Happy half-birthday to Reid

Each year at Reid’s birthday, I intend to write a letter to her, talking about what has happened in the previous year. Each birthday Reid has had has been more of a festival than a single day event and I’ve been too busy to write the letter. Or maybe I’m just a bad mother. In any case, I think I’ll mark Reid’s half-birthday this year with a letter.

The time between 2.5 and 3.5 brought many changes in you, Reid. You had just started in the preschool building last January and you seemed more like a toddler to me that a preschooler but you were undaunted by the big rooms and big kids – 4.5 year olds are much bigger than a 2.5 year old, they’re practically in “real” school. Or maybe it is just the mama’s of the 2.5 year olds who worry about the size difference. You were always proud to have “senior friends” when you were in the Junior Preschool class and I hope that you are friendly with the juniors now that you are in the Senior Preschool class – it would only be right.

Your love of swimming never wavered throughout the year. We took Parent and Tot lessons through the winter, spring and fall. You liked the classes well enough but increasingly wanted to wander a bit from the teacher and not have be holding you. This January you started a swimming class where you swim with just your teacher and the other kids. You are a brave girl who is learning much more without me so close. Your dad and I watch you and talk about how proud we are to see you mastering the new skills. We often go swimming on Sunday afternoons and have lots of fun. I love to cuddle your strong, wet body but you are increasingly independent.

We took a gymnastics class together in the summer and you were a natural at it. It was fun to watch you learn to hop with feet together on the trampoline. You would concentrate so hard to keep your feet together as your feet seemed to want to run instead. Your confidence on the balance beam was impressive. All of the walking along the curb at daycare seems to have paid off. At the first class, you learned to do a handstand. What a stong and coordinated child you are. You have inherited your coordination from you dad, thank goodness. In September, you started a course with a teacher and other kids. I wondered if you’d want me to stay with you for a bit of the first class but you walked to the teacher when you were called without looking back. Well, I suppose you probably waved because you sometimes wave at Daddy and me while we’re watching you but mostly you listen to what the coach is saying and then attempt to follow the instructions you’ve been given.

You started skating lessons this January. I accompany you onto the ice. We both wear helmets when we skate and I think I look a bit silly but it is a good idea to protect our heads. When you skate you have a look of determination on your face as you practice keeping your “airplane arms” spread wide while taking little steps. You want me to hold your hand a lot. I haven’t been able to convince you yet that you can skate without holding my hand but I won’t give up trying.

In the last year, we have read many, many books. You have started telling us when a book is for “babies” and we’ve set these books aside. You still have some favourite simple books that we read, though. Your favourite books this year have been anything about Clifford the Big Red Dog, including his puppy days. I read The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back to you for the first time this year. These books, and the other Dr Seuss and Early Reader books, have much longer stories than we were reading before. You listen and ask many questions as we read. We’ve spent lots of time reading Robert Munsch stories as well; your favourite Munsch story is Stephanie’s Ponytail. I suspect you see yourself in Stephanie. You have certainly started telling me how you would like your hair done. In the last week or so, you have begun asking for stories about yourself I when you were a baby in my tummy, a baby, a little girl or a big girl. I think that these requests will continue. You *really* like stories starring you!

Your television choices changed over the last year as well. Pocoyo had been replaced by Rolie Polie Olie and by the end of the year, you were asking for Little Bear and Berenstain Bears. Since December you have mostly been asking for Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go! You run or jump or do whatever they ask and you call out the answers to the questions. Daddy’s favourite thing to see is you running on the spot. Your body is quite wiggly when you run on the spot, as though it would really rather been running across the room. Dora and Diego ask that you shout some of the answers louder and so we talk a lot about speaking quietly when you use your “Dora” loud voice when we’re just talking together.

You have spent quite a lot of time playing with dolls and CareB, your pink Care Bear, and the stroller, playpen and highchair that you have. Most of the time, you call the two dolls you play with most “Hair Baby” and “Bald Baby”. In the fall, you started to call the one you were playing with “Daisy”. Daddy and I were a bit confused, at first, by the way that the two dollies had to share one name. At Christmas, you got a white Care Bear from Atira, Harley and RJ. You named her, “Thomas”. Sometimes, though, you call her “CareB” and say that the pink one is “Thomas” at that point.

Your favourite foods have been Madras chicken curry and pizza since you were wee little and that didn’t change over the past year but I would add spaghetti and meatballs to the list. You will usually try any food but sometimes you declare that you don’t like a food but you will like it when you are 4. I hope that you are right. I think that your least favourite food is probably sausage casserole.

We have packed up many clothes, toys and books that you have outgrown to give to other children who need them. You are a very generous girl and happily share what you no longer need with others. Sometimes you will bring me a toy and tell me that we need to give it away.  Your daycare sponsors a food drive twice a year and you are always pleased to take food in for families who need our help. I am proud of your generosity.

Reid, your daddy and I are proud of many things about you and love you to bits. Happy half-birthday.

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