To you, Savs…at 3 1/2

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Savi Bear,

You have grown so much these past six months. In many ways you are a “big kid” now but I still get regular glimpses of my baby, especially when you snuggle up with us at bedtime.

You are the world’s greatest big sister! I mean, seriously. I knew you’d end up loving the baby but never imagined it would go this well right from the start. You are a little mommy and even refer to her as “my child” sometimes. You enjoy teaching her new things and get as excited when she hits a new milestone as we do. You monitor her behavior and if she’s getting herself into trouble – i.e. climbing the stairs! – you sound the alarm so we all come running.

That’s not to say you don’t have your moments where you might wish you were an only child again. You absolutely hate it when she touches the iPad during one of your shows or grabs at your food while you’re eating. You get upset if she steals your toys or pulls your hair. And forget about it if she breaks one of your many “rules.” You have Big Sister written all over you and I can already sense how you might start to get drunk with the power.

Meanwhile, your Belly Baby absolutely adores everything about you. She’d follow you to the ends of the earth and no one brings a smile to her face quite like you. I love watching you greet each other in the morning – you’re both so sweet and gentle with one another. And I long for the day when you can snuggle up in the same bed at night. I even daydream about the two of you sharing a room someday.

You’re also really growing into your own at school. You’ve transitioned into preschool 2 which has a more structured curriculum and you seem to be enjoying it. Your alphabet recognition is improving by the day and you love pointing out letters and telling us what words start with them. You take advantage of any opportunity to count or point out the primary colors. This age is so exciting because I can literally see your little brain growing by the day. You are soaking it all up and it’s been awesome.

You’ve been taking Spanish class for a while now as well and seem to really enjoy it. Especially because we have a trip to Costa Rica coming up. The idea of going to a country where everyone speaks Spanish all the time excites you and I hope you’ll be confident enough to practice what you’ve learned with the locals.

Socially, you are a little butterfly. You have found your place in the pecking order and remain best friends with your oldest classmates – Jacob and Kenna primarily. You’ve gone in and out of phases of playing with “girls only” but no matter what Jacob remains a constant in your life. In fact, you frequently refer to him as your “brother” and you two love to send each other video text messages when you’re apart.

I worry sometimes that you’ll get cliquey and we talk a lot about the importance of including ALL of your friends in your activities. Same goes with making your own decisions. I know you’re a leader and a strong-willed girl but sometimes you say things that make me wonder if you go along with the group too much. We try to stress values like kindness, compassion, and empathy and for the most part I think you get it. You made me really proud when some new kids joined your class last month and you decided to be their “special friend” until they adjusted. You have a very kind heart, always have, and I absolutely love to see it in action.

One of your favorite traditions is “talking about our day” every night. We go around and you ask us about our days and if we’re vague or rush through it because we’re tired, you always make us go back and fill in the gaps. You know the names of our bosses and our “friends” at work. We try to be honest with you and share our lows as well as our highs to give you some perspective. The other day, you cracked me up when you told me that you tried to hold a “meeting” at school but none of your friends wanted to come. Ah, baby girl, better get used to it because that’s corporate American in a nutshell.

You are also very transparent about how you spend your days. You love to tell us what you learned and who you played with and we know more about the playground politics at your school than we ever imagined possible. This dialogue is actually the best part of my day as well and I pray that you always enjoy talking and sharing with us the way you do right now.

You love to sleep and funny enough, in your own bed. Everyone worried you’d regress after Scarlett was born and we’d find you back in our bed but it didn’t happen even for a night. Of course, you love the occasional slumber party but you really do adore your own bed. You still nap – Thank God! – and I was told you had to be moved into a private space at school because some of the other kids wake you up and upset you. You are your mother’s girl!

You still love to read and play house. You bring a baby, purse or backpack everywhere you go and I’m fairly certain you’re going to grow up to be a hoarder. You take very good care of your babies and I think Belly Baby’s arrival came at the perfect time for this stage of your development.

You’re getting more independent and curious and the little girl who never strayed more than three feet from our side now likes to make new friends and explore further distances. This has forced us to step up our game in public and we no longer take for granted that you’re right next to us all the time. Although it means we have to keep a closer eye on you, I’ve enjoyed watching you venture out of your comfort zone a bit and you don’t claim to be so “shy” when faced with new situations as much anymore.

You are funny. I mean, really, really, funny and frequently leave all of us in stitches with your one liners. You mispronounce words all the time and make these incredibly observant statements. You also accidently curse or repeat inappropriate things we say and while I know we should immediately correct you, most of the time we just giggle under our breaths and ignore it. You love to act like a goofball and dance, sing and shake your booty all the time.

You remain a snuggle bug and always ask for “two more minutes” at bedtime. You love to curl up with any one of us, especially your sister, and rest your head on our chests while we read or chat.

One of the coolest things about the past six months is how you’ve embraced your faith. We’ve started going to church regularly and you look forward to “church school” all week. You love learning about Jesus, praying at night, and sharing the bible stories you learn. You often remind us that “Jesus is in our hearts” or that “God made a beautiful day today” and I just melt. I pray you continue your journey and that your spirituality only grows with age.

All in all, this age is awesome. We have our challenges and you can definitely act like a “threenager” but I also really enjoy how you’ve turned into my best buddy. We have great conversations and I enjoy your company as much as anyone’s. You are thoughtful and kind and just really fun to be around most of the time.

Savannah, you are loved beyond words. I stare at you while you sleep sometimes because I just can’t get enough of you. I’ve always had faith but when I watch you, I know with 100% certainty that God exists. There’s just no way someone as perfect as you was created by accident.

You are going to do amazing things, sweet girl. You already are. I wonder how you’re going to change this world and leave it a far better place than you found it and look forward to watching your story unfold. I see us in you – the lessons we’ve imparted and the genes you’ve inherited. You’ve managed to capture the very best of the two of us and so far, very few of our flaws. You have your idiosyncracies of course but they’re what make you unique and I, personally, adore them.

So go get, em, baby! You’ve got this and we’ll be right here behind you encouraging you on your way.

Loving you always and always,

Your mama

3 1/2 at a Glance

Cool Things You’re Doing: You love shake your booty and sing, “Boom Shaka Laka Boom” (I find this awesome. Your father, not so much). You are learning Spanish and also the letters of the alphabet.

Likes: You love your sissy first and foremost. You also really like animals and learning about exotic animals and where they live. You love our bedtime routine and make sure we never skip a step. You are obsessed with your “shows” on the iPad and I’ve embraced this habit while also trying to keep it under control. You love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and eating berries equally. Your favorite colors are currently purple, pink and blue but mainly purple. You love school and your friends and tell us daily how much you “LOVE YOUR FAMILY!”

Dislikes: When I tell you to stop biting your nails (gross!), when we cut you off from the iPad, waking up in the morning. And I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times you just lost your mind for no good reason at all!

Favorite Books: The Day the Crayons Quit, your bible stories, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Poky Little Puppy, Dr. Seuss books, and you love visiting the school library and checking books out!

Favorite Songs: Five Little Ducks, Skinamarink, Wagon Wheel, Coldplay, Home by Phillip Phillips, and of course the Hot Dog Song.

Our Favorite Things About This Age: There’s a lot. Watching you grow into your own person has been a joy. Seeing your kindness in action whether it’s with your sister, the spider on the windowsill, or your friends. Our conversations, your sense of humor, and your ability to sleep through anything!

Nicknames: Savs, Nana, Savi Bear, Monk, Monkey Brains, Savarina, Banana Face, Bug

Outtakes:

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