kids

Happy 3rd Birthday Reya!

What a big year it was for you! You went from being my baby girl to my little girl. (Ok, I lie, you’ll always be my baby girl!)

before_afterSo much of this year centered around speech, and your lack of it. Up until about May you spoke very little but you understood EVERYTHING. So I was never overly worried. Nor was your doctor. But in the back of my mind and the minds’ of certain family members, there was some concern. I eventually had you tested by the city and they asserted that it’s your shyness that holds you back from speaking. They pretty much confirmed what I already knew, and did not approve you for services.

You are indeed very shy Reya, which has been somewhat of a pleasure but also somewhat of a learning curve for me. When I was pregnant with you it was hard to accept that whomever the second baby was, they wouldn’t be a carbon copy of my gregarious, outgoing, energetic son. I was convinced boy or girl, my hands would be full with yet another whipper-snapper!

That’s not to say you can’t be a handful, because you can. And you also have a very playful, mischievous side but for the most part you are a warm, cuddly child who is super-shy. Until very recently, afternoons spent at a playground served you better close by my side or on my lap, rather than playing with other children.

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Being insanely goofy. And cute.

Little things about you and recent milestones that should never be forgotten:

Your childcare looks a bit like this: You’re in preschool full days on Mondays and Wednesdays. You have grandparents on Tuesdays and Thursdays and on Fridays you’re with Kimberly (your sitter) in the morning, and with me in the afternoon. It’s a healthy mix that has helped to take the cling out of you being a stage 5 clinger! We’ll be maintaining this schedule until next September when you start Pre-K at PS261.

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With your Goomah and Sidi!

We joke that you ought to be a snowbird — someone who waits out the winter in Florida. So when winter storm Jonas hit this past January it was no surprise that you wanted absolutely nothing to do with the snow. For the one hour we went out in it, this is the only time your dad managed to put you down on the ground. Why on earth I bought you snow boots when you refused to walk in them I have no idea!

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You took to potty training like a champ! You were 2/12 years old you when you rid us of diapers forever. What an amazing gift!

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You weren’t even 2 years old here!

In March you nearly poked Ella’s eyes out. It was not without intent but it was definitely not done out of malice either, as I know you adore our dogs. You did some damage that required quite a few vet visits, daily care and nursing. And while it was touch-and-go for a while, she eventually made a full recovery. Poor Ella has been through so much!

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You were impossible to administer medicine to up until a couple of months before your 3rd birthday. IMPOSSIBLE! We would have to hold you down and pry your mouth open which proved to be futile because you would throw it back up an instant later. So grateful for this new development as we head into cold and flu season.

Even though you have scooted around in parks for a while you only very recently graduated to doing it on streets. But we don’t let you venture far of course because you’re not an old pro just yet!

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While I’m on the subject of things that steer, you learned how to drive this year and you’re terrible at it! Your brother has a motorized Ninja Turtles car at the GP’s house in Northport and you consistently run into things and get into messes that require constant rescuing while behind the wheel. In fact, when my brother and his family were visiting this summer, you reversed right over your 18 month old cousin Xavi! It was a pretty dramatic scene (that played out in front of a couple dozen people during a July 4th barbecue,) but luckily he lay completely unharmed (but very shaken up,) underneath the car.

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This is a still from video of you crashing into an ivy bush. You also likely ran over that bulldozer on its side in the background.

You’ve also recently taken to and are delighted by swimming which is a huge relief. When you were 18 months old I took you on my lap down a kiddie slide at a water park in Florida. Unbeknownst to me, there was an almost-two foot drop into a pool of water at the end of the slide. I was holding you very casually and not only did you go under, but I did too. The experience left you pretty upset and timid in water thereafter.

You barely swam while we were on vacation in Miami this past April but this summer you turned into a courageous little fish! I can’t wait to enroll you in swim classes this fall!

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Since you were months old you have had a thing for nursery rhymes. You love being sung to and now that you are old enough you join in on the singing too. Unlike your brother, TV has never held your attention for long but you’ve recently taken to watching Peppa Pig (for long stretches of time) on the iPad.

The week leading up to your birthday you woke in the middle of the night, came running into our room, and jumped in bed with us. Perhaps because we haven’t been woken in the middle of the night by little humans in years, the experience was extremely surreal. We indulged you the first night but the second time your daddy scooped you up and marched you back to your room. Since we’re firm believers of not sharing our bed beyond breastfeeding years, I’m hoping this is/was a passing phase.

