Dearest Sydsyd,

Three years ago today I went into labor with you–2 weeks early! I was expecting a Yankee Doodle Dandy baby, but was not disappointed to welcome you early. We were going through a heat wave–it was expected to be 100 on the 26th, and I also didn’t mind being in a fully air-conditioned hospital for a couple days. The labor was quick, but not uneventful. Your mama likes to vomit her way through labor (you’re welcome for that information, sweetie), and your daddy almost passed out from the awesome combination of bodily fluids involved in the beautiful and disgusting business of giving birth. The NICU nurses were called in to await you, b/c there was a strong concern you had breathed in some meconium. This will all make way more sense to you in about 25 years. But soon after you arrival, you were declared A-OK, gorgeous blue eyes and just enough orange fuzz on your head for every hospital employee to confidently assure me you are a redhead. We also noticed that the two smallest toes on your left foot were fused together! We immediately starting calling them your “special toes.” My little Bird, you were easy from the start!
What a delightful disposition you had–a great sleeper who loved to smile!

NOT a great eater, however. Which is partly why you earned the nickname Birdie!

I’ll always remember that first year of your life as being a whirl of happiness! You were such a breeze–a bald little breeze.

Your milestones came a little slower than “normal,” but we could tell you were just content to take your time and do things your own way.

You learned to crawl at 11 months, and walk at 15 months.

You’ve got a sweet-tooth like your mama!

One of my greatest joys is watching as you got old enough to start playing with your brother. You guys fight–a lot. But you also love each other and have very tender moments together. I know you will always look up to Carson, and I feel confident that he will never let go of his job as your protector!

Now that you are going to be a big sister, I pray that you will also take on that same role for Asher. A part of your personality that has really developed in the last year or so is your maternal side! You have about 12 baby dolls in the house, and you take turns caring for each of them. Sure they get dropped on their heads or left on the driveway sometimes, but you tenderly feed them, rock them and put them to sleep daily. Most of them are named Baby Kaitlyn, but we refer to them in their descriptive forms: Purple baby, Thai baby, silly-hair baby, brown baby, boy baby, etc.

When this picture was taken (below), on your 2nd birthday, you received your first dress-up dress. It’s still one of your favorites, and dressing up has also become one of your favorite past-times. You have a total knack for acting “grown-up” as you put your keys in your purse, put your chapstick on, pack your phone and kiss me good-bye, telling me you’re going to drive to work. 🙂

I love that your sense of humor is developing, and you know when Daddy and I are teasing you! It’s fun to play games and jokes with you, and watch you laugh and throw your head back with giggles.

It’s pretty clear, however, that you are no longer that angelic infant, sitting happily and watching the world go by. You have found your voice and your opinion! On many mornings you express a strong choice on what you will wear, eat and do. You stomp your feet and clench your fists and shout “NO!” with the best of them. You dawdle–oh my WORD, how you dawdle, girl! I can tell you know when you are pushing my buttons and you like it! You’ve found that fiestiness that so stereotypically comes with your red locks.

But you still are definitely my snuggler. You’re a mama’s girl and you want to be with me and preferably sitting in my “yap” many times throughout the day. I can always count on some good cuddle time with you, which warms my heart like you’ll never know.
Another one of my favorite things you do is something that hardly anyone ever sees–or rather: hears. When you are doing something on your own, often you’ll just burst out into a tune. No tune in particular, but you throw in a mean vibrato just to be dramatic. You sing along to music in the car as well–more than your older brother ever did. It gives me such joy to hear!

Outside of our house, you still definitely have a stoic and rather shy side. People have to spend a few hours with you, usually, before you let your guard down and let them see your silly side. This year we went to Disneyland and you were not interested in meeting any of the Disney characters! But you still had a great time doing your own thing. I know that the girl we know now is just a piece of the young woman you will become, but Syd? I love what I see! Being your mama is one of the greatest joys of my life. Last week we found out that you will be the middle child with 2 brothers. As soon as I knew that you would be my only daughter, I began to cherish our relationship even more! I pray that you will always trust me to protect you, be honest with you, and laugh with you. I know some people don’t like the trend of calling their girls princesses–perhaps it can lead to a feeling of entitlement. But whether or not you want to be called a princess, I want you to know that you are the daughter of THE King! You are special, unique, loved, important, beautiful, kind, funny and wonderful. There is not and never will be anyone just like you. My life is richer because I know you, and I’m blessed furthermore to call you my daughter! Happy third birthday, sweet Sydney!