My Birthday letter for Zoe


Age 1

Age 2

Age 3

Age 4 with best friend, Willa

My dearest Zoe, (blogger won't let me add umlaut....but feels wrong without it), 

    I cannot believe you are now five years old!  Five years old means you are old enough for school and even though you have been going to some sort of school for the majority of your short life,... you are now officially old enough to go into kindergarten.....stateside anyway.   Of course, you seem ready in every way to conquer grade school and  any obstacles that may come with it.  You have blossomed into the most independent, confident leader.   You still have a shy side....and some insecurities....but when you really want to, you can influence anyone to do things your way...even your mom and dad. 

      You are by far the funniest kid I know.  You  have this sense of humor that is wise beyond your years.  You have mastered comedic timing and even though your jokes are often massively inappropriate,  adults struggle not to laugh because your delivery is spot on.   You are goofy and silly and can make anyone laugh with the expressions you make.  Those huge eyes of yours twinkle!  

    Zoe, you may be the most responsible person in the Passin family.  You know where all of your belongings are at all times.  You always remember to bring your library books on library day (even when Mommy forgets) and if anyone is looking for something lost (say Mommy's keys)  you are aware of where they are.   You are SO observant.    When Mommy cannot remember our hotel room number, you do.   When Mommy forgets to tell the bus driver that you don't need a ride home, you tell him.  When Mommy forgets to fill out a form for school, you remind me relentlessly.   You always put away your toys and your dirty clothes.  When we lived in Atlanta and you didn't have to wear a uniform, you picked out you and your sister's clothes every night, laying them out perfectly on the bed for the next morning.   You are visibly calmer after you fold all of the clothes in your pajama drawer.  You like to do dishes!  You want to do homework, want to learn to read, and work daily on your writing.   You are driven and remind us this is important even if we are busy.   Part of this is because Andie does things....and you cannot stand for Andie to be doing something that you are not, but also, I think you like to be productive and improve your self.  

      You are an awesome swimmer.  You excel in almost all things physical.  (Dancing, swimming, soccer).   You have a good understanding of your body and how to use it.  The exception is your writing and drawing.  You have mastered gross motor skills...but still struggle with fine motor skills, like writing, drawing, and cutting.  This frustrates you because you like to be good at everything you do. 

      You are a true leader....sometimes bordering on being bossy.   When we left GPCP in Atlanta, the teachers told me the whole dynamic of the class was going to change because you were a central figure in the classroom.  Everyone looked up to you.  When you left there, everyone cried...even the teachers.  You make a huge impact on others Zoe.    It is a huge gift and I hope you use it well in life.  I have faith that you will.   It didn't take long for you to step into the leader role in your new classroom.  Your teachers warned me in the beginning of the year that you were a bit bossy....but this has transformed now.  You are no longer bossy,as you can take direction of are a true leader.  You know how to assert yourself but you also look out for others.  You CANNOT stand unfairness and you work towards rectifying injustices...for yourself and for your friends.   As you mature, I hope that you are able to use this to help those who cannot help themselves....and that you will see how blessed you are in the world.  Oh Zoe, you can do such great things in life!

       Everyone is drawn to you, adults and children.  You have an amazing laugh and sparkly eyes that elicit feelings of belonging and adoration in all those you come across.  When you are upset, we all take a deep breath...and hope that you will soon return to your silly self.   You and Mommy and Daddy are working on controlling your temper...and you are getting so much better at it.   For right's just a part of you....and that temper is beautiful....just like all parts of you.  It makes you passionate, and just and complex.   It's also hard to deal with, as your Mommy...because I know a temper can get in the way in we will continue to work on this.   (It's also not fun being told how much you hate your family.....only to be followed by guilty tears afterwards).  

        You love your family Zoe.  You adore your big sister, Andie,  and  often I see you simply watching her...trying to emulate her behavior.  You play so well together and you like her to hold you when you are scared.   You are extremely generous with her (and others) always giving her your toys and candy when she cannot find hers.   You have such a giving heart.   You and your Daddy have a special relationship.  You two are both so playful together...matching joke per joke...always cracking each other up. When he has to travel for miss him terribly.   I love to watch you with each of them.   With me, you are still such a snuggle bunny.   You still suck your thumb, carry your blankie,  and want to be held.  You come into my bed every night and request to cuddle.  You prefer to sit in my lap and lay your head on my chest.  Whenever you do, my heart explodes with love for you, my sweet Zoe.   I love you SO much words cannot express it.   I am so proud of who you are and honored that you are mine.    I have loved watching you grow and I am so excited to see what you will bring into this world as you mature.   

