Madeline, Age 3

Today is Maddy’s birthday, and again I struggle to organize my thoughts.

There is this photo of her that Andy took last summer, and even though she is rarely so serious and even though she has grown up so much since last summer, this remains one of my favorite photos of her.

Look at the expression on her face.  Like I said, she has already grown up significantly since this photo was taken, but she hasn’t grown into that wise and knowing look on her face just yet.  I have a feeling we’ll be looking at that expression until she has out lived us all.  I feel incredibly humbled, intimidated, and optimistic whenever I look into the face of that three-year-old and know she is already smarter than I will ever be.

She moves quickly so I don’t have many pictures of her like this where she is still and contemplative.  For such a cute kid, she smiles weird in photos.  Her real smile is totally amazing, of course; it’s all infectious and twinkly-eyed.  But if you want to photograph her and you ask her to smile, what you get is all teethy and strained.  Already, she has a kind of adult self-awareness that wants to manufacture a smile for the camera.

Even though it has been three years and even though it is happening with her brother too, I just can’t get over how quickly Maddy changes.  She has always had these flashes of knowing, glimpses of an understanding much beyond her years.  As her face changes, her body gets longer and leaner, and her vocabulary grows, the flashes are getting longer.  Soon she’ll be all knowing all the time.

And don’t even get me started on the looks Logan gets on his face, which is disturbingly lacking in baby fat these days.