Three–New York, NY

For the last few months, my daughter has woken up and asked “Do I’m three?” a.k.a “Am I three?” Each morning, I respond with the latest countdown to her birthday and she looks disappointed. Finally, yesterday was the day. When she opened her eyes, I said “Happy Birthday!” and she smiled and said “I’m SO glad I’m three!”  As with last year’s birthday, I feel a mix of excitement and sadness–proud as I watch her become more and more independent, yet sad that three years have zipped past at lightning speed. I feel guilty that another year passed by in which I meant to write down her funny phrases, to keep better track of her milestones, and yet I never did–it’s all a blur never to be separated out into details. Though I’ve certainly taken lots of photos that can help piece together the quilt of these milestones and moments, I’ll try to do a better job this year; but here are a a few notes and memories of the year…


Your third year of life was a big one. It was a whirlwind of growth in all aspects–physically (you are the tallest of tall), emotionally, and socially. It was the year of passport stamps and a zillion airports. You were challenged with moving abroad and spending hours on planes to destinations unknown to you. You may have missed New York and your cousins–and told us this quite often–but between new planes, rental cars, hotels, and apartments, you proved yourself to be adaptable and adventurous. “Where we goin’ today?” became a daily phrase of yours. I vividly remember one late evening when we raced through the Denpasar airport in Indonesia on our way to catch a redeye back to Sydney. As I held your hand and your little feet tried to keep up with our pace, you (wearing your purple whale pajamas in preparation for sleeping on the plane) looked up at me, giggled, and said “this is fun!” My heart swelled with the possibility that you have inherited my love of travel and adventure, that you didn’t care that it was way past your bedtime, or that you were being dragged around yet another strange place. On every flight, you regaled each passenger with the Little Einsteins theme song and countdown as we raced down the runway, including the eventual shout of “BLASTOFF” every time we took off (sorry fellow travelers), and you rocked 15-hour flights like a champion. You spent more time on a beach and in the ocean than ever before–thanks to having spring, summer, and spring #2 in 2014. In many ways, you grew up so much during our travels that I felt like we left for Australia with a young toddler and returned to NYC with a teenager. I exaggerate, but the change in five months was huge.

It was a year of more firsts–first day of school, first haircut, first night in a big girl bed, first movie in the theater, first chipped tooth, and your first actual birthday party. You learned to ride a scooter at breakneck speed, to dribble a soccer ball with both feet, to speak in complete sentences with a wordy vocabulary, and to scamper up the stairs of our fourth floor walk-up by yourself (thank god). You discovered a love of croissants and muffins, a hatred of milk,  and an obsession with vanilla ice cream with Oreo topping. You devoured peas and French fries with equally wild abandon, and made a New Zealand hotel run out of peas during your four day stay. Your love of hopping at ballet and dancing at music class is only surpassed by your intense enjoyment of tea parties and cooking in your play kitchen. Mickey, Little Einsteins, Peppa, Sofia, and Doc McStuffins are on the top of your favorite list these days. You give endless checkups with your doctor’s kit and then run around the house shouting, “I have a diagnosis!” You are as gregarious as can be, loving to chat with strangers and friends alike (we will have to discourage the stranger chatter soon, I know!). You love the riding the bus, the subway (C train is your fave) and hailing taxis. You love to laugh. You remember absolutely everything. You say funny things–”Mommy, I’ll listen to you next year” and “I’m not ready for potty training. Maybe when I’m four, or twenty.” You remain fearless, independent, wild, opinionated, stubborn, loving, loyal, and sweet.

As you turn three, you love to do things by yourself yet still reach for my hand on the stairs and the street. I know you won’t need my hand as much this year, but still hope you reach for it. Thanks for another great year filled with pride, for both me and your dad. You make us laugh, smile, and sometimes frown as you keep us on our toes. We can’t wait to see what the next year brings. Happy 3rd birthday. XO

Da - March 25, 2014 - 7:56 am


Priceless photos and commentary. You captured the joys of parenthood perfectly.


JORJ - March 25, 2014 - 10:56 am

I love what you wrote and that banner photo is amazing.

Linda - March 25, 2014 - 1:21 pm


This totally brought tears to my eyes. I caught myself completely identifying with everything you said. Happy birthday to the little adventurer and good job mama!

Margaret O'Keefe - March 25, 2014 - 2:48 pm

I love the way you write about parenting Callahan. Your photos are beautiful.