Happy Birthday, Izzy!

Dear Izzy,

Happy 3rd birthday! 

I doubt you noticed, because you were so busy trying to stall, but I cried a little when we put you to bed last night. You were chattering away while I snuggled with you in your big girl bed and daddy read you a story. Try as i might to hold them back, a few tears escaped my eyes as I thought back to three years ago on June 29th. How excited and nervous we were knowing we’d get to meet you the next day. Praying that the induction would be successful and we’d have no complications. I never thought we were capable of creating such a perfect little creature let alone raise a human that is not mistaken for having been raised by wolves. (Well, that doesn’t always apply. You throw some really epic tantrums. I wonder what the neighbors must think.)

After all the hugs, kisses, wishes of sweet dreams and “I love you’s” were given out for the night, daddy and I left the room and I bawled. I told your daddy that I was so sad that the next time I see you, you will be three. You’ll never be two year old Izzy again. It may seem silly - because I love who you are and who you’ve become. But I miss baby Izzy, one year old Izzy and now, two year old Izzy. I now understand the desperation to cling to babyhood when a mother declares that her child is 36 months old instead of three years. Boy, do I get it and one day you will too.

Your daddy, ever the optimist, reminded me that your growth is proof that we are doing a great job as parents. You are healthy, growing, learning and doing all the things a child your age should be doing and then some. He reminded me that your getting older does not mean we are running out of time with you. 
I know this is true but I can’t help but want to keep you tiny forever.

Even though I miss Izzy from the past, I am so delighted with who you are. You are a funny little thing. Recently you’ve discovered the fun of making faces. 

You love to laugh so much that you often beg to be tickled or play ‘Bore a Hole’ - a game in which we circle your belly button with our finger and then finally tickle your belly button. Every time you squeal with glee and laugh until tears come to your eyes.
Three year old Izzy is quite the ham. You delight in showing off and bouncing around. That usually lasts until you realize everyone is actually paying attention. Then you clam up and run for cover. I’m not going to give you any Tony awards yet but kid, I can see your name in lights. :) 

You are rarely still and always up to something. Just when I begin to sigh in relief that you finally sat down, I can barely complete the exhale before you are moving again.
A body in motion, stays in motion.
You want to be just like mommy and daddy. Not only do you resemble equal parts of both but you are a little shadow as well. You love to play daddy’s driving game. He never lets you watch him play though. Good call daddy, even I get a little traumatized by how you play that game. You carry around our old cell phones having very important conversations with mommom, nana, kitty kat and your dolls. You never call Tuna though...maybe that explains why he poops on our laundry. I’d be salty too if you never called me! You never miss an opportunity to help me fold laundry...and then mess it up by laying all over it. No big deal, the clothes rarely makes it into the dressers anyway. You are the official table-setter in the family, pulling all the condiments you can reach out of the fridge for dinner. 

Everything we do, you do.

But for all your shadowing, you are fiercely independent. No one can tell you how to do anything. Shoes on the wrong feet? Who cares! Its the new look!
Shirt as pants? It’s a skirt now! I’m a fashionista!
What do you mean I shouldn’t dip broccoli in ketchup? You are missing out mommy!
Don’t feel like wearing clothes? No problem! I’m Izzy, I’m three and I don’t have to! (until mommy catches up with me and wrestles me back into underpants.)

However misguided your brand of self-sufficiency is, it gives me faith that one day you will be a strong, courageous, confident and self-reliant woman. If that much is accomplished, I will feel successful as a mother.

You are kind and sweet often dolling out hugs and kisses to anything that moves...sometimes even things that don’t.
You care about others and are aware of their emotions. You try to comfort people with your silliness when you know that they are unhappy. Or you will ask with concerned eyes if they are ok while laying a hand on them for comfort. You hand out praise and cheer in unlimited supply. You are every body's friend declaring that so and so ‘is my best friend!’. You tell me and daddy almost every day ‘you my best friend mommy. Daddy is my best friend too. You and daddy both my best friends’. To which we always reply ‘You’re my best friend too Izzy.’ And I won’t kid you, every time you say it, I secretly hope that it stays true forever.

You love: princesses, reading stories, re-telling those stories in your own words, puppies, kittens, playing with mommy’s makeup, pickles, noodles, playing games on the computer, eskimo kisses, snikkidies, going to the park, coloring and painting, tumbling, twirling, dancing and singing - especially when we change the songs to include your name. Oh and Dora the Explorer - we can’t forget her.

You hate: taking baths, naps, bed time, washing your hair, anything mommy cooks for dinner (really, I don’t blame you but I still wish you’d eat it), time-outs, applying sunscreen, riding in the carriage of mommy’s bike, soiled clothing - even the tiniest drop of water requires a wardrobe change and bugs.

Honestly, your likes and dislikes have become so numerous and varied that I can’t remember them all at once. But you have no problem letting us know when you are unhappy with something. Your displeasure can range from a simple ‘No, I don’t like that’ to screams so shrill that someone might believe you are being kidnapped and spontaneously bursting into flames all at once. You are a champion fit thrower. As much as I hate these fits, I have to admire your tenacity because on occasion they can go for hours.

Last night as I reflected on the day you were born, I never thought I could be more proud than I was or love you more than I did in the moment they finally laid you on my chest. But with every passing day that I have the honor of being your mother, I fall deeper in love and, of course, believe you are the greatest child ever to grace the planet. (Surely I am the only parent that has ever felt this way about their child, so it must be true.)

Happy birthday, Isabella. You will never be two again but you will always be loved and cherished.