To Anya, on the Occasion Of Your Third Birthday

Filed under: Anya,the day-to-day stuff,thoughts — by Lex on October 21st, 2009 @ 7:09 am

My Dearest Anya,

Mommy’s post right before this one is excellent, and encompasses much of what I’m feeling now that you’re three. You’re an amazing little big girl, and the emotion that’s at the forefront of my mind as you cross this age milestone is supremely easy to summarize:

I am so very, very proud to be your dad.

The things you say, the jokes you make, the insights you have, and the questions you pose — they’re all a delight to hear, and awe-inspiring to witness.

Before you were born, I wrote you a song to try to capture what I was feeling back then. I sang it for you at your baby naming, and I’ve sung it for you many times since — often, by your request!

I don’t want to write a sappy song
That’ll make you roll your eyes

You can definitely be my mushy girl, professing your love for me (and the rest of your family), offering plentiful hugs and kisses unprompted. But there are definitely times you’re not so interested in the gooey, over-sentimental stuff. Sometimes, you just want to have fun!

I just want to write a happy tune
That we’ll both know for all our lives.

Since you’re already able to sing the entire song to me, I don’t have to worry about that last part so far.

Don’t know that I have it in me
To write the perfect song,
But if it’s about you, Anya,
Then how can I go wrong?

Man, was I prescient. The song didn’t have to be (and isn’t) perfect. You are.

‘Cause you’re my baby,
And I’m your dad
You’re the very first daughter
I have ever had
I love you so much
More than I can sing
My whole life I’ll try to thank you
For all the joy you bring

Mommy covered the main points here already. You are forever our baby, even as you become a bigger and bigger big girl. I don’t have the words to express how much I love you. And I really do constantly try to show you how grateful I am for you. Listen, you’re a three-year-old kid: There are times where you can be trying for even the most devoted and patient of daddies. But even when you’re being, shall we say, a challenge, I’m constantly reminding myself how lucky and fortunate I feel to be your dad, and how I want to value each moment with you, even when you’re on your forty-fifth minute of eating the same apple.

Anya, as I try to write something that captures even a fraction of how happy I you are my daughter, you’re sitting here eating breakfast (slowly). You’ve negotiated for a bite of an unseen granola bar, assuming you eat the rest of your breakfast first. You’ve said “Oh, thank you!” in response to my giving you your Healthy Vitamin. You’ve declared: “Daddy, I love you!” — apropos of nothing. And just now, you announced: “I painted my pumpkin in Izzy’s sukkah!” Yes, that’s true. And I love that you have a mind of your own that thinks about things, jumping from thought to thought. Too cool. And now: “Is that your granola bar? Don’t eat the last bite, because the last bite’s for me!”

You started talking so young, and the sentences you construct now are incredible. Getting to know you through your thoughts and words has been remarkable. Seeing your 3-year-old joy at spotting your stack of gifts, with your jaw truly dropping as low as it could as you stood in awe, was awesome. But hearing you squeal: “Oh, look at all the presents for me!” was even better.

You’re a very special girl, and I love you very much. Happy birthday.

Anya is Three Years Old!

Filed under: Anya,photos — by Lauren on October 19th, 2009 @ 9:26 pm

Anya is three today.  That’s right, I said three, as in THREE WHOLE YEARS.  I am finding this very difficult to understand.  How can it be three years already?  She was just born, I swear.

Anya, my darling first born, you amaze me and challenge me every day.  I watch you and marvel over how independent you are becoming.  Putting on your own shoes, not just climbing into but also buckling the top of your car seat yourself, completing much of the potty process without help, walking upstairs to get something and coming back down again without someone going with you – these are not things you could do when you turned two.

Your love of learning anything and everything makes me glow with pride.  You ask so many questions (“What does that street sign mean?  What are those guys doing?”)  and USUALLY you listen to the answer (but heaven help us if you ask a question and you don’t like the answer you were given!).  The way you memorize your books, usually after one or two readings, astounds me, and I am thankful for the existence of the library, as there is no such thing as enough when it comes to your appetite for books.  I’m so proud of you for learning to recognize,  spell, and even type out your name!  More words are going to come soon enough.  For now, keep on having fun playing with rhymes and telling me and Daddy what letter words start with (“Hot dog starts with the letter H!  Baby starts with the letter B!).

