Happy Birthday to My Girl - The Big 3

The end of the year brings about a time for a lot of personal reflection for people. It is doubly important for me as December 31st happens to be the birthday for my daughter. Today, she turns 3. A number that seems insignifiant for someone like myself that is 33 now, but rather significant for her considering the amount of changes she is going through.

Watching my daughter over the past year has been a wake-up call to me with how much a person can truly change within a year, whether naturally or through conscientious actions to make improvements. I witness one of my grandmothers (nearly 90 years old) go through major changes herself in the past year and cannot help but think of time as an inverse parabola. At the beginning and at the ends of our life, each day is far more significant than within the middle years.

In the case of my daughter, there have been huge changes even within the past few months. At this time last year, she was still mastering her ability to go up and down stairs standing up, climbing up walls and breaking through her fear of heights to go down slides. She didn’t fully grasp the concept that a box in wrapping paper contained something good. Building a vocabulary of words and understanding them was just beginning. Heck, she was still in diapers and more comfortable sleeping in a bed with me than alone.

Now, she is completely different.

Last year, she was more like a walking baby; today, she’s a mini-person walking around full of personality that really shines through with her smile. While she has always studied people, now she has a better understanding of what is happening. She can laugh at something on television before I do, can tell when someone is upset or happy, knows when to approach people and when not to. It’s simply amazing to watch someone grow to understand society and want to be apart of it. She will stand outside of the elevator and point at someone down the hallway, waiting before they are by her to press the button and enter the elevator. She waves bye to strangers, says please and thank you. She is a perfect citizen.[1]

Her mastery of numbers and spelling is frightening to me. Being able to pick out and place the numbers 1–12 with no help always catches me off guard. She’s slowly understanding the concept that those numbers hold value, as well. “Bring one baby doll,” actually means one baby doll to her, and she will put the other ones back in their place. Knowing the sounds of words (e.g. “sh,” “ck,” “ah,” etc.) is making her ability to say words even more easily than first imagined. She still is not talking much directly to us, but in the privacy of a room without someone around, I catch her speaking short sentences to her play phone or to The Backyardians show playing on the iPad.

Oh, and her ability to navigate the iPad/iPhone is insane. She knows what to expect when pressing a button, so when something doesn’t happen the way she knows it should, I always get to hear, “Dada,” or “Uh ohs.”[2] I would hestitate to guess she could use either devices better than the average consumer just picking up a phone in a store.

The best part of the past year has been watching her get excited over seeing something or experiencing a new taste, music, and so forth. Last year, it was slowly sinking into her what things were and trying to understand everything around her. Now, she can see the sky brightening up in the morning and know it is time to go outside, or we can tell her that we are going someplace and she gets excited because she knows what will happen there. It is much more fun making a snake out of Play Doh and having react because she knows it is silly, rather than staring at it and not knowing what is so special about it.

It is also much more fun having her help with doing things. She understands what she can and can’t do without getting too upset when I tell her it is too hot to touch or dangerous. She is almost at the point where she could cook me scrambled eggs - she knows where the pans are, how to grease it with butter, how to crack the eggs, and mix it all up. Even knows that you need to season the eggs after they’ve cooked, and how to make coffee using an Aeropress.

Hopefully, she slows down a bit and is a kid for a while.

The past year has been an incredible journey for us both. Full of changes and growth, watching her become her own person and watching me slowly adapt to life with a mini-partner-in-crime. I can’t wait for the next year of changes to happen as she enters her pre-school program, has a better understanding of English with a slow introduction to French, and builds up a larger social circle of friends.

Happy birthday, my little girl, and may the coming year be full of life and surprises for us both.

And, her favourite song of the year, Carly Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe” (of course):

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  1. Knock on wood. Several times.  ↩
  2. For the record, that’s the cutest saying ev-ar.  ↩