Sunday, December 9, 2012

Heart Letter, 36 Months

Dear Lucy,

You are 3 years old!
Well, to be fair, you are 3 years, 1 week and 1 day old today. I'm a bit late with this letter as we have just returned from our "Houston home". You had a lot of new experiences there, most of which took place in Hermann Park. We spent many days at the zoo.
 You loved feeding the giraffes and had no fear about walking right up and handing this one some lettuce.
You seriously got into dancing with a bunch of children from Africa who were putting on a show. 
You are most in your element when doing something physical, especially if there is some rhythm involved. When the drumming started in their dance routine you were all about it--dancing and jumping vigorously, trying to copy all the dance moves they were doing.

Your physical abilities shine most on the playground where you hang from monkey bars or traverse moving platforms with ease after only one try.
Keeping your joy for all things physical in mind, on your birthday your daddy and I got you a basketball hoop for your bedroom. I do think we'll need to raise this up to the highest level in the next few days...
Although you will join in enthusiastically (at first) with projects that require less of your fantastic gross motor skills, you quickly become frustrated by how much more instruction is required to master something like threading laces.
You really hate to be told what to do, to be shown how to do something, or even to watch somebody demonstrate what to do. With the lacing toy you were more than frustrated by every aspect of the project and eventually just threw the whole thing down, grabbed up a stray lace and proceeded to ask for a leash for your doggy so you could drag him all over the house. Innovative, yes. Working on fine motor skills, not so much.  You become extraordinarily frustrated when you can't master quieter, less physical tasks after one try. I expect more than a few notes from teachers in my future if you don't learn to overcome this.

Along the line of not heeding instruction or listening when asked to follow rules, you were almost banned from the touch and learn portion of the aquarium for continuing to splash even after repeated requests to stop. Only with a time-out were you convinced to comply.
I must say, this is the most frustrating part of parenting you. So many times it takes countless refrains from me asking you to do/not do something and even then, you will resist until faced with something much more punitive than I wished to impose. 

Your fear of dogs was pretty much put to rest this month. Not only did you have Ms. Paivi's dog Flossie to love on
but your Thanksgiving was made more special with the addition of Annie who lives with Ms. Melissa's parents. Once again, the dog won out over food, with you insisting you were done eating just so you could get down and maul hug the dog a bit more.
We did discover a few of your new fears this month. You lamented on more than one occasion that you really wanted to "go Chicago home" and that you missed Daddy who had to leave Houston for work. You were still uncertain, I believe, about whether or not we would eventually leave you with someone else. We had a lot of company in to help out in Houston and you would immediately latch onto whoever was new in an effort to assure your place and well-being.

You were absolutely terrified when we went to see a 15 minute 4D movie, The Polar Express. The noise, the dark room combined with the bright movie and all the special effects were just too much and you spent the majority of the movie with your face buried in my chest. On another trip, the loud noise of the boat horn sent you skittering into my arms yet again.
You sought out cuddles as often as you could
and you filled in the gaps with your new friend, a finger puppet you named "Kangarooie".
We were all relieved when it was time for my last radiation treatment. The highlight for you was ringing the bell signifying that I would no longer have to go away every day.
Although you had a lot of adventures there, you were more than happy to come back to "Chicago home". When we walked through the door you were so thrilled to see that all of your toys were "still here!" and so was your bedroom. You then proceeded to gather up as many stuffed toys as you could carry (and more that you couldn't) for the rest of the evening.

I am convinced that as much as you are attached to Daddy and me, you are most attached to Kate. She is the first person you want to see when you wake up (unless she opens your door before you get the chance to!) and you are always concerned about both of you having the same things. Yes, it does have to do with you having equal amounts of whatever Kate is getting but you also defer the other way. For example, we were at the ENT this week and they gave you a sticker when your hearing test was complete. You made sure to ask for one for Kate too and were thrilled when you got home and could hand it to her. I love that aspect of your personality.

Speaking of the ENT visit, I am happy to report that you will no longer be needing his services! Last year on your birthday you got your first set of ear tubes.
This year we found out that both of them were out of your ear drums. One had fallen out completely and the other was stuck in some wax in your ear canal. Dr. Rastatter extracted it and after you expressed a desire to keep it, he put it in a jar for you to take home.
In addition to his exam, you had another hearing test, this one a lot more involved than last year since your verbal skills and ability to communicate are way more advanced (yay!). You passed with flying colors! More amazing to me than that though, was seeing just how much you have grown up in the past year. This year you marched confidently into the sound room and although you sat on my lap, it was not the clingy, fear-driven monkey-hold you had on me last time. After a few routine tests you actually agreed to sit in the toddler chair and answer some questions with your ears all hooked up to microphones.

Then came the best part for me...I was agape at your ability to point out objects on a picture board when the audiologist named them. So many times you tell me at home that you don't know the answer, very often deferring to Kate or at least looking at her for the answer. Or, when naming colors, you will name them wrong, saying blue when I am pointing at red for example. But you've been outed my love! With but a few exceptions (like hot dogs which you've never seen) you named every object on the board and matched every color object on the corresponding peg.

So. So so so.  Now I know that YOU know more than you pretend to, I just have to figure out WHY you are faking a lack of intelligence. I have to admit I am stumped. I thought it was an attention-seeking ploy except that you generally will walk away and do something else when we are playing these types of games on the iPad or with puzzles, leaving me alone with Kate. I hope with time you will be able to articulate what is your underlying motivation.

In the meantime, I will revel in the fact that you have come so far since your last birthday. Not only have you grown several inches and gained several pounds, you are happier, more talkative, and more confident.  Here you were last December...
and here you are now...


What a difference a year makes. Happy birthday my darling. You are "FREE YEARS OLD!"



Elizabeth said...

Oh Lisa, I love this letter so much. What a keepsake this will be for Lucy when she is older. Following your blog for over a year now and seeing all Lucy's progress is absolutely amazing. She has come so far!!!!!!! You have so much to be proud of for it isn't without you love, dedication, determination, patience and unending hard work and encouragement - and with everything else you have had to deal with it is AMAZING!!!!! Lucy is so blessed to have you all as a family.

Stephanie said...

Super sweet letter! Love her birthday cake and the pics of the two of you snuggling. :)


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