Friday, August 19, 2016

And Now You're Six!

Hello, my little one.

Two nights ago, I read to you, "On the Night You Were Born," to celebrate the anniversary of the night I labored to bring you here. You cried after it was over, and you said, "That made me so sad. I love it, but what if someone in my class doesn't have this book and they don't know how special they are?!"

You, Daphne, are special. You see how special everyone else is, too.

I held you in my arms that night, and I told you about the night you were born. I told you how I tried so hard to have a natural, normal birth. You cringed when I mentioned the scar on my tummy, and the next day, you told me not to talk about it again. I told you how your Dad Jon got to see you before I did, and he gave you a bath and helped measure you with the nurses. Your Grandma and your Great-Grandma watched through a window and marveled at you. When he finally brought you to me, you were wrapped up like a burrito, a hat on your gorgeous hair. I looked at you and held out my arms eagerly, and you looked back at me, your eyes clearly saying to mine, "Oh, there you are!"

I held you in my arms, and I sang the only songs I have ever known by heart, the songs I have sang to you your whole life. "Silent Night" and "O' Little Town of Bethlehem" soothed you to sleep and I didn't want to leave your bed, so I kissed your peaceful forehead and held you some more.

You woke up, and you were six-years-old!

I gave you a birthday bear from Sister Andrea, who gave it to me months ago in anticipation of your precious day. You loved it, you said how your favorite part was that the bear's mouth moves while it sings and how fuzzy and snuggly it is.

Now that we are in these school years, you turned six and were able to celebrate with a class full of first graders. You brought cookies but not cupcakes because Brighton's birthday is the exact same day, and his mom brought cupcakes instead. When you came home, I gave you some new chapter books for a present and your Great-Grandparents took us out to dinner. You ate pancakes and the waitress gave you a free piece of chocolate cream cake. You could only eat a few bites of the cake, but you were so excited to bring it home for later.

That's pretty typical, my love, you getting excited about chocolate and treats in general. Eating delicious things is one of your favorite things to do. I'm sorry I passed this on to you, because eating vegetables is so much better for us!

This past year, you grew so tall. You hover above my hipbone now. We cut your hair for the first time in July; you were able to donate it to a company that makes wigs for patients who have cancer. You said you love looking like a completely different person, but honestly, I haven't noticed you really caring too much whether it was long or short. You do prefer how little it takes to comb through now, though!

Your sweet spirit continues to grow but your wicked sense of humor is even stronger. Dad Dave loves how you prank people (so do I! you're hilarious!), and he sees how you get some of your humor from him. I see traces of your Dad Jon in it, too. I guess both of your dads and you are funny, what can I say?

You are an exceptional reader, and this summer you got excited about math. You went to the pool and the lake with Dad Jon a lot, but you don't want to learn how to swim. I can see the tan lines from your suit still, but they remind me that you fell in the pool and felt like you were drowning. I encourage you to learn, so you will feel empowered, but you're stubborn like me, and you say no.

We visited Nana and Papa in Massachusetts earlier this year, and you said your favorite part was spending time with Nana. We took you to the Freedom Trail in Boston, where I carried you around like you were little and walked miles with you strapped to me. You're a little spoiled when it comes to things like this; I baby you, because you're my baby.

I had to leave you for two weeks this August, and I was so grateful to be home in time to celebrate this birthday with you. Nearly every time I FaceTimed you, you wept into the phone, and I had to stop calling you. Dad Dave said you were happy and good as long as you didn't see me. I made him FaceTime when you were asleep, so I could see your face every chance I could.

Oh, Daphne. You are so wonderful. I am so proud of the person you are becoming. You are caring. You are graceful. You started acting classes this year, and you said, "I don't like them. I LOVE THEM!" You are smart. You love God and other people. You are sensitive like me.

You had your first sleepover this summer, with Annalyn. I curled your hair and hers and painted your faces with my makeup. We made brownies, which the next day the two of you stole. I found you both in your pink, play tent, a pan full of brownies between you, fists shoving handfuls in your mouths, giggles erupting amidst the crumbs. You would have never stolen a pan of brownies, but she made you brave and it made you laugh.

