Millie turned three years old on Sunday. Bob was in New York with Charlie so our celebration was rather low-key. In fact, when she asked about a party, I successfully convinced Millie that a trip to Lowes and Target WAS her party. She, apparently, hasn’t grown out of that toddler gullibility stage yet.
(An aside about birthday parties: we don’t throw them for our kids. We used to, when we only had one or two kids and I’m sure we will throw them again someday, but right now, I can barely stay on top of my house as it is so the thought of having a dozen kids throw my home into an even greater state of chaos, even if just for a few hours, makes me want to weep. But listen. We definitely make birthdays special around here. There are presents and cake and fun times. Plus, we do other amazing things with our children like how Bob regularly hikes with them on the Appalachian Trail. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t judge our worth as parents by the size of our birthday celebrations. WE’RE GOOD AT OTHER THINGS.)
Millie at three is much like Millie at two: complete brightness and sunshine and hugs and inquisitiveness and passion for life punctuated by intense sobbing when she doesn’t get exactly what she wants. When anyone denies her wishes, she likes to stomp her foot, scream “LEAVE ME ALONE!” and slam her bedroom door on her way to pout. So, that’s charming.
Millie loves everything pink and purple and princessy. Which is what makes her outbursts extra funny. I just can’t take someone seriously when they’re yelling at me in complete royal court toddler garb right down to the bejeweled necklace, tulle skirt and little tiny plastic heels. Also, she pronounces, “tiara,” “tu-war-a.” Do not ever let me catch you correcting her.
Millie’s penchant for destruction continues to surprise and impress Bob and I. What’s that verse about ‘idle hands are the devil’s playground?’ Something like that. In deep contrast to the boys, Millie has already discarded her daily nap in favor of forced “Quiet Time” in her room where she basically spends 90 minutes scanning the space for what she can dismantle or destroy or climb on or topple over. She’s colored each of the walls with a crayon, taught herself how to undo the child locks and open her windows, knocked over lamps (more than once) and torn books to shreds. It’s like Millie doesn’t even understand the concept of downtime. She only has two speeds: on or off.
She also loves “writing.” She carries a pen and small notebook almost everywhere she goes. She is always coloring something or taking notes on something or sitting down and completing her “homework” while the boys work on theirs. She has learned her letters and is working on learning how to write them. It’s cute to see her encourage and support Charlie as he reluctantly learns to write his letters for homework. Sometimes, it seems like she’s almost irritated that she doesn’t know how to read yet.
Millie ADORES her brothers. Well, Henry mostly. They have a special relationship based almost entirely on Henry’s patience for his little sister. Their six-year age difference is bridged by a mutual love of Lego. It is absolutely delightful. Millie and Charlie’s relationship is a bit more tense with more arguing and tattle-telling. She is, by all accounts, the boss of both of them. Well, all of us really.
Our mornings are quiet now that Charlie is in Kindergarten. Millie and I tend to each go to separate corners of the house. She likes to play with her brothers’ toys unencumbered by their protests and I am always catching up on laundry or dishes or the Internet and relishing the relative quiet. We’ve settled into a nice routine.
She is my absolute sidekick and our lives are so much richer for having this newly minted three-year-old in the house. (Even if we’re a little worried she might steal money from our wallets while we’re sleeping.) Happy birthday, Millie! Go easy on us in year four, okay?