Sunday, June 13, 2010

Maddie: 41 Months

Dear Maddie,

Somehow I missed last month's post, so Happy 40 and 41 months, big girl! You are nearly three and a half and it's so hard to believe. Time flies when you're having fun and you had a lot of fun this past month.

In May we headed up to Oregon to visit Grammy, Papa and the rest of the Painter clan. You had a fabulous time visiting Grammy and Papa at work (seen above, sitting in a big Caterpillar tractor). You enjoyed hanging out on the farm. But most of all, you loved playing with your cousins. You absolutely adore older girls, and if they are sweet and inclusive like your wonderful Grace and Lizzie, all the better. You are constantly seeking out older girls, drawn to them by some imaginary feminine force, walking right up to join in conversation or play a game. You are incredibly social and brave, and I hope you never lose your self-confidence that is so obvious when you approach a group of people to introduce yourself and launch into conversation.

The other day we passed some rodent traps behind our house. Today you were asking your Daddy lots of questions and when the topic of the rat traps came up you were so concerned why someone would want to harm "one of God's creatures." We acknowledged your great perspective and smiled to ourselves. You are kind and gentle with creatures of all types, like the lizard we found in Hanalei's water bowl one morning. You got him a warm, soft place in the sun to warm up and once he was back on his feet, so to speak, you chased him across the yard to his safe spot beneath the planter.

Your brain is always going, your thinking cap always on, as you take in the world around you and offer your Maddie-isms. The endless stream of questions feed an insatiable desire for knowledge, facts, and you absorb it all like an industrial-sized sponge. You will listen to the same song over and over and over, analyzing each word, inflection, and tone until you can repeat it perfectly. You ask the same questions again and again until you can repeat back the correct information. I feel like you should go to college right now, with the way your brain is always looking to grow. It is incredible yet also exhausting.

Earlier this week Boppa asked your opinion on what tie to wear to work. You picked the bolder one, a red tie, instead of a plainer blue. Boppa had a presentation that day and opted to wear the latter, but took along the red because he knew the ramifications of being caught in the act. Later when you visited with your Auntie Jennie, you immediately noticed the tie faux pas, pointed it out with a concerned look and tone, but then laughed when you saw the red tie tucked away in Boppa's desk drawer, the backup plan gone wrong. You don't forget a detail, Miss Maddie, not a single one.

You are full of energy, creative, gentle and thoughtful. You are always willing to share your toys, food, and even special treats with Sam, offering him bites of even the yummiest of desserts that his own parents would neglect to share. You are fiercely independent and get frustrated when we don't understand what you want us to do. If we don't listen closely, your Maddie sense picks up on our inattention and you quickly make your frustration known. You've taken to screaming in anger, sighing with a loud "Arrrrgh," or even pulling a, "Forget it. I'm done!" (Yeah, that would be straight from my lips. Oops.)

Our first week of Summer vacation (no school, no dance) was sort of difficult. For many reasons, some known, some unknown, you were unhappy and quite unlike your normal Maddie self. To quote a favorite story of ours, you sulked and stormed around the house. Mad was way too plain for how you felt. You seemed off-balance, spinning wildly like a top at the end of its balanced rotations, and all I could do was to run along behind and try to set you back up. Every once in a while we go through a stage like this, where nothing I do seems to be just right, and the world is always frustrating, angering or upsetting you. It is exhausting but also just so hard to not be able to make things right. I watch you from afar and hardly recognize my sweet, amiable girl behind the screeching, shoving, hitting, kicking, tear-streaked wild banshee.

But you are there. I know you are. And I just wait patiently (as possible) until you find your center and come back into my waiting arms.

Now that I'm running three days a week, you have your own little training routine during my five minute cool down. You take off sprinting, head down, arms tucked in, down the path in front of me. The flailing arms and awkward feet of toddlerhood are gone. You run like a big kid, efficient, fast and focused. It fills me with delight and awe to watch you morphing into this long-legged, athletic girl.

Your body is capable of doing so many great things. You love to climb, swing (and pump!), run, jump, roll, hide, glide, bike, and gallop. You are constantly in motion and happiest outside where you can run free and fast.

Life just isn't as fun without your questions, your zest, your curiosity, your jokes, and most of all, your affection. You are such a lovey, sweet, firey girl who has captured our hearts and the hearts of many who meet you. As one new Maddie fan remarked to his bride after spending a few hours with you, "I want one of those."

So glad you're ours, sweet girl.



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