The best part of your life is when you spend time socializing with other people. I wonder how Mrs. Flexter is going to keep you quiet this year. You thrive around people, often entertaining everyone around you. You twirl and dance and sing every where you go. You hate to sit still. I've never seen you sit still unless you are glued to the Kindle or TV.

Daphne, I love everything about you. I hope you always know. You are the best part of my life and both of your dads'. You are unique and beautiful. I cannot wait to see what's next for you this year.

Love,
Mommy

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Happy birthday, Kindergartner Daphne!

Dearest Daphne,

I almost didn't know to whom I was addressing this, since I so often call you something besides your name. Your nicknames include Belle, Bella, Tiny Belle, and Princess and the Pea. Lately, you haven't loved that last one and instead prefer just princess, but I still slip it in sometimes.

I think I am writing to you early this year because I have been so focused on getting everything ready for school. I have a list of things you need and your annual birthday letter is on that list, so here we go!

School! Daphne, you are so much like me. You are both extremely excited and extremely nervous for school this year. Last night, you were feeling down and you cried and cried because, "I have been feeling sad every day for a long time." You don't realize it yet, but you are just nervous about this big transition. You told me you wish you could still go to Cheri's with your friends, and my heart swells with compassion for you. Cheri and the kids there (Jackson, Brooks, and Charli) have been your friends since you were mere weeks old. I know how emotional I have felt about you going to school but I cannot imagine how this change must feel for you. Because you love people and love learning, I know school will be fun for you, but this transition has made you and I very emotional. Tonight we have your open house and you will meet your teacher and see your classroom. Monday is your first day!

You are certainly ready for school, though. Just a few weeks ago, I started reading chapter books to you and you loved them. You can count to 100 (with very little assistance) and your vocabulary continues to blossom. You are extremely creative when it comes to making up your own song lyrics and dancing passionately to music. Both Dad Dave and Dad Jon have told you how awesome you are when you dance and sing. You have them both so enamored. You know it, too. You have a way of getting what you want when you want it from all three of us.

Just last week, you and I visited my parents at their house. We celebrated Lily, Parker and Julian because they have birthdays right around the same time as you. My dad saw you for the first time in a long time, and he told me how smart you are and how cute you are. It's true. You're very intelligent and very pretty, little one. In fact, when we are at the grocery store, at least one person comes up to you each time and tells you how cute you are. You politely say thank you and I always say, "Remember, it's what is on the inside that counts." I've warned you that people won't always come up to you and say this, just because as we get older this happens. But, your value does not lie in how you look but in who you are. I always try to tell you, your kindness and love is what counts. God created you so uniquely and I always pray you will know that you are more than a pretty girl.

You are also a little monkey CLIMBING everywhere. Your bed is going to be destroyed, I just know it. You constantly climb the poles and hang from the canopy while it dangerously sways. You climbed the cabinets just the other day to reach a plate of cookies on top of the fridge. Your love for chocolate and sugar has developed into an unhealthy addiction, honestly. We tell you all the time to eat less red light foods and more green lights, but you are like everyone else: a snack fanatic. You shoved the cookie into your mouth as fast as you could so that no one would take it from you. You do the same thing at church!

This year you became so technologically advanced. You basically took my Kindle as your own to play games on and to watch YouTube videos. You love the videos where people use Play Doh to make things but more than this, you love making things with Play Doh! You would play with it every day. You do not like coloring still, but you love to paint and play Barbies. Instead of Barbies, though, you have lots of Monster High dolls. Toralei is your favorite one - because she is the villain. It's weird... you love villains. You have gotten in trouble for playing so meanly with your dolls. My friend Arica said you just want to be a dynamic and powerful girl, and on TV the villains have this type of personality. That makes sense to me; I don't think you want to be mean, I think you want to be the boss.

You have leadership skills, and I am excited to see how these develop once you start school. You may be nervous, but you are not afraid. You are always so fiercely independent. This year, you participated in your first dance recital! Even though you loved dance some times and hated the discipline of it other times, you definitely enjoyed performing on stage. During the rehearsal, your teachers came and got you and the other girls from me and the other parents. The other girls looked back at their moms, a little nervous to leave without them, but not you. You never looked back. You have ALWAYS been ready for the next adventure. This makes me so proud of you. You are always trying. You are always improving. I truly wish I was more like you in this way.

