A Letter: Thirty-six Months

Dear Hadley,
Last week you turned three years old. THREE. I am still in shock how quickly time has flown by. I feel like there is no possible way it could have been that long since I was pregnant with you, since you were born, learning to crawl, taking your first steps and then breaking your leg the next day, speaking in complete (and non-stop) sentences. The list of milestones completed over the course of those 1,095 days is far too numerable to mention. All those thing have happened in the blink of an eye yet are such impactful moments that they have dramatically shaped the person I am today. And I am so grateful for it.
Band-Aid Nose
We let you open a few gifts on the morning of your birthday. Then later in the day, when anyone would ask you if it was your birthday, you would say, “No. I already had my birthday at home.” You thought your birthday was literally opening gifts and didn’t understand that you got to celebrate ALL. DAY. LONG. Silly girl. Don’t worry, I’ll teach you how to maximize your birthday celebration.
Opening Gifts
We had your birthday party on Saturday… and I am still recovering. I don’t exactly do things half way and I tend to go a little overboard with details. Plus, your birthday is suppose to be all about YOU and I wanted it to be BIG because you are BIG. (You tell me this every day–except on days when you don’t want to be potty trained, in which case you tell me, “Mama, look at how tiny I am!”) So you picked the theme, Tangled (aka Rapunzel), and I ran with it. We had floating lanterns…
Hanging the "floating lights"
Pascal Cupcakes (green is happy, red is angry, and blue is melancholy)…
Pascal Cupcakes
Pascal party blowers where the blower was his little tongue…
Pascal party blower
Flynn Rider and Mother Gothel accompanied our Rapunzel cake as the table centerpiece…
Tangled Centerpiece
A long braid of “hair” (yes, I made it myself, and yes, it took forever) as the centerpiece for the kids table which acted nicely as a barrier to absorb all the spilled drinks from the “fancy glasses” you requested…
The Kids Table
Mini cast-iron frying pan party favors…
Frying Pan Favors
It was pretty awesome and it made you uncontrollably happy. So it was a win on all accounts.
Tangled Party Time
Hadley and her birthday cake
Normally I have a rule that we only have first birthday parties at our house. Once the kiddos are mobile we need to do them anywhere but here. The only reason I allowed us to have a party in our less-than-spacious abode was that we found a way to have the entertainment portion of the party outside of our house. Enter THE TUMBLE BUS.
The Tumble Bus
The Tumble Bus is this fantastic bus that has had all the seats removed and is filled with gymnastics equipment. So you and all your favorite friends were able to jump, swing, bounce, and well, tumble, but not inside my house. Genius. Everyone had a blast so we deemed the birthday a smashing success. So much in fact that Daddy and I enjoyed bottomless mimosas the following morning to celebrate the completion of such success.
Balance Beam
Jumping Girl
Earlier in the month we made our annual trek to the pumpkin patch and you loved it. You loved running though the corn maze holding hands with your best buddy, picking pumpkins straight from the vine, and all the fair-esque attributes like fresh kettle corn, caramel apples, and face painting.
I found my pumpkin!
Sparkly Bat Face
This year you were a monkey for Halloween. The costume was actually left over from when Ana was little (back when we still bought gender neutral costumes in case we ever had a boy) and ever since it came down from the attic in the 2/3T bin, you had your heart set on being a monkey. You were such a trooper at Trick-or-Treating too! You walked the entire time, carrying your own candy bag (shaped, of course, like a bunch of bananas), and when you weren’t too distracted by peoples costumes or decorations, you even remembered to use your manners. There were several times that we would be off the front porch and half way down then driveway when you would suddenly turn and run back to the house and shout “thank you!!” at their closed door. Better late than never!
Our Little Monkey
A couple weeks ago, while we were sitting around the table, doing “homework” (or rather Ana was doing homework while you colored on your dry erase paper) I asked you if you wanted to write your name. We had never tried, but a friend of mine had just posted about her child, who just started preschool, writing his name for the first time and I wondered what you could do. So I wrote your name slowly, in nice bold capital letters, telling you the name of each letter as I wrote it and asked you to write your name. Then you shocked me by actually doing it. I was very proud of you!
Hadley wrote her name!
First time writing her name!
Another momentous thing that happened during the last month is we decided it was time for your “Big Girl Bed.” Or rather you decided that you could just as easily climb in and out over the edges, so we safely removed the front panel to utilize the “toddler bed” portion of your convertible crib. You have been amazing at staying in bed and when you wake up in the morning you slowly open your bedroom door, peek out, and whisper, “I’m all done sleeping. Can I come out now?”
No more bars for Hadley
In her "big bed"
Hiding Under the Covers
While you can be quite silly, you are also very literal. The other day I said to you, “Are you my silly monkey?” And you responded in all seriousness, “No. I’m Hadley.” We then had a little talk about how you can be lots of things at once. Like you can be Hadley, you can be three, and you can also be a silly monkey. Sometimes language can be tricky. But, hang in there, I know you will get the hang of it.
Hiding
Oh, Hads, you are just such a character and I love every aspect about you. I love how you love to whisper in my ear, anything from “I love you, Mama” to “That noise was just my butt.” I love how your favorite word is “Oh” and you say it after I have answered any questions you have asked me. Most kiddos your age have started the “Why?” phase, but you my dear, still accept everything I say as fact. I love that you call “Big Al’s” “Wreck It Al’s” (like the movie, Wreck It Ralph) and I have no intention of correcting you anytime soon. I love how much you love your sister; you run up to her every day we pick her up from school and you two hug like you haven’t seen each other in a week, rather than just eight hours. I love that the other day you asked your Dad if he was a girl and when we asked why you thought he was a girl you said, “because he has eyelashes and only GIRLS have eyelashes.” I love your innocence, your simplicity, your complexity, and your enthusiasm. I love your snuggles, your cuddles, and your kisses (even if sometimes the only place you will kiss me is on my knee because you are “all out of the other kisses.”) I just love YOU. Happy birthday, baby girl. (And yes, I can still call you “baby” even if you are a “big kid now.”)
Birthday Girl
All my love,

Mama

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