Is there a better age than 3? From a parent's perspective, I don't think so.
Every morning when she wakes up, Faith runs into the living room full speed and asks me, "Is it "a-wake-up time yet?" Then it's time for a "cartoonie" and a "nola bar." When that's over, she wants nothing more than for me to "talk to her" which means take two of her random figurines (anything from My Little Ponies to Care Bears) and create a dialogue back and forth between them. She still calls me mommy, rather than mom, and needs my help brushing her teeth and putting on her shoes ("Is this the right foot, mommy?"). She (gulp) reaches for my hand everywhere we go and I happily oblige. When Rob and I plan on going somewhere, she always asks "Can I come too?" as if we weren't going to bring her. No matter if we spend 5 minutes preparing dinner or 50, she usually proclaims it "delicious" even if she eats one bite. Her imagination is so incredible she makes up words like Crary for her elephant her aunt and uncle bought her at the circus and Scootie Goggles for the play car her aunties got her last Christmas. She is still perfecting the art of running and trips over her own feet daily, only to stand up and proclaim "I'm OK!" When she plays in her room by herself and we start to worry when we don't hear anything for awhile and yell "Faith?" she responds with, "doing good." When we go on walks she asks if she can "go meet 'dem" so we're finally getting to know our neighbors thanks to a toddler. The girl is just FULL of personality.
Not one person she's met hasn't been charmed by her friendly, outgoing nature....probably because she's so quick to strike up a conversation, even if it begins with, "Who's your boyfriend?" (doesn't everyone have one?) "Whatchu got in your nose?" (a nose ring) or "This is my puppydog, Howie. He got a haircut." (about a month ago, but whatever).
It's hard to capture everything about Faith in one blog post, but I wanted to try because I simply love this age and don't know that Faith will remember any of it. She's potty trained, eats table food and can communicate when she doesn't feel good, but she's still innocent, tires out by 8 p.m. and thinks mom and dad know can solve all her problems.
So how do I feel about her getting another year older? Of course time seems to have passed by all too quickly, but when I look and listen to her, I feel she's ready to be 3. Sure, I'd love to hit pause and have her need me forever, but just like TV on DVD when you can't wait to pop in the next disc, I can't wait to watch what happens next. My little lady is ready for the next steps of toddlerhood (I refuse to call her a preschooler): swim lessons without mom by her side, getting dressed all by herself and making new friends at daycare.
It's awesomely heartbreaking to watch a kid grow up. But it is my pleasure. I found my advice book from Faith's baby shower the other day. On one of the 3x5 index cards, one of my wise aunts wrote that being a parent would be my greatest accomplishment. Because I contemplate mortality more than the average person should, I think about this a lot. How who Faith is and how that is a reflection of me and of course, her dad. And how I'm proud of that. And how I realize it's not just us, her parents, but all the wonderful people she's surrounded by each and every day.
And if you're reading this and lucky enough to play a part in her life --no matter how large or small --thank you. Thank you for shaping who she is today. Everything from her sweet tooth and sense of adventure to her love for cats (and a hatred for bugs) and a very feminine fashion sense (this certainly did not come from me) it came from somewhere. From her lack of shyness (OK, this might have come from me) and a love for performing in front of people (her Dad is quite the rockstar here at home), to her enjoyment of reading books and making music, I am proud of who she is becoming.Though Rob and I play a major role in her development, we are by no means the only people who contribute to her beautiful personality.
And to Faith, thank you for being you -- the life of the party!