Four years ago today, we welcomed our second baby girl as the winter sun came up. I spent those early days nursing in our bed, looking at the bare tree that grows outside our bedroom window, watching for signs of Spring.
We named her Margot Joy and loved her instantly.
Today, that baby turns four.
She loves to dress up. A cowboy with sparkly shoes. A superhero in underwear and a knitted blanket for a cape. A unicorn. A belly dancer.
Mostly, she sheds her clothes throughout the day and likes to be in her skin.
She loves to draw and is learning her letters and numbers. She asks me to draw mermaids for her to colour every single day, and tells me that they're me. She stores her extra pencils in her armpits for easy access. She thinks I'm prettier than Sporty Spice. She sings like Ariel (the aaah, aaah part where Ursula yells, "Keep singing!"), and loves to wear loud shoes.
She loves eating meat off a bone and always has dibs on the drumstick. She gets in and out of her chair one hundred times per meal. She runs away when we tell her we need to brush her hair. She never listens when we tell her it's time to get ready to go somewhere, then cries when everyone else is ready and she isn't. She loves her blankie and falls off the couch on a daily basis.
She hates being left behind when we go for a walk and cries about that, too. She always needs coercing to get her outside.
Her favourite person outside our immediate family is her Nanny, hands down.
That little baby has teeth now, and freckles, and a wild mess of hair. She calls ketchup "keputch", plums "klums", and kiwis "peewees". She makes up songs about everything. She tells jokes that make no sense and gets mad when no one laughs. The latest: "Why did the owl go to the doctor?" "To watch his favourite (whooooo!) movie!"
She loves to take pictures, and insists on showing me how to smile when my portrait is being taken.
She waffles between wanting to be little and wanting to be big. She loves her new booster seat (it's purple with flowers), play dough, Barbie movies, sleepovers at Nanny's, camping, and mermaids. She hates dogs, men with facial hair, and not knowing things that her big sister does.
Margot Joy is just that: a joy. Over the past week I've tried to freeze each twirl, mispronounced word, creatively-sung song, and every new independent step she takes because I would so love to keep her at age three just a little longer.
But I think the coming year is going to be just fabulous. How could it not be, when it's this fabulous little girl who is turning four?