Friday, December 31, 2010

... the last day of 2010

It's officially the end of the year. Well, nearly. It's officially the last thirty-seventh minute past two in the afternoon of the year of our Lord, two thousand ten. Funny how typing that leads one to recall that there's only one 2:37 p.m. per day, ever. And how we've already passed three hundred sixty-five of them (and way more if we're counting life ages) that will never return. But, that's not the plot of the post. Because it's the last day of the year, the last afternoon of the year, the last few hours of the year our baby-adorable transitioned from two to three.

It's been a fast year for we-the-family, and it's been a good year. As our dear Dadoo reminds us often, our trials have been far fewer than our blessings. And our blessings have been great.

Our three-year-old girl is really that: a girl. She's not our tiny baby in any way anymore. She walks, runs, climbs and jumps like a big girl. She talks, laughs and sings like a big girl. She even manages her boo-boos like a big girl, trying so hard to talk herself out of any tears. She reasons like a big girl and in such a grown up manner that we often forget she is still just three.

The biggest events of the year for her, in no particular order were her trip to Disney World and the birth of her baby sister. She still thanks us every day for taking her to Mickey's place. And the other night, she made a special thanks and appeal to her Dadoo:

Averie: Dadoo, thank you for taking me to Disney World.
Dadoo: Averie, you're welcome.
Averie: Dadoo? You can do it again whenever you like.
Dadoo: Um, okay, Averie.

Most of the time, she really loves her baby sister. This morning, she directed her sweet remarks to her Mama:

Averie: Mama, I'm so glad Iwah came out of your tummy.
Mama: Yes, me too, Averie. I'm glad, too.
Averie: Yeah, she's a sweet wittle baby. (to Isla) Aren't you, Iwah?! Aren't you? Yeah, a sweet wittle baby!
Isla: *big, shiny smiles with big shiny eyes at her sweet big sister*

Today, the big girl is skipping naptime and sitting right next to her typing Mama as we share time alone in our playroom, eating semi-sweet chocolate chips and Nemo fruit snacks and watching the Thomas movie she got for Christmas, while 'her baby' naps. Her tiny arms are bare and warm. Her hair smells sweet and clean, and this afternoon feels like a special gift, just for the two of us.

In a few hours, a new year will begin. And a few weeks after that, our three-year-old will turn four. It's a bittersweet thought ... the leaving behind of a year and the beginning of another, the reminder of things passed and past, the encouragement of things to be and become. It doesn't seem the same this year, not that any two years are, but still, as I sit here, first person, finishing a post nearly 5 hours after I started it (life with two), the night feels strange, and a little sad. I guess at the end of it, good years make it hard to close the door. And perhaps, just a bit, I'm not quite ready for the end of this one.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

. . . a three-year-old-Christmas

This was the year. This year. The year that our sweet Averie really understood the magic and beauty of the Christmas season. The year that we could see it in her eyes, and hear it in her voice and smile and laugh at the wonder of it all.

From gingerbread houses (she made three) to cookies (she made several dozen) and Christmas hymns (she loves 'O Holy Night') to carols (we had no idea she could identify 'Carol of the Bells' - and she can, be it played on strings or brass), from lights ("Wights! Mama! Look! It's multi-colored! That's my most favorite kind of sprinkles!") to lawn 'art' ("Dadoo! Look! A reindeer!"), from holiday movies to holiday art, she had a full and excitement-filled start to the Christmas season.

This year, she had her own 'wish list'. She added items to it frequently, and we-the-parents are fairly certain she didn't really understand the concept of the 'wish' part. This was evidenced multiple times (we thought) by how easy it was to pacify her through the toy aisles of any given store. Anytime she asked to 'have' something, we told her she could put it on her wish list. "Ok", she'd reply. "I want this on my wish list". And then she'd calmly put the item back in it's place on the shelf and keep moving. It worked like a dream. We were slightly worried that it might come back to bite us when she realized that the majority of the items she put on the list didn't make it under the tree (it was a REALLY big list), but we figured we'd cross that bridge later on.

