To my Elise on her 3rd Birthday

Note: This post has been ready for two weeks but I haven’t had photos to post with it. I have this really great navy blue cotton summer dress that I wanted to photograph Elise in but not only doesn’t she want to wear a blue dress, it has either been too hot to go outside or we have been too busy doing other things.

Yesterday while cleaning I gave Elise a marker and some paper and randomly turned on the Katy Perry documentary that is on Netflix right now thinking some music would distract Elise long enough for me to get some chores done. Little did I know that the minute Katy came on the screen Elise would fall in love. My photo plans for a sweet little girl in a blue cotton dress standing in an open field isn’t going to happen (at least not any time soon). But this did happen and in the end…. this is the best photo proof of who Elise is right now.

The following was written two weeks ago:

As I said the other day, this post has been swirling around in my head for a couple of weeks now but getting it from swirl to a post takes time and that isn’t something you like to give me.

You are now three and you are still my shadow. In fact as I am writing this sentence I can hear you screaming, “Mom where are you?!” as you are walking down the stairs. You, my girl, are a Mama’s Girl through and through, and I love it. The attention that I get from you trumps any applause from any theatre show I was ever in. I love you for that. I know it is a selfish thing to say but having someone love you as much as you love me is the best feeling ever.

It ends up the reason you hunted me down after I slipped away while you were distracted with your dollhouse was that you had to use the potty and you were having trouble getting your ballerina leotard off. That little vignette of our day is a great representation of where you are in the story of your life.

You are now potty trained… well for the most part. You still have the occasional accidents but they are few and far between. I can’t tell you what this means to me as a Mom to have my baby, my youngest and my last child potty trained. It wasn’t an easy process to get you to this point but we got here and in this case it isn’t the journey that matters it is the destination and that destination is you starting preschool this fall. Preschool!

The other notable moment in the above story of your interruption is your outfit of choice. Dance may still be part of your daily routine when you are old enough to read this, or it could just be a distant memory… either way right now you live and breathe dancing. You insist on wearing dance, or what you call “ballerina clothes” every day. To get you into play clothes or a church outfit takes serious negotiations. Usually this ends in you wearing some form of tutu or skirt so if the mood strikes for you to pirouette or jette (yes you already know these dance terms) you are wearing a skirt that is full enough to twirl with you.

This obsession with dancing is heart melting. It can be infuriating when I am trying to get you dressed to go out of the house but other than those times, it is possibly the sweetest thing ever to see you twirl around while singing to yourself.

You have the sweetest disposition. Everyone who meets you falls in love with you immediately. You are still quite shy but you are opening up more and more every day. With adults it usually takes you a few minutes to warm up but once they complement your tutu you are friends for life.

You love to cuddle and like to be as close to the person you are talking to as possible. You love to cuddle so much that you are more than perfectly content to cuddle up next to me on Saturday mornings during Daddy and my coffee time and watch HGTV while I sip on my coffee. You watch with me as we tell home owners they are silly and that a poor choice in paint color shouldn’t make or break your selection in the house hunting process. I love that time with you. Just me and you snuggled up talking.

Talking… last year this time we were worried. You were not saying much of anything. We were worried enough that we had you tested and you qualified for teacher visits. You loved your teacher and with in a month you went from 20 words to 50 words and your vocabulary grew exponentially from there. You still are a bit lazy with your words and some of the time I am the only one who understands you but you have made huge strides and I think this next year being in a class full of peers is going to help you blossom in ways that being at home with me or meeting with a teacher once every other week never could.

You love other kids. I don’t know how to say this any other way. No matter the age of the child on the play ground; when you crawl out of the stroller or I lift you down from the car seat, the moment you see other children you scream, “MY FRIENDS ARE HERE!” and you go running toward them. You will have no trouble making friends at preschool.

All this talk of your sweetness and how endearing you are needs to be countered with another truth. You, my dear Elise, can be quite manipulative and can milk a situation for all it is worth.

Last night around midnight you came barging through your Dad and my bedroom door in a panic shouting something about frogs. Your Daddy leapt to your defence and started to guide you back to your room before I could register what was happening. By the time I stumbled into your room you were laying back in bed with your Daddy laying beside you reassuring you that the horse print on your bed wasn’t frogs and that you were safe and nothing was going to happen. I sat at the foot of your bed and rubbed your back while I sang you back to sleep. You didn’t fall back to sleep though. You seized the moment and decided that it was the perfect time to tell your Dad and me everything that was on your mind. We listened for a minute and when realized there was no end in sight we shushed you and I sang one more song and we left you to tell your story to your stuffed bunny.

It wasn’t 10 minutes later that you were busting down our door again and I could hear it in your voice that you were smirking and trying not to giggle while you faked being terrified of “Frogs on my bed!” Your Dad of course fell for it and started the soothing process all over again. You have him wrapped around your little finger and there is nothing he wouldn’t do for you. I on the other hand draw the line at faking terror for attention any time between 10pm and 7am.

There are times when I laugh out loud at your Daddy. He is infatuated with you and I swear I can see his heart melting when you do something extra sweet like nurture your dolls or mimic your big brothers while they play Skylanders.

We love you Elise and we are so excited to see the little lady you are growing into. Everyday we see more and more of you as you blossom from toddler to preschooler. You are not a baby any more. You remind us all the time of your fierce independence when you state, “I CAN DO THIS BY MYSELF!” I love that you want to tackle new feats everyday but please, please don’t grow up too quickly.

I love you. Happy Birthday.

4 thoughts on “To my Elise on her 3rd Birthday

  1. Tim

    Yep she’s my princess (Princess Ballerina Cupcake according to her last night). I just hope I can convince her that princesses can do math and science before this dancing thing sticks to her.

  2. Christine Fieber

    Elise and Gracie need to play. I wish my girl was a little dancer. I think that we jinxed her by naming her Grace. She is the exact opposite of Grace.

  3. Meg

    Lol. Christine, Elise is far from graceful. She spins and falls and jumps and falls and then falls some more and giggles.

  4. Jess

    Happy Birthday, Elise. You and Gracie just have to have a dance party soon so that I can have more pics of the two of you together!

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