This month, Abby turned four.
So let me tell you all who our Abby-girl is. She is the most enthusiastic, life-loving little girl I’ve ever known. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again and again for the rest of our lives, but Abby is an extremist. When she’s happy, she beams. When she’s disappointed, the world IS ending. Her meltdowns are epic. Her naps are deep. And when she wants to be loud, she’ll hurt your ear drums.
Abby had to get some shots recently. Imagine a small room in a doctor’s office. Abby is curled up on my lap with tears in her eyes. Lydia is sitting next to us, covering her ears and singing (loudly) a made-up song about how everything is going to be ok. The nurse is quietly singing Abby a little song about what she’s doing. It’s not actually time for the shot yet, but Abby is curled up tightly on my lap, clutching her favorite stuffed pig in one hand, and screaming at the top of her lungs. She continues to scream, even when I tell her it’s not time yet, until the “pokes” are done. But, the moment Abby was done, she had a sweet little smile once again, tears in her eyes, and was proudly clutching her new stickers as if she had just won a medal.
Abby appreciates food. One morning she greeted me by asking, “Where’s Daddy? What’s for dessert?” Her favorite foods are hot dogs, burgers, pizza, and ice cream. In fact, we let her pick out one meal for her birthday and she waffled between these choices for about a week. But all hope is not lost for her future dietary choices. When Abby doesn’t like the meal I make, she’ll happily ask for three bowls of salad instead.
Abby receives compliments like a pro. You know how some (many) people shrug off compliments because they’re humble or don’t know how to respond? Not Abby. If you tell her you like her dress or that she has pretty eyes, she’ll look up at you with sparkling eyes, a closed-mouth grin, and big cheeks in a way that will make you either compliment her more or try not to giggle. She’s just that cute. Dan and I took her to a toy store to let her look around and see what she might like for her birthday. The conclusion: anything. Just getting a gift makes Abby’s day and she’ll keep that gift with her all day, whether it’s a sticker, sunglasses, stuffed animal, face paint, tiara…you get the idea. It was so cute on her birthday to watch her reactions when we sung her, “Happy birthday”, and it was even more adorable to hear her later in a different room singing to herself, “Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…”
Lydia and Abby are your typical young sisters. They often don’t get along. But within the past few months they’ve surprised me. There are moments of every day when they can play happily together. They get so caught up in their make-believe worlds and later come to tell me all the stories of what they’ve done. Usually Lydia is the one in charge, deciding what they play and who’s who. Abby is usually the princess, bride, or ballerina, and Lydia is the one doing Abby’s hair, picking out her clothes, and putting pretend makeup on her. Abby also often “has a new baby” and Lydia is Abby’s doctor.
Abby gives the best hugs. We call them Abby-hugs. She squeezes tighter and tighter with impressive strength. And, though her hugs are wonderful, she is less of a snuggler than her sister. But she is more of a wrestler. Dan likes to play-wrestle with the girls, but I usually sit out, so whenever a family comes over to our house, Abby wants to know if the dad will wrestle her. If he’s not big on wrestling, she’ll go for tickling instead.
While Lydia learns things in big jumps, Abby is more of a slow-and-steady-type learner, but what stands out in her is her ability to love. Since Dan and I tend to be pretty academic people, this has really made an impression on me. I’ve seen that a person’s love can win you over. In times when I’ve been overwhelmed and crying, Abby would approach me and ask, even when she didn’t have many words, “Mommy, why are you leaking?” She’ll tell me now that she doesn’t like it when I’m sad or angry, and if I am she’ll ask, “When will you be happy again?” She’ll stay by my side until I assure her that I’m doing well again and then she’ll run off to go play some more princess.