My pint-sized firecracker is three today.
Don't let the enormous blue eyes and golden ringlets fool you -- she's not a fairy-tale princess waiting to be rescued. She'll be the one doing the rescuing, probably riding standing up with each foot on a different horse.
She is fearless. She is fierce. She is heart-meltingly sweet.
The only possessive pronoun she uses is "mine," which makes everything sound vaguely German. This is mine book. That is mine doggy.
If you ask her what she's doing, the answer is always "nuffin." Spoiler alert: it's usually NOT nuffin. Case(s) in point: Emptying almost an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink and then putting minty-fresh handprints all over the bedsheets. Unrolling whole rolls of toilet paper because she needs "just a little bit more." Encasing her ponies in play doh, Hans Solo-style, and managing to leave about four cans worth of crumbly play doh on the floor.
When she spontaneously says, "I love you," she always says "I love you, too," even if she's the first one to say it.
Her favorite TV show is Octonauts, and I will go to my grave singing "Creature report! CREATURE REPORT! CREATUREREPORT."
Parenting her is proving to be a far different experience than her sister. Natalie, I get. Natalie is JUST like me. I understand her perfectionism, her fear of not being good at things, her insistence on things being done the right way.
But Olivia? Get messy. Mix that ish up. Who cares if you end up with a plate of muddy brown paint. Just try the thing. Rules? More like guidelines. Or suggestions. Which are promptly ignored.
If Natalie's motto is order and method, Olivia's is hold my beer.
Do I worry about what challenges this will present as she gets older? Well, yeah. I feel completely unprepared to parent a child who hears what you're saying, but really doesn't give a flying fig if it doesn't match up with what she was already planning to do.
I think of myself when I was younger, desperate to please people and not make any mistakes. I know I missed out on some great things because I was afraid. I still do.
My wish for Olivia on her birthday is to keep that flame of independence burning for the rest of her life. The world needs strong women now more than ever.