To My Sweet Daughter

Riley,

You are about to turn 3 in less than two months – when did that happen?! It feels like I put you to bed one day, and you just woke up grown up! I cannot believe the beautiful little girl you are becoming more of every day. You are the most sweet spirited person I have ever known, and yet you are independent and know exactly what you want (enjoy that. You definitely did not get it from me!)

You are actually are a lot like your daddy.  You like to know how things work.  You like to know what to expect.  You are a rule follower and enforcer, a thinker, and a creature of habit – just like him!  You do love your sleep though, so at least I passed something down ;).  It’s so fun to watch your little personality develop and to get to know who God created you to be and who you are becoming.

You love everything girly.  You love everything pink and purple, princesses, sparkles, makeup, Barbies, dolls, etc.  But you also love trucks and cars and airplanes, Lego’s, and sports.  And anything that your Daddy likes, really.  You look up to him so much, it is adorable.  You also admire me and love to do things “just like Mama!” (so I’ll go ahead and enjoy that now, while it lasts).

Tonight while we were lying in my bed I said to you, “You’re the best Riley.” You responded,”You the best too, Mama.”

Yesterday, unprompted and out of nowhere, you ran up and gave me a big hug and said, “I love you Mama.”

When I asked you today if you wanted to feel your baby brother move in my belly you said, “Uhhh no.” The “Uhhh no” is something you’ve been saying a lot lately and you say it in such a condescending way, as if the question is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard. It cracks me up :).

It’s been a week where I’ve been sick, so we’ve been cooped up a lot and I have felt bad that I haven’t been able to do much with you. And yet every single day you have said things like, “This is the BEST day EVER!!!” and “Today is Mama Riley adbenture day! I so excited!” and something that you have been telling me several times a day lately, “Mama, I happy!” Even when I feel like I am at my worst, you have a way of making me feel so special. You just enjoy every minute of life and your contentment is contagious. If I could take the tiniest molecule of your daily joy, put it in a capsule and give it to people to take, I have a feeling it would be quite the antidote for much of the anxiety and depression plaguing the adult world.

Earlier this week when we had returned from a walk to the playground you said, “I have fun at Riley’s house! I LOVE Riley’s house!”  You have no idea how happy that made me.  Sometimes I get so wrapped up in comparing what we have to other people and I’ll feel discouraged about how small or unimpressive our little home is.  But then I look at you and how much you absolutely love it here, and it makes me also fall in love with this little home that we have made together as a family.  You really help me when I need to keep my perspective in check, kiddo!

You always make it clear that you love your life, your home, and your family.

When I leave (even for just 15 minutes) I cannot get over how excited you are to see me when I return. You get the biggest smile on your face and excitedly say, “MAMA!!!!!” As if you haven’t seen me in weeks. And you often say, “Mama, I so glad you back.”

You’ve also started asking, “Mama, do wanna play with me?” or you’ll ask me, “Mama, do wanna sit with me?” But you pronounce the “me” with a long “e” in the sweetest little voice. It makes me turn to mush and I cannot turn you down. Your seriously have the sweetest little voice. I don’t ever want it to change! Well, I guess I do… I mean, you don’t really want to be a 30 year old with that little voice. That would be very weird. But I want it to last as much as your childhood as possible.

But even when I can’t play with you, you’re such a little sport about it. You actually do an amazing job of entertaining yourself. You’ve reached a really fun stage where you can play with your little toy figurines (like Mickey & Minnie or your little princesses) for hours at a time, entering completely into an imaginary world. You often make them say and do things that your daddy and I say and do. For example, one doll will say to another, “I have to go to work! I see you later!” or one will sing the “Baby Song” that I sing to you at bed time, as they tuck another one into the play-dough bed that you have made them :). I could watch you play like that for hours.

As much as you love me and shower me with affection, you also have a funny way of trying to get rid of me. One day we were at the pool and you met a little friend, Sophia. I was swimming right next to you. You gave me this really funny look and said, “Mama… go float.” I responded, “Oh, you want me to float sweetheart?” as I started to float on my back in the water. You kind of looked around and then said, “Mama go float… over there!” as you pointed to the other end of the pool. And a few days ago when you started dancing in the living room you gave me that same look again and said, “Mama… go hide!” I said, “But I want to watch you dance sweetie.” But you insisted, “Mama, go hide in Mama room” and continued to dance once I left. Clever :).

I can tell that you are starting to learn the blame game (your poor unsuspecting brother, who I’m sure is about to bear the brunt of it!).  Yesterday you ate the last banana Popsicle from the freezer.  Then when you saw the empty wrapper sitting on the coffee table you (literally) gasped and said, “Mama! You eat it ALL!!!!”  I said, “No Riley, YOU ate it all.”  You shook your head and said, “No Mama, you eat it all.”  Little stinker ;).

And you’ve become quite the negotiator – it’s pretty hilarious. Recently you had asked me for a rice cake. I told you “no”. So you tried to negotiate, “juuuuuusst one rice cake?” I caved, “Ok Riley, you may have JUST ONE rice cake.” You said, “Ok thanks mama, just two rice cake!” Sneaky ;). But you really were sneaky because I found myself handing you two before I realized what had just happened! You’ve also started the whole, “Just oooonne more minute!” When I tell you it’s time to leave or turn off the TV.

The problem is, everything you do is so cute and sweet that I have a REALLY hard time not giving into you.  I say “yes” to you a whole lot and you are probably getting way too spoiled. I’m sure it’s going to back fire on me at some point. Your daddy and I are often having conversations about how I need to be more firm with you and clear and consistent with my “no’s.”

But you are seriously the most incredible little person, and I feel so blown away and grateful that I get to spend my days having “adbentures” with you! I’m not saying it’s always easy. There are days when I think motherhood might swallow me whole, and I truly don’t know what I would do without your 3 hour afternoon nap (Seriously. 3 hours! You have no idea how much your pregnant mama appreciates that sweetheart. Please keep it up.). But being with you is so sweet. Always rich. And always worth it. It sounds so cliche but you are growing up so fast and I don’t want to miss a moment!

 

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