She is three.
Because we forgot the camera, I shall have to content myself with downloading our most recent picture for the hell of it (which didn't download--I'll try again this evening), but you've all seen her--she's stunning at three. (I can say this, because she looks less like me and more like Mate than any of the other kids put together.)
She's also clever and gracious and funny--she knows how to play to a crowd. She still sucks her thumb--we call it the 'thumbspace'--and can zen out when things get too tough. Yesterday, at my mom's house (and THEY got plenty of pictures--they've promised to send them to us) she opened bag after bag of clothes--and oohed and aaahed every bag. And thanked people. And although she looked longingly at the bag that held the toys (the one from mom & dad--I confess) she was grateful and charming. She even read the cards.
She let grandma dress her up in a favorite new outfit within minutes. She jumped up and down and got excited about it. She let grandma put in earrings too-- (it's been a week or two--they were starting to close up) and didn't whimper, not even a little. She ran around in circles, played on the tire swing and flirted unmercifully with her grown cousin (who is such a kid at 22 that he flirted unmercifully back.) And this morning, all she wanted for her post-birthday hangover was to huddle in my lap.
She's my Squishy Belle, my dessert baby, my triple-chocolate covered almond liqueur delight--and she gets better with every calorie, more interesting with every day. She tells jokes, and looks up at us with disingenuous blue eyes--she knows she's cute. She insists that the kids at daycare call her 'Princess Arwyn Star'. And she is our princess, and we are all helpless in the face of her wonder. My brother got her a butterfly balloon and she treasures it, and she refuses to give up her new nightshirt because it was a present. She is headstrong, can stand up and fight with her brother at the drop of the hat, and bloody brilliant-- she tucks herself into her own bed at night because she doesn't want to sleep in mom and dad's bed where her brother falls asleep. She'd prefer to sleep by herself, thank you (although when things get scary at dark thirty in the morning, she does crawl in sometimes.) She likes squishy kisses and butterfly kisses and eskimo kisses and sugar kisses-- but butterfly kisses are her favorites, so she asks for those.
I love you baby--you were a total surprise, the best kind of surprise, the kind we don't know we need until we get them and then we can't imagine life without them. You will grow up as we are growing old, and that will be okay--your brother and sister adore you and they will be all the young you need, and we can be wiser, happier, and more blessed by you, since we're a little creaky on the run and play bit. (Not too creaky--Dad still chases you around the house every night at bathtime, and around the cars when it's time to leave. Mom still picks you up and kisses you until you giggle--that's your magic baby... you make us younger.)
You are the family's Evening Star, and we can not be grateful enough for you.
Happy Birthday, Squishy Belle. We love you.