By nature I loved you from the second I laid eyes on you Reya, but it has been your ability to sleep through the night since your second day on earth that has only solidified and intensified that love. You are a dream sleeper and were the complete opposite of your brother during the early years. And for that I am so grateful. In fact, had you been our first child, we may have been fooled into having another sooner than we were ready.

But instead, your awesome self joined us at the perfect time. Happy Birthday my smorgie!

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On your 3rd birthday!

 

Happy 6th Birthday Mylo!

Last year for your birthday someone got you your first real lego set. Not Lego Duplo and not the size down from that, but what I like to call “tiny” lego — the one you pretty much need a degree in to know how to build. Only you didn’t, and still don’t. There were some frustrations in the beginning and it required the help of your dad to get you started, but pretty soon you were following the instructions and building these elaborate sets and spaceships all on your own.

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It has been the most sought after toy the entire year.

So in many ways, the year between 5 and 6 was the year of lego. It was also the year of reading…

At your shcool, PS 261, there were seven kindergarten classes. Throughout the previous school year, I was told the best teacher to get was Mr. David. Being that the probability was so low I didn’t get my hopes up, but as luck would have it you got Mr. David and it was a damn fine get!

Going into kindergarten, I was aware that the expectation is for five year old’s to learn how to read. But I couldn’t conceive of it until you actually began to. Getting there however, wasn’t exactly easy…

At your parent-teacher conference in March, Mr. David suggested extra help with reading. It required you get to school a half hour early two days a week with a couple of other students who needed the help. I thought it was truly remarkable, that he does that for his students, but I left the meeting knowing we wouldn’t be taking him up on his offer.

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I will certainly never forget this man.

It was hard enough getting out the door in the morning as it was, and I knew for a fact that you wouldn’t grow up to have issues with reading. It’s kindergarten. A different kind of kindergarten then mine was, but kindergarten nonetheless. With a lot of consistent, hard work – both in class and at home – you eventually arrived. And now your dad and I can officially no longer spell in code when you’re around!

About the same time that reading began to click, you lost your first tooth – the date was March 30th. You were brushing your teeth before school when the little guy popped out into your hand, and I was there to see it all! You were elated. And I of course got a little emotional, but it was a good kind of emotional.

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1st tooth out!

Your second tooth came out during a family dinner exactly four months later on July 30th.

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2nd tooth out!

In April we took a family vacation to Miami Beach and you were a fish in the water who refused to be reeled in! Until that trip, you had a lot of trepidation in water and you would only swim with a floating device. I’m not sure if it was the influence of the little girl you befriended, the fact that you had grown, or a combination of the two, but I was extremely pleased with your newfound confidence in the water.

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Jumping in over and over and over again.

About a month out from your first ever 5K road race, we bought you a pair of good running shoes and began training with you on the streets and track. While running is in your blood and you possess all the qualities needed to become a budding runner, training for and running that 5K won’t go down in history as one of your favorite memories. I was so incredibly proud of you though, and look forward to more road races together.

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Your first 5K!

You continue to be an awesome big brother to Reya. Like really really awesome. You look out for her – both at home and outside the home – and engage her in play more and more. But there are certain ways you interact with her that make the multiple child-rearing thing extremely maddening. Among those things is intentionally trying to make her jealous, telling on her repeatedly, and at times getting too physical with her.

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All the feels for you two.

Mattias and Wyatt remain among your closest friends. I love that you and Mati have been friends the longest and have maintained your bond despite being at different grade schools. Much to your disappointment Wyatt and his family moved to New Jersey at the end of the school year. A new but not-so-new friend to add to the roster is Kody. You were 3 1/2 years old when you first met Kody at Pre School of America. Even though you both moved on to different schools for Pre-K, I remained friendly with his mom and as fate would have it, you attended the same camp during the summer. Let’s just say the friendship rekindled fast!

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Your best buds: Mati, Wyatt, Kody, Olivia and Hunter.

Your closest friend (sort of by default) is still Olivia. She’s basically like a sister to you and our surrogate daughter — we are that close with the Wallack’s it’s kind of crazy. But what developed this year was a newfound friendship with her brother, Hunter. Seeing as how you are 2.5 years older than him, I’m not so sure the credit goes to you, though. In fact I have to give Hunter a lot of credit for keeping up with you and for tolerating being bossed around by you.

All this gloating and you must think that you were a total gem at five years old. Not. Exactly. So. We still have our challenges with you and they range from not listening to us and not answering us, to getting too wild at times and consistently asking for material things. While I’m told that the latter is normal behavior for children your age, I sometimes think you would go hungry for toys — and that scares me! I suppose my greatest fear about the materialistic thing is that I don’t want you to think you can get everything and anything you ask for. We’re not raising an entitled child. Or a spoiled one. But I do hope we’re raising one who grows up with some integrity and a deep understanding that there are far less fortunate people in the world.