Pretty soon, I won't be able to lift you up into our "family hug" circle, but today I can and I will. Our family hugs and kisses are my favorite part of the day, so you have to endure all this affection, my dear, what can I say?

As you turn five years old next week, I feel blessed to be your mom, my Daphne.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

And now you are FOUR!

Dearest Daphne Belle,

Happy birthday, my love. This year, the year you turned four, you were celebrated almost the entire month rather than just on your birthday! We celebrated you with a Pirate Fairy birthday party the first week of August; you and your friends doused each other with squirt guns and water balloons, ate pizza and cake, and you opened a mountain of presents at our house on Kristy. For some of the party, you sat near the tree and pouted because Jackson targeted you with his squirt gun, and Lily sat by you while you reveled in her attention. You love attention, little one, you love people and their reaction to you, so I guessed that you were just pleased with the one on one time.

We celebrated you early this year, because we traveled to Maine a few days after your birthday, and it was hectic! On the 18th, Dad Dave and I spoiled you with special cupcakes that you picked out at the store with him and you and Dad Jon spent the day together. THEN you were celebrated again in Massachusetts when we had a party at Kristina's house and Nana bought you a pretty chocolate cake with pink icing.

Dad Dave and I are sending you to dance class for your birthday present this year! You started last week, and you absolutely loved it. You weren't afraid for me to leave, and you can't wait to go back.

Daphne, you are always celebrated, because you are so loved.

In the past year, my dear, you have continued to astonish all of us with your brilliance. Your vocabulary is ridiculous. You correctly use words that even some adults aren't familiar with (you told Nana you were dehydrated in Maine!). You constantly ask all of us what words mean, and then you remember and incorporate them into your every day dialogue. It is obvious when you talk to other kids that you are different; I watch your interactions, and I see you so confidently introduce yourself and ask them about themselves. Other kids are not as mature as you (you who spend so much time with all of us adults), and they stare at you. You try so hard to engage them, and one day you will, but for now, you are just older than your years.

That is not to say you are some super human four year old! You are still very much a four year old girl, Daphne. You think poop jokes are hysterical and you adore your stuffed animals. Your sweet spirit is obvious; I tried to downsize those animals and you brokenheartedly cried that you would miss them too much. You love the Disney princesses, Sophia the First, Doc McStuffins, books, crafts, and you especially love when I pretend to be your stuffed animals and talk to you in silly voices. It's your favorite, really, and it's adorable. You still love pink the most. You wanted to be Elsa from Frozen for Halloween, but changed your mind when you saw Maleficent. I exercised my mom authority, however, and I am hoping you will wear the pink bunny costume I bought instead!

This year, you conquered potty training, despite a stubborn start, and you haven't looked back. This year, you were kind of scared of the ocean after she knocked you down with her strong waves. During the week we were there, you conquered your fear and joyfully played in the waves, even trying to boogie board. This year, you had a scary eye doctor appointment, and you triumphed! We were all scared for you, that you might have to have surgery. The specialist put stinging drops in your eyes and even though you HATED it, you endured so stoically. We had to put cream on your eye lids for three weeks afterwards, and Daphne, I hope I never forget how you composed yourself, put your fear aside, and bravely let us pull the bottom lid down for the medicine. You amazed me with your courage and your perseverance. Because you did so well, you haven't had any problems since.

You wanted to start school this year, but I decided to wait so you could just hang out with your friends at Cheri's one more year. Sister Michael, my friend from work, watched you one night as you talked to her about letters, numbers, colors, and shapes, and she said that you could start Kindergarten tomorrow. She taught for 42 years, so we were all really happy that you proved to be just as smart as we thought.

You can be pretty sassy, though, my dear one... Lately, you have been testing the limits and branching out where ever you can. You ALWAYS want things done a certain way. If we are playing, you often say, "No, Mommy, like THIS. Do it like I SAY!" You are very bossy and demanding. I accommodate you to your detriment. This whole mommy thing is so hard; I want to teach you how to be a good person, but I relentlessly spoil you. I am hoping, dear one, that I will do better for you.

I have to work so much, Daphne, and sometimes you are sad when I leave. We make up for it with snuggles when I return, and you spend a lot of time with your dads, too. They are both just as enamored with you as I am. You really are lucky in that, kiddo. I'm so, so grateful for both of them and their love for you.

