I started this post a few weeks ago but have had a heck of time sitting down and putting words to Juliette’s latest and greatest – everything I write feels so inadequate. She’s not just picking up a few new words each week, not just getting taller and smarter and more fun. She’s becoming her own full-fledged, complex, awesome little person. And it seems impossible to capture all this change with a few funny quips and a reel of pictures.
Dang it, though. I’ve at least gotta hit the highlights, right? For my faithful readers (Juliette’s grandmas!) if nothing else…
After months of resistance, once the post-bath tangles had become too much too bear, we finally bit the bullet and headed to the local salon for Juliette’s first haircut. She was a little anxious, but once she was snuggled into Shane’s lap with a lollipop and an episode of Puffin Rock, she hardly noticed the stranger with scissors hovering about. I sighed a big sigh as those first curls fell to the floor – the hours I spent stroking those baby highlights as she nursed or slept in my arms!
The bulk of her red-gold tresses made it through the cut unscathed, though. Thank goodness.
She’s growing like the proverbial weed – one day I’m shuffling her stool around so she can stand on it to wash her hands at the downstairs sink, the next day she just walks right up to the counter and flips on the faucet, a little smirk of pride on her face as she catches my surprised reflection in the mirror. It feels not so long ago that I was awkwardly balancing her on my hip at the sink, scrubbing her hands myself. She likes watching the numbers appear on our digital scale and was thrilled when the 3’s turned to 4’s – little lady is 40.8 pounds as of this morning. Must be all that broccoli! (Turns out she’ll eat just about anything she can grab with her trusty chopsticks!)
That same proud smirk lit up her face a few weeks ago when she came home from school one evening, grabbed a maker, and wrote J-U-L-I-E-T-T-E on her whiteboard. It was as if she’d been secretly working on this with her teachers for months, prepping for a dramatic surprise unveiling. We had no idea she knew how to go any farther than J! (She’s working on her lower-case e‘s, but her “apple-case” ones are solid!)
She continues to thrive at school, though it does feel like we’re starting to tread in more emotionally complex waters. Juliette’s buddy L walked up to her one morning and said, “You’re not my best friend – M is my best friend now. You can’t play with us.” Waaaahhhh! The crestfallen look on Juliette’s face! My heart! I had a calm but ever-so-slightly stern talk with the two little excluders about how their words made Juliette sad and made me sad. I think Juliette sensed how firmly I had her back, as she nuzzled into me afterwards and said, “But Mommy, you’re still my best friend, right?” Always and forever, kiddo…always and forever. The whole thing blew over in a few days and it turned out to be a good opportunity to reinforce the importance of kindness and inclusion with Juliette. A new coffee shop opened up around the corner from Juliette’s school and we’ve made a ritual of popping in there a couple of times a week for an Americano, a vanilla steamer, and a good heart-to-heart before we head into her class. We’ll chat about the day ahead and the latest happenings with her school buddies; sometimes she’ll ask me what I’m going to do at work that day. These few minutes are especially precious on days when I come home to a tired or cranky girl, or when I don’t make it home at all before bedtime. When I’m frustrated with her or missing her, I remind myself at least there was the coffee shop…
Fridays with my little bestie are as good as ever. We’ve added the swimming pool to our rotation of Mama-Jules activities, and whenever I put that on the list of potential outings, it always wins, over the bakery or the library or the park. As we walked in the doors of the pool a couple of weeks ago and breathed in that first whiff of chlorinated steam, Juliette squealed, “I’m so exciting, Mommy!” She’s embraced the independence that comes with the arm floaties and loves bobbing around in endless circles at the whirlpool.
Bonus: post-pool naps are easy-breezy, as she crashes in no time. Usually in my bed. I’m still a sucker for snuggles.
On days when we don’t get out of the house, we do craft projects or watch (too many) episodes of Sarah and Duck. Juliette has recently gotten really into drawing and will whip out a family portrait in just a couple of minutes. I always have the biggest head, Shane always has the baldest one.
We’re constantly marveling at the how adept she’s become at expressing herself, how self-aware she suddenly seems. She scooted her chair right next to mine at the cafe yesterday and said, “Mommy? I’m so happy to be here with you.”
On the flip side, when I turned off the TV that afternoon, she wailed, “But that makes me so frustrating! Now I’m going be sad foreverrrrrrr!”. She climbed to the top of a monster slide at the playground the other day and as she perched there, high above my reach, she yelled down, “I’m being brave, Mommy! You don’t need to worry about me!” She’s probably right – I don’t (but I do!).
And now, the full photo reel! These next few are from a sunny Saturday at Magnusson Park:
And there was a fun romp at Mount Baker Park last month:
Happy three and a half, Miss Juliette Grace! I’m so happy being with you.