3 Years with Amalia

I cannot believe that I have a three-year-old child right now. It’s so surreal how quickly time flies when you become a mother. You hear it from everyone but when you live it, it’s just unbelievable. Her birth feels like both yesterday and a lifetime ago.

I looked back at last year’s birthday post yesterday (sobbing) and can’t believe how much she has changed and grown. She reads herself to sleep in a big girl bed at night. She pours her own cereal. She puts on her own shoes (even if they’re backward sometimes). She can express emotions through words (when she wants to). She always reminds me if I forgot to give her vitamins or put on her sunscreen. She knows what letter everyone’s name starts with. She picks all of her own outfits. She knows the lyrics to every song in Frozen. And she knows how to push my buttons 🙂 When I’m feeling sad, she hugs me, strokes my hair and says, “I know, mommy. I know.”

She is empathetic and kind. She is sweet and loving, funny, and silly. She is curious and smart. I’m so proud of the girl she’s turning into. Every single day I somehow fall more in love with the light of my life.

She even tells jokes now! She made one up and gets herself into a laughing fit whenever she tells it which is, obviously, daily. A few weeks ago I said, “Hey Amalia! Are you ready for your bath or what?” She replied with, “What!” Followed by a giant smile. The joke landed, I lost it, and now it’s our thing every night.

Last month, Anel and I made a commitment to have an open dialogue with her about race and how people look different from one another and how that’s that’s a good thing. We’ve been encouraging her to ask questions if she has them. I will share all of the books we’ve been reading in another post, but I’ve been so amazed and inspired by her openness and what she thinks to ask. She doesn’t see it as a taboo topic the way I did when I was a kid. It’s been a really beautiful thing to watch her learn about something so complex from the perspective of a child.

This was a big year for all of us. Right after her 2nd birthday, we moved her to a new house, a new town, and a new daycare. She handled the change with a shocking amount of grace for such a tiny human.

Six months later, COVID hit, and her world was turned upside down again. But we got through it as a family and despite a rough couple of months, we’ve somehow managed to become even closer.

Threenager status hit us a few weeks ago, and wow, you guys weren’t kidding when you warned me! I have a feeling the next year will be intense in many ways. But so far the sweet moments, the adorableness of her constant dancing to Frozen around the house, and the way she asks me for a “smooch” more than make up for the tough ones.

My motherhood posts going forward will be focused on two things:

  1. The fun, light content like what she likes to read, wear, eat, and play with.
  2. Stories about my experience as a mother.

What I’ve decided to keep private going forward are topics that feel overly personal on her behalf. I won’t be discussing things like her fears and anxieties, details on potty training, or how she melts down. This is obviously very subjective, but it’s just something we’ve been thinking about a lot as she grows up and I think it’s worth a conversation.

Something about her turning three made me realize that she needs a little more privacy in her life. Whenever I post a photo or video now, I ask her permission. I realize she doesn’t fully understand yet what is going on but I want to get in the habit of that now so that when she does get it, she can give an answer that feels good for her. And by the way, sometimes she says no already!

It should go without saying, but it’s 2020 so I’ll say it just to be super clear: Our decision is in no way putting down anyone’s else decisions about how they share their lives or families online. It’s just what we feel works best for us. As with everything in parenthood, different things work for different families.

Amalia has been talking about her birthday party since last year’s party so it breaks my heart that we can’t have one for her today. So we’re doing everything we can to make the day extra special for her. She will wake up to a giant Frozen happy birthday banner and foil balloons on her chair. Last night I laid out a new birthday dress and she’ll get one of her gifts (a new helmet for her scooter) in the morning.

I also had a bunch of her friends and our family members send in videos and used Tribute to make a happy birthday compilation video that is so sweet.

When Anel gets home in the afternoon we’re going to give her a Frozen castle dollhouse, her big gift (are we sensing a theme here?), followed by pizza and a Carvel cake (her request) with my in-laws. Even though it’s a weird time for a birthday, I hope she has the best day ever.

I did a little Q&A with Amalia about her favorite things and here are her answers:

  • Favorite color: Pink and purple. Mommy, your favorite color is blue. Daddy’s favorite color is green.
  • Favorite food: Mac and cheese
  • Favorite ice cream flavor: Mint chocolate chip with rainbow sprinkles
  • Favorite fruit: “Mectarines” and strawberries
  • Favorite vegetable: Carrots make me big and strong (Shows me her muscles)
  • Favorite Book: Grumpy Monkey and I’m Not a Princess (I should note this answer changes daily)
  • Favorite toy: My mommy’s dollhouse (awwww)
  • Favorite TV Show: Frozen (Me: That’s a movie, what about a show?) Uhhhh Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol and Winnie the Pooh
  • Favorite song: For the First Time in Forever and Let it Go and the Reindeer song and Olaf’s song (all from Frozen)
  • Best friend: Bootsie and mommy and daddy and Nadia and Nicky and Eloise and Everly and Gabby.

