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The way you say accident (accinent), swimming pool (swimming cool), mangos (weegos), Chicago (Cago), Menards (ma-ards). Your little sayings: and it was SO funny, why did you do that (dat)?, I’m just teasing you. The way you jump into my lap when there’s thunder (wonder). Your strong attempt—but inability—to understand time (I got it from this morning yesterday).

How you have to make sure your Barbies are all laying on their backs before you can go to bed at night, and the way you notice if even one of your stuffed animals is missing from your bed. The way you have to hold onto the tags on your leopard and polka dot blankets to successfully fall asleep. How your whole body shakes and no sound comes out when you really laugh, and the fact that you’ve completely mastered a fake laugh when you just want to be included on a joke you don’t quite understand.

Your strong will and creative imagination. Your love for babies and the high-pitched voice you use to talk to any child smaller than you or any furry animal. How you love being outdoors. You’re happiest in the water and being cuddled in my arms. Pink is your favorite with purple as a close second. According to your terms, clothing is an optional rule. How singing in the car is a necessity and writing your own tune and lyrics are becoming the norm. Accessories are your happy place: sunnies, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and using my running headbands for belts. That you opt for sweet snacks, but will always finish the savory variety faster.

Your unparalleled confidence when you’re with us, and your reserved demeanor around those you know less. Your hair that glows and your perfectly gapped adorable little teeth. Your sense of humor, how you tease and that you understand how to tease. How you hold my face in your hands when you’re telling me something important. That sweet, sweet little voice that’s only yours.

Happy third birthday to the little girl who has brought so much happiness to our lives!

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