To you, Savs…on your 3rd birthday!

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Dear Savannah,

And just like that, you are three!

When I think back to the crazy day you were born I can’t believe it’s been three years already. I remember every detail of that day as if were yesterday – the clothes I wore to the hospital, the crucifix hanging above the door of the delivery room, the feel of your dad’s forehead against mine as I pushed you into the world, and the beeping of the fetal heart monitor. It was the scariest, most painful, and absolutely, completely wonderful day of my life. You made me a mommy!

The last six months have been the most eventful in your short life so far. First of all, your baby sister was born and you assumed the role of Big Sister without skipping a beat. You fell in love with her instantly and we never saw you regress or act out after we brought her home. There were a couple of weeks immediately following Scarlett’s birth where I felt a little rejected by you – let’s just say you were in a SERIOUS “daddy phase” – but we quickly adjusted to our new normal and got back on track which was a big relief for this hormonal mommy.

You have also perfected the art of potty training. You still wear a diaper to bed at night but you dropped the nap time diaper shortly after the new year and you’ve been pooping in the potty consistently since before the holidays. You like to go to the bathroom by yourself and have yet to have an accident in public (knock on wood!). Although the process began shortly after your second birthday, we took it slowly and potty training ended up being one of the easier milestones we’ve conquered together.

Sleep, on the other hand, was a bit of a nightmare. We knew we were in for a whole lot of trouble when we chose not to sleep train you early. You slept in our room up until you were almost two and a half so we had to expect the transition to your own room was going to be a doozy. And it was. We all suffered six very long weeks last summer trying to get you to sleep in your big girl bed in your big girl room and there were moments we were pretty sure you were going to conquer us in the battle of wills. Your daddy and I alternated nights sleeping on an air mattress next to your bed and eventually in the hall. If we had carpet you would’ve worn a path in the hall leading from your room to ours, that’s how many times you got up at night. And bedtime took about 3 hours on average. It was rough!

But now you love your bed and your room. We have an awesome bedtime routine which varies slightly depending on which one of us is putting you down. You and I have our special songs – A Bushel and a Peck by Doris Day and Downtown by Petula Clark. We watch the YouTube videos and sing along. Even though we’ve been doing this night after night for months now, I still get tears in my eyes every time we get to the chorus where Doris Day sings, “About you” and you wrap your little arms around my neck and say, “No, about YOU!” or when we throw our arms in the air and yell “Downtown” as loud as we can while giggling at the same time. Seriously Savs, those are the moments that made me want to be a mom. We also lay in the dark and talk about our days and you tell me about your friends, what you learned in school, lessons your teacher shared etc. You always make a point to ask me how my day was as well and correct me if I don’t give you enough details to satisfy your curiosity.

And while sleep is going well for the most part, you’ve developed sleep terrors and wake up at least once every night in a cold sweat. You are usually murmuring unintelligibly and whimpering. We manage to get you back to sleep within minutes but seeing you so scared and upset still kills me every time. You never remember what woke you up in the morning and we’re hoping this is just a phase that you’ll outgrow soon.

For being so little, your heart is bigger and more full of love than I ever could’ve imagined. Don’t get me wrong, you most certainly have your “threenager” moments but you are also the kindest, sweetest, most compassionate kid. I see it when I watch you interact with your classmates, or when you cry during movies because the “girl is sad.” I see it when you rush to Belly Baby’s side the minute she makes a peep or the way you greet your family when they walk in the door.

When you tell me that you no longer like one of your friends from school I almost laugh because before I even have a chance to provide a teachable moment you are correcting yourself and reminding me that it’s okay because you’ll like him again tomorrow. We’d like to take credit for your sweet disposition but we are far from perfect so all I can do is thank God yet again for blessing our family with such a magnificent little human. You remind us to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, to forgive, offer second chances and empathize with other people’s pain.

Savs, you are coming out of your shell and growing more experimental every day. It’s been exciting to see you express interest in activities that you previously shied away from – i.e. bounce houses, petting zoos, etc. We continue to follow your lead and try not to force you to do anything just because it’s supposed to be “fun” but we do encourage you to at least try things once before determining that you don’t like them and you’re usually pretty open to the idea.

You started preschool last fall and it’s been so fun watching you adjust to sharing a class with the “big kids.” At first, they intimidated you but as time went on you managed to find your place in the pecking order. You have your best friends and one of my favorite things to do is eavesdrop on your conversations with each other. You are both my baby and so grown up at the very same time. It makes me proud while simultaneously breaking my heart.

