Dear Dumpling,

To the Dumpling on March 7th, 2018:
You are growing, growing, growing and I continue to bust with joy and heartache. It is wonderful to see you blossom and grow into this incredible human. In the snap of a finger you went from my little baby who I held in my lap and fed with a bottle every night and sang to before placing you in your crib to a growing kid who says she can do everything herself. You can go to the bathroom yourself, brush your teeth yourself, clear your plate at the table yourself, throw things away yourself, put on your shoes yourself, open the car door, get in your car seat and partially snap the buckles yourself. You don’t always want to do these things yourself.

Sometimes you say you’re tired and you can’t. Other times you aggressively insist on doing them yourself. Sometimes I give in and help you when you say you can’t, delighting in the feeling of being needed (and to speed things up). Other times when I’m trying to be strong and do what is best for you, I remind you that you’ve shown me that you can do all of these things before so I know you can do them again. I know teaching you to do things for yourself will help you to be a confident and happy person. It’s just hard sometimes. I want to wrap you in my arms and hold you like my little baby forever.
As the years go on, I don’t want to forget how at this age you love to dance by moving your body in every direction, running, jumping, wiggling all over the living room. You love to sing (more like scream) and make up songs. Yesterday, we read the page on Joan Jett from Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. You had me practically flip through the whole book until we got to Joan Jett’s page. You saw the picture and emphatically declared that you wanted to hear her story. Afterwards we watched Joan Jett concerts on my phone. Then we drove to the library and on the way, you went on and on about how you love Joan Jett. But, when I asked if you wanted to be like her when you grow up you said, “No, I want to be Rapunzel.” I said you’d have to grow your hair long. You said you’d be a short haired Rapunzel. Then we had a long discussion about how you would make a living being Rapunzel. I explained that calling yourself Rapunzel was not a job that would earn you money. I said that whatever you do for a living should be something that you love to do. You finally decided you would be a Rapunzel who played music and that’s how you’d make money to pay your bills.
We have a lot of interesting conversations in the car. You’re asking a lot of good questions lately. Among your many recent questions: How are arms, ears and eyes attached to our bodies? Why are houses built into the ground? Why can’t I have more gummies?
We read the first few chapters of Charlotte’s Web tonight. You were really interested but visibly tired as you rubbed your eyes and rested very still. I thought you might fall asleep while I was reading. But, you fought your heavy eyelids hard and stayed up for about an hour after I left your room. You have never fallen asleep while I am reading to you. Tonight you were especially energized. The lively conversation you had in bed with Sky from Paw Patrol finally faded away at about 9pm.
I will head upstairs soon and look at you, pull the blanket over your shoulders, kiss your head several times, whisper in your ear that Mommy and Daddy love you, like I do every night.
Then, when I know I should get in bed myself so I’m not tired, I will stand by your bed gazing at you, grateful and filled with love.

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