This post is only… oh… about 2 months late. I still consider this payback for arriving 5 days after her due date (that was a rough 5 days).
Not really, though. I’m just behind on life. Actually, I’m mostly behind on blogging, I’m pretty caught up on life. It really is one or the other, rarely both.
The first video I took when MJ was 3 1/2 years old, inspired by Erin’s video of Annie at 3 years old. I decided I want to do one of these every year, I just got started a bit late. It’s interesting to see the difference that 6 months makes, even just in her appearance. She’s lost more of her baby fat, and more of her baby speech. She’s really, truly, getting so big.
She’s turning into such a beautiful girl, and I’m not talking about her appearance. I’m talking about her spirit. Despite some fears I had when she was 1 year old and biting everyone, she’s incredibly kind. She cares deeply about others and almost always tries to do the right thing. She helps everyone in her family. She is kind to strangers. She is so inquisitive, which drives me batty but makes me proud at the same time. She picks up pacifiers that babies drop, holds the door for strangers, gets concerned when another kid is upset, and is an all around good person.
On top of that, she is so friendly that we know every one of our neighbors. Not because we have met them, but because she has met them. I’d be willing to bet she’s the most well known person on this block. She has calmed considerably in this past year. She loves to sit down and work on a puzzle or color a picture. She will actually persevere until they are finished, which gives me hope that she is developing commitment to tasks. She will delay gratification, saving a piece of candy for the very end of the day rather than eating it right away. These are the traits I most hope to see in her, as they are the traits that I’m convinced will take her far in life. It is so exciting to see the person begin to emerge from the baby.
She unexpectedly busts out vocabulary that I find shocking. Like “omnivore” and “compromise” and “oxygen”. I am probably harder on her than I should be, because I so often forget that she is as young as she is.
On the downside, I feel that I’m starting to see some longterm tension in our relationship. The husband says that we’re starting to get like Claire and Haley on Modern Family (the mom and daughter) and that I’m far too critical of her. I’m working on that. I’m working on infusing more positivity into our interactions, and I feel like it’s making a difference. I’m working on lowering my expectations a bit, for the sake of our relationship. I’m starting to realize that this is our future together, and whatever tone I set now will carry on for years to come. I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of relationship I want to have with my daughter, and what I can do to make that happen, without sacrificing my job as her mother. I’ve often felt that it’s my job to be loving but tough. I’m starting to wonder if it’s just my job to be loving, and to find other ways to achieve tough. Helping put her in situations that are tough, rather than being the tough one myself. If anyone knows the answer to this, by all means let me know.
But anyway, the videos speak for themselves. Where she’s at in life. What she thinks about. She’s losing some of her spitfire, and a whole new girl seems to be blossoming. But when someone crosses her, or someone she cares about, the spitfire comes right back. I guess this is a good thing? She’s becoming a more nuanced person. These “Ode to MJ” birthday posts are going to get harder to write as she develops a more rich personality. But I look forward to the challenge.
Little girl, that is so very, very big, I will love you always. Here’s to an amazing 5th year on this planet.