Today you are 4.
Of course, when I said happy birthday to you this morning, you said, it's not my birthday yet! because you equate birthdays with cupcakes, and those won't happen until after lunch at your summer camp.
Your daddy and I are so relieved that 4 has finally arrived. 3 was a little rough towards the end (even though the terrible two's were a breeze with you), oh with the testing of wills and the independence struggles. But it was the same way with your brother, and that gave us some relief on the harder days.
Despite the drama that came with some of your days, like refusing to wear anything but a dress (when there weren't any clean) or getting upset because the right sippy cup wasn't served to you with dinner, your dad and I have just been in awe of you this past year. You had so many growth spurts of maturity, that every time we turned around it seemed you were passing a new milestone...piecing sentences together, getting into your carseat and buckling the belt by yourself, tenderly caring for a friend or going to bed with ease, in your own bed (don't be fooled, this is still one to work on).
You have such a sweet nature that my favorite times of the day are falling asleep with you at night and waking up with you in the morning, with you right next to my side. While you are getting better at falling asleep in your own bed, you always crawl into ours around midnight. And honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. You have always been a good snuggler, never taking up much room in our bed but still sticking close to my side so I can kiss your forehead at any time.
My second favorite times with you would have to be our shopping trips. And this surprises me because one would normally think taking a 3 year old, independent child into a grocery store or department store would be brutal torture. But it's quite the opposite with you. When it's you and me together, we hold hands or I carry you on my hip (all 27 pounds of you), and you help me with all of the tasks that accompany shopping. Putting items in the cart, stirring my coffee at 7-11, picking out the best fruit and trying on clothes. It is our special time together, we talk and giggle and steal kisses from each other, and it has brought me so much joy.
Your outgoing sense of style brings a smile to my face and joy to my afternoon when I get to pick you up from preschool and see what outfit you and Daddy picked out that morning. The color combination and pattern matching never disappoints and I think it speaks volumes on how much creativity and vibrancy you will have in your years to come.
I love how you give me dandelions but tell me not to blow them away.
I love how you ask for a hug and a kiss every morning when I leave.
I love how you come running when I pick you up.
I love how you think your brother is the greatest kid in the world.
I love how you have not 1, but 3 best friends.
I love how you dance anytime you hear a song.
I love how you blow bubbles out your car window.
I love how you crave independence but still need your mama.
I love your big heart.
Baby girl, you added so much to our family when you joined us 4 years ago, and made us a COMPLETE unit of love. No matter what you go through in life, you will always be accepted in our family as our little Avalon.
I love you, my sweet petunia.