Your love affair with Dora started to cool off a bit as you approached this past summer and considered all the other characters life has to offer (but yay for still choosing a Dora cake for your birthday party).  Monsters, Inc. was the first real movie you watched (“I want to watch Mike Wazowski today!”) and we had to watch a little bit of it every day for a while.  You also fell in love with Murray from Sesame Street.  Your current obsession is the Wiggles, and no matter how much we talk about trying something different before your nap, you refuse to watch anything else when you wake up, even though we only have ONE episode saved on TiVo and we don’t get the channel they are on anymore.  You like princesses and love dressing up and pretending.

I wish I could live in your imaginary world with you sometimes, because when I hear you talking to your “friends” and going on pretend adventures with them, it sounds like so much fun.  I enjoy those times when you can break away from books long enough to play with your real friends when we get together with them, too.  Sometimes it’s hard for you to share, but you are trying to remember how to take turns, and I love how much you think and care about your friends (“Mommy, I wonder if Sophie will come to school today.  We can play with the puzzles together.).  You are a WONDERFUL big sister, Anya.  I didn’t think I could love you any more than I already did until I saw how you interacted with Sierra, but oh, man.  You talk to her, you bring her toys (and yes, sometimes you take toys away from her, too, but hey, you’re three, it happens), you sing “Twinkle, Twinkle” in the sweetest soprano voice ever when she cries in the car… There’s a reason why no one else can make her laugh like you do.  I love that you still call her “my baby” when you talk about her.  Please remember how much you love her now when you’re both teenagers!

Some things don’t change, or at least, they haven’t changed yet.  You still are one of the slowest eaters I have ever met, unless cake or candy is involved, of course.  I don’t quite understand how you can make any meal last 90 minutes or more, or how you even have the patience to sit at the table that long.  You also continue to wake up from naps as a total crank pot much of the time, and need a good thirty minutes to an hour to snap out of it.  I hope we can figure out some way to improve your sleep situation soon – if you don’t nap, you get overtired and cranky by dinnertime, but if you do nap, you have a very hard time falling asleep at bedtime, and then you are tired the next day from having been up too late.

Keep the cuddles coming, please, please, please!  I will never get tired of the unprompted “I love you, Mommy” and spontaneous hugs and kisses.  I also love when you say “please” and “thank you” on your own, or when you ask me if I’m happy or sad.  As always, yes, Anya, I am happy because I have my two girls, even if I’m angry about something else, even if it’s something one of those two girls did.

I only have one page left of your baby book to complete, the one for your third birthday, and then Daddy and I can add our letters to you for when you are grown up.  How bittersweet.  I say this to you all the time, and sooner rather than later I know you’ll start rolling your eyes at me, but no matter what, no matter how old you are, you’ll always be my baby.  I love you, Anya.  Happy third birthday, precious girl.

Anya Spells Her Name

Filed under: Anya,baby's progress,photos,video — by Lauren on October 6th, 2009 @ 10:32 pm

For a few weeks now Anya has been telling us “A-N-Y-A spells Anya.” This morning she was playing with the letter magnets on our fridge and she told me, “Look, I’m spelling my name.” Usually she tells me she’s spelling words and she’s just put random letters together, but today I looked and she had put down A-N-Y. She was looking for another A, but there’s only one of each letter in that set, so I found her another one from a different set and she finished it. It’s me and Lex, so of course we took pictures. 😉

This afternoon we were messing around with my computer and I was showing her how she could type letter and make them show up on the screen. I asked her if she wanted to type her name, and she did.

Holy crap. I have a kid who’s old enough to spell her own name. I have a kid who’s ALMOST THREE. When did that happen?  There’s no way I’m old enough for that.

Forgotten and New Things

Filed under: Anya,baby's progress,photos,Sierra — by Lauren on September 21st, 2009 @ 10:35 pm

Forgot to post when Sierra was 8 months old – she plays peek-a-boo by hiding her head on someone’s chest or on the floor and then popping up with a big smile.

Forgot to post when Sierra was 9 months old – she points at things that excite her or capture her attention.

