Latest Post

Dear Zella: Months Thirty-four-five-six

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters (None yet)

Dear Zella,

Now you are three! You are hilarious and brave and determined and silly and very, very ticklish. You love coloring and pretending to write letters and doing anything Ezra does. You are very polite. When someone asks you if you want something you automatically say “no, thank you!” then giggle, roll your eyes, and say, “I mean yes thank you!” When we ask if you have something, you widen your eyes and seriously state “I do.”

You love your friends Ingy and Rosie. You are indifferent to the potty. You hate pants. You hate it when Ezra tries to tell you who to pretend to be, sobbing, “I’m NOT Princess Anna! I’m Sally from Busytown!” You love Sally from Busytown.

Since I’m writing this letter to you a bit late, I’ve had a chance to see you be three for a little while, and before I look back over your last months of two-and-three-quarters-ness, let me mention that I’m not entirely pleased that you got the memo about being three. The memo apparently states that you must express your disappointment with being told “no” about anything with the most tragic face-crumpling ever seen, that a dark cloud of tragedy must haze your eyes, and that you must fall sobbing to the ground in a sodden heap of misery. Three is a dramatic age.

But you have always been a dramatic girl. When Dada comes home from work every day, you run down the hall at top speed and literally leap into his arms. You give full-body hugs while swooning, “I love you so much!” On your first run down the big sled hill on our yearly trip to Galena, just a few days after your third birthday, you demanded to go down headfirst, on your back, by yourself. It was the craziest possible arrangement, but there was no talking you out of it, and down you went. When you reached the bottom, you felt you had completed your perfect run and declined to sled any more that day.

The next day you sledded so much that on the way up the big hill back to the car, as I was pulling you in the sled, you simply lay down and fell asleep. Sleeping Beauty. I mean, Sleeping Sally from Busytown.

The last few months, you have become very interested in baby dolls. While Ezra always slept with a giant pile of stuffed friends, you’ve never been much of a sleeper with stuff. But then you slowly but surely started wanting your baby doll with you more and more. One night I left you in your room at bedtime, awake and sitting on the floor reading books, and when I returned, you had gotten the baby and tucked yourself in, cuddling her through the night.

A few weeks ago you told me that the baby’s name was “Jon Bon Jon Bon Jon” and I couldn’t help myself, I said, “Oh, you mean Jon Bon Jovi? The doll is named Jon Bon Jovi?” And so she is. For your birthday Grammy gave you and Jon Bon Jovi matching nightgowns, and I love peeking in on you at night with Jon Bon Jovi in your arms.

Your interest in fashion has only grown stronger. You have incredibly clear opinions about what you should wear each day (usually summery party dresses and tights) and what you should not wear (pants, basically ever). You discovered headbands and became obsessive. With an infusion of new birthday headbands from Grammy and Aunt Lilli, you are now able to cycle through many headband looks each day, and choose a new one for bed each night. You love sparkly shoes and polka-dotty tights.

Because you have an older brother, most of your toys have been pretty gender-neutral, but by three, you’ve started getting some special girl stuff just for you. I’ve tried to keep the pink princessy stuff to a bare minimum, but you certainly do love it. So does Ezra, so at least there’s that. I love watching the two of you negotiate who gets to wear the fairy princess costume you got from Nana and Papa for your birthday, or both of you sitting for half an hour putting eye, mouth, jewelry, and hair accessory stickers on blank pretty-lady faces. I got you a craft project for your birthday but I needn’t have bothered; your very favorite thing I gave you on your birthday was a tube of Hello Kitty lip gloss.

Speaking of kitties, your love for Lucy is true and deep and beautiful. You call her “my kitty” or sometimes “my precious kitty,” and several times a day you kidnap her for some special hugs. She’s patient and loves attention, but she’s old and fragile, and I fear your days of loving on her may be numbered. But for now, it’s great fun to watch you cuddle her like a baby and sing sweet songs in her ears.

Glossy kisses and sparkly hugs, my three year old girl.
Love,
Mama

Posted by sarah on 21 Jan 2014

Dear Ezra: Months Fifty-two-three-four

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters (None yet)

Dear Ezra,

On my birthday, you turned 4 1/2. You can see 5 on the horizon, kindergarten in your hazy future, but for now, you are right in the thick of 4 and enjoying it all. The emotional tumult of 3 1/2 has finally simmered down a little. You are beginning to be better at recovering from a disappointment, rolling with a change in plans, reasoning through a disagreement.

Posted by sarah on 19 Nov 2013

Dear Zella: Months Thirty-one-two-three

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters Nana Adrienne

Dear Zella,

Now you are 2 3/4. You practiced saying that for a whole day, stopping again and again as you worked out the order of the words. “I three and two…no…I TWO and THREE QUARTERS!” In honor of this milestone, you grew almost an inch and finally started breaking your last set of molars.

Posted by sarah on 8 Oct 2013

Dear Ezra: Months Forty-nine-Fifty-Fifty-one

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters (None yet)

Dear Ezra,

In these few short months since you turned four, you caught bluegills, went bowling, flew a kite, slept all night on the top bunk, played an Indonesian Gamelan, and, with no fanfare of any kind, rode a bike. A real bike, with pedals and no training wheels.

