(in love with this picture of you....it's so very YOU)
Let me just get this out of the way here: you are without a doubt our most challenging child. That's nothing new, since you've always been our fighter, our most emotional, our most exhausting child from day one (and even your early pregnancy). I'm not sure why I'm surprised by this anymore but I continue to wonder if I'm mom enough to be your mother. My own mom assures me that I *am* cut out for this role as your mommy but I can't help but feel a little deflated after a day of constantly trying to mold you, to hold you, to calm you down and redirect you, to try to figure you out.
You'll melt into a puddle of tears and screams and 'no no no no no's if things do not go your way, and sometimes the meltdowns continue well past the point of reason. I blame it on being overtired, or hungry, or being told 'no' to chocolate for breakfast, or if you bump your knee, or have to share your things with your brothers. Sometimes I think you crave 100% of my attention and none of my efforts to provide that in small doses seem to be enough. So: Emotional Meltdowns (capitalized, yes) happen and they sort of suck the life out of us all.
What I tell myself is this: it's a good characteristic as a girl in this world, to have a strong will, to be determined and 'fiesty.' I think this quality will serve you well over time as nobody is going to make this child a doormat. There will be hell to pay if they try.
Two has been a wild ride at times, Cecelia, and we are lucky we made it out alive. If anyone tells me that three is worse than two here I might knife them, so let's just pretend that you'll get a grip on your emotions before the teenage years provide a fresh burst of crazy;)
(Happy thoughts! Gear shift because I really do love the hell out of you even when you are a lunatic!)
You are incredibly independent, hence the spunky, spirited, determined aspect of your personality as seen above. This independence means that you prefer to get yourself dressed and undressed, sometimes needing help with your shirts. You like to pick out your own clothes and your own shoes but occasionally you'll let it slide if I try to make those decisions for you. You potty trained quickly and completely right after you turned 2.5 and it sort of amazes me how BIG you seem without diapers. You do the whole routine alone--announcing you have to go, actually going, pulling up your undies/pants, and washing your hands. I have to remind you that you aren't quite old enough to wipe your own booty after a number two, though---all of this is funny to me because Truman took quite a bit longer to be fully independent in the bathroom. But getting up in the middle of the night to pee or realizing you should potty before we leave the house means you seem significantly older than three years.
You love to have a task and are genuinely helpful around the house. This is huge! You have a little water squirt bottle and you like to help me clean the kitchen counters, the table, and the floors. You will happily dust bust crumbs but you despise touching dust bunnies or any bits of dirt that might look like a bug. Because bugs are the WORST in your world, Cecelia. Ants are scary, bees are terrifying, and we regularly talk about how flies cannot 'get' you. Also you don't really love thunderstorms or black dogs, and you'll tell me that, 'I not do that monster talk anymore,' out of the blue---because you seem to get yourself worked up if you talk about monsters, bees, or thunder. But you do love most animals, especially ducks and birds. You'd be happiest if we took you to the zoo daily to observe any and all animals, but you still talk about that one time you saw an elephant pee and poop at the zoo. It was the highlight of your life, I think.
Actually, your 'potty talk' with your brother is becoming a thing. It's innocent enough and you really love to get a laugh out of Truman with your 'did you pee on your head?' discussions. I secretly love to hear you belly laugh with him, although most of the time you're only laughing because of pee and poo jokes. My dainty little flower, talking about a 'fart face, poop butt' at the dinner table.
Other things you love? Caring for your baby dolls, pretending to change their (very very poopy) diapers, taking them for a stroll outside, laying them down for naps, and telling them 'It's okay, CC is here.' You are also bordering on obsession for swings, so many of our days at home revolve around getting you on a swing and pushing you for hours on end (it seems). Chapstick and specifically carrying around a dozen kinds of chapstick in a ziplock bag is your fave. Transporting random crap from room to room of the house in various containers will always be a priority for you. The other day I found a paperclip, a random doll shoe, a rubber band, a match box car, and a McDonalds figurine with long hair all scattered across your bed. You have a basket full of randomness on your bed at all times and I have no idea why any of it is important, but apparently it is VERY special junk.
You also adore your brothers and both of them are complete fools for you. I see such a caretaker heart in how you interact with Porter, it kind of makes me tear up at times. The other day, Nate caught you sitting outside by Porter when I came inside briefly. Porter was fussing when I walked away, so you scooted over to him and sat very close to his little body. You were talking to him saying, 'It's okay, Porter,' and he instantly calmed down and smiled at you. With Truman you obviously adore him and want to emulate his every move, kissing him goodbye before school and giving him an aggressive hug when he returns home. You two also butt heads like siblings do and you know how to push Truman's buttons, but a majority of the time you get along just fine. Because I picture you as the child with the biggest personality, we sometimes like to imagine a day when you are sticking up for both of your brothers even though they will likely tower over you;)
You can play independently for a minimal amount of time but you absolutely prefer to have me play with you or watch you play, and you haven't found anything that keeps your attention for more than maybe five minutes. Well, except for playing in our kitchen sink---you could fill random cups with water and 'help wash' our dishes for a solid 30 minutes at times. And digging in the dirt next to our house is also a favorite pass time for you, something you could probably handle for a half an hour if I also allow you water to create mud. You both love and hate to be dirty, and you are both really girlie and a total tomboy. Again, a girl of extremes!
Not a big fan of screens---not the TV, not movies, not an iPad, NOTHING. This is admittedly kind of maddening when I want just a quick 20 minutes to focus on making a meal or sitting in silence. Throw me a bone, girl! But other than watching videos of yourself for a few seconds, you simply do not care about screen time. This makes you unique and maybe it won't last, but I know your big brother already loved TV shows at this age.