I cannot believe that when I write this letter next year, you will be starting school. I cannot believe how fast these years are flying. I cannot believe that the tiny one I have carried is now her own person. Daphne, the person you are, the person you are continuing to become, is so beautiful. You are kind, compassionate, independent, smart, funny (you LOVE jokes and making people laugh), and always so loving and affectionate. I am so proud of you.

Love,
Mommy

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Your birthday letter, my love

Dearest Daphne Belle,

This year, you turned three years old! If you note the date of this letter, you may wonder why it is so many days after your actual birthday. Well, my darling daughter, let me tell you: the year you turned three was a VERY BUSY ONE!

When I think back to last year, Daphne, when you turned two years old, I remember I made a list just a few months prior which included about 75 words you used appropriately. That astonishes me, now, because you, my sweetest one, you are extremely articulate these days. Everyone we meet comments on your personality, Daphne, and how incredibly intelligent you are. As a newly minted three year old, you can tell jokes and get the punchline right!* Last year, you said "Pownja Rangahs" instead of Power Rangers and today Dad-Dave taught you the right way to say "stethoscope" and you said it the wrong way only once. I keep telling him not to teach you, because a part of me wants you to say your silly words still! My baby is so big now!

This year, Daphne Belle, you threw up for the first time. Christmas was at Uncle Joe's and Aunt Jenny's and you and I both got pretty sick. You are the toughest person I know. You bent over, heaved, looked up and smiled and started playing with toys again immediately!

You rode your big wheel bike for the first time by yourself.

You pray by yourself (God is great!).

You can get dressed with little assistance and always put your own shoes on.

You remember songs and LOVE to sing. You love music and dancing.

You can count to 20. You know your alphabet by the song and mostly by sight. You know all shapes and colors, and you asked me recently to teach you how to tie your shoes. Even though that's going to take time, this request characterizes you: independent and curious to the extreme.

You like to dress up like a princess, like Doc McStuffins, like a fairy. You love Play-Doh, Barbies, crayons, paint, reading, and Jem!

If someone asked me to describe your personality, Daphne, I would say this: Daphne is very smart. She enjoys making people happy, so she will try to make you laugh. She is very affectionate but is too independent to sit and cuddle for a while. She is much more likely to come over and give you big kisses and go back to what she was doing/working on. She is very silly and tells me this when she's hungry: My tummy says he is actually really hungry, Mommy. He needs some food, okay?

You love spending time with your Dad, Jon. He takes you to Wamac Park and to visit different friends. He calls me and tells me all of your silly stories. I call him and tell him how you have advanced so much even in a day since you've seen him!

This year, we took an airplane for the first time. You did AWESOME! You acted like a seasoned traveler. You are never scared, Daphne Belle. You trust people to take care of you and you enjoy the ride. I am so proud of you.

We saw the ocean together for the first time. You LOVED IT. You were meant to be in the water, my love. You never wanted to leave the ocean. You cried and said goodbye to her when we left Maine.

We got married this year! You told everyone that you and Dad-Dave and Mommy got married. You were adorable during the ceremony. You wrapped yourself in my dress and were the star of the show. Nana Sue got you a pearl bracelet and Dad-Dave got you a beautiful necklace which he gave you when he said his vows to you. He promised to always love you, Daphne, and that is all of our promise to you. We, all three of your parents, will always love you and provide everything you need.

We also moved this year! On your birthday! We had a small party with your cousins, Lily, Parker and Julian, and you had ice cream cake for the last time in the apartment where you first lived. You now have a pink room with a pink bed, which is all you asked for.

I know that this letter is a haphazard collection of things that your mama can remember about you, my love, and I wish I could remember every single thing you have done or said because you are so special and so funny!

You really are special, Daphne. Truly, this is not just your mother's opinion. Everyone we meet, strangers and loves alike, they tell me how special you are. There is something about you that stands out, Daphne. You sparkle, you really do. You shine. You are gentle and kind but also feisty and fierce. You are the most stubborn and strong-willed person I have ever met - even more so than your dad and me! You know what you want and you usually get it, haha! You love your friends, you love your family, and you love you.

