Tomorrow night is the solstice, Junebug, and that will make you three and a half. I don’t mean to get overly picky about your age, the halves and the quarters and all that, but I was thinking recently about how I miss writing these posts to you. At one point, each month’s 21st was a reason to put aside other work, photograph you, think about you, and write to you. It was a good way to remind myself how totally, sincerely, amazing you are.

Three has been a tough age, in many ways. You have SO many emotions right now; minor frustrations can just crumple you (and by crumple, I mean more like possess, what with the screaming and flailing). But it is also sort of magical, watching you process some big ideas, form these new connections, and empathize on a new level. For example, it was a big deal for you getting to decorate the tree with me while Quinn was asleep. Before hand, we talked a lot about how special the ornaments were to me, because they were my Busia’s. I really did want you to know why they were special, but my more pragmatic goal was to encourage you to handle them with care. Ten minutes later when you dropped one I told it was ok (it really was ok, it was an accident, and not even a careless one) and you silently followed me to the broom closet, emotions bubbling in your sweet little body, and told me, “Mom, thanks for telling me ‘that’s ok’.” I just had to hug you so hard.

You love to socialize, you love your family and buddies, you get SO excited when we are going to meet up with someone (child or grown up regardless) and you sometimes get frantic about making eleventh hour little presents for them. Last week, as I was trying to get shoes on Quinn and you were supposed to be getting your coat on (and we were, of course, late), you got into the sticky notes and had scribbled on about half the pack when I found you. I was irritated but you told me you were making Christmas cards for all your buddies. We got to school and you silently, somberly, handed one to each parent and classmate, and I was so proud.

Speaking of school, I’m starting to see the building blocks of reading falling into place for you, which is just crazy. Looking at the bakery awning with it’s “cafe” text, you burst out, “Mom, it’s F for Frankie! And A for Adler! And C for Cora! And E for Emmett!” and you can match the sounds to the letters in your name (R for Juniperrrrrrrr). You are as hungry as ever for books, and you have the uncanny ability to recite passages (in perfect context) that I would have sworn you couldn’t understand when we read them. I love hearing your quiet self-talk while you play by yourself, as it’s usually a mash-up of dramatic statements and transitional phrases from such books (“But suddenly… as it turned out… Why should I? he asked… we will never know… I’m sorry, I can’t help you, I must leave, goodBYE…”)

I know that every parent thinks their kid is the most special little person of all the bunch, but I really think you actually are 🙂 Other people seem to see it to. Last week a little classmate gave you a sweetly decorated envelope with one of his school pictures inside. His mom explained they’d been sending them to family and there was one left, and Emmett said he wanted to give it to you. Things like that happen just all the time – when people are choosing, they choose you.

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I love you so much, peanut.

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