To Alice the Four Year Old
Oh, my dancing, prancing little bear, how are you four??? Soon you will be in preschool, wearing your backpack every other day, telling secrets and making crafts out of noodles and glue. Was this really the last full year I had with you before you grow up? You've sure been doing that a lot lately - growing up, I mean. Last summer you began to write letters and sound them out on your own. You are a Storyteller. Show addict. Big Sister. Social Butterfly. Coffee Taste-tester. Adventurer. Word Inventor. Kombucha Enthusiast. Princess/Fairy/Ballerina (depending on the costume). You are my mini-me, but totally you. You build necklaces out of Tegu blocks and create lined-journals for your friends with washi tape and paper. You insist on saying your own prayers and opening the car door for yourself. You order your own treats with your own money when we go to Starbucks. You very often sneak out of bed to play in the Narnia closet after we kiss you goodnight. (We can totally hear your monster footfalls the whole time. So not sneaky.) You coax lightening bugs out of the air and onto your hands like it's your secret superpower. You are forever tying things together with ribbons. I can't tell you how many knots and intricate wrapping I find in things. You are terribly resourceful and it's one of the qualities in you that I am most proud of. I think your unsaid mantra is "everything is a step stool." You love and feel deeply, and you have a generous, sharing heart. Milo is your watchful protege and you make a powerful duo. For some reason when Daddy or I lie on the floor, you seem to believe that we have miraculously turned into bridges, trampolines, and obstacle courses. You are always telling me a story and sometimes I get made with you for interrupting my train of thought or work - and then I get made at me for thinking my work was more important than your perfect little heart and story. You live for coffee-shop pastries, dressing up with friends, Little Bear/Word World/Octonauts while Milo naps, the last sip of the contents of my mug, Irish pipes (AKA "dancing" music), making up conversations with your stuffed animals, and story time.
In short, you are my little bear. You are exactly who you are, and I love you.
"You bought your very first thing with your very own money tonight. We explained tithing - and you excitedly put your 10% ($2) in the box at church and told God "thank you." We explained giving to those in need and saving. And with the rest you had $10 to spend. After seeing all that Target had to offer, you chose a Shy Little Kitten purse and it's adorable. You proudly handed the cashier $10.70 and carried your new possession like a prize. You also said "thank you, Mama" every time I complimented you today. And every time I corrected you when you defiantly said "NO!" you accepted my correction and calmly said "No thank you, Mama." Alice, I love you. You are clever and smart and kind and appreciative and I am so proud of the big girl you are becoming. "Thank you, Mama" was you response when I told you that tonight :D" - 8.2.15
"To my loveliest little princess Alice - I mean, "Her Majesty" - You met Rapunzel and Cinderella last weekend! For such an honorary occasion you adorned yourself with your pale pink tutu skirt and we carefully tied your vintage blue apron around you with a bow. To top off your majestic raiment, we added a tiara, two pearl necklaces and of course, your boots - footwear of choice, no matter the weather. Your excitement was palpable. We stood in line for a short eternity (20 minutes in the sun always feels like that) and then it was finally your turn. You walked up to the resplendent Cinderella and sat on her lap while you chatted about this and that. They doted on you as if you were the only girl there. It was the sweetest. Your awe was so sincere and I was grateful they made you feel so special. "Is that your apron?" Cinderella asked you. "I wear those all the time!" Kindred spirits, clearly :) After a lovely time, you stood and gave hugs and curtsies. Well, something like a curtsy - you awkwardly lifted the ends of your short skirt and stood straight, your long legs ending in rain boots which were squarely planted should width apart. No bending happened. I was dying of laughter on the inside - obviously an area we have neglected in your princess academy instructions. Noted." - 9.17.15
"You chose Him." (post here)
