You’re 3!

I don’t even know where to go with this letter to you, Kate.

So much has happened this year.

You got ear tubes, and your language and comprehension (which were about average for your age) exploded. This hasn’t translated into making you an excellent listener, per se. Something for us to work on this year.

Plus (knocking on wood), your ear infections disappeared. For as sick as you have been this year, after those tubes went in, ear infections have not been a problem (strep throat, H1N1, the usual coughs and colds, on the other hand…).

You got a hair cut.

You learned to swim, with lots of encouragement from pap-pap. And you loved it.

You scared the bejeezus out of your father and me (and several of our close friends) when you ran into the street on the South Side. I think you may have learned your lesson. You are much more willing to hold my hand in parking lots. Now, when we are in stores and you want to walk instead of ride in the cart, you solemnly assure me, “And I won’t run ‘way, mama.” And you usually don’t, choosing instead to hang off of the cart. Or stand directly in front of it.

You seem determined to absorb as much knowledge as your sister does. The other night, Flora said to me, “Kate wants to do everything I do.” She was complaining, and I know that we are in for many more years of that. But I told her that you did that because you love her and look up to her. And it’s true: You love your big sister, unreservedly, whole heartedly.

This morning, for the first time, you said “spoon” almost correctly. You’ve had trouble pronouncing “sp” and “sm” sounds (I know there is a word for those sounds, but it escapes me at this time), usually saying s-foon or fs-mell. But this morning you said “sp-oon”, spitting out the “sp” correctly. I’m sure you didn’t notice, but I sure did.

Another sign you are growing up.

You are a skinny bundle of energy. “Irrepressible” is a good word for you. You haven’t had a toddler belly for more than a year, and I still miss it. You seems as determined to grow up and be a big girl as you are yearning to be a baby. You crawl into my lap with a play bottle to cuddle as often as you attempt to hang off of my head.

For me, 3 is the dreaded year, and I will promise you something, Bun — Kate, I mean. I promise that I will take more deep breaths. I will keep the boundaries we set. I will give you what you need from me, from cuddling to book reading to help with art & crafts to loving discipline.

You? You don’t really “have” to do anything. (Well, the potty thing. That you really have to get nailed down soon.) I don’t want you to change, not really. You are so expressive, so funny, so stubborn. You are so loving.

Happy Birthday, Bun, Kate.

All my love, Mommy