Cora is THREE.
I know it's trite, but seriously, how is that possible? Our smiley crazy happy ball-of-joy baby is three. She is very much not a baby any more. The struggle is real. (One of my 2016 New Year's Resolutions/Wishes was to get over the fact we can't have a fourth baby. IT HAS NOT COME TRUE AND I AM NOT OVER IT. I was not done and I think we could have rocked four and it still makes me deeply sad when I let myself think about it at all.) Not that I'm not enjoying the hell out of toddler Cora - toddlers are my favorite - but how can we really be leaving babyhood?
Three-year-old Cora is chatty. She has a lot to tell you and not a lot of time to do it. She wants you to know everything that is going on, but particularly anything her big brother or sister might be doing wrong. She's a one-person sibling infraction alarm system.
She is smart. She is extremely observant. She puts things together in ways that constantly surprises us. If we often forget she's a full 3.5 and 6.5 years younger than her siblings it's because she so rarely gives us a reason to remember.
She is opinionated. She feels nothing as strongly as her wardrobe. All clothes must be vetted and approved and then left to marinate in her closet for at least a month. The first wearing of any shirt is going to be a battle and then it will become her favorite. She likes polka dots. She loves glitter. Tutus always, leggings always, playground shorts over leggings and under tutus any time she can get away with it. Clothes must be put on IMMEDIATELY after waking. Wearing pj's around the house is lazy and scandalously self-indulgent and she lets us know it every few minutes until we all go change too. Princess panties are preferred; Zootopia and Dory are acceptable.
She is potty-trained and every morning for the last 10 days has begun with a joyful exclamation "I DID NOT GO PEE PEE IN MY BED AND IT IS ALMOST MY BIRTHDAY!". I'm not sure what the new version of the wake-up call is, but will pay attention tomorrow.
She LOVES princesses. Her love is new and fierce and true. Princess Belle is her favorite and she pets her new Belle barbie and tells her she is "so beautiful." All her click-it princesses (inherited from Claire who never got into the princess scene) go with her everywhere, crammed into her purse (also inherited/stolen from Claire), tucked into her bike basket, or dumped in her backpack. Her plastic princesses are her co-pilots and Belle is her spirit animal.
Whenever you correct her, she takes you adjustment in untoddler-like stride. "Oh." she says seriously, absorbing the new information, "Thanks!"
Her favorite color is purple. Her favorite foods are pasta, cheese, and butternut squash. She wants a PBJ "sammich" for lunch every day just like the big kids. Her favorite movies are Beauty and the Beast and Tangled. She only drinks milk and water. She hates fruit and most sweet things (except m&ms and cookies). She sleeps with her pink blankie every night. She loves to sing.
She loves a routine, and is going to have a lot of questions if we deviate (like when I got her from school last Wednesday and she told me very seriously, after screaming her hello's, "Um, mom. Today Tara pick me up."), but is somehow also the most go-with-the-flow child ever. We've dragged her everywhere at every possible time and she always just seems delighted to be included in whatever we're doing.
She LOVES to sleep. She can skip a nap and frequently does, but if we're home midday she'll announce that she wants to go night night now, march to her room and wait for you to put her in her crib. Once in her safe space, she snuggles in and sleeps for at least 4 hours. We wake her up for dinner almost every Saturday. It's extraordinary. Naps for her are optional delights, but do NOT wake her up early if you do let her take one. It breaks her brain and makes everyone sad.
She is very into imaginative play. She has long conversations with her Gigi on her pretend phone and when she takes your picture with her play camera, she looks down at the faux screen and then looks up with a bright smile and exclaims, "You look 'mazing mama!!". It is the best.
She got a new bike for her birthday (third-baby-style: Claire's old bike, polished up, with a new basket, streamers, and set of training wheels). Her chubby feet can barely skim the ground when she's on it, but she took off at full speed, yelling "1-2-3-4-5!" and zooming down the driveway. She hasn't mastered the brakes but cheerfully crashes into the curb instead, frequently flying off the bike and onto cement or grass, only pausing to be upset if the princesses piled into her basket are displaced.
She is tough, she is confident, she is surprisingly capable of outsized physical feats.
When she sees me getting ready for work in the morning she always says "Oh you look so nice Mommy!"
Every day, many times a day, she pauses whatever she's doing to run over to me, click clacking in her plastic heels, and yell in my face, "I just love you TOO MUCH Mama!"
She is so cheerful and joyful I can never manage to capture her in words. I try, but when I read when I write later it seems so dull in comparison, like I need the 3,000 more words that have popped into my head to describe her. She's love. She loves us so fiercely and we love her back in equally fierce measure.
Happy Birthday sweet Cora Bunny. Three years ago today we brought you home from the hospital and you've brought pure joy our way ever since.
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