"How is it December?! Milo turned one. We go to the chiropractor a lot. You love going places. You're really into The Rescuer's Down Under. You are very opinionated on the matter of not celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving (you insisted on talking to the manager at Costco on this point). Not that Thanksgiving has gone, we are in full swing for Christmas. Last Friday was bitter cold and grey and white and we stayed cozy while listening to Christmas music and decorating the tree. It was so magical!" - 12.05.15
"Lately you've been taking your time in the morning, cuddling in your bed surrounded by blankets and books. My heart is awfully happy to see you starting to enjoy the magical world of stories on your own. Books gave me life and hope when I was in school and I'm not sure how I would have managed without them." 12.10.15
"We sure are spoiled! And we've had fun spoiling others. For Advent this year, you and I have been loving God by loving others and giving because God first gave to us. We've baked cookies for neighbors, sent letters to friends, made peanut butter birdseed pine cone treats for our furry and feathery friends, given away a toy to the boys and girls at the chiropractor and wished many a pleasantly surprised stranger a "Merry Christmas!" Every morning you come down, there's a new activity awaiting your inspection under a cake dome, a boozy chocolate for mommy, and a Christmas book to read. Alice, Christmas is so much fuller with you :D I love sharing love with you." -12.22.15
"It's a cold gray January day (my favorite). You're watching Thomas while Milo naps. You and Milo are buds lately, thick as thieves tearing apart the couch, pulling blinds, racing bikes and other general merry-making. You've started trilling your 'd's and 'r's and 'th's and any other letter you can. Yesterday I was asked if you were learning Spanish because of your tongue-rolling. You make up so many words and concepts! It is so enchanting to watch your imagination jump around and build things. You're as much of a social butterfly as ever and your enthusiasm to play with friends and talk is both heart-warming and exhausting...and that's coming from an extrovert! You are quite proficient on your balancing bike and love chasing Milo. You are forever requesting to enter my studio and draw a letter to post to a friend. The only trouble is that you still think stamps are stickers and don't comprehend the value of the former. Yesterday at Zoe's, you girls found a sheet and decorated your shirts and faces with "stickers" - enough to send you both across the country and back. Alice, I love you. You're my girl and I'm so immensely proud of you :) xoxo Mama" - 1.22.16
"You started off calling them aliens, but they're minions. You beamed at the screen the whole time and thoroughly enjoyed your popcorn and mug root beer - a special treat. After the show it was off to Scheel's to ride their indoor ferris wheel. We held hands and you jumped when the seat would rock. Lunch at Golden Palace with Mama and Milo, shopping, then home for an afternoon of shows. You didn't feel well, so I carried you upstairs, nap pad and all, for an early bedtime. Get well, love. Love, Daddy." - 2.7.16 Daddy Daughter Date
"Tonight, you and I cuddled down luxuriously under your covers while trading the honor of storyteller with rapt listener. I told you a story of the Indian Princess with the feather headdress who lives in your picture above your bed. She wanted to dance like the ballerina in the musical box and finally when the Little Girl who lived in the room lost a tooth, the Tooth Fairy came and the Indian Princess begged the fairy to grant her her deepest longing in exchange for the cougar tooth on her necklace. The deal was struck and the fairy cast the Indian Princess in a dusting of magic so she could twirl and stomp in her frame whenever the Little Girl left the room. The End. Isn't that fun? When it was your turn, you adopted the darlingest British accent and spun me a tale about a king and a bunny and a girl. I was in awe, all the while studying your shining eyes and excited countenance, the full curve of your cheeks and sweet smiling lips. You truly are beautiful, Alice. I love the whole little package that you are. We nestled and ended our sleepover with butterfly kisses and fare-thee-wells. You sweetly took my face in both your hands and gently kissed my nose. I'm madly in love with you." - 3.11.16
