When I was a girl fantasizing about my grown-up life, I always pictured myself with a red-headed pigtailed daughter. We'd do the sorts of things my mother always did with me. We'd bake. We'd paint. We'd play dolls. We'd sing and walk. We'd cuddle up and read a good book together.
Today the embodiment of that dream turns three.
Megan is not the docile, mild-mannered child I used to pretend I'd have. In fact, she's anything but docile unless she's sound asleep (and even that is questionable.) However, and please don't tell her this, I'm quite relieved she's taken the different route.
Today, I have a head-strong and confident little person. She knows what she wants, she's not afraid to tell you and she's certainly not about to back down until she gets it - or until it's clear you're going to do what it takes to outlast her. Megan seems fearless, except when she's not. She's a girl that understands the power of the tear and the well placed whimper.
She'll try anything once - although sometimes she prefers to have a hand to hold while she does it. She's vocal about her likes and dislikes. She's perfectly capable, even at this age, of standing up for herself. She's perfected "the look" that tells whoever is on the receiving end that they've crossed some sort of unforgivable line.
Megan is also compassionate in a way I never expected a child her age of being. She's quick with a hug or a kiss to heal hurt feelings - even the ones she did not inflict. She's first to round up a group of tykes about her age (give or take a few years) and take charge as she engages them in play. She's quite concerned about making sure everyone is included and happy.
Give her room to roam and people along the way, and Megan will make new friends. It's not just that she talks to everyone she meets. She remembers them all - by name if they've been so kind as to give theirs. She never forgets these details.
Silent is not in her vocabulary. She will whisper. She will meow. She will talk in a 'normal' voice. She will squeak. She will yell. She even talks in her sleep from time to time. She sings. She recites stories she's memorized. She tells jokes - and sometimes gets the punchlines right. She's a born entertainer.
She's her brother's shadow. And yet, she's his rival. She's his hero. She's his devotee. She's the bane of his existence and the balm for his soul.
Megan is my touchstone. She's the one that keeps me grounded and the one that let's me soar.
She's growing fast. Too fast. She's my preschooler now. Not my baby any longer. And yet, for as long as she let's me say it out loud, she's my Meggie, my Tinkerbell, my Princess and my Moo-bear. And some day she'll be all those things whispered in my heart as she outgrows her comfort with those monikers in public. She'll always be my littlest one. My baby. My dream girl. Always.