Karina, you are my favorite when you talk in your new “silly voice.” You’re my favorite when you have to find Yellow Baby because she can’t sleep without you. You’re my favorite when you show how much confidence you’ve gained this year, how you’ll say “hi” now to a relative you haven’t seen in a long time, how you don’t want Mom to hold your hand all the time any more (OK, that breaks my heart a little, but the reason for it makes me proud – typical motherhood dichotomy, I guess).
I love the songs you make up. Sometimes you just sing your way through whatever game you are playing, and sometimes you create lyrics that seem like they MIGHT be intended to tell SOMEBODY SOMETHING. “My way is just fine/It’s beautiful and lovely/And I can do whatever I want.” You don’t actually add “SO THERE, RIYA” to the end, but I think it might be implied.
I love how you still refuse to be rushed through anything. You are going to take the time to do it right, and if Riya and Ben want to run to the park and back while you are still exploring this section of curb, so be it. Who needs ’em? At the end of the day, they’ll be exhausted, crabby, and sweaty, and you will have a fistful of dandelions. WHO’S LAUGHING NOW!?
Ben, you are my favorite when you get up before your sisters just so you can crawl into bed with me for a few minutes. You’re my favorite when you wriggle around like a puppy because you know it will get you a back rub or a tickle fight. You’re my favorite when you grin that grin, because you just know it’ll make me laugh.
I love it when you start recounting things that happened to you “when I was growed up.” When you are puzzling through a new concept, and I don’t give a sufficiently concrete answer to one of your millions of questions, you will often just answer it yourself. For example, “I think heaven MUST be up in the clouds, Mommy, because I saw it there when I was growed up.”
I love it when you and Karina work for days on getting the sign language for “I love you” down, because you want to be able to wave it to me out the window as I’m leaving for work. (You were so proud this week when you found out you were doing it without any help.) If you think it’s easy to leave you in that moment, you are so, so wrong.
Riya, you are my favorite when you are reading, reading, reading, reading. You’re my favorite when you follow adult conversations and understand the concepts so well that other grown-ups are often surprised to hear you say things like, “Yes, I already know that about the oil spill. I thought the underwater robots were going to fix it.” You’re my favorite when you just want to help, and you just don’t think it’s possible that there is anything beyond your abilities. Move furniture? Clean the mirror that is 3 feet above your head? No problem! Next!
I love it when you lose your I-can-handle-it exterior long enough to crawl into my lap and admit you’re sad. Not because I like you to be sad, but because you are so big, and I like having my baby back for a minute.
I love it when, every once in a while, something comes up that you can’t master on the first try, like riding your bike without training wheels, because your legendary confidence is back these days in full force, and I love hearing you say, “You’re right, Mom, I’ll try again later. I’ll get it next time.”
With three such amazing kids, it’s a good thing I don’t really have to choose.