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.