Lately, three has not seemed all that young. Young three seems young as I look at other people's children, but old three has not as I've looked at my own child.
Cora still seems young when I see her sprawled and asleep, when she's in those adorable fitted children's PJs, and when she melts into a pool of uselessness after a long day.
Cora seems old because she is a second child and is living in a 6 year old's world. She seems old because she's opinionated and articulate. She seems old because no baby could extract so many emotions from Jacob and me across one single day.
We recently watched some baby videos of Cora. These videos are especially precious to me because when our rental car was broken into last year and our laptops stolen, I lost a lot of not-backed-up pictures/videos of Cora. I had backed up a few (like 10!!) and I'm so glad. How amazing to see the fieriness in her even as a 12 month old. Such expressions!
Man, she is fiery. I mean to write down the things she says but I never do and then of course I forget them.
A few things to note about Cora at this birthday:
- She's intuitive. She notices things and is aware and observant. When Jacob, for once, happened to wear a non-Urban South embossed shirt one day, she noticed and asked why. She calls me on my feelings and usually can explain why I'm feeling them "Mommy, you're frustrated because..."
- She says "right?" a lot at the end of her sentences. Tante Sara pointed this out after having Cora spend the night. Once pointed out to us, we couldn't believe we hadn't noticed it. Cora has an affirming tic: "It's okay that I spilled my drink, right Mommy? Everyone has accidents, right? Right, Mommy?"
- She's competing for the world's worst sleeper award. One recent night she was up for more than an hour after Jack went to bed, making 8 trips down to tell us one more thing. When finally asleep, she started having atrocious night terrors where she was screaming at the top of her lungs. Then she woke us up in the middle of the night, as usual, because she was scared and wanted to relocate to our room. And she didn't sleep in and was grumpy early in the morning. Those are the difficult times...
- Every night she relocates in the middle of the night to the floor beside our bed. It works for her.
- Cora is glass and she's not shatter proof. Apparently Geminis have two personalities. Cora can go from the best companion to the worst in a matter of seconds. (Think: glass shattering.) I've figured out that she struggles mightily to pull herself back together once she falls apart so it's better to let the meltdown happen and then intervene afterward, because she can and will go back to being pleasant company if she's not met head-on. This is why night-time is hard. While it feels ridiculous to "allow" the many post-bedtime visits, the alternative is to come down hard and then have an escalating (crying, screaming, defiant) 3 year old on your hands. Isn't it better to tolerate one more "I need to tell you something....um...PAUSE...what are we having for breakfast tomorrow?" than to unleash the beast as Jacob would say?
- Which brings me to: Cora does not back down. I may hang a sign on her that says "Do not approach directly." That time I flew 9 hours overnight to Europe alone with her at 12 months? And she didn't sleep more than 45 minutes? That was a preview of what was to come. Does.Not.Back.Down. Still a trait of hers.
- Luckily, she's super cute and funny. I love sitting back and watching where her imagination takes her.
- She's an amazing big sister - she can be relied on to play with Luke and keep him safe when we are busy. He loves his "To-ta" and they give each other sweet smackers on the lips :)
- She loves her big brother even though they are in total war right now. It breaks my heart a little because she lights up when he's sweet to her. But since she's an instigator, I can't feel too sorry for her. Jack frequently says "Stop antagonizing me Cora!!"
Ahh Cora. I'm fully confident that all of this fire is refining some wonderful things in your little person. Today, your birthday, was a perfect snapshot of life with you. Jacob and I both said it's fortunate there is only one day a year where you can say "It's my birthday, so I..." Lots of ups and downs and randoms today but, as typical, there was an extremely rewarding snuggle at the end of the day where all of your sweetness and beautiful spirit was radiating. I love all of you and everything you teach me daily. Here's to many more years!