Imagine our surprise when on Christmas morning, her first request was for her sister. Her second request was for some M&Ms with her cheerios. And her third request was to take off her jammies. For nearly an hour and a half after she woke up, she asked nothing about the gifts. Finally, sometime around ten a.m., she asked if she could open a present. When we told her yes, she squealed with glee, ran over to the tree, grabbed a tiny box from the bottom of the pile and placed it carefully into my hands. "Mama!" she shouted. "We got this for you, Mama! It's very special earrings for you! But don't tell because it's a surprise!" Imagine our hearts when we realized her first thoughts were for people other than herself.

And when she finally began to open up her very own presents, she stopped, content, at two. The very two she'd asked for most, and the first item on her wish list. The next hour saw her fully happy and fully occupied with those toys, unconcerned with the rest of her stash resting beneath the branches. And the rest of the morning continued much the same as it began ... and we-the-parents count ourselves very blessed.

Better than all the stuff of the season is this crazy joy. The hard stuff is still hard. The bad stuff, well, it's still bad. But the joy of seeing her see it all ... well, it's mushy and funny and happy and awesome and sappy and squishy and GOOD.

And just in case you think you've had your fill of adorable, here's proof you're not full yet. Our baby-girl-the-first-adorable on her fourth Christmas ...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

. . . she just does.

Rock that is. She's amazing and sweet, growing and small, smart and still learning. And she's still the tiny (though less so every day) adorable one we met nearly four years ago.

She's a wonderful big sister, taking time every day to take her little sister to 'baby school' which is located in our bathroom and takes place during mama's shower. Averie is the teacher, and Isla the pupil. Today they learned about monkeys, llamas and decorating. Averie decorated the bathroom with her pets 'just like you decorated for Christmas in my bathroom, Mama'.

Each morning she runs to 'wake' her sister, climbing as fast as she can up onto the bed and kissing and hugging the baby until the baby squeaks. Then she explains to mama how 'she wants out of her bunting, Mama' and 'you have a dirty diapie, Iwah? you do? Mama, she has a dirty diapie', all the while stroking her sister's head or holding her hands or poking her in the nose.

Each night, she and mama cuddle in bed. Averie requests the 'little bear song', and Mama always sings it. Averie asks to count in Spanish and in French, so we-the-nighttime-counters count. She asks to spell some words (the list usually includes 'mosquito helicopter', 'c-130' and 'jet plane'), so we spell. Then it's time to 'talk about functoowayshun marks', so mama explains the ins and outs of exclamation points and semi colons. Then it's time to cuddle and listen to the soothing sounds of her ocean aquarium, and yes, that's the same aquarium she had in her crib as a baby. Now it rests on her bed and she uses it like her own personal radio. Finally, it's time for her big girl reading light, a special big-girl surprise from Mama so the girl adorable can 'read' her books in the darkness of her room when Mama leaves. **

Her vocabulary continues to grow and her memory has improved along the same pace. She's able to pick up a new word very quickly and then use it appropriately at a later time. She's even able to recall for others where she heard that new word and how it was used at that particular time. Take for instance a recent visit from her Auntie and Uncle. Averie was explaining the terrible events of the days before their visit when her baby sister was spitting up blood and falling out of her bouncy seat. Her retelling of the story went something like, " ... and then Iwah was hanging out of her chay-er and mama came wunning out of the showah and she saw Iwah hanging on the fwoor and mama said oh cwap ...".

In other recent conversations ...

A few nights ago after leaving big-discount-chain-store:
Averie, holding her newly acquired hotwheels treat from Mama: Oh look! What kind is it, Mama?
Mama: It's a Chevelle.

Averie: Oh! A Chevelle! I love it! It looks kind of like a Charger. But, you know, it's got Volkswagon wheels.

Earlier this month, after hearing noises coming from her baby sister during tummy time:
Averie, laughing: Oh, Iwah! You have a burpie in your bum! You have a burpie bum, Iwah! Mama, Iwah has a burpie bum!

Mama: Yes, Averie, she does.

Averie, very seriously: But I don't have a burpie bum. I have a gassy bum.
Mama: Averie do you want me to read this Thomas book to you?

Averie: Oh, yes, Mama! It is the desire of my heart.

**Mama herself was often chastened for reading in bed at night when she was supposed to be sleeping. She remembers promising herself that she wouldn't prohibit nighttime books when she was a 'grown up'. Although she does realize the value of going to bed on time, she is bothered not one itsy bit by the knowledge that her sweet Bee falls asleep reading, just like she did and sometimes still does.