Dear Gal Smiley…
Yesterday you turned four years old. As Maria Von Trapp might say, you’re practically a lady. Out of nowhere, you’ve decided that you actually like girly things, after all. Sure, your favourite clothes are still your brothers’ hand-me-downs, but you also love the little tutu you wear for ballet class and the sparkly necklace you found in an old jewelry box of mine last week. Yesterday you got some Polly Pockets for a birthday present from Princess Charming, and you played with them all afternoon. Dolls! With clothes to change and pretty pink fruit drinks! Then you spent some time playing trains and cars with your brother, too. You’re the best of both worlds.
You’re not a joiner — you prefer one-on-one time to being in a group. You get oddly self-conscious and withdrawn in public situations — although you are very excited to go to your ballet class, you do not actually participate in ballet class. And when you’re mad, or cranky, heaven forbid we try to cheer you up or talk to you or hug you. You want to be LEFT ALONE, you will come out when you are GOOD AND READY, and not one second before, thank you very much. I totally get that about you. I’m exactly the same way when I’m stressed or angry — I just need to be alone to fume for a while, and then get over it. I also don’t like being the centre of attention. We’re on the same wavelength.
In almost every other way, however, you’re a child of your father. You have his same beautiful smile and big brown eyes. You have his generous nature — you do not hesitate to give up a toy to Captain Jelly Belly, if he wants it, or to trade with your friends if they think you have something better. You even let Little Miss Sunshine play with your most beloved stuffed animals. You are kind and empathetic and giving. When I’m sad, you’re the one who will run over to give me a big hug — the best, tightest, most unreserved hug in the world — and tell me that everything is going to be alright. You never seem to want or expect anything in return.
You don’t mind school but you’re one who learns by doing, not by listening, so sometimes school just isn’t active enough for you. You’d rather be outside, learning about caterpillars by holding one in your hand, learning to do a cartwheel on the grass in the backyard, learning about tools by helping your dad repair the swingset. You’re not interested in anyone helping you get dressed, or feeding you, or putting on your shoes — you can do it all yourself. The day you finally manage to buckle your car seat by yourself, I know you will beam with pleasure and pride.
You’re brave enough now to get up in the morning and come into our room to wake us up, even though it’s dark and cold. However, you still like it when someone, anyone — even Little Miss Sunshine — comes with you to the bathroom. I guess you’re just preparing yourself for future restaurant and club outings with your gal pals.
You often tell us that you’re a big girl now, not a baby…but I can tell you like it when I tell you that you’ll always be my baby. You love your Daddy very much and always ask for him to be the one to put you to bed, but I know that in your heart you’re a Mommy-girl. Nothing makes you happier than when we are wearing the same clothes, top to bottom.
I love you, my little big girl. Happy birthday!