I'm tardy with this birthday post. Maybe because she's the second? Maybe because Madeline, by nature, isn't easily summed up in a birthday post.
If I had to choose a few things to help describe Madi at 3, I would probably start with snugglepot. This is a noun that (as far as I can tell) Madeline invented to describe a cozy spot where cuddling could--and should--take place. She piles up blankets and pillows and asks us to get into the snugglepot with her. (We do.)
So, obviously, the affection in this child is not waning. She'll hug and kiss whatever she can reach, grabbing a knee or elbow for a quick kiss in the middle of a game or activity. Honestly, she's kind of like a doting parent in the way she just can't quit with the affection. And I have to tell you, it's a strange but lovely experience to be comforted by a three year old.
But as she'll tell you, she's a teaser, too. She loves to joke and trick. Since she was still in the womb, we've participated in a UT medical study. They're tracking mothers' habits and children's diets and doing yearly surveys and tests. A few weeks ago we went in for third year tests and during that time she did a lot of different activities--but there were 3 times that the tester returned to a poster with crayons on it. The tester pointed to individual crayons and asked Madi to name them--she got them right each time. On the third try, Madeline kept a straight face, pretended to think deeply, and switched each pair of colors as she answered the tester. She never let on that she was joking til she had done it 8 times. She wins staring contests too. Easily.
What else? She consistently reminds me not to pop my knuckles. She's a pretty picky eater--passionate only about candy and yogurt. She can count to 28, so Aunt Beth and I are breathing a sigh of relief that she may have escaped our math genes. She's working on her M's and A's, and writes lots of letter-like objects with great focus. She is greeted at school by cries of "Maddy-poo!" from her friends -- this is the name she has asked them to call her. Adults are not allowed to use the moniker, and are admonished if they try.
Her imaginary friend (not as ever present as Meredith's friends Hanas and Jonas, but hanging around quite a bit lately) is Alice. Sometimes pronounced Alisk. Never yet pronounced correctly by me.
That's our girl. Complicatedly perfect.
Birthday breakfast. 4/11/12. Third birthday.