I am nearly 35 weeks pregnant now and so I am very aware, with every twinge, that our family of three will soon become a family of four. I am excited to meet this baby and start the next chapter of my life but I am finding the concept to be bittersweet. I have loved this time I've had with you - just you and me. We spend every waking (and many half-waking, should-be-sleeping) hour together and you really are my best little friend. I feel so lucky to have had so much time with you - to get to know you, to laugh with you, to watch you grow and cheer you on. I love hanging out with you and even now, I look forward to seeing your face every morning. It is still the best part of my day.
You are three years old and 2 months now. You are getting so big and in the last 6 months in particular, have become very capable. You are obsessed with being a "big girl" and doing everything by yourself. You dress yourself, are fully potty-trained, clean your room (when asked of course!), feed yourself, read to yourself, sign-out books at the library, play by yourself and put your coat and shoes on by yourself. You remind me ten times a day how tall/big/grown up you are and each time I am both proud and sad. I enjoy seeing you conquer the world around you and I love watching you develop your independence but it's all happening too fast for me.
You are so funny Paisley! You are a truly joyful little girl who starts every day with a smile and finishes it with a quip. You understand the subtleties of humour and have excellent timing. You are a very good conversationalist and can hold your own with any adult in the room. You are quick, and clever and delightful. I love hearing your observations and your stream of consciousness prattle ("The baby is jumping in your tummy? I can jump like this Boing! Boing! Rabbits jump too. And so do kangaroos. Rabbits eat carrots. What do kangaroos eat?") and even though it sometimes goes on for minutes without you apparently needing oxygen, I never tire of it. It makes me laugh. You make me laugh. The good thing is that you seem to think I'm pretty funny too and that means we have a lot of good times together.
We have a very busy life and you seem to like it that way. We are up and out to the Y most mornings where you either go to the babysitting to play with all your friends, go to swimming lessons or to your sports class. You love going to your classes and were so chuffed when you turned three and all your classes became unparented. "No Mommies! Just me, my friends and my teacher, right Mom?" you would repeatedly confirm with glee. The first day of sports class, I dropped you off and watched you run into the gym, wearing your new pink high-tops, and I thought I had brought you to the wrong class. These kids were so BIG. Then I realized you fit right in and much to my surprise, I started to cry. I never thought I would be that Mom and all of a sudden, I was. Motherhood is simultaneously the most wonderful and gut-wrenching thing I have ever done.
Most afternoons are spent on play dates with friends, or going for a walk or doing crafts together. As a sidebar, I hate doing crafts. I try, I really do but I am not the inspired Mom who has a huge box of supplies and a million ideas of how to turn toilet-paper-rolls into Princess castles. When prompted I usually give you a crayon, a glue stick and some paper and tell you to rip it up and stick it all together. Feel free to blame me if you never get accepted to art school. You really enjoy it though so I recently signed you up for a craft class at the Y. Know your weaknesses and then employ someone to compensate for them - that's what I say.
You look forward to Friday nights all week and ask almost every day "Is tonight Family Night?" On Family Night we play games and your absolute favourite is charades. You pretend to be an animal or a feeling or a thing and your Dad and I take turns guessing. Sometimes we pull the coffee table off the area rug and it becomes a stage for you to dance on. We play Candyland or Red Dog, Blue Dog. You just love it and we love it too. You know that dad doesn't work on the weekends and will exclaim on Saturday morning (once you have confirmed with me that it is indeed Saturday) that "Dad! You don't have to work today!"
You also spend quite a lot of time with your Grandma and Grandpa. About once a week we head out to Okotoks and you sometimes even stay the night. You play with Grandpa in the hot tub or go for a walk with Grandma. You are so comfortable there and I love watching the three of you together. When I grew up I didn't have my grandparents nearby. Although I loved them very much and was really close to my Grandma, I never had the familiarity with them that you do. I feel so lucky to have them in my life and I know you do too. They love you so much Paisley.
You are very excited to meet this baby. As of late (and who can really blame you) you have started to get inpatient. "This baby is taking a long time to come Mom!" You're right - it's a long wait. With every passing day, my belly gets bigger and I get more tired and more fed up with the whole thing. But every time I think "Ugh, I just wish this baby would come!" I stop myself and remind myself to hold on to what I have. To this amazing little girl who has given me more joy and love and hope than I ever thought possible and to the fleeting days I have left being a mother to just her. I am so very lucky.