Three and a half years

Dear Sophie,

When you paint, you insist that each color take turns, going in order through your box of watercolors: first red, then orange, then yellow, then green, and so on through to black, no matter what you’re painting. It makes all of your pictures beautiful blackened rainbowish creations.

Because your name is Sophie Isabel, you like me to tell stories about a princess named Isabel Sophie. Isabel Sophie has a life very similar to yours, except that in Isabel Sophie’s world, when she jumps, sometimes she keeps going up into the clouds, floating up in the air, until a friendly bird helps push her back down to earth. Isabel Sophie’s house has a tendency to stand up on its skinny legs, announce, “Whew, I’m tired of sitting in that same old place!” and then stroll down the hill to the beach. I was inspired by Baba Yaga (but without the witchy bit) and by you, because, you keep on telling me: “THAT’S not the end of the story! Then the blankie walks in…” and the story goes on. It’s a lot of fun.

You are at an age when you think rhymes are delightful. You love it when Isabel Sophie plays with her toes, then her nose, and then her cheerios.

You are at an age when you already ask me questions whose answers I don’t know: “Where does thunder come from?” “Why do batteries wear out?” “What do the lyrics to this song mean?” I love this.

You are at an age when you notice when I work late, and you miss me, a lot. I hope you will grow up knowing that I love my work AND I love you.

You are starting to make friends carefully, not indiscriminately, and you hold tight to your older friends.

You are still young enough that when you want to do something unruly, you sweetly announce it first. “I’m going to hide this,” you tell me, giving me a convenient warning to pay attention. “I’m going to run in my room and take my diaper off,” you declare, because you have decided that you are too old to wear a diaper to bed. So I tell you a story about Isabel Sophie ending up with a wet icky bed, and you listen carefully, and then decide to accept night-time diapers, for the time being, as long as they’re pull-ups and not diaper diapers.

You are at an age when you’re starting to love the books that I love: Miss Rumphius and The Big Orange Splot, in particular. But you also have your own taste and think that the most hilarious book in the world is Banana! — maybe because the entire story contains only two words (“banana” and “please”) and you love how I act it out. You are my favorite audience to act for.

I know that you’re enjoying preschool now, not only because you tell me so, but also because your teacher tells me: “Sophie was good during her first two weeks, very sweet and nice, but now that it’s her third week of school, now she’s silly. Silly and hilarious. She keeps making all of us laugh.”

I love your sillinesses. I love you down to your toes, and your nose, and your cheerios.

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