To Elliot on her third birthday

Dear Ellie,

Not many people can say that they've been made an older sibling twice over by their third birthday.  A title which you were less than enthusiastic about holding at sixteen months, but had more or less resigned yourself to by month thirty. 

As first born ourselves, your Dad and I are genetically programmed to immediately take your side in sibling scuffles.  Scuffles which usually develop as a result of Lila's undying love and adoration of you and getting in your way as she lays her body over the mud puddle so you won't have to get your shoes dirty. 

While the instinct of the first born is to tell her to stop being a loser and buzz off, patience is a noble and beautiful virtue you taught me to appreciate even before you were conceived, and I'm doing my best to return the favor.  Believe it or not, someday your sisters will be your best friends and you'll regret every mean thing you ever did to them.  Trust me.

Well, except if they were asking for it by doing something like tricking you into leaving the room and starting the movie without you because they didn't want you hanging out with their friends. 

Plus, yesterday I caught Lila bench pressing the mini van and I think it's safe to say that you're going to want her on your side once you start school. 

Unfortunately there are drawbacks to being a first born.  I hate to use the words "guinea pig", or "experiment", but maybe something more like "learning curve."  Thanks to you we always look up to make sure the ceiling fan is not on before throwing a baby in the air, test the bath water before plopping someone in, and keep the (apparently delicious) alcohol wipes out of reach.

Also I've learned that screaming "oh my god you're going to die for sure!" is perhaps not the appropriate response after I take your temperature.   

Your fascination with the world never ceases to amaze me, and I hope that by round three I can be equally enthusiastic in my explanation of a lawnmower.  And a lamp shade.  And cooking spray.  And ice cubes.  And seat belts. 

And these god forsaken things, whatever they are, that make everyone in the car break out into spontaneous high pitched squealing, startling me out of my daydream of battle rapping at 8 mile and veer into oncoming traffic:

Nothing goes unnoticed, and your play by play of everyone's every move continually reminds me of how new you are to the world.  Maybe someday I'll be able to provide better answers to why churches have steeples, why your pj's have frogs on them and why Lila poops so much.

Of course none of these questions are ever asked while anyone else is around.  More than once our friends and neighbors have said "that's the first thing I've ever heard her say" after you've been playing with their kids for several hours.  You love playing with your friends, though, so long as they keep a respectable distance and ask politely before janking a toy out of your hands.   

While only three, you've already given me glimpses of the woman you will become.  A natural leader, a perfectionist and a rock star at delegating responsibility.  And your beautifully timed sense of humor never ceases to put things into perspective for me.

You probably won't realize it for several years, but you have unintentionally talked me off the ledge more times than I can count.  Like last week when you meowed the blessing as I was near tears because Lila dumped an entire container of yogurt on the floor I had just cleaned. 

You're the pink in the lemonade.  You're the petal on the flower.  You're the delicate chime of a triangle.  You're subtle yet magnetic, and most importantly, you're the type of person I would want to be friends with. 

I mean, once you stop pooping your pants, obviously.




Beth Thomason said...

I'll be the one to tell her that if she ever were to poop her pants after a certain age you'll be the first to tell everyone!

Unknown said...

She is a doll baby, all of them are. Happy birthday to her.

Cassie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cassie said...

You have me in tears, between the uber sweetness and humor in your post! What an awesome way to document her birthday and I hope one day she will forgive you for embarrassing her on the (Really isn't that what we all mom bloggers secretly wish for?)

BTW, that is my hubs work in your picture. =)

Hannah said...

Oh that's awesome - you should ask him if he saw a crazy woman in a mini van doing u-turns in the middle of Manchester trying to get that picture...