On Thanksgiving, Felicity and I both wore brown polka-dot dresses -- not matching, mind you, but complementary -- and mother-daughter aprons -- okay, those were matching -- though she accessoried her outfit with kitty-cat ears and a Nature Detective badge from her school trip to Central Park, while I went with the more traditional pearls.
We watched most of the parade on TV (we are not hardy enough to go in person when it's sub-freezing with gusty winds, though the night before we'd had a front-row view of the balloon inflation, so I felt I'd done my part in the parade department), and she seemed to enjoy it but the commentary was lost on her and she had to ask every ten seconds, "Is this the parade or is it more advertisements?" (Well...both, if we're being honest.) How I long for a stationary camera and zero narration so we could actually see the parade instead of glimpsing snippets here and there of whatever the sponsors have paid the most for us to see.
Despite promising to cook the meal alongside me, she "helped" me peel potatoes for about thirty seconds before declaring it too difficult and scampering off to entertain our guests, her grandfather and uncle ("Do you want to see my games??! OKAY! Come, take my hand and I will show you!").
When I brought out some things for people to graze on while awaiting the grand feast, she exclaimed, "Thank you, Mommy, for bringing us such fun snacks!" Then she took care to offer each item of food to everyone present ("Grandpa, would you like an olive? Here, have an olive! No, it's okay, take it!"), including dripping spoonfuls of hummus that were halfway to her mouth.
When I sat down at the table with my full plate of delicious butter-filled foods after scurrying around our tiny kitchen for several hours, she patted my shoulder and said, "Mommy, you look so pretty today!" I asked her if she wanted to say anything before we ate, and she put her hands together and said, "Thank you, God, for our families, our food, and our homes. Amen. God blessing. Coon appetee, you may eat!" (The latter is supposed to be bon appetit but she insists this is how to say it correctly.)(And I'm not sure where "God blessing" came from; I'm not sure if it's a mashup of "God bless" and "the blessing" or what, but I had to stifle a laugh when she said it, with utmost seriousness.)
She proceeded to eat two Crescent rolls in quick succession (this, the child who usually shies away from carb-heavy foods for mysterious reasons) and immediately wanted another. Her request was denied, but she negotiated another half-roll after eating a substantial portion of a drumstick roughly the size of her head. She had asked for the third roll, then said, "I'll be right back!" and disappeared into the kitchen. After a few moments of silence, she emerged with the turkey leg held aloft: "Mama, I want DIS!" and proceeded to devour about half of it.
That evening, she ran around in nothing but her tights, singing and making up games and generally bucking the tradition of being inert after a proper feast.
We kicked off the Christmas season even before December had arrived, attending Friday's performance of "The Three Bears Holiday Bash" at the marionette theater in the park (it was tolerable for parents, and the kids loved it), then heading over to the museum to check out the origami tree and the less-festive dinosaurs.
Saturday morning, I took her to a Nutcracker workshop where she got to learn some of the highlights of the second act of everyone's favorite holiday ballet. It was as adorable as you would expect, even though it was in a tiny space and she ended up being the only participant. Afterward, I took her to a nearby store to look for a Christmas present for her daddy -- we're having her choose gifts for each of us and her grandparents this year, because (a) it's adorable (I will forever treasure the coasters she picked out for me for my birthday and presented to me with heart-breaking pride), and (b) it's an exercise in generosity/giving/true meaning of Christmas, etc.
Evidently I was preaching to the choir on lesson (b), because the moment we walked into that store, she started picking up things and declaring, "Oh! Grammie would love this!" or "I have to get this for Maria!" She thought of people we hardly know, like some of her classmates' parents ("This glass looks like something X's mom would love."), and took great care in deciding between items when I told her she only needed one or two small gifts per friend/family member, not eight. I hesitated to rein in her generosity, because it really was incredibly touching, but I wanted to walk out of there without having to take out a second mortgage.
She also said to me, when we were discussing Christmas, "Mama? I am making a special collage at school, but it's a Christmas present for you, Mama, so don't tell me what's in it! And don't tell my teachers, either! It's a SECRET!"
This morning, we greeted the first day of December ("I LOVE Advent! Yay!") with the arrival of the Advent bag (two books and some stickers) and attendance at church. She opened up her new stickers during the service, and didn't pause for even a millisecond before offering one of the two sheets to her friend who was sitting next to us. The two girls then held hands on the way up the aisle for Communion, which is as ridiculously adorable as it sounds.
Speaking of which, a few of Felicity's new favorite phrases are, "This is ridiculous!"; "Are you KIDDING me?" and "speaking of which." (See what I did there?)
After lunch, we gave in and decided to get our tree instead of waiting until next weekend. The whole way to the tree guys, Felicity yelled, "YAY! YAY! We're getting our CHRISTMAS TREE! YAY!" and for some reason she kept trying to push us toward a small tree, but instead we got about a 9-footer that barely fit in the elevator. While I put the lights on the tree, she looked at all the ornaments on the coffee table and said breathlessly, "Mommy, I love all of these beautiful ornaments you laid out for me." As we started hanging them, each one brought her a new thrill: "Oh! I LOVE this beautiful snowflake! Mama, I LOVE our tree! I'm so excited about our Christmas tree!" She concentrated the ornaments at her own eye level, so it kind of looks like everything slid down to the bottom, but I'm leaving it as-is so she can enjoy her favorite things without having to be hefted up toward the ceiling.
At one point, I asked her to put a new hook on one of the ornaments, and she said exasperatedly, "I'm sorry, Mommy, I can't do that right now. I just can't. Also, I don't want to."
We also brought out our ceramic Santa, which Joe and I got years ago at a flea market, and when the tree was done, Felicity carried him over to the tree. "Look, Santa. Isn't our tree beautiful? I love you."
A friend mentioned over dinner last night that Felicity surely cannot be as adorable as her Internet presence would suggest (I am so That Mom on Facebook who's always posting "kids say the darnedest things" quotes from my daughter, but honestly otherwise no one would hear from me on there, because who wants to hear about my daily tedium?), and indeed, that's true. She is hard-headed, unreasonable, and exhausting like every other three-year old on the planet, except to me she seems exceptionally intense in ways that other kids aren't (maybe they are, of course; perhaps I'm just unaccustomed to the 3-year old ways, or I am just a lot wimpier than other parents because dude, I am SO TIRED, even after a GOOD day with her and honestly I am ASTONISHED that people can do this with multiple children. I AM DEPLETED WITH JUST ONE).
I feel like I've written a fair amount about the non-scrapbook-worthy moments with her, too, but at the moment it happens that we're coming off of four days of quality family time during which she was mostly mellow (though I did find myself saying, "I AM SO SICK OF HAVING TO SAY EVERYTHING FIVE HUNDRED TIMES" more than once (roughly 500 times, actually)) and often exceedingly sweet. That's how they keep you coming back for more, right? So forgive the saccharine anecdotes, because she will no doubt create some drama to show the flip side of three-and-a-half by next time.