You seem pretty athletic as you climb all over playgrounds that would have intimidated Truman at age three, you love to run and jump and race. But you apparently dislike organized sports as your soccer practice has been a big flop. Granted, you ARE a little young for the three year old team and the practices are a full hour long---but still, the three practices you've had resulted in very little participation by you. The first practice you lasted 20 minutes before running to me and being 'scared', the second time was maybe 10 minutes, and the third time you only ran out to give the coach a high five then returned to my side without any intention of ever leaving again. Oh well, at least we tried and you like being outside in general, so we will keep bringing you to watch Truman on his five year old team, at least;)
I find it interesting to see you in activities without Truman, since admittedly we've done very little without your trusty sidekick. But you've done an art class (with me and Porter present), soccer (with Truman on a different field), and I have you signed up for gymnastics alone and also swimming lessons alone. We will see how they go, since it appears you are going through a bit of separation anxiety with me. You are fine when I leave you and Porter at Lori's, but you will get sad and fight back tears if I leave you with a sitter or with Papa---I guess that sort of depends on your mood, really.
As far as actual school-type learning goes, I think you are probably right on track for age three. You can recognize some of the alphabet (especially all Cs!), some numbers, and you'll draw circles all day long. When you count you regularly skip numbers 6 and 7 but can get up to 15, and you have no desire to write letters outside of 'C'. I definitely cannot push you to do anything in this life and because you are our second born, I realize that it's okay for you to be a kid and not focus too much on school-things just yet. You also don't care about puzzles, which were your brother's favorite at this age, but you do love to look at books and can make up the best stories based on the illustrations.
Sleep is one of your greatest achievements, when I think back to your first year of life when you hated the Zzzzzzs. You wake around 6:30-7 but don't come out of your room until 7 when your clock turns yellow. You usually request to nap by 11:30 but I try to push it off until after lunch, around 12:30 or so. And then you'll nap for a solid 2-3 hours. Bedtime is at 7:30-8 and although you don't pass out within seconds, like Truman now does, you usually enjoy going to sleep at night. So getting eleven hours of sleep at night plus 2-3 hours of napping is necessary for you because you are a flurry of non-stop activity during the day.
Also, you still get your nuk in your bed for naps and nights, so perhaps that is why you enjoy your snoozing so much. I never would have thought I'd let one my kids keep a pacifier until age three but honestly, it's one of the only soothing tools we have with you when you are hysterical. Going into your bed for a 'rest' with your nuk absolutely helps you to reset somehow, although you've been talking about a 'Nukie Fairy' coming to visit you after your birthday. I'm all for this fairy coming to take your nuks and a few nights you have asked for her to come, but then you'll chicken out last minute. I think you'll readily give it up when you're completely ready, hopefully soon. Just another example on how you've changed me as a mom, forcing me to adapt my expectations as we go. Forcing me to loosen up and ATTEMPT to go with the flow. HA! ;)
You aren't a huge eater in that you prefer to graze all day and can't seem to chow a big meal in a sitting. But you do love to try new foods, usually asking for things off my plate---green beans, spinach salad, pork roast, scrambled eggs, anything! It seems like if you eat the food off my plate it's tasty, but if you get your own serving on your own plate it's disgusting. Very interesting phenomenon for my most adventurous eater! But you do love all sweets, trail mix is a recent favorite, and of course any junky snack foods will always be a hit. I'm just happy that you do eat a variety of foods (ahem, Truman) even if they are in smaller servings spaced throughout the day.
The first thing people notice about you, Cecelia, is your trademark curly-red hair. It's getting crazy long and humidity is your friend for those ringlets--jealous! Plus you have the biggest blue eyes and pouty lips, and you're quite simply beautiful, CC. Stunning, really. You are incredibly tall and thin, still fitting in most of your 2T clothes from last summer but you really need 3T pants and tops because of the length, size 7 shoes. Basically, you struggle with my same wardrobe issues---size up and have the clothes too baggy but long enough, or size down and wear high waters or 3/4 length sleeves at all times. I just weighed you specifically for this post and you are *thisclose* to breaking 30 pounds, which means you gained about four pounds in the past year. You also grew nearly four inches and are about 38.5" tall now---definitely taller than most of the girls your age and some of the boys, too. But you're a string bean, sister, and Porter will surely lap you on the scale soon enough.
Your grandma and grandpa from Colorado, and your great-grandma from Missouri are all flying in today to help us celebrate. Your party at Lori's was yesterday, today you are home with me and you have requested to go to the swings and eat ice cream, and then your big party here is Sunday. I can't wait to see your face when you open up your scooter and Hello Kitty umbrella----the two very specific things you requested for your big day;) You also informed me that you want 'lots of candy' but I'm hoping you forget about that one.
All of this rambling to say that I love you to pieces, Cecelia. You are our firecracker, our big girl, our sweet daughter who keeps us on our toes. We wouldn't have you any other way. We are so glad you are here and can't wait to watch you grow up!
And oh, how much you've already grown.
(On turning one) (On turning two)
Third Birthday Interview: to hear her sugary sweet voice and die a little. This is the first year I did this with CC, love how Truman kept answering her questions and she was talking in a silly voice so I couldn't even understand half of her answers. My favorite is 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' ;)
Cecelia's Third Year Interview from Julia H. on Vimeo.
Three Years of Cecelia: photo montage. Why do photos set to music always make me cry? I made this in iPhoto this year and really like how it turned out, even though I stayed up until 11pm one night
CC 3 years slideshow from Julia H. on Vimeo.