Happy Birthday Baby

Rosie turns FOUR today.  Impossibly fast, yet it seems she's always been part of my life.  She's the sweetest, cuddliest, most generous contrarian in the world.  Unfailingly polite, she says "thank you, mommy" in her tiny voice whenever I bring her anything, but she's unfailingly and infuriatingly stubborn, too.  Her little body is so tightly wound.  She springs and jumps and dances like a bolt of electricity runs through her body.  She cannot fall asleep at night, and asks me to sit with her 'for five minutes', then grabs my hand and won't let go when her time is up.  She still twirls her hair and sucks her thumb to relax, and she still grabs me around the neck in a forwards full-Nelson and brings my check down to press against her cheek when I tuck her in.

Her memory stuns and confuses me.  If I ask her what she did in school, she'll brush me off with an airy, "I don't remember" but then she'll recite a scene from two years ago, from our old DC life, accurate down to describing the floor boards.  She's resistant to change: her school installed a brand-new playground over the summer, but she still pouts, "I like the old one" that she played on when we picked up Buzzy. 

Animals and babies are her friends.  The cousins closest to her age are all big sisters now, and she asks me why I'm not getting "a 'nudder one baby in my tummy?"  She wants to be big and masterful, often pretending to be the big sister or mommy.  I still get to be the queen, though.  "Thank you, your minus" she says to be silly. 

She's always had a gleam in her eye.  Lately she's been leaning into it with an eagerness to explore that wasn't there even a couple of months ago.  Rosie started school this fall, and is growing more independent every day.  She loves to dress up, put on her 'lipstick' -- Chapstick, sunscreen or marker, whatever she can find.  The more jewelry the better.  She's a bit of a dare devil (so long as slides aren't involved--she isn't a big fan of slides, mostly because of the static electricity shock that accompanied most of her earliest experiences on them).  She defiantly tells me, "I like bad guys, mama."  Oh, dear one.  No, no, no!  Please stay far away from all bad boys, bad guys, bad everything.  She always wants a hit of Motrin, enjoys caviar, loves fizzy water, and generally has me worried about her adolescence already.

Last night, I tucked her in and said, "Good night, baby.  I guess I can't call you that anymore.  You're four!  You're getting so big!"  And she said, "You can still call me baby." 

She has my heart.  Happy Birthday, baby.

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