Today was your third birthday. On one hand we can't believe it has been three years already. On the other hand, neither one of us can really remember what our lives were like before we had you. We are sure we probably had lots more free time, disposable income and hours of sleep, but we wouldn't trade the last three years for anything (except maybe we'd be willing to negotiate a swap for your first three months, but there have been lots of posts about that already).
This is the first year you have really understood birthdays (and parties and presents) and you have been looking forward to your birthday for quite a while now. You spent all morning walking around the apartment singing "happy birthday to Phoebe". You actually spend a lot of your time singing: songs we've taught you, songs you learn at school, and songs you make up yourself. The joyful energy in your singing always makes us smile and music is a big part of our lives - one of us sings you bedtime songs every night (usually it is three songs, but tonight you demanded an extra "because it's my birthday!"). Your current favorites are: Blowin' in the Wind, The Train Song (Morningtown), The Rainbow Song (Rainbow Connection), and Good Night Sleep Tight. You love learning new songs and sometimes request a song you've never heard before - your tired parents don't always think that through and we definitely had to explain a few things after Mom accidentally chose The Gambler as a lullaby one night.
We spend a lot of our time explaining things. You are very inquisitive and curious. We have to remind ourselves that these are traits we want to encourage because sometimes we don't always feel like answering your constant questions. We promise to try harder to encourage and honor your curiosity - even when that means it takes us 30 minutes to read a single bedtime story.
Three year old Phoebe is fiercely independent. You want to do everything yourself and I don't think it ever crosses your mind that there might be something you can't do. You are adventurous and fearless in a way that regularly frightens all the adults around you but is also pretty admirable. Your shins are constantly full of bruises and scrapes but you always get right back up and jump back into whatever you were doing. We hope this confidence and persistence follows you into adulthood and can't wait to see where it takes you (besides the ER).
Your world was turned upside down this year with the arrival of your baby sister. You try very hard to be a good big sister and always want to help change, dress and comfort the baby. You call Eleanor "my little one" or "my Ellie" and always want to know where she is and how she is doing. There are definitely jealous moments when you want a parent's attention but overall you have been very good about welcoming your sister into our family. You love to wear matching clothes and get very excited when Eleanor smiles at you or grabs your finger. We are so excited to see the two of you grow up together.
This year you've also made some good friends. Your best friends are two little boys (twins) from your class at school. The three of you cause a lot of trouble and are really more like three siblings than friends. It is fun (and a little scary) to watch you interact and scheme.
You've also started to really voice your preferences. You are very particular about what you will wear (a post on this soon), and are starting to get a bit more particular than we'd like about what you will eat. You're also starting to learn the art of negotiation although you still need a little practice - sometimes you negotiate down to six or seven minutes of extra playtime when offered 10. When negotiation fails, you try to convince us that what you want to do was our idea all along. I think we are going to be in serious trouble when you get a little older.
We were trying to think about what to write in this post but it is just so hard to capture three year old Phoebe in words. You are enthusiastic, helpful, independent, and just down-right amazing. Parenting you is THE MOST challenging but most rewarding thing either one of us has ever done. We feel so lucky that you are ours. We hear that three is a pretty challenging year, and we're already starting to see (big) hints of that. While your behavior sometimes drives us batty, we always love the person you are. We have learned so much parenting you and are looking forward to trying to keep up with you in the coming year. We love you more than we could ever say. Happy birthday Doodle Bug!!
Hugs and Kisses,
Mom and Dad