One of my favorite things about you Mylo is the ease at which you approach new things and embrace change. From a new classroom to a new camp (you attended two this summer), you meet it head on and with an open mind and heart. It’s an amazing and enviable trait and I hope it stays with you throughout life.

Your actual birthday fell on a Tuesday. The morning went on like any other summer morning in which you thought you were going to camp. But on the way there we met up with Kody and his mom Keia and surprised you with news that we were actually going to the beach instead! If you remember anything from your 6th birthday I hope you remember that surprise and how I “tricked you.” You also learned the word “hookie” that day – Keia and I were doing just that with work while you guys were skipping out on camp. You had loads of fun running around in the sun and taking on the oceans’ waves that day. It was a happy day indeed and I loved spending it with you. Happy Birthday my buddinsk!

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Owning the beach on your 6th birthday!

Happy 2nd Birthday Reya!

At just one week shy of your second birthday we went through a big transition. You started daycare at Regina’s. It’s the same place Mylo began at when he was 15 months old. Classroom or playroom settings aren’t new to you. You’ve been accompanying me and the grandparents who pick-up Mylo since you were born. I figured you’d be excited to have a place to go with little people like you, who you could call your own. But you cry and clutch and plead my name in between gasps at drop-off, and it’s heartbreaking. You’ll adjust. Mylo did and so will you.

It’s not like you’re not used to being left. I went back to work when you were three months old and you’re cared for by grandparents three days a week. And at the tail end of the winter, we hired Lana, a nanny we met while eating lunch at Chipotle one day. Lana started with us by doing mornings on Fridays. Then when we had a need for full days after Goomah left for France, she was with us at least 2 1/2 days out of the week.

But let me back up a bit…

You took your first steps when you were 13 months old. You were as wobbly a walker as you were a crawler. Correction, you are a wobbly walker. Till this day! Granted babies start off shaky but by their second year, they’re usually a bit more solid on their feet. Not you. You fall down at least once a day!

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You’re also an adorable runner. I don’t want to say you run like a girl, because that term, #likeagirl, what does it mean really? But you have this extremely adorable albeit delicate way of running. You throw both of your hands up in the air and flap them around like a discombobulated bird.

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I didn’t care much for the “walking but not yet talking” stage with your brother, then you came along and reminded me why. From dumping the dogs’ water bowl to constantly undoing what we do, whether that’s folded laundry, drawers and cabinets, I think this stage lasted longer with you. I know because we’re still in it. Just the other night I caught you with your hands splashing around in the dog bowl. And the other morning you proceeded to ask for every hair product container and makeup container in my bathroom and when I told you no I was met with the biggest tantrum ever. You cry and protest and throw a fit until you’re on to the next thing. And you are in no time, on to the next thing.
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Toddler trouble.

I love that you’re growing up influenced by your brother’s toys and friends. You know your way around with race cars and superhero figurines and this will make you a cool chick. Take it from me. With that said, you’re still a girl after my own heart. You love shoes and mastered putting on your own, whether it’s snow boots, velcro sneakers, strappy sandals or crocs, since you were 18 months old. Your favorite toy is a baby doll named Stella who you got for your first birthday but who you only took interest in these last few months. And need I say that baby Stella is always naked. The clothes she came with are never on. And among your many stuffed animals is a a little yellow duck whom is your favorite.

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Neither Mylo nor you were early speakers, but you understand just about everything we say. Your first word was “ish”. Since you were 14 months old you would point to things, anything, and say it with such confidence and cuteness. You owned that word. Your first real word was “da-da,” I believe it was somewhere around your 17th month. You pronounce Mylo as “memo,” Ganga as “gonga,” and for Goomah, you drop the G and simply say “oomah.”

Some of the adorable words in your toddler vernacular and their meaning:
bah-bah = bottle
boom-boom = balloon
guck = duck
ap-pu = apple
bapes = grapes
ga-gack = cracker
bip = poop

Cheese is your favorite food. You love just about every fruit and eat broccoli like a champ. Your favorite sweet seems to be chocolate, but luckily it’s not around much for it to be a reoccurring request on your part. You still love to drink from the bottle. You’re given almond milk in the morning, in the afternoon and before bed at night. But lately, you’ll protest and manipulate your way into having a fourth bottle. You’ve never met a straw you don’t like to chew, and it’s for this reason your brother refuses to share drinks with you. (I can’t really blame him!)

