On the day of your birth, you came into this world and knew exactly what you wanted. You wanted the comfort of being back inside the womb, and your lungs made this very clear.
When I tried to put you to my breast for the first time, you became so frustrated because you couldn’t latch, and again you tried to communicate how frustrated you were by screaming so hard, that your face turned purple.
You would get so worked up, making it nearly impossible to latch you back on.
I’ll never forget two of my midwives stating that you were going to be our “challenging” child.
We would swaddle you in your swaddle extra tight with your arms tucked in, and a soother in your mouth.
Some would laugh because you looked trapped.
I didn’t care how it looked, as long as you were content.
Some days I would walk around the house trying to get things done with you in the baby Bjorn. You needed to be close, and I needed my hands to be free. We worked together so that the both of us wouldn’t feel frustrated and cranky.
If that meant putting you in our bed to sleep with us, then that’s exactly what we did.
Some would say we were spoiling you, and maybe we were just a little, but hey, if you would sleep, we would sleep and everyone was happy!
Although some nights you still wake up and three years later we are still a bit sleep deprived.
However, when you wake up now, it’s not for a night feeding, but rather, it’s a loud scream telling us that you “need to PEE!!”
We woke up to your baby smell when you were an infant and we wake up to your almost three-year-old smell now, which still somewhat has that baby scent.
You never let your dad and I sleep next to one another, and if you see us spooning you squish your butt right in between us.
Your dad and I would love to spoon, but when you do this, it’s so cute so we give in.
We know from experience how fast you will grow and how soon enough you will no longer care to be sleeping beside us.
We truly enjoy every waking moment with you.
We sniff you good morning, pressing our noses up to your cheeks. This is something Dad and I did often when you were a baby and continue to do to you today.
I’ll tell you a secret… When your dad and I first started dating he would sniff me when we woke up.
Now I watch him sniff all of his daughters, and you being the baby get the most sniffs of all!
As soon as you had the ability to move, there was no stopping you. You rolled before you crawled so that you could get where you needed. If I left you on the fuzzy carpet in the living room and went into the kitchen, you would make your way to me by rolling like a kid down a grassy hill, (except you were only about 4 months old!) You had some serious determination!
Once you started crawling you were a baby on a mission! You would speed crawl into the bathroom and pull the toilet paper roll so you could eat pieces of it!
If I caught you with the toilet paper, you would drop it and crawl away as fast as you could.
You were an avid walker by 10 months old which meant getting you dressed after a bath or trying to put a diaper on you was always a chase around the house. I would have to pretty much pin you down to get you dressed.
Going to restaurants wasn’t the same as it was before you were born because you didn’t like to sit still or use an inside voice. We nicknamed you little ruckus because while you were busy with your baby and toddler years exploring, discovering, and learning about the world around you-you were also causing a bit of a ruckus.
Now that you are venturing into your preschool years you want nothing but independence.
Some days my patience is short, but for the most part I let you put your shoes on yourself or buckle up your own car seat. Even though it feels like it’s taking forever!
Although you want to be miss independent, you still have your moments when you just want me to pick you up.
So I pick up your long, not so light body anymore and I rest your head on my shoulder, rub your back and hold you.
Your sisters call you bossy and sometimes even annoying.
But did you know, that when you aren’t around, they miss you like crazy, and so do we?
We may be able to eat at a restaurant in peace and quiet or shop in the mall without any demands to go to the play area, but, as soon as we get into the car, YOU are who we chat about.
We chat about how much we missed you, and how much you make us laugh. We laugh reminiscing about your silly antics and look forward to seeing your little munchkin face when we get through the door.
I also wanted to let you know that when you stuck up for your big sister at the dim-sum restaurant, a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t help but laugh inside.
Although you probably didn’t need to raise your voice so loud at the little boy, who was trying to touch your sisters American girl doll.
You stuck up for your sister, who is a little bit to shy to stick up for herself!
You have also shown your sisters how confident you are when you approach a group of children, introduce yourself and ask them if they want to play.
Amongst all of these great qualities you have, one thing I definitely know you do that makes everyone around you feel extra special is your enormous hug and run towards them when you greet them.
I’m sure your aunties and uncles love it!
I know I love watching it.
Every time I watch you greet someone in this manner it reminds me how important it is to make someone feel special when you see them.
Anyway, the reason I am rambling on to you in this letter on your third birthday Charley is because… the number three represents how many years you have been on this earth.
It also represents your rank in the family; the third child.
Which also means you wear all the hand me downs, never had a baby book that was written in, and you have yet to have an extravagant birthday party.
I’m riddled with guilt at times because your sisters were fortunate enough to get brand new clothes and have extravagant parties, but the truth is, you won’t remember anyway.
I know because when I asked your sisters what they did for their third birthdays, they didn’t remember.
So tomorrow, you get to celebrate your special day with the people who get to spend every day with you!
We will shower you with gifts, eat your special birthday cake and take a bunch of photos.
I chose to write you this letter as a memory for you about the first three years of your life, which will be more significant to you (I hope) than a princess party you won’t remember anyhow.
So to sum up this letter to you Charley, I want you to know that you have so much life in your years for a three-year-old and have added so much life to ours!
When you are older and look back at this letter remember that when you were bossy, it just meant that deep down inside you were a leader.
When you stuck up for your sisters, it showed how much you care for them. It also showed how you wouldn’t take crap from anyone.
You are persistent, and persistence pays off!
You also had more determination than any baby I have ever known.
Most importantly, remember that you always knew what you wanted from the moment you were born.
Sometimes we called it demanding, but those screams and cries were really just your inner voice telling us what you wanted.
I know as you get older it can be harder to listen to the inner voice that tells you what you really want.
When you read this letter Charley, I hope it helps you remember to never lose sight of the boss that you were and the boss that you are!
You are the boss of your own life and if you aren’t the CEO of your own company by now, then what are you waiting for?
I’m sure your employers would love the way you greet them.
Whenever you doubt yourself or feel the need to be accepted in a world that is constantly wanting you to be like everyone else, just remember who you were when you were little-strong, determined, persistent, caring, funny, confident and most importantly a leader!
Love you more than words!