New and exciting – As of last Friday, Sierra officially mastered rolling from her back to her belly.  She had been rolling around on our bed for the two nights before that, but now she’s all over the floor.  Also as of last Friday, we have bid adieu to the high chair.  She has not been a fan from day one, and Lex and I finally had enough of listening her to scream to get out.  We decided to try her out in Anya’s booster with the tray, and she was SO much happier.

I don’t know what she finds objectionable about the high chair, but that’s that, I suppose.  I got Anya a different, very basic booster seat to help her reach the table.  Lex’s initial fix, while creative, wasn’t a long term solution:

Anya’s (second) first day of school

Filed under: Anya,photos,school — by Lauren on September 10th, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

Yesterday was the first day of Anya’s second year at pre-school, although I guess technically last year didn’t count as a year since she didn’t start until December. She’s going three days a week, currently from 9:30 am until 12 pm. We’ve been prepping her for the last week so that she’ll know her teachers’ names, which friends of hers will be in her class, etc., and reminding her that even though I leave her there, Mommy always comes back. Her first day went very well – no tears, and it only took a few minutes before she was comfortable enough for me and Lex to leave. When I picked her up, her teachers told me that she surprised them with how well she speaks, because for the first half of the morning she barely said anything and they thought she wasn’t really a talker yet. Then out of the blue she told them, “My mommy was telling me all about you!” and from that point on she was very chatty. I said she’s often shy and quiet in a big group or unfamiliar situation, and they said they highly doubt that’s going to be an issue this year. Yay!!!

Politcal Discourse

Filed under: Anya,funny,video — by Lauren on September 1st, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

Green Eggs & Fam

Filed under: Anya,Sierra — by Lex on August 27th, 2009 @ 7:43 am

This morning, I asked Anya if she’d like eggs for breakfast. She indicated that, no, she’d prefer green eggs and ham.

I met her halfway, and she was delighted:

Green Eggs

Sierra, on the other hand, was a bit more Sam-I-Am skeptical:

Green Eggs

Trike and Trailer

Filed under: Anya,video — by Lauren on August 12th, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

A little Anya update

Filed under: Anya — by Lauren on @ 9:41 pm

It seems like Sierra gets all the updates these days, and I suppose that’s because a baby changes so much in a short time. With a two-year-old, it’s a little more subtle, but still the changes are there. In fact, I was just talking to my sister about how different Anya is now, compared to how she was when she first turned two. She’s so much bigger, and not just physically.

The last few months have been trying, to say the least. Anya has been very prone to tantrums, and it’s hard to predict what may set her off. She isn’t a throw-herself-on the-floor-banging-and-kicking tantrummer, just a hysterical crier. Her mood can change at the drop of a hat. There’s also been lots of whining. Lots. Anya for sure went through the terrible twos, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that she is still going through them. It occurred to me this evening that over the last few weeks the tantrums have become somewhat less frequent, which is part of what inspired me to write this post. I had been feeling blue about the way she and I had been interacting for quite some time; it felt like there was more antagonism than happiness, and that’s not a good way to be. Some of the changes needed to come from me, mostly regarding letting certain things go, but once again, I think this is where some of those subtle changes have come into play. Without fanfare, Anya has matured a tad recently. It’s nice. I’m tired of feeling sorry for future Lauren and Lex, parents of teenage Anya.

Regardless of whatever difficult times there had been, Anya always amazes and amuses me with the things she says. A quick story from this evening – I took the girls to have dinner at my grandmother’s apartment. On the drive there, while we were sitting in mild traffic, Anya said to me, “Mommy, if all these cars go to Grandma Evie’s house, it’s going to be very crowded!” I laughed, and asked her if she thought they were all going there. She said, “Nooooo! Just us!” Really, where does she get this stuff?

Anya’s End of the Year Show

Filed under: Anya,school,video — by Lauren on June 22nd, 2009 @ 10:11 pm

Anya’s first (half) year of preschool came to a close last week.  Her class had their end of the year show for the parents on June 11th.  It was very cute – the kids sang several songs, most of which we’ve been hearing for weeks from Anya.  Just like at her Hannukah party and Passover seder, Anya started out a little overwhelmed by the crowd, but after a hug and some encouraging words from Mommy, she joined in with the rest of her class and did a great job.  I was so proud of her!

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