Dear Natalie Doris,
February is birthday month around our home and we started our celebration with your 4th birthday. It was supposed to be your first birthday party with a friend over, but unfortunately, the flu and a huge snowstorm coincided and Rilynn couldn't come. We celebrated the day big anyway, starting out with breakfast out with Lala and Papa Dan and ending with a big Kaufman family birthday with cake and ice cream at our house. (Your Lala was appalled that when she discovered we weren't taking you to Mass on your birthday, so she took you herself in between the two parties). You reveled in everyone's attention and loved every minute of the day...until all of a sudden you weren't loving the day at all and were having a total meltdown at the dinner table.
But, that is how life is with you. High or low. Black or white. On or off. Screaming with joy or screaming with angst. Your rollercoaster personality keeps Dad and I guessing. Our mantra is "nothing worthwhile comes easily" and in parenting you, we have grown in creativity, patience and gratitude.
Wait...gratitude? Yes, sis....gratitude. We are grateful for you, your intensity and your determination. When the tempest of your temper blows over (which happens more easily now that you are the ripe old age of four), we also see the intensity of your joy in life. The way you love your brothers and act as a little mama to Henry. The way you love music and dance (we got you your own "music player"--a CD player--with a No Doubt CD and you love to dance to that spunky girl music). The way you tackle any task you deem worthy of your attention.
The "worthy of your attention" part is key. We haven't yet figured out how to motivate you in any way, shape or form. We can't cajole or bribe you into doing anything...but the very millisecond you decide you want to do something, it gets done. For example, your nose. We have spent the better part of the last 6 months tackling this chronic scab on your nose. It started as a little irritation from blowing your nose and has grown into a chronic scab from the habit of mindlessly picking it when you get bored or frustrated. We've tried ointments, bandaids, stickers, bribes, money all to no avail. And recently, you decided we should put a bandaid on it everyday and now...it's almost gone (knock on wood)!
We are trying to harness that determination for good instead of evil...and most days, I think we do all right.
Natalie Doris--our intense, fabulous daughter--happy, happy birthday. These last three years have been a wonderful adventure. Here's to a great 4th year of life.
Love, Mom and Dad