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Last year for Halloween you were an adorable stuffed pumpkin and I was a farmer. While we walked throughout our Brooklyn neighborhood trick-or-treating, you happily sat in the stroller and sampled chocolate. Your brother ran up and down peoples’ stoops always remembering to ask for an extra piece of candy for his baby sister. And then he’d turn, point and exclaim, “See, the pumpkin!”
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You weren’t quite aware enough to enjoy the magic of Christmas but we still had fun. This years’ Christmas festivities should be tons more fun for you.

You flew for the first time on an airplane this past April when we went to Orlando, Florida. It was a last minute trip to escape the tough winter that we barely managed to slug our way through. You proved to be an uneventful flyer, getting sick on the cab ride there and then again during the descent into Orlando. And with that I learned to pack an extra set of clothes every time we travel now!

In July we went with Ganga and Sidi to visit Aki and his family in San Fransisco.You didn’t get sick on the way there (it might have had something to do with the fact that I pretty much starved you) but you were uncomfortable and clingy for the entire 5 1/2 hour flight nonetheless. You did however, get sick on the Uber ride to the airport to go back to NY.

Shortly after we boarded the plane, I realized you had left your sippy cup and stuffed animal by the gate. Had I not been on my laptop trying to send an important email that couldn’t be sent from my phone, I may have noticed, but I didn’t. We were literally moments away from taxiing out when a Virgin America security staffer was brought on board by a stewardess who I gave the information to. She then relayed the descriptions to an employee by the gate who quickly located your belongings. I could feel the stares upon me as we waited for them to bring us your items. Yes, I was that frazzled mother traveling alone with two children. And yes, it was a slightly embarrassing mishap, but I still got a kick out of hearing “ladybug sippy cup and fluffy dog stuffed animal, over” come from the not-so-thrilled, somewhat smug, militant security staffer. When the female version of Rambo came stomping down the aisle with your cup and dog in tow, you squealed with delight and nearly half the plane applauded. All I could think was, “You all think she’s cute now, but just wait until she starts puking!” But you didn’t. You and your brother didn’t even make it to takeoff. You both fell asleep and didn’t move for 2 1/2 hours. I even got to watch a movie – GASP!

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You’ve shown a lot of interest in the potty but you’ve yet to do much on it. And because of that, we don’t encourage you to try half as much as we probably should. Then again it’s not like we’re sitting around all day twisting our thumbs. If we’re not at work, we’re often out of town on weekends. Like Mylo, you’ll start going on the potty when you’re good and ready to go on the potty. I’m not the least bit worried.
A whole lot of cuteness on the potty.

Somehow you make a toilet look delicious :)

We didn’t frequent the beach last summer when you were barely even one. Watching babies purposely put sand in their mouths makes me shiver with discomfort. But this past summer we went a bit more and you were much easier to manage. You’re not really sure what to make of sand and you’re cautious at the water’s edge, but I think you thoroughly enjoyed the beach this year.
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End of the summer in Montauk.

My sweet daughter, you adore dogs, which is honestly no surprise — I don’t think it’s in my DNA to have a child who is not completely at ease with dogs. But that ease isn’t always such a good thing. You engage every dog on the streets and not necessarily the right way. All of us, including your brother, are trying to teach you the correct way to greet and approach dogs.
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Lucky for us (and you) Ella tolerates this, but it’s most certainly not the way to treat a dog.

Life with two littles is not always easy, but I thank the lucky stars that for my second child, they brought me you. Despite what we call your “destructo” stage, and your not-too-convenient clingy nature, you are a true joy. You can go from frustrating me with your toddler ways to demolishing me with your sweet nature all in the same minute. You’re a so-so napper but you have slept through the night since your second day earth side. And for this I am so grateful I feel almost gutted. A beautiful, healthy, happy little girl who sleeps. What more could a parent ask for?

Sitting right where you were born exactly two years ago.

Sitting right where you were born exactly two years ago to the day – 9/17/15

 

Happy 5th Birthday Mylo!

I’m floored by not how much you’ve grown physically from 4 to 5 years old, of which I can only really see by comparing photos, but I think I’m most taken by how much you’ve matured this past year.

I think a big part of it can be attributed to your first “real” full year at a public school. From the time you were just over one year old to four years of age, you went from daycare to preschool and on to Pre-K.