You are loved, Daphne Belle. I am so proud of you. I am the luckiest and most blessed mommy that ever was. Thank you for being my sweet daughter. I adore you and am so happy to see you get stronger and brighter every day. I love you. Happy birthday, my fairy one.

Love,
Mommy


*(Here are your jokes: "Why does a banana need sunscreen? So they don't peel!; Why do giraffes have long legs? Because their feet stink!; Why did the cat mess up the computer? Because he was chasing the mouse!" We read these in a magazine and you memorized them. Cheri told me that you had been telling jokes all day, and I was so surprised you had remembered them!)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happy birthday, Daphne Belle.

My dearest Daphne,

It has been about six months since I last wrote on this site proclaiming your brilliance and your cuteness. I spent a year chronicling your achievements and how your daddy and I marveled at them. You have astounded both of us with your graceful and girlish demeanor, your fierce independence, your aptitude at mastering new skills so quickly; how friendly you are, how polite, how well you listen and yet how stubborn you can be.

So much has changed in six months, my darling daughter. Your daddy and I are no longer married, but we still are together very much as your parents. We still marvel at you. I called him this morning to tell him about you. When you got in the car this morning, you said, "I play Sammie JoJo?" You were asking me if we were going to the daycare to play with your friends, Sammie and JoJo. You are so smart! You remembered their names, asked if that's where we were headed. He laughed and wasn't surprised a bit. We both know how smart you are. We both know how smart you have always been.

 In the past six months, you have grown astonishingly. In July, I wrote down a list of the words you knew. It topped 75. Now? It's most certainly closer to 200. You BLOOMED. You are stringing sentences together and even using the correct verb tenses! You love to read. Last night, you asked to read the book about Jeez (Jesus) and the story about Dani (Daniel in the Lion's Den). Your favorite books are the Highlight's magazines that Gigi Joan ordered you. You love to search for the hidden pictures. You have an uncanny knack for finding them! I am impressed every time. I clap my hands for you, sincerely, because you are incredible, Daphne. You blow me away.

You can recognize your name when you see it written down. You recognize the ABC's and have *started* singing them. You "count" and say 1, 2, 10. You love when the little piggies go to the market and you giggle all the way home. When you first started learning your colors, you learned blue right away. Then, you thought every color was blue. Now, you recognize blue! You haven't said other colors yet, but you recognize them! I'm so proud of you for this. You have started getting on the potty and you say, "I try potty, Mommy, I try!" You haven't "tried" for real, yet, but you sit on there and look very cute! :)

Your favorite toy seems to be a baby doll. I got you a brand new one for your birthday. I will give it to you this Saturday at your party and I am so excited! You are very nurturing. When I watch you through the window at daycare, I see you wrap up the baby doll over and over in a blanket and rock it and pretend to be its mommy. You do it at home with your Elmo doll and your Momo, too. You're so sweet, Daphne Belle.

You're also a tomboy, though! You love to play outside and to play rough. You climb EVERYTHING including your crib! Just the other day, you climbed right out of your crib. I had to take the side panel off and turned it into a toddler bed. I was worried you wouldn't want to sleep in it, but you did ... perfectly. The second night, you got up around 4 or so, and I just put you right back to bed. You seem to feel just fine in there and sleep peacefully.

Peaceful is a good word to describe you, really. Yes, you are almost two and you do have your moments of tantrums. You have started to say, "NO!" and "STOP!" but, on the whole, you are a very laid back and easy going girl. Many, many people have commented on your sweet nature. You are well loved by everyone in your life, Daphne. Everywhere you go, whether it's to Cheri's or the daycare or to see your grandparents (Lil or the Joan's), everyone loves you so much.

In the past few months, you and I have been blessed with even more people who love us. Dave and Nonna Sue are pretty taken with you as well. You have spent many hours giggling at Dave's antics and he often pretends that you are his pillow, which you think is hysterical. Nonna Sue loves you 1,000 miles away, and she is sending you a dollhouse for your birthday!

My dearest Daphne, you are growing up to be beautiful and fierce, intelligent and kind. You are exactly the daughter I dreamed of and hoped for. I love you more than I love anything or anyone and I always will. I praise God and thank Him for His gift to me of you and I pray for His hand to be in your life always. I love you, my daughter.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Writing again ... such a cute muse

In the midst of my endless and eternally boring tasks, I feel like writing.