Here is what your GPCP teachers wrote for you when we left …

    As an up and coming frog you would still hide behind your Dad's leg as you entered the Frog's class to drop off your big sister Andie.  Your first year as a frog, you were still glued to the hip of your best friend Willa.  At first, you would pout if the two of you weren't in the same small group but quickly you stretched out your wings and were confident to fly solo.  That was of course, until you and Elias decided to soar the sky together.  
Over the past year and a half you have become a nurturing leader who has captured the love and respect of all the children and educators in the classroom.   We depend on you.  We admire you. Some children take direction from you better than from us.  We think of you Zoe as the hipster in the class.  She's 'hip' and she knows her friends are influenced by what she thinks.  We love that you will be a person who reflects on the friendship as your compass to tell you where to go.  That is a rare gift to have and makes you so special. 
Zoe you put as much effort in knowing yourself and believing in yourself as you do in learning to do things independently and learning the ways of the world.  zoe you are a tender, reserved, self-confident, sensitive but resilient, very true friend.  It's not easy to be a good friend but zoe you show us the possibility of being one and having one!   Don't be afraid of the power you have.  People flock to you!   Fiji will be blessed to have you just as we were blessed to know you and watch you grow.  We love you Zoe and will miss you so.  

Love, the Frogs

     I know that as you get bigger, you will not want to snuggle with Mommy the same way...but I hope you know I am always here for whatever way you need me to be.  I love you Zoe.   Happy 5th Birthday.


PS.  Every year after I write the birthday letter I look back at the past letters.  I am always suprised by how much repeats itself.  Personality characteristics are pretty stable.  Here are the other years' birthday letters. I started both girls with year 2 because I made them books for their first year and wrote birth stories when they were born.  

Sweet, sweet Zoë,
    It is hard to believe that you are already two years old.  Happy Birthday.  In the past two years you have added immense joy into our lives.  You simply draw everyone in around you.  You don’t do it a “look at me” way….you slowly, coyly let people warm up to you while you warm up to them.  Once people are in, they are in.  You make everyone smile and look at you like they want to take you home with them.  You are so endearing!   There is something so sweet, lovable, and stinkin’ cute about your personality.   You are hard to stay mad at.  Even when you run away from me or sit on your sister’s head, you look at me with that smile in your eyes, and your mommy has to struggle to keep a stern look on her face.  You have mastered your fake cry, knowing that it will get you an extra hug from mommy or whoever is near.   If we don’t’ fall for it, and look at you with a smile, you can’t help yourself but smile too…even if it is only with your eyes while you try to  keep up your frown. 
          You love to cuddle, still.  I am sure I am delusional, but most of the time I believe there is no place you’d rather be than cuddling in Mommy’s arms  (unless  you are running, chasing your sister, or jumping on the trampoline.)   You love your blankie and you still suck your thumb.  You always have loved your sleep.  You are the only two year old I know that still takes a morning nap.   When I bring you to your crib for a nap, you nearly jump out of my arms to cuddle into that crib.  You easily sleep 3-5 hours a day and almost 12 hours at night. I think part of your extraordinarily personality has to do with the fact that you are so well rested.
          You are SO playful.  You LOVE to wrestle.  You love climb.  You love to dance, and you love being silly.   At first, not everyone knows that about you…but it doesn’t take long to come out.   It is such a part of you!  Ever since you have made this evident to us, your family has become so much more playful and joyful! We all laugh a little bit more because of you, Zoë.  Thank you for that!
          As much as you love your mommy and daddy, no one can compare to your big sister, Andie.  Andie is the first person you ask for in the morning and the last one you call for at night.  You follow her around every chance you get.  You mimic all that she does.  You love to wrestle her and you love to laugh with her.  You are both so lucky that you have each other.  You are best buddies!  She looks out for you like you are a part of her.   I know you will do the same as you grow.  Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see the two of you as a team.  
          I love you so much Zoë Anne Passin.  I love you so much I want to eat you up.  You are the most lovable, cutest, most endearing, free spirit of a two year old that I know.   Thank you for being you.  Happy 2nd Birthday to my sweet girl. 

Zoë!  You are finally three years old!  You have been waiting for this birthday for a long time because you have been so excited to have cupcakes.  Mommy told you that you could have 2 pink cupcakes on your birthday, and you never let me forget it!   Actually, you said all you wanted for your birthday was cupcakes.  We tried to see if you wanted any new toys…but you just kept saying cupcakes.  The simple things really make you happy!    Last weekend we had your birthday party.  You were thrilled to be surrounded by your friends and family.  You LOVE to be around people, especially your family and your “best buddy” Willa.   When you are with others, it is rare to see you upset.  You are one of the most playful kids I know…although those that don’t know you may not see that right away.  Usually, you take in a situation, observing all that is around you before you let your true self shine.   Once you are comfortable though, there is no turning back.  You are such a goofball!   You make crazy faces; speak in funny voices; and dance/bounce/walk around with total spunk!  People truly cannot help themselves from smiling when they are around you.  Sometimes you get so excited, you get a little spastic and we have to try to calm you down so you don’t hit or pinch in all of your excitement. 
When you are playing with others, (mostly the light of your life, Andie) you love to play with dolls, have naked parties, or pretend that you are serving us cupcakes.   We thought this slight obsession with poopie and peepee would pass, but it has been going strong for at least 6 months.  You think it is hilarious when you sing-song, “poopie, pee-pee”.   Luckily, Willa has your same sense of humor so you two just crack each other up.   She likes to play naked party with you too (you have turned many on to naked party) so it all works out! 
Zoë, you are such a free spirit.  You are so happy and it is important to you that everyone else around you is happy too.    You always know how to lighten up a room, except of course when you are having one of your temper tantrums, which is obligatory for all two/three year olds.  Fortunately, you don’t have TOO many.   While you love to be crazy, you also are such a cuddle bug.  Many times, I think there is no place you’d rather be than curled up on Mommy’s lap, thumb in mouth, nuzzled in.   Even though you are getting so big, you still seem to fit perfectly there.  I like that.  I love that actually and want you to know, you will always have a place there.  You are my sweet pea and I will always admire, adore, and love you!   I am so excited for what you will bring to the future of our family and the world!    