Posted by sarah on 15 Aug 2013

Dear Zella: Months Twenty-eight-nine-Thirty

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters Nana Adrienne

Dear Zella,

My favorite thing this summer is to watch you run at full speed. You do crazy things with your arms and face, often throwing your hands out behind you and jutting your chin out. Sometimes you run towards me so fast you can’t stop yourself, flinging your body into my arms, or wrapping your arms around my legs to slow yourself down. You live your whole life like this, at full speed, fully invested in everything.

Posted by sarah on 28 Jun 2013

Dear Ezra: Months Forty-six-seven-eight

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters Nana Adrienne

Dear Ezra,

Now you are four. You can play the fiddle and ride a balance bike with both feet up. You can put your head under the water in a pool without flinching, kick a soccer ball, hit a baseball, and fly a kite. You’ve held a butterfly and a frog and learned how close you can get to a gosling before its mama freaks out. You make up words to fit your needs: the verb for “riding a scooter” is “scooter-wooter” and the desire to see a TV show is “feeling watchy.” You also create songs to fit your mood, and bend rules with the best of them. You are, depending on the day, either a Very Big Boy, or a Very Medium-Sized Boy. But most importantly: you are no longer a toddler. You are a kid.

Posted by sarah on 16 May 2013

Dear Zella: Months Twenty-five-six-seven

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters (None yet)

Dear Zella,

I should have written this a few weeks ago, when the shine was still on the apple of your turning two. I am always telling people that two is so much easier than one, that the terrible twos is really the terrible one-and-a-halfs and that two year olds are so great. And, truly, for the most part you are amazing. And I will spend the next paragraphs detailing the wonder that is you at two. But let me pause for a moment to mention that you are currently insane. You seem to have gotten into some kind of developmental feedback loop that is impossible to break. You CAN change your mind, therefore you MUST change your mind. Over and over and over again. You want it, you don’t want it. You like it, you don’t like it. Your mind is so busy turning over the possibilities that you can’t possibly fall asleep. You want to be in bed, you want to be out. In, out. IN. OUT. IN! OUT! Our evenings with you have been long recently.

Posted by sarah on 6 Apr 2013

Dear Ezra: Month Forty-five

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters Gram Amy

Dear Ezra,

This month you got your second bloody nose and your first major cut to the chin. The former made you hysterical until Dada remembered (ahem, created on the spot) a VERY IMPORTANT RULE: If your nose is bloody, you get ice cream. There. Solved it. You were very calm about your chin, and came back from your trip to urgent care yelling “I got all stickered up!”

Posted by sarah on 4 Mar 2013

Dear Ezra: Months Forty-two-three-four

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters Nana Adrienne

Dear Ezra,

When you were very small, I wondered what your passion would be. I noticed the other little boys I met. Would you be a construction vehicle kid? A train kid? A dinosaur kid? You gravitated naturally to trains (with a minor in monkeys), and you still do really love trains. For instance, you found an ad in a magazine for a model train show, and have now memorized the date and details, making sure we always remember that “on March 9th we’re going to the train show.” But you never became the kind of obsessive train lover I’d seen some of my friends’ kids transform into. You like watching and playing trains. You don’t really care what kind they are, where they’re going, or what’s inside.

Posted by sarah on 13 Feb 2013

Dear Zella: Month Twenty-four

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters (None yet)

Dear Zella,

You are two. Though, when asked, you tell people proudly, “I three!”

Posted by sarah on 25 Jan 2013

Dear Zella: Month Twenty-three

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters (None yet)

Dear Zella,

Recently we had a playdate for Ezra with one of his friends from school. The friend has a baby brother, and there was another baby over as well, so you got to choose: babies or big boys. It was no contest. At one point, the three of you set up our play tent in the living room, and after a few minutes of negotiating, you ran down the hall to tell me, “I get monkeys for the tent!” You had been given an important job by the big boy high command, and you could not have been more proud.

Posted by sarah on 24 Dec 2012

Dear Zella: Month Twenty-two

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters Satya from India

Dear Zella,

At one point this month, your dad looked at me and said, “uh…can she just say anything now?” Yes, you can. Whatever we say, you can repeat it. Multi-word phrases. Three syllable words. You’re even copying your brother and calling us Sarah and Sandy sometimes.

Posted by sarah on 29 Nov 2012

Dear Ezra: Months Forty and Forty-one

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters (None yet)

Dear Ezra,

You’ve always really liked music and had strong opinions about what songs you wanted to hear. But in the last few months it has reached dizzying heights. You can hear a song and dismiss it or become obsessed with it in an instant, and based entirely on an internal algorithm I cannot discern in any way. Because you loved a few songs from Mary Poppins, I took out an album of show tunes from the library. Within minutes “Oklahoma” was your new jam, though you had no use for anything else on the album. Until the next day, when You’re Just In Love came on, and you realized instantly that it was the best song ever. We played that song 20 times in one day.

Your Aunt Lilli obliged your new show tune fascination with 60 of her favorite songs, and you’ve passed quite a few of them into your bafflingly assembled pantheon of greatest hits. For a week it was all “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof, which has the distinction of being almost 8 minutes long and featuring long stretches of talking punctuated by some angry singing. You memorized the look of the cover art on my phone, and figured out within a day how to open up iTunes, locate the album view, find Fiddler, and choose the correct song.