Read Amalia’s one monthtwo monththree monthfour monthfive monthsix monthseven month, eight month, and nine month10 month11 month, one year18-month, and 2-year posts.

Photos by Julia Dags.

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  1. Lilie said:

    Omg happy birthday Amalia!!!
    Motherhood is flying by…
    I love your decision to become more private on her behalf… I was wondering how to do it with my child when he will become older and I like the « asking permission » part and not sharing too personal stuff.
    For now I just never post embarrassing pictures but I talk about everything and I think one day I will make the same choice as you did!!!

    7.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      It’s hard to make sense of it all in this day and age!

      7.28.20 · Reply
  2. beautiful photos, beautiful child, beautiful family.. and I love that you ask her permission before sharing her photo..important message.. good luck with the “threeanger” year.. it’s a real thing 🙂

    7.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I’m quite terrified haha!

      7.28.20 · Reply
  3. Lillie said:

    Darling post about a darling girl and her darling momma!

    7.24.20 · Reply
  4. Ally said:

    Mint chocolate chip with rainbow sprinkles is the best! Now is the time to teach her how to do it right, order extra sprinkles on the side . Happy birthday to your sweet daughter!

    7.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Oh wow, now that’s a flex! Will have to teach her that one.

      7.28.20 · Reply
  5. Brynna said:

    Happy birthday, Amalia! Love the picture of her jumping to the couch! She looks like a superhero! Enjoy her day!!

    7.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      My little Wonder Woman!

      7.28.20 · Reply
  6. Christina said:

    This is my first ever blog comment, but just want to say thank you for being so open about motherhood and raising Amalia! (And congrats on having a three year old!) My older son will also be three in a few weeks, so I’ve enjoyed tracking our parallel journeys and have appreciated the ideas and recommendations that you have shared along the way. I’ll be here also having my mind blown about how I possibly have a three year old!

    7.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Happy early birthday to your son! It’s so crazy how fast they grow.

      7.28.20 · Reply
  7. Chelle said:

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️Happiest 3rd Birthday to your sweet girl! What a great post! I always love reading your blog, you’re a terrific mom to watch and read! And, the relationship your family has is so sweet to see. While I realize it’s a mere glimpse of your daily life, it’s so nice. I hope she had a terrific day!

    7.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      That is so kind, thank you so much.

      7.28.20 · Reply
  8. Jess Dupont said:

    Happy Birthday, sweet Amalia! I hope you have an incredible day!

    7.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks Jess! She had the best day ever.

      7.28.20 · Reply
  9. Rachel said:

    Loved this post and the part about what you are choosing to share/not share as she grows. I’m a writer and have struggled with similar issues with my kids. Kudos to you for giving it such consideration and making the decision that works best for you and your family!

    7.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks Rachel! xx

      7.28.20 · Reply
  10. M. said:

    Oh my gosh. I’m not even a mom but this whole post KILLED me. She seems so sweet and strong and curious and kind. I love that you ask permission to share things, even though I bet she doesn’t really get it, I think it’s so important that she’s developing the concept of getting to say yes or no and having ownership over herself. I think it’s so great too you and so many parents are normalizing talking about race. I think the Zoomers I’ve spoken to are so aware of others experiences and her generation will be even better.

    7.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Aww thanks. She is pretty amazing… although I’m a bit biased. And I really hope that her generation experiences a very different world than we have.

      7.28.20 · Reply
  11. Kate said:

    I don’t think you will ever regret granting her that privacy – happiest day to you all!

    7.24.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks Kate! I don’t think so either 🙂

      7.28.20 · Reply
  12. Sasha said:

    I’m a frequent reader but rarely comment, but just wanted to say Happy Birthday to Amalia! She is the same age as my niece so I love reading about her, as they sound very similar (I was with my niece for 2 months straight during quarantine and then we separated for a month and she came back a FULL ON threenager but as you said, the sweet moments really do make up for it.) You seem like a wonderful mom and I can’t wait to read more about her as she grows up 🙂

    7.25.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thank you so much, Sasha! That means so much to hear.

      7.28.20 · Reply