My dearest Elle,
Today you turn three--where did the year go?!?! Although as I look at pictures and remember you from a few months ago, you seem so much older now. You are no longer my little baby; you have become my beautiful little girl. Your personality has continued to blossom, and I still LOVE to be around you because you are SO MUCH FUN! Everything in life is exciting to you, from a roly-poly on the ground to the moon in the sky. It doesn't take much to convince you that anything we do is fun; you find joy in everything, which is always a great lesson for me. You love art projects, so of course, you get excited about any projects we do at home, but we can be cleaning up toys or washing the windows, and you will get just as excited about that.
You turn everything into a song these days, and I often feel like I live in a musical. We went to the mall the other day, and when we pulled in the parking lot, you started screaming and pointing, "The mall, Mommy; look, it's the mall!" Then, when we got out of the car, you made up a song that went, "I love the mall; I love the mall, I love it when mommy, Ellester, and Lauren go to the mall!" Yes, you now refer to yourself as Ellester on a regular basis (that's your daddy's influence). Dora is your favorite show right now, and she also comes into play during these songs and make believe time. The other day I told you we needed to get ready, so we could go to the gym, and you looked at me very seriously and said, "Mommy, first we have to help baby dino find his mommy!" You were determined to finish helping Dora, and you truly believe you're vital in her missions. We went on a hike with Daddy the other day (you were in a dress and Cinderella top, of course), and you were soo excited to be in the forest, like Dora, and you kept turning the hike into a Dora episode and singing about it (first, we have to go through the forest; then over the bridge; then we can find the playground!). It's been so fun to watch your mind and your imagination work, especially as you've become better able to communicate your thoughts with us.
You have definitely developed more of an opinion on your wardrobe the past few months, and at least half the time, you are walking around with a tutu or some other dress-up item on. I just let you choose what you want, although depending on where we're going, I do try to limit your choices. But, as one of your friend's moms said the other day, "I wish I could be like Elle and make a tutu look good with any outfit." You still love to sing and dance and will often treat us to "shows"; however, you have become a lot more shy around people you don't know and will be really quiet if you realize they're talking to you or watching you. You're still pretty bossy and you try to tell me exactly where to stand and what to do in the performance. I pray that as you grow, you will always use those God-given leadership skills to lead others in the right direction.
You have matured a lot over the past year when it comes to being obedient and to being kind to your sister and others. I rarely have to put you in time-out, and you will usually apologize for things without me even asking. You have become so polite, and you say, "Please, mama" and "Thank you, mama" all the time. You have become a great big sister to Lauren, and she thinks you're just about the funniest person she's ever seen. You love to help entertain her, feed her, and pick her up (which is not my favorite thing, since you usually do this on the tile floor!). It's been amazing to see how much you love Lauren, and I'm glad your daddy and I could give you the great gift of a sister. You have so much love for others, and you have become so generous. You constantly give me and your daddy spontaneous hugs, kisses, and "I love you"s. You have definitely developed a special relationship with your daddy and ask about him throughout the day. You told me yesterday, "Mommy, I want to hang out with daddy," and that's just what you did when he got home. You love to visit him at work, and now, any time you get hurt, you will start screaming, "My daddy's a doctor; my daddy's a doctor!" I think it makes you feel better, even when he's not there to help. You are still a mommy's girl in many ways though and will usually ask for mommy to hold you or for mommy to do something. You love to cuddle and usually want me to hold you when you first wake up. I'm glad you still need that because I'm not sure I'm ready for you to stop! You love your friends too and will usually give them "big hugs" when you see them. When we're going to meet friends, you will often ask to bring treats for them or to bring a toy to share with them. As we always tell you, "Elle, you're the sweetest!"
Speaking of friends, you still have a lot of them, although not too many girl friends that you see on a regular basis. Your best friend, Coral, moved away this summer, and you definitely miss her. You still ask if she'll be at play group, and you often ask to go see her. You've become a lot more overwhelmed sometimes with play group and do not always like big crowds of kids. You get along with your boy friends really well, but I can already tell that there are times when you prefer to play with another girl, since you like a lot of girly things. Recently, one of the little boys asked you to be his girlfriend, and you said, "No," (mostly because you have no idea what a girlfriend is, which I'm really glad about!). He came and told me you were being mean to him, so he repeated the story to explain why and I just told you, "Good job!" Another one of the little boys told his grandparents that he had a girlfriend named Elle, and "she's a princess." So cute! You are our little princess, although I'm not looking forward to the day when you can really have a boyfriend!
You are a very sensitive and cautious child still, and you remember and understand everything. You have a number of fears, including animals of any kind, the dark, being left, and monsters. We will talk about something one week and you will suddenly remember and worry about it a week later. You don't really like me to leave you, and will cry even if it's only for 30 minutes at the gym. One day, I dropped you off to the inside playroom at the gym, and the teachers decided to take you all to the outside playground. When I came back you were crying and they didn't know why, but you quickly explained it to me, "My mommy can't find me; I'm lost; my mommy can't find me!" You were worried that I wouldn't know where to pick you up, since they moved you, and I can understand how that would be scary. When we're going to a friend's house where there's a dog, you will ask me all morning to call and ask them to put the dog in the garage or outside, and even after I do that, you will want me to hold you when we get there because you are worried the dog will get you. I try to be really patient with your fears because I know to you they are very real! You are sensitive about other things too. You started Parents' Day Out this month, and you love "school"! You have learned a lot more about God, and it's been a great experience for you and your independence. The other day when we were in the car, you told me, "Mommy, when I don't share, it makes Jesus cry." So, we talked about that and about being nice to others, and throughout the week, you would say, "I'm going to be nice; I'm going to make Jesus happy." It's amazing to see what a wonderful heart you have for God and for others, and I am so proud to be your mommy!
Elle, I can't believe your 3rd birthday is actually here, although I'm sure you're more excited than me. You've had an obsession with birthdays for a long time now, and will often make me a pretend cake and sing to me and make me blow out the candles. We had your party a few weeks ago, and when I asked you what the best part was, you said, "When everyone sang to me and I got to blow the candles out." I know you had been waiting for that moment! So, I can't wait to do that again today. I'm so excited to see what this next year brings for you, my precious daughter!