Monday, April 4, 2016

Little A is a Little Older.

I try to write a post about my kids on their birthdays, but it's always hard to do because the only thing to say is "This is how my child is right now." And maybe it's wrong, but it's hard for me to just write simple things about my kids, because I realized that it just sounds like dog show stats or something. Avery is 36 inches tall and has a glossy coat of hair. But this is a mom blog and I am a mom and I want to remember Avery at 3. Oh, how I will miss Avery at 3. There is something inside my heart that has a harder time with Avery getting older. I am always super excited for Adam to get older, for all of the things that he's learning, for the kid he is becoming. But Avery, to me, is still little. 3 is little. 4 is less little. I don't want Avery to grow up. She is so cute and so sweet and so good and I want her to stay this way forever. Minus the tantrums, of course.

Some points about Avery:

  • Avery is super intelligent. Hey, we all think that our kids are the smartest, I know, but sometimes Avery is so smart that it unnerves me. She reads very proficiently. Lately I play a game where I write notes to her to see if she can read them and she always can. Always. They're not incredibly difficult notes, but they're things like "Avery can read now, That is so crazy." and "Ben smells bad and Bear sat on a stinky shoe." I am always impressed by her. She can count past 100. She can do simple math problems (addition and subtraction). And I swear to you, I have never tried to teach her any of this. She just really likes to learn and kind of just figures it out.
  • Avery has an insane memory. I don't know if this is related to the above or not, but Avery has an incredible memory. Sometimes people will say that it's too bad that Avery won't remember our time abroad and I have to kind of laugh because I know logically that most people don't remember much from being 3, but she remembers everything. She always brings up the time that a bug stung her neck and she caught it in her hands and that happened when she was 1 1/2. She talks about specific details about things that happened months or years ago. I know that you'll have to take my word for it, so here is a recent example: Jeff called from work our first week here to give us his Bosnian work number and I repeated it aloud. A few days later, Avery asked to call Dad and she started repeating his phone number. She didn't get it all, but she knew the first 5 numbers of something that she had just heard once, several days beforehand. I was pretty freaked out, because I'm afraid that I'll scar her for life because she remembers everything I do. It's a lot of power!
  • Avery is spicy. That is the word that I usually use to describe her and I feel like its pretty accurate. She is generally very congenial, but she rebels in ways that surprise me and she gets angry over things that can be pretty insignificant. Like, for example, she is unwilling to eat breakfast, get dressed, and leave the house every single day. Without fail. But the weird thing about Avery is that if you force her to do something, she's absolutely fine and has a quick turnaround. For example, there are a lot of indoor playgrounds here in Bosnia and they are pretty nice and cheap. Adam loves them and wants to go frequently. Avery never wants to go. If I ask her nicely to go, she'll yell and yell. If I take off her shoes and put her down inside the playground, she will be completely happy in 2 minutes. Avery really likes having the power of dissent, but also seems to be fine when I make her do things. It always surprises me. 
  • Avery's favorite phrases are "I have some good news!" and "I have some bad news!" The usual line up is "I have some good news: it's your best friend, Bear!" and "I have some bad news: Mr. Tongue is here!" (That second one just means that she's about to stick out her tongue.) She also loves to tell us the good news whenever she uses the bathroom and we're like, "thanks".
  • Avery loves Ben. She is such a sweet big sister. I wish I could transfer the tone of voice she uses when she talks to Ben to the screen, so you could get it. She is just enamored with him. She also likes to pretend he is a chicken nugget and "eat" him. Lately, she pretends to dip him in sweet and sour sauce.
  • Avery loves Adam. She loves to let him boss her around, she's always giddy when he involves her in his schemes. I think Adam takes it for granted. Today he wanted to design a full-body costume and he made Avery stand still while he wrapped string and paper around her and she loooved it.
  • Avery is a rebel. A lot of people know this story, but Avery has a little rebel heart. She decided she doesn't want to be baptized when she turns 8 (she's not keen on the immersion part) and so she refused to acknowledge the number 8 for a few months. Like, she would purposefully skip the number while counting. She also found out that women don't get the priesthood in our church and she was so upset that she staged a silent protest on the floor in nursery. She also was furious a few weeks ago because there have been no prophets named Avery. She cried for an hour.
  • Avery is generous and considerate. She loves noticing things that people like and she thoughtfully considers gifts, She likes to do things that make specific people happy. If it's a special occasion for someone, I always ask Avery what she thinks we should give them because she honestly has insightful answers. She knows what colors, what foods, what shows so many people like. 
  • Avery is feminine. Everyday, I do my makeup and I tell Avery that I'm going to do my makeup and she immediately drops what she's doing and sits in a chair and just watches me, grinning. She loves makeup. She loves dresses. She loves the color pink. She asks me to paint her nails every single day.
  • Avery walks on her toes. She says she wants to be a ballerina. She also loves to do yoga and she really is surprisingly graceful.
  • Avery loves to compliment people. She will tell strangers if she likes something they're wearing. She loves to compliment my appearance, Jeff's jokes, Adam's pictures, Ben's cuteness, among other things.
  • Avery enjoys speaking Bosnian. Adam does not like to as much--he gets shy--but Avery really likes to say words in Bosnian. She tells so many people "Dobar dan! Hvala! Ciao!" every day. It is adorable. 
  • Avery is charming. Avery just wins people over. There are a lot of people who have a soft spot in their hearts for her and it's funny because she can be very hot and cold in a lot of ways, but she just gets people wrapped around her finger.  
  • Her favorite food is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or spaghetti sauce.
  • Her favorite movie is probably "Escape from Planet Earth," which yes, is very random.
  • Her favorite books are anything with nursery rhymes or fairy tales. She loves the Gingerbread Man and the 3 Little Pigs, especially.
  • She has a penchant for falling asleep on adventures, though she hasn't regularly taken a nap for 2 years.
  • Avery is photogenic. Whenever I take pictures she looks off to the side and I'll tell her to look and she'll just look up and have a perfect model smile. 

Ok, I'm having a hard time thinking of dog show stats, so I will end this. Avery, if you ever read this, you are so special to me. I am so glad to have you be my daughter. You are fierce and intelligent and kind and contrary and I feel like we could all learn something from you. You are never less than you are and I hope that you will never hide your emotions or downplay how smart you are or stop questioning or loving unconditionally. Don't be afraid to be what you are because you might be completely perfect. I hope you have a great birthday, and I hope that that cake we ordered is actually good because there definitely was a language barrier. Love, Mama.

Yelling at the pigeons in Pigeon Square.

We went hiking yesterday and she did a lot more of it than I would have expected.

Benjamin is only a few pounds lighter than Avery. :-/

Avery loved the view. I loved the view of her.

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