Dear Penelope, on your 4th birthday,
I feel as though I just wrote last year's letter and here we are, somehow, on your 4th birthday. I could write a novel of all the ways that you amaze me and make my life complete. This year has seen its ups and downs, but you have been the shining star, every single day.
Over the past year, you've really become a person with quite a little personality of your own. You have been SO much fun. You love being active but you also love a solid rest time of vegging out and watching your favorite shows. You want to get up and GO on the weekends, asking what the plans are for each day and where we are going next?
This was our most fun summer yet, and we didn't want it to end. You swam like a fish at the many pools at your disposal. We joined our local pool club and some of my favorite memories of this year were spending Friday evenings at the pool with friends, and your friends, swimming and eating pizza, and lazily walking home, cooled off and content, once the sun went down.
You also became a rock star traveler. We went to California where you visited the San Diego Zoo and Disneyland, not to mention hiked Torrey Pines, went on your first water slide, and rode on the airplane like a pro. You still remember the trip because you always tell me that you and your baby dolls are going on holiday to California and to stay in the hotel. You are also apparently part British. You kill me. I can't wait for more adventures to come.
You have become a truly picky eater, taking me down a notch from those young, naive "my child will eat anything, including vegetables!" days. These days, your favorite foods are long pasta (spaghetti), meatballs, mozzarella sticks, pancakes, fish sticks, French fries, strawberries with whipped cream and pancakes. So all of the healthy things, basically. Occasionally I can get you to eat eggs. I can always get you to eat fruit, especially strawberries and grapes.
This year, you moved into a big girl bed and you could not be more pleased with yourself. Your favorite aspects are the secret hiding spot underneath (it's a low lofted bed with a small step ladder) and hiding under your comforter to then pop out and scare us, but one that you refuse to actually use when sleeping. My favorite feature is that you ask me to lay and snuggle with you every night (or have a sleepover), and even on the nights when the dishes aren't done and dinner hasn't been eaten and laundry has piled high, Daddy reminds me that time is fleeting, and I climb right in.
You are such a smart little girl. The things you know continues to astound me. You are starting to trace and write letters and numbers, you know uppercase vs. lowercase. You constantly ask what letters begin different words, and you are getting good at already knowing the answers. This is one of our favorite games on the walk to school. We choose a letter and then take turns coming up with words that start with said letter.
I've noticed, especially in the last few months, that you are an introvert. You love a good time with others, but you are also perfectly content to sit and play solo for hours on end. Last weekend, you played with your Peppa Pig dollhouse for a solid 6 hours straight, breaking only for breakfast and lunch. Daddy and I just kept looking at each other in amazement.
You are a loving, caring friend. You love your friends fiercely, and just like your mom, you are overwhelmed by large groups of friends, preferring to play with just one or two of your closest friends at a time. Growing up, I could never pinpoint this about myself, but have realized it in my adult years, and I see it in you. My introvertedness is something that has taken me some time to accept and even embrace, but this is one of my favorite things about you and it makes me proud. You don't need anyone to make you happy but yourself and that will be a force to be reckoned with in your life.
You are funny. You love to laugh, and you especially love when Daddy makes you laugh because he is the silliest.
You love rainy days and jumping in muddy puddles with your rain boots and umbrella. Your favorite shows of late are Powerpuff Girls, Masha & the Bear, Beat Bugs, PJ Masks, Paw Patrol and of course, your YouTube videos. In movies, you went through a long Hotel Transylvania 2 phase and lately, you continue to ask for Trolls, Beauty & the Beast and The Secret Life of Pets.
This is going to be a big year for all of us as we add another member to our family. I'm so aware of how this will affect you. As a big sister myself, I know that one of the greatest gifts I can give you is a sibling, however, it's not lost on me that the days of you being my only baby are fleeting and so I plan to soak that up. I'm so excited for what this year will bring for you and our family.
Happy Birthday my sweet, sassy, smart, strong, FUN and beautiful (inside and out) little girl!
PS: Here are some of my favorite photos of you from the last year