My gosh I'm up to my eyeballs! I've never worked so hard in my entire life, but I think I'm really on the cusp of a total life transformation, and I have you to thank because you're one of the biggest inspirations behind it.
I just need to find time to keep up with these letters! I'll kick myself so hard in 10 years if I don't. These are just as much for me as they are for you.
Anyway, after one year of being in business, I'm ridiculously proud to say that I'm going part-time at the newspaper. This was not without major sacrifices on all of our parts. Our schedules are absolutely crazy right now, but I know there will be a huge payoff when you're in school. You might not think so because you'll always have a parent at home to prevent you from getting away with things you shouldn't, but for me, it's indescribably amazing to know that I'll be around most nights of the week to tuck you into bed.
Just writing that makes my day.
You might not completely grasp what it is I'm doing, but clearly you know that taking pictures is my thing. Any camera in the world is "Mommy's camera." And, frankly, I kind of wish that was the case.
You often help me set up my studio before clients arrive by piling all of the props into the center of the backdrops and ask me to take your picture.
"Eee take my picture, Mommy? ... Eee get your camera?"
I just laugh and ask you to put things in certain places and cross my fingers that you don't knock over any of my light stands, although you're pretty respectful of the items I tell you are off-limits. But even though you're a crazy hurricane up there, it's much more fun than doing it by myself.
The other draw of the studio space for you is my candy jar filled with lollipops. Sometimes you just walk past the door to the third floor and mess with the handle — presumably hoping you'll one day hit the jackpot and gain unrestricted access to all of that sugar.
I'm not sure what I'll do when that day happens. Maybe buy a deadbolt.
You regularly see me editing photos of other children, and it intrigues you to no end. You ask to sit on my lap and want to know their names and where you might have seen or met them before. It amazes me that you retain the information, too. Weeks or months later, you can see a photo of someone on my blog or Facebook page and say, "Oh! That's Anna!"
You just amaze me.
In the mornings, we sit at the dining room table so I can get a little work done, and you use your giant bucket of crayons and markers to draw until your arms threaten to fall off. We've probably gone through an entire ream of computer paper this month alone.
You might not have mastered total control of your markers, but you always tell me what you're drawing. Just this morning, a random shape resembled a boat. When you said so, I reached over and added a sail and some water. I love that you can see things in your creations.
What we're doing isn't too different. We're both making art.
And even though I spend more time working on photos of other kids now, I want you to know that you're still my absolute favorite person, place or thing in the world to take photos of.
And you probably always will be.
I could write forever about you and your crazy antics, but my fingers would fall off describing them in detail, so instead, I'll see what little blurbs I can come up with.
- Witnessing your imagination is so incredible. This morning you encountered my shirt that Toby lovingly dragged to the middle of the hallway, stopped, looked up and yelled, "WAIT! I have to jump ober the alligator!"
- Music is still the glue that holds your days together. You sing constantly. You expect us to sing constantly. Meals often include serenading and clapping. Plus, thanks to satellite radio, you have no patience for commercials. Any talking in between the music is intolerable. "I WANT ANOTHER SONG, MOMMY!"
- Speaking of which, you scream everything. If your voice was being recorded by a stenographer in a court room, she would use all caps. You are the loudest child on the planet.
- Toby has become your best friend. You still harass the shit out of him, but then you'll say things like, "Hey, that's my friend Toby. Aww. He's a good boy." The two of you chase each other, you now share your toys with him and every morning you get a treat for him and help me pour his food for the day.
- You are becoming quite the fashonista. I can't just pick out an outfit for you anymore, it has to meet your approval. You won't allow me to choose matching hair clips, either. If you want orange, we go with orange. Who cares that the rest of your clothes are green, right?
- What you call me depends on your mood. When you're hurt, it's "I want my Mommy." When you're excited, it's "MOMMY!" When you're being silly it's "Mommer or Momila." Sometimes we spend 10 minutes just repeating each other's names in a funny way using different sounds and mimicking the other's inflections. I love it.
You're growing like a weed, and I can't stop saying things like "She's just such a KID!" all the time.
The biggest change is that you no longer want or need help for most things, and you're very clear about that. Everything is "BY MYSELF."
Move over Kelly Clarkson. You are the new Miss Independent.
You want to make your own lunch, get into the car on your own, walk not ride in the stroller and pull up your own pants. If only socks were easier, you'd probably throw a fit about those, too.
And I don't even THINK about getting the remote control. When it's time for a show, YOU must be the one to grab it. That is of utmost importance. Even though you simply pick it up off the table and hand it to me, that little exchange is an unspoken, nonnegotiable ritual.
I am only given access to it because you don't know which buttons to push to access the DVR yet. If I wasn't the gatekeeper to your cartoon world, I'm pretty sure you'd have no use for me at all at this point.
Well, that and pouring your milk.
I guess I'm still good for something!
Hey, I'm learning to step back kiddo, but I imagine I'll be fighting the instinct to do things for you as long as I live. I know it's important to let you try and master things on your own, but you'll always be my little girl. No matter how hard you try, you'll never outgrow that.
Momer, Mommy, Momma, Momila