You were one of the lucky ones who scored a seat in a Pre-K classroom at a New York City public school. We almost didn’t accept. In part because we were pleased with the attentive nature of your private preschool, but also because we didn’t want to make you keep changing schools since we didn’t know (and still don’t), if we’re staying in Brooklyn for the long haul.

But at the 11th hour we did accept and it wound up being one of the best decisions we ever made.

Your first day of school & your last day of school

Your first day & your last day of pre-k

At your PS 261 classroom orientation I was one of the only parents sitting front and center with a list of questions. I nervously asked about things such as the schools’ policy on peanut butter and was horrified to learn the teachers didn’t enforce timeouts or help wipe kids’ behinds.

Before the school year began “timeouts” were still common place in our house, occurring several times a week. I don’t know how or when exactly, but over time they became less necessary. And you learned to wipe your tush. Not very well, but you do it.

In school you learned to not just write your name but you do it in a way that can’t help me think “cool logo!” I know it will change, but I will show you this one day when you are older, should you want some creative guidance.

Love the "O" inside the "L"!

Love the “O” inside the “L”!

For Halloween you were Batman and daddy was Robin. You were pretty darn cute saying “trick or treat” to everyone on their stoops. Then you’d follow it up with “can I get one for my sister?” and point to her sitting in the stroller. Much to our chagrin, you still like candy corn – I mean out of all candy Bud, come on!

Not sure why you're frowning here...

Not sure why you’re frowning here…

At Christmas I asked our neighbor Ashley to dress up as Santa. He’s jolly and friendly by nature, and also big. I bought him a Santa suit and some props off Amazon and he absolutely killed it as Saint Nick! I’ll never forget the sheer excitement in your eyes when he came through our back door holding a sack of presents. You made me fall in love with Christmas all over again in that moment.
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You absolutely could not contain your excitement.

You are the deepest sleeper EVER! I always joke that we could go into your bedroom in the middle of the night and have a dance party and you wouldn’t budge. No joke. This fact coupled with you putting an end to overnight pull-ups this past winter means we need to wake you up to pee before we go to bed. Not only do you remain sleeping in our arms in the amount of time it takes to get from your bedroom to the bathroom, but you manage to assume the fetal position on the way! When we stand you on the ground we use our arms to hold you up and our knees to push your pelvis toward the toilet’s opening so you can aim. It’s really quite a comedy.

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The winter got tough in February. Snow storm after snow storm, the days felt impossibly long when you could no longer run around the schoolyard with your friends. That’s when we discovered Teen Titans on Cartoon Network. It’s not your daddy’s favorite cartoon with its edgy and vulgar humor, but it was the only show that kept you from climbing the walls. And after so many episodes, you and your sister created the absolute cutest dance to its chanty theme song. No matter how many times I see it, I laugh.
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In April we took a trip to Orlando, Florida. You were never big on Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse so we skipped Disney and went where the superheroes are at… Universal! We rode a 3D simulated Spiderman ride and it was hands-down the BEST part of the whole park experience. It was thrilling but also kind of scary. How you didn’t freak out when I was doing just that to your left, I have no idea. What a trooper you were! You are most certainly not a trooper when it comes to boo-boos…

No matter how big or small the bump, scratch, splinter or scrape — getting, and then tending to any of boo-boo is a national tragedy with you. I seriously hope you outgrow this soon!

In July we traveled with Sidi and Ganga to San Francisco to see Uncle Aki and his family. You proved to be a wonderful flyer, despite the 5 1/2 hour mandate to pretty much sit in one place. On a scale of 1 to 10, you were a solid 11. Your sister on the other hand, well I’ll save that for her birthday post!

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Your best friends are still Olivia from upstairs and Mattias, who you practically share a birthday with. You’ve had these two friends the longest.
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 You also met and became fast, year long friends with Wyatt from your Pre-K class at PS 261.
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I’m so thankful for the way you treat your little sister. You have far exceeded my expectations as a big brother, Mylo. Sure you yell at Reya when she interferes with things you are building, such as Lego and train tracks, and you recently began telling on her (rather excessively) — but for the most part you are kind and very sweet with your sister.

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One of the things I adore but that also drives me bonkers is how you absolutely love sharing in mischief together. You scream and shriek on the top of your lungs when the tea kettle whistles. You do the same when I fire up the NutrilBullet every morning. And you get a kick out of playing disco with the lights on the wall behind your bench at the kitchen table. I will never understand this need to perpetually annoy the people who provide for you and love you. Ugh!

I am so in love with you and so proud of the little-big person you are becoming. Happy Birthday my buddinsk!

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Looking as handsome as ever on your 5th birthday.