you are crying in your room because your big sister indicated that she might try to play with some of your new toys in the morning. This has not been the first princess-moment of your day (every time your Minnie Mouse ears slipped off, for example, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth) and it very well might not be the last, depending on your level of exhaustion verses your level of irritation at whatever may arise before sleep comes.
The nickname of Princess is a term of endearment, but I must admit that it has always been a bit tongue-in-cheek. Yes, you do love dresses and skirts – the idea of wearing pants is usually met with horror and dismay that I would torture you so – and you love sparkly, pink anything. You are constantly toting around as many plastic princess figurines as your little hands can carry (4 is reasonable, but I’ve seen as many as 6) and insist on sleeping with at least 2, despite my warnings that rolling over them during the night will not be pleasant. And a few weeks ago, when we took you to see Enoch and Zach perform in the play, Cinderella, you sat the entire 2 1/2 hours in complete wonderment, ooohing over the best parts and clambering to stand on my lap in order to get a better look at the fancy ballgown. However, the reason your nickname stuck was due to the Attitude that one could only attach to a Girl of Privilege who gets what she wants, when she wants it. Where you got this sense of entitlement, I’m not quite sure, but it certainly has not faded over the course of 3 years, and I’m guessing is something I will be writing about for years to come.
The years go by so fast for me now that I sometimes think that not much could have changed in just 12 short months. And yet instead of my chubby-cheeked just-barely-not-a-baby, I now have a beautiful little girl who has grown much too fast in 4 seasons past. Your dad and I beg you to eat as we see all of your baby fat disappear into a slim frame that bears no resemblance to a baby, no matter how much I’d like to deny it. Your hair….oh my goodness…this is the hair that I have dreamed of having my entire life. It has gone from shoulder-blade length to grazing your waist, and miraculously, even with all that length, has held on to the most perfect soft curls. You still have words that you adorably mispronounce (anyone who has the chance to hear “Rapunzel” before it gets self-corrected should – I tell you – this stuff is more powerful for warm fuzzies than watching kittens) and yet you also speak in complete, understandable sentences, making conversation less frustrating and much more entertaining. Being able to see you think something over, and then clearly ask about whatever curiosity was mulling around in your brain – it is spectacular to behold and I relish this fantastic stage of learning new, wonderful things every day.
Of course some things never change. You are very smart and even though your dad and I are fully aware of this, you still surprise us on a regular basis with questions, comments, or finding loopholes to what we are certain is perfect reasoning for a toddler. You still love, love, love music and even though your tastes are varied, I can’t help but smile to see you seemingly involuntarily start to dance and bop your head when alternative or hard rock music is played. You will always be my hardcore princess if the level at which you belt out White Stripes tunes is any indication. And as any child of mine must be – you hold a special place in your heart for two of my true loves – shoes, and books (in no particular order). I almost never deny the opportunity to sit down for a story or to watch the parade of you and your sister trying on the highest, prettiest heels in my closet. My daughters should always be able to appreciate the finer things in life and if I can’t get you to try my risotto (yet – I’m still determined!) then I will gladly teach you the name “Steve Madden” right alongside “Hamlet.”
As I read your letter from last year, my heart ached over one particular change. No longer am I allowed to rock you to sleep at night – something I foolishly resisted in the beginning – and sing lullabies softly in to your ear. Instead, you listen to cds and mp3s, and the head that used to rest against my chest now barely touches me in a quick hug before running away to plead that Daddy be the one to escort you to your room. When it was time for your birth story tonight it took a little too much convincing (for my comfort at least) to get you to sit on my lap in that now abandoned rocking chair. Once you finally agreed, you gave me your complete attention and inserted some very appropriately placed “wow”s into the storyline. Daddy was there this time, which might have bothered me considering this has been my special birthday moment with both of my girls since you were each born, except that having him act out the doctor pulling you out by the feet was very well received with a requested (and granted) encore.
Today was such a busy day, even without birthday things added, and yet when I picked you up from your nap and you were still tired, I quietly carried you in to my room and sat in my bed with you still sleeping against my chest, where you now barely fit. If these are the only cuddling moments that I have left with my much-too-grown-up girl, then I will pray to every god that has ever existed that they last as long as possible.
(Photo by Enoch)