Speaking of being way too grown up, you’ve started calling me “Mom” sometimes which is just way too weird. You shout it from other rooms of the house and I stand there wondering when exactly Mama or Mommy gave way to MOM. I know it’s just my imagination but I swear your articulate little voice has the tone of an irritated teenager when you say it and I cringe at the thought of what’s ahead of us in the years to come.

Your imagination is running wild and every time I turn around you are playing pretend. You love to dress up and lately you’ve been assigning us roles in your adventures. We spend full afternoons as characters from Frozen – you and I alternate between Anna and Elsa depending on your mood but daddy is always Christophe, Belly Baby is Olaf and Lola is always Sven. You also love your stuffed animal friends and baby dolls and have perfected your nurturing skills – sometimes I think you’re a better, more attentive mommy than me!

Your appetite has been insatiable lately so I think you’re about to grow. You may be the only three year old who requests vegetables and you especially love broccoli, asparagus and green beans. You’re a goof ball and mealtimes fluctuate between being really fun for all of us and totally miserable when you’re indecisive nature takes hold.

Your memory astounds us and we’re always shocked when you recall events or conversations from months ago. Daddy already knows he doesn’t stand a chance with all girls in the house but if your memory is anything like mine, he’s really in trouble. You are still a gullible little bird though and seem content with our explanations for why the world operates the way it does. Your willingness to believe in magic makes our life with you even that much sweeter and we have a blast coming up with silly explanations for some of your more random questions.

That’s not to say that you don’t give us a run for our money sometimes. You are very quick to challenge our authority and sometimes I feel like I spend entire weekends counting to five and disciplining you. It can be exhausting. I caught you on the monitor one day after I sent you to your room telling your stuffed animals how much you don’t like your mommy anymore because she’s SO mean and I just had to laugh at your irrational justification for being mad at me. I know that pushing limits is normal at this stage but there are days where I think your daddy or I might just crack from the pressure of living with such a stubborn little miss.

Fortunately, the good times far outweigh the bad around here.

The other night I told you that the day you were born was the best day of my life. You responded by saying with your cute little stutter that comes out when you’re thinking really hard, “The day you were born, my heart was so happy, mommy.” I know that our relationship will have its peaks and valleys and that I won’t always be the most important person in your little world so for now, I hold onto moments like that one. I try to lock it away in my memory and hope that it’ll get us through the rough patches that are inevitably ahead of us.

3 At A Glance

Weight: 36.3 lbs – 90th percentile

Length: 38.5 inches – 75th percentile

Cool Things You’re Doing: You’re potty trained and you love to sleep in your own bed. Hallelujah! You’ve become an expert at pretend play and you know many of your books by heart. You can sit through an entire feature film.

Likes: You love to dance and sing, dress yourself and pick out your own clothes. The beach is still one of your most favorite places on Earth. You enjoy “activities,” playing with your baby sister and Lola and giving daddy check ups.

Dislikes: Waking up early and getting ready for school, getting help with anything, when we interfere with your agenda, having your hair brushed or washed.

Favorite Books: The Princess Stories, Off We Go to Mexico, We All Went on Safari, Hooper Humperdink, and pretty much every other book you can get your hands on.

Favorite Songs: Bushel and a Peck, Downtown, “The Star Song” (Sky Full of Stars), “Belly Baby’s Song (Home), and the “Wagon Wheel Song.”

Our Favorite Things About this Age: You are a funny, funny kid and whether you’re repeating things we said or coming up with your own one liners, you constantly have us in stitches. You are still a snuggle bug and love to curl up in my lap or sit with our arms around you. You adore your baby sister and burst at the chance to teach her something new or console her when she’s upset. My most favorite thing about this age has got to be our bedtime chats though. You are my little best friend and I spend all day looking forward to those 10 minutes we spend together in the dark every night.

Nicknames: Nana, Savs, Banana Face, Banana Bear, Poppy, Mama, Babycakers, Savi, Bugs, Savarina, Baby Girl, and Savi Bear.

My love for you, my darling, consumes me in a way I never thought possible and although I say it all the time, I really mean it: You and your sister represent everything good in the world. Thank you for your sense of humor, kindred spirit, tight little hugs and wet, peanut butter filled kisses.

I adore you.

Love,

Your mama (Mom)

Outtakes:

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