Because it's so rare I feel like this lately, I put down the three things I was going to do and here I am. 

There is something so intimidating about writing here, for some reason. I feel like I have to capture EVERYTHING that Daphne has learned, that she has said, that she has done, because if I don't, I will forget, and that just seems unthinkable and obscene.

I think it's because of our technological culture, because we document everything whether on Facebook or on blogs or in texts. I feel so much pressure to have a record of everything, and instead of enjoying the process of capturing her essence here, I fret over it. Add to this fear the prevailing concern that every word I write make me look like I've got it all together, and then.I.just.don't.write.

I still don't have it all together, but writing is just sort of a part of me, and I'm really trying to get over what everyone else thinks anywayz.

That said. 

Daphne is 

ridiculously cute.

Of course, she's also 17 months old now and doing all kinds of new things.

She likes
helping Daddy fix the chair
and helping Mommy with the cooking. 
Just in case you were fixing to call DCFS, the oven wasn't on. Also, I fix stuff and Jon cooks (sometimes), we're not completely Cleaver over here.


She also likes to get all glammed up
 with Mommy's earrings
 a little eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss
and fancy clothes. 

I put makeup on her one day, just for fun, and I got so many dirty looks at the grocery store that I think I better wait until she's a more appropriate age, like 3 or something. 

She's climbing on everything, chairs, tables, the backs of the couch, even the baby gate. One day she did a swan dive off the ottoman and I thought she broke her neck. She's.so.wild. It makes me crazy, but I love her spirit.

She has expanded her vocabulary to include: elephant, woof woof, sad, doggy, frog, chair, book, hi, hot (which she says in a very serious voice like Mommy does), and probably some other words I'm forgetting.

She says, "Shh," and puts a finger to her mouth. Yesterday, she heard a dog outside and said, "Hi doggy! Woof woof!" That was the first time she has strung words together. Jon and I were freaking out with excitement.

Basically, she's still brilliant and adorable and becoming more so every day.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My reality

So, I usually use this forum to gush about how cute and brilliant my kid is, but today, I have to get for real.

I didn't know how ABSOLUTELY contrived a lot of the things I write for facebook and this blog are until recently. I mean, yeah, I do think my kid is a freaking genius and pageant beautiful, but I'm definitely writing for an audience (all three of you, yes, I know). Writing with this thought in my mind: "Someone I know is reading this, I have to sound like my life is decent, that I'm healthy, that I'm witty (well, you know, as much as possible), that I HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER. 

Yeah. I don't.

This past week, I fell so hard. All it takes for me to fall: a series of tiny, bad choices strung together.

I don't want to shame the people closest to me by going into public graphic detail (even though I had to do just that on a personal level), but I do want to admit this. I want to be real and say, 'MAN. I completely messed up.'

What led up to this series of bad choices that turned out to be not-so-tiny? I'm completely depressed. 

IT SOUNDS SO UNGRATEFUL, but becoming a stay-at-home mom has been so hard for me. Every day seems like a cycle of endless tasks. I kept coming to this realization: this is really it. This is my life. I didn't even take a shower today. On top of this eternal inner dialogue, I have been sad about other family things and I stopped nursing Daphne (which could totally be a physiological reason for this all coming to a head), and it all just took its toll recently.

As a Christian, I felt like I couldn't admit this on a completely honest basis. I've definitely laughed to my friends and admitted that this transition has been hard, but I haven't even been completely honest with myself about how utterly defeated I feel daily. I'm supposed to be investing in my relationship with Christ, because ultimately, He is the ONLY thing that will fulfill me. But, I haven't been. I made a decision to 'feel better' instead of being better.
Starting back at the beginning with Jesus. How many times have I been here? When will I get this right?

A friend texted me last night and asked, "How are you?" I said, "Good," and asked her back. She said, "I'm thinking about cutting, and suicide, and using drugs again. I'm lonely, I'm depressed." 

We had a real conversation then because she was brave enough to be real.

I don't know when I'll be better. I know the only way is through Jesus. I know that I'm abnormally attracted to sin, and that I will struggle with my addictions (all of them) on a minute by minute basis at this point. 

And, I know I want to be real about it.