Dinosaurs, the Dark, and Monster Puppies

February 24, 2014


When I think of you on the brink of your third birthday, I can’t help but think of all your little fears. How many times have we been summoned to your bedside in the middle of the night to investigate strange noises? We’ve been told that a “monster puppy” had pulled the covers back and licked your fingers. We’ve been told there are monsters hiding in the dark. We’ve been told you heard a noise “like: sssssssssss.” We’ve been told that we should get out of our house into the car because dinosaurs eat houses, not cars. In those middle of the night moments, Daddy is quick to take you in his arms and kiss and hug your fears away. I try to reason with you during the daylight hours.

Truth be told, we find your fears adorable–even if they have wrecked more than one nights’ sleep. Your dreams and fears are vivid and bright just like everything else about your personality–a personality that to our continual delight unfurls itself a little more every day.  


Hey there, bright eyes!!


A few observations about that vivid personality:

1) You have a knack for remembering names and details. Sometimes you’re a little off–Zacchaeus instead of Zachery–but most of the time, you’re right on. You have a long memory for people–remembering their names for months after only meeting them once.

2) You love to sing and are good at memorizing song lyrics. Asher’s music teacher at school has been teaching his class Oh Susanna! and you have learned it right alongside Asher. I smile every time I hear your sweet little voice chirping out, “Oh, Susie Anna! You break into Deep and Wide whenever you hear any music, and you regale us with several original compositions as well–mostly about Jesus and desserts and brothers and some of your other favorite things.


with two of your favorite things

3) You’ve surprised us with your catechism knowledge. You’ve betrayed your capacity for memorization when you interrupt your brothers’ recitation to correct a word. ("No! Love our neighbor as ourSELVES not ourSELF!”) We’re onto you, girl. You’re not getting a pass any longer!

4) You’re very curious about Jesus. You’ve learned that “since the fall, no human has been able to keep the law of God perfectly.” But you will quickly offer that Jesus was human and he did keep the law of God perfectly. To our utter astonishment, after talking about this particular truth and rehearsing the gospel one night, you looked at us and said, “I do that right now.” You bowed your head and promptly prayed something about wanting Jesus to forgive your sins. You’ve said absolutely nothing about it since, but your heart was sober and sensitive in that moment. 

5) I’ve never known anyone with a bigger sweet tooth. Suckers are your favorite. Cupcakes and doughnuts rank up there as well. You wouldn’t turn down a piece of cake or a pie. And certainly not a brownie. Chocolate chips will work in a pinch.


fudge will do nicely too. especially if you can enjoy it in the company of your “boys.”

6) You morph into Hulk whenever you’re hurt, and you never miss (or forgive!) an insult. 

7) You could not be less interested in learning your letters, or your animals for that matter. Everything is a puppy–and consequently something to shriek about. 

8) You are such a good sport! (Until you get hurt. See #6) You play along with every joke. You always have a retort. You make up stories and songs. You tease relentlessly. You have many extended dialogues with with your babies and stuffed animals. You name them. (Pettipat and Healthy for example…), and teach them, and discipline them and love on them.

9) You’ve got the birth order confused. We already have a first born in the family.

All this in just three short years with you. What will we discover about you in this next year?!


Your dad and I took Valentine’s weekend this year to renovate your room for your birthday. We worked long hours painting and repainting walls, assembling furniture, hanging pictures and applying wall decals. During the ordeal (which included upending an entire gallon of ceiling paint, at least four coats of paint on two of the walls, an extra trip to Home Depot to buy MORE paint, and unspeakable amounts of coffee) we must have had the same conversation a dozen times. It went something like this:

“This is taking longer than I expected.”

“Yeah. More coffee?”

“Haven is going to love this.”

“I can’t wait for her to see it. I just love that little girl so much.”

“I’d do anything for her.”

We could picture the excitement in your bright eyes and hear the enthusiasm in your voice when you saw your new room for the first time. And you did not disappoint. You bounded over to me when you first saw the new colors, and said “I’m so happeeeee about my room!” Oh little girl, we’re just so happeeeeee to have you.


Prepping the room to start the reno.


vibrant colors for a vibrant little girl


Decrypting IKEA hieroglyphics


getting it done by any means necessary


starting to take shape

Haven girl–we love you so much our hearts ache. Seeing you flourish in this loving home makes me hurt for the hundreds of thousands of children the world over who do not know the natural affection of a parent and who, not knowing the love and security of a good earthly father will naturally be suspicious of a heavenly one. When I see you, your adorable little fears, and all your personality quirks, I’m grateful that you have not yet known anything truly terrifying and that we have so far been able to shield you from the many horrors that can happen in this sin-cursed world. And I pray that while you continue to flourish in this home, you’ll come to know a love that is greater than ours. I pray that you’ll come to realize that as much as we love you, our love is just a faint echo–at best it is an unflattering reflection of your heavenly Father’s love who went to such great lengths to rescue you from certain destruction. He freely offered up His Son for you to be welcomed into hishome, as his daughter. 

Happy third birthday, you lively thing! You are deeply loved.



photo credit: Zachery Elwart

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