Each year I try to choose a picture that reflects you and where you're at. There was no question which picture I'd be choosing this time around.
Was I actually worried about you last year???
You, you, you. Spunky little girl with boundless amounts of energy. You, with no inside voice to speak of. So many times these past few months, your dad and I have laughed at you, your pep, your bounce, your endless questions. Life is good, isn't it little one?
You've settled in. You've named your friends. You love your day-to-day. And you've figured out your place in this big fat world. A part of your heart in Canada, and another good chunk here in Qatar.
I'm amazed at your contrasts. One minute you are sucking your thumb, quietly snuggling up to me while watching "Dino Dan," telling me you're feeling too shy or too tired to do anything else. But all it takes is seeing a neighbourhood friend fly by on a bicycle, and you're up, pumped, running to the door. "Can I go outside and play, mom?" And before I know it, you're on the street, yelling, dancing, commanding everyone's attention.
I love you hon, but your yell makes me wince. I regularly tell your dad I'm not sure I'm equipped to parent such an outgoing personality. Be patient with me; go easy on me, okay? I already cringe thinking of the teen years.
Your knowledge and your questions have astounded us this year. You know more about dinosaurs than I ever ever will. Corythosaurus, Giganotosaurus, Pteranodon. You tell us if they're from the Jurassic or Cretaceous or who-knows-what-other time period. You draw pictures of what they eat. And you talk about their frills, teeth, claws, spikes. And you correct us, of course.
Your questions are endless, and you never tire of your dad's stories. When we were listening to CBC the other night and you decided to ask about Lance Armstrong, I thought your head was going to explode, your focus was so great. For twenty minutes your dad talked about sports, cheating, winning, and using "medicine" to make you faster, stronger. The wheels were turning so fast in your head you could barely splutter out your many questions.
You really are a sponge.
We've done a lot of navigating this year. We've learned about mean girls. We've heard the line "I'm not gonna be your friend anymore!" oh, a few too many times. And your dad and I have coached you in the fine art of kindness without pushoverness. At least we've tried. You always let it roll so much better than I do. I'm not so good at walking these fine lines. Protective mama bear roars up real good, and I get about ready to wring mean girl's little neck.
Big changes are coming your way, Kaiya. In a matter of days, you're going to be a BIG SISTER! I love watching the pride welling up in you. You've already claimed the right to show off baby to all the neighbours. And I've noticed you using the word "gentle" a lot more, as you slowly wrap a baby doll in a pink blanket and then sweetly lay it in a Barbie pool. Your little momma is kicking in. I know there's going to be bumps and hiccups along the way, bursts of jealousy. But I want you to remember, always and forever... YOU are my first. You are the one who made me a mom. You are the one who has taught me everything I know about this whole gig. And for that, you'll always have a special place here in my heart.
Love you, spunky girl.