Dear Lucy at 3.5 Years Old:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oh, My Girl, 

You are so incredibly dear to me, do you realize that? You are lovely, with your blue eyes and unexpected blonde hair, and your fine features and your sweet smile. You've always been lovely--- just this little pocket of sunshine that takes my breath away. And you have this sweet little presence. It's hard to explain. But you've never been BIG in your gestures or your explorations. You've never been the one I worried would run into the street or climb a table. You're not the loudest one in nursery. Your gestures are small and sweet, and you stick close to your comfort zone. You take a while to warm up enough (whether it be here at home after you've woken up, or out in the world in a new place) to be talkative and cheerful. I can't remember when this started. I feel like after that hard, hard "colic phase", you bloomed into this little baby who would wake with a smile and be so engaged right away. It was only as toddlerhood commenced that you began to have the side of you that was more cautious, more moody. 

And Lucy, my love--- you are MOODY. For as sweet as that little face is, you have a contrary side that I am really having a hard time understanding. Your first answer to anything is "no"--- not even a loud, aggressive "NO!"--- just a simple, stubborn, "No." My first response to this is, "Well, all right." But in the case of my question being, "Do you want a drink?", for example, your "no" doesn't really mean "no"--- and you get extremely frustrated and mad when I walk away, and you cry out, "I want a DRIIIINK!" or whatever it is you just refused moments before. Or I might ask you, "How are you today?" And you'll state, "No." I have to say-- it does make communication with you rather difficult. I wonder sometimes if you just don't understand the questions, or if you're simply stubborn. 

And though your gestures and explorations are small, there is one area you go big-- and it's an area I desperately wish you wouldn't. You have an extreme sense of territory-- a massive "bubble" around you that you are highly sensitive to, and when your little brother comes anywhere near your space, (a space that gets bigger if you have some toys you are hoarding) you lash out with harsh words and your arms, sometimes a leg. You shriek, "NO QUINN!!!!" You shove him away, sometimes kicking, too. You are so certain he is threatening your very existence by coming near to you. It's almost animalistic how territorial you get. And you display this tendency with Noah on a smaller scale--- using only words, typically, but still keeping him away from whatever toy or treasure you've decided to play with at that time. Lu, this is EXHAUSTING for me to watch. And for me to police. Because in all honesty, I have no idea how to police it. You are so reactionary, there is no "stop and think". And it makes our playtime more contentious than I've been prepared to handle. 

In fact, I think that's really the thing here-- *I'M* not prepared for this. I am not sure I understand your little, special, amazing, different soul. I think Noah is a lot more like me, so it's been a natural progression to parent him. But with you, I am thrown for a loop a LOT, and it's strange for me to begin to realize I don't innately understand you and your motivations and thought processes. It makes for a strange combination--- to be so completely devoted to you-- so in love with you, but also so confused by you. And my love, you're only THREE. I cannot fathom how this will play out as you grow into yourself and your own mind and soul even more. 

So it's my job to learn more about you. To slow down and get to know you, just as you are. It's my job to help you navigate your own journey, even if you are taking turns I never would have. And its my job to trust you, and trust that your heart is a good, strong, beautiful one--- even when you're showing a more defensive face. And I suspect you're an introvert (another mystery to my innately extroverted soul), and I need to nurture that in you--- to help you find joy and love for yourself through activities that you thrive in. I want to help you feel so special. So amazing. And I want you to feel like I am ALWAYS on your team, your biggest cheerleader, even when we don't quite "get" each other. We don't have to be the same to be devoted to each other. 

I love you from the top of your head to the tips of your little toes. I love how you sing little nonsense songs to yourself, even when you don't let me tell you that I love it. I love how you've developed a passion for puzzles--- and I love seeing your whole body puff out with pride when you complete one. I love your little playacting voice you do with your toys, and I love your penchant for little quirky accessories to your day to day outfits. I love that you can thumb through books for hours, and that you still love your Bunny Bunnies. 

And I love your little laugh. Your slow-growing smile. Your growing words and expressiveness. Your hugs. 

We're going to have quite a ride, you and I, I suspect. But I am so grateful to get this chance. To get to be your mama. I am bowed down with gratitude for this chance. I'm going to try my hardest to rise to the challenge and help you fly. 



  1. Wow, so much of this describes parenting my Clara these days. She's likely not an introvert, but otherwise there are times when she is just contrary-minded and stubborn and...hard. But I too love her from her head to her toes.

  2. I feel that same way about Erin (only in reverse she's an extrovert; John, Dillon & I are all introverts), I can tell you it gets both more difficult & more rewarding as your opposite gets older & more sure in their own skin ;-)

  3. Thought...

    I think this is one of those situations where a village will become important. For example, as your introverted big sis, I may be able to provide some insights (or even, as Lulu gets older, some counsel directly to her) that you might find more difficult to come by. And I also think this is why 2 parents are God's pattern, so that even when part of your village is a 4 hr drive away, you aren't facing the puzzlement all alone.

    And it is such a blessing to be able to see the gifts and joys even amidst the challenges...

    Love ya, sis :)

    PS: Thanks for being part of the village for my own girl last Sun...

  4. Deja vu you and me in SO many ways!


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