"Good morning, my pixie-chic princess! You and I went to see Rebecca at Bungalow 8 for your First Real Haircut and it was lovely - M&Ms, coloring books, The Chair...and bangs. Your dress-up collection is growing into quite a darling wardrobe and you love mixing them up. We've been to the Wildlife Safari, the Zoo, Junkstock, Mug Life, and about a dozen friend playdates in the last month. You love friend time, just like your mama ;) You're choosing more of your outfits lately and chatter endlessly to yourself, a steady stream of made-up conversations. Daddy bought you a new book - The Book With No Pictures - and it is your absolute favorite! Terribly clever and funny. A couple of nights ago, you asked me to lay with you at bedtime so we enjoyed some delicious cuddles. You slipped your arm under my head and wrapped me up tight while whispering and giving me butterfly kisses and hugga muggas. It was so visceral and refreshing. Made my heart full. Your new job lately is putting away the silverware and setting it on the table for meals. You take your job very seriously. You are growing up so fast, learning new responsibilities and skills all the time. I am awfully proud of you, Alice." 4.28.16
"Hello, Darling, and buongiorno! I am so glad to squeeze you and breathe you in again :D Italy was wonderful and relaxing and just what we needed to recharge our souls. I feel I have a patience with you that I'd been missing for quite some time. Read my journal someday to see our adventures. Gramma Jo took excellent care of you and Aunt Lynnie, Bethany, Stacie and Libby all took turns watching you to give Gramma a break. You played with sidewalk chalk, biked, played, and laughed for 10 whole days without us! The morning we left, you and Milo were so gallant and light-hearted which made farewells much easier. Daddy and I found a few treasures for you in that beautiful land - a stripey bunny named Guiseppe and some colorful children's books. We missed you lots and pined for you often. I love you, Sweetheart." - 5.27.16
"We had the sweetest conversation the other night at bedtime. You wrapped your arms around my neck and begged me to stay for a sleepover and I obliged :D We talked til 10 p.m. (way too late!) about the home Jesus is building us, conjecture and truth. You were under the impression our rooms were being made out of bracelets - jewelry, instead of jewels. Then we talked about your home in my tummy. You asked what it was like and I told you it was dark, and in the most earnest voice you said "but Mommy, it couldn't have been dark because you already had Jesus in your heart!" So. Sweet. I told you I gave you my eyes and shape and you told me you gave me things, too. Intrigued, I inquired as to what they were, and you proceeded to bear your belly and say "you know, those lines on your tummy!" Yes. Yes you did :D Then we discussed the difference between scars and creases and wrinkles and I tickled a soft spot under your chin. If you could purr, you would have. You then told me in a confiding and concerned way that you wanted to be as soft as Milo. You seemed disconcerted that he was seemingly beating you at feeling softer, so I assured you that I would slather you with coconut oil and make you as smooth as possible. You were relieved and happy. It was such a sweet night and I loved every moment of our conversation and cuddles. You are sweet, Alice. Sassy when you're not getting your way or when feeling ignored, but I get you. You cope by preemptively anticipating my responses by making contingencies on your requests. "Mama, may I have a marshmallow if I eat my lunch all gone?" "Mama, may I watch a show tomorrow if I clean up the playroom?" You are trying to maintain a little control which is just fine :D You do great with boundaries and have a beautiful heart. I love you, little firecracker. xoxo Mama" - 6.9.16
Alice: "Daddy! I have booger perfume. It's booger perfume."
Daddy: "Where did you get it?"
Alice: "Well...mommy took me to Omaha - to Natural Grocers, and I said 'What lovely perfume!' So I bought it and took it home and I took the cap off verrrrrry carefully and put my finger on and took a little bit and now I smell like boogers."
Daddy: "What can we do to help you calm down when you're upset?"
Alice: "Give me chocolate."
Alice: "I'm a flying unicorn!"
Jackson: "I'm a healer who helps unicorns."
Alice: "Neigh! Neigh! Someone took my wings!"
Jackson: "I'll get you new ones, then." (Grabs two sheets of paper; brings them to Alice.)
Alice: "Oooooo! These are beautiful." (Shakes each sheet up and down.)
"I'm great at drawing udders!"
"When will I turn into a grown-up?"
"I am The Future of the Water." You said it like it was your title :D
Yesterday I felt like chemicals, but today I feel like owls."
"I bet you cannot believe that I just got back from the hot dog dance!"
*Spin around in circles* "I can see the universe!!!"
Words You Adorably Mispronounce
Binocleers = Binoculars
Yogret = Yogurt
Balana = Banana
Mizume = Museum
Resternot = Restaurant
Fank you = Thank you
Aminals = Animals