Whenever I tell you how special you are to me, you melt in to a puddle of love. You are wise beyond your years and have the most compassionate and caring heart ... except for when you don't. God help me, you really do have the propensity to drive me cRaZy. The nagging, teasing, whining, and general button-pushing has escalated and sometimes I wonder if I should wear the garb of the referee that I've morphed in to, or just carry a brick around so I can smack myself in the head.
(Note: I said MYSELF, not you.)
I know that a misbehaving child is a discouraged child. And I think that a large part of the reason you require so much focused attention is because you often feel like you need to compete with your siblings. You, more than anyone else, require one-on-one time. Whenever your father or I go off to the store, you are always the first (and sometimes only) one to volunteer to tag along. Not only do you thrive on this time alone, but your reserves are always replenished and you are an absolute pleasure to be around for at least an hour or two after rejoining the herd.
You have an amazing memory and can recall some of the earliest times in your life with incredible attention to detail. Just today you asked, "Do you remember when we visited our cousins and they gave us fresh beans from their garden?" After some careful thought, I replied, "No, I don't remember that ... when was it?" To which you responded, "Come on! You have to remember! You had on a yellow shirt and I was two!"
Hopefully, you won't so easily recall all the times I've said, aloud, that I need to smack myself in the head with a brick. Or, at a minimum, those memories will be overshadowed with the memories of me hugging you tightly and telling you how thankful I am that you are in my life.
You have an adorable little voice that I think is positively perfect, but because one day you'll need to be able to properly pronunciate R and L, you've been working with a speech therapist for the past two years. More than your siblings, you struggle with reading and writing, but you have an artistic streak that is unparalleled. A few weeks ago, you spotted a dress maker's bodice and have been asking for it, nearly every day, since. Considering I can barely sew on a button, my mother seriously believes that you are the incarnation of your Grandmother Jeanne, who was an accomplished artist and seamstress.
You've concocted plots and illustrated countless books. Most recently, you stapled several sheets of paper together and painstakingly illustrated 40 pages of a New Testament Bible for your Compassion friend, Charity, in Uganda. You are at an age of asking COUNTLESS questions. Where does plastic come from? How do you make water? Why is grass green? Why are there so many cars on the road? What happens when you die?
Then there are the difficult questions that I struggle to answer ... questions like, "Why do you always hide chocolate from your children?"
I'm not sure if the correct answer is because I love you and want to save you from eating junk food. Or, if it's because I'm a stingy soul and don't want you ravaging my stash?
You are our best eater and will try anything. Although we always offer a wide assortment of healthy foods, it is because of you that I've come to realize that not all children have the same tastes and you can't force food upon a child, until they want it. You are our only child that will willfully eat vegetables. You'll devour salad and ethnic foods. You don't eat much, however, and can still fit in some of the clothes that you wore when you were three.
Sometimes, I think you have more energy than the three of your siblings, combined. I'll never forget seeing you on ultrasound, as you flipped around in utero kicking anything within proximity. You were the first to crawl, walk, run, climb and ride your bike without training wheels. I'm wracking my memory and cannot ever recall a time that you've told me, "I'm done playing. I need a break." As for me, I need a break just from WATCHING you run around.
You skip and jump and twirl and practice cartwheels. It therefore, makes sense that you are always the first to crash out, usually less than 10 seconds after you put your head on your pillow. And if anyone is going to sleep in in the morning, it's almost always you. After some deep thought, I've concluded that the reason you are such a good sleeper is because of Bunny. The absolutely wonderful stuffed animal Bunny that you received as a gift when you were a tiny baby and have been fiercely attached to, ever since. Whenever Bunny is in your hand, your left thumb is in your mouth. And as a former thumb sucker, myself, I know firsthand (pardon the pun) that thumb sucking has an incredibly cathartic and sleep inducing effect.
Two weeks ago, you had a pediatric dentist appointment and the dentist told you that when you turn seven years old, you must stop sucking your thumb. By the time you left the office, your eyes were filled with tears at the thought of giving up something that you love so much. So I bent down and whispered in your ear that I sucked my thumb until I was 13 and you don't have to give up your thumb sucking until you are good and ready. You gave me a grateful kiss on the cheek and said, "Thanks Mom. You're the BEST. How do you know everything?"
I then walked in to my own dentist appointment where I was informed that although I was in braces for four long years as a teenager, I still have a substantial overbite that is putting tremendous pressure on my (cracked) back molars and I should really consider braces AGAIN if I have any intention of keeping my teeth. Newsflash: If you suck your thumb until you are 13, there's a good chance you will be in braces when you are 40. ALTHOUGH, with all the fancy orthodontistry these days, maybe they can match the metallic braces to the color of our minivan and hook an iPod up to my headgear?
Okay. So, maybe I don't know everything.
But I do know that you are an absolute gift and I love you an infinitesimal amount more than I ever loved my thumb.