          You are finally four!  It has arrived!!  You have been asking me for months, “Is it my birthday yet? When will it be my birthday?   When I turn four, will I be almost five?”    You anticipated being older for half of your third year!  This is probably because you have a big sister and you fit in so well with her and her friends.   But, Zoë, while you may be in a hurry to “be big,” I am enjoying savoring every moment with you.   You are such an amazing person.  
          This past year Mommy and you have gotten to spend a lot of time together.  Andie went to kindergarten and so every Tuesday and Thursday we got one on one time to seek out adventures together.   As soon as you wake up, you want to know where we are going for the day.  You are not much of a homebody.  You always want to be on the move, out and about.  We are alike in this way, so it has worked out wonderfully.  After going to park, playground, or jumpy place you are always ready for your nap.   You still nap faithfully.   Sometimes you even tell me that you are ready for your nap.  Even if you don’t say it, I know you are ready because the second you start sucking your thumb and snuggling with your blankie, you are letting me know that its time.  We have fallen into the habit of both of us laying down together until you fall asleep.  Most of the time I doze off too, then wake up to go do mommy things.    We have cuddling down to a perfection.   As soon as we crawl into bed, I lay on my tummy and you wrap one leg around me to keep me in bed as long as possible.   It is such a pleasant, peaceful part of our day together.  I am going to miss it when I go back to work full time in the fall and when you stop your naps.   It is a time that I will treasure in my heart always. 
          You are not always sleepy, that’s for sure.  You nap so you can have energy!  You LOVE to play!   You are the silliest kid I know.   You make the funniest faces and you have a manner about you that makes all those that surround you smile….true genuine smiles.   You crack people up.  Your sense of humor is awesome.  You know exactly when to deliver your jokes and the exact right tone to convey them.  Again, this potty humor phase has not passed.   You are the leader of the troops when it comes to potty words.   You have most adults suppressing their smiles because what you say can be so completely inappropriate, but funny at the same time.   I am not sure how in the world you do this, but somehow you can come across as cute and charming, even with the potty humor.
          You have a true gift for charming those around you.   Maybe because you are such a natural beauty, but I also think you know how to observe a situation and see what is needed in the moment.   This week, Andie was having a very difficult time handling her last day of kindergarten.  When you saw her crying, you first started crying too.  You were so upset that she was distraught.   (Although this doesn’t seem to bother you when you two are fighting over something).  After some time of her being upset, you switched to humor.   You started to get really silly and tried to make everyone laugh.  You wanted to make everyone feel better.   You do that a lot.  You DO NOT like it when people around you are upset.  If I use a firm tone with you, you immediately start to tear up and cry to me, “Mommy, do not be mad!”   If your friends are upset, especially Willa, you ask over and over, “Are you ok?  Are you happy now?”  You will ask this until the answer is one that you want to hear.  Sometimes I worry that you may be too dependent on your friend’s feelings, but lately you are standing up for yourself.  You are beginning to realize that it is important for you to be happy too, so you are surrounding yourself with those that make you feel content.  
          Once you get comfortable in a situation, you are fearless in many ways.  You LOVE the water!  You jump in over and over.  You are a great swimmer.   Truly, you are a great athlete.  You pretty much excel in every sport you have tried.  You won a one mile race this year in your age category (four and under, and you were three!)   You played soccer wonderfully and you dance ballet with grace.  You have a good understanding of your body and know how to control it well.   You still struggle with writing your name and drawing small pictures, but you will get there, no doubt!  You are determined when you want something! 
          Zoë, I love you SO much.   I am overwhelmed by my love for you.  You make me laugh every day.  You cause my heart to swell with pride every time I look at your beautiful face.  I could snuggle with you all day!   You have made our family complete.  I am so excited to spend more time with you as you grow.   I hope you know that your mommy will always be here supporting and loving you to the moon and back!!! xoxo


Post a Comment