We recently took Francesca to Build-A-Bear for her 3rd birthday.
It's a tradition we have with our nieces and nephews. (Check out Saverio's and Ava's bears, CJ's bear, and Maya's bear. And I still need to write about Victoria's bear too, which was born nearly a year ago. I'm just a bit behind).
We were nervous that Francesca wouldn't want to come with us for the adventure because she has never really been on her own before without parents or siblings. I tried ot feel her out a week or two beforehand to make sure she was up for it. She first asked if her mom could come with her and I said, no. She asked if she could think about it. Then, she asked if her baby brother could come! It was so sweet that she just wanted some company. We like to take the kids all by themselves though in order to ensure that they pick out the bear, the clothes, the name, etc. all on their own and without any sibling peer pressure. On the day we went to go pick her up, she was so excited and didn't even hesitate to say goodbye to her family as she walked out the door to head to the mall.
On the way there we asked her what she wanted to name her bear. She said Francesca. But then when we got there and I asked her again, she said, "No, I'm Francesca. That's Teddy Bear." And the name Teddy Bear stuck.
Here's Teddy Bear all dressed up.
Those black shoes really bring the whole outfit together.
*Seven years ago when Al and I worked at Sears and had to wear the same uniform and both had black glasses, a friend of ours told us that we were like an old married couple starting to look like each other. I hadn't thought about that in a long time, but this picture just brought back that memory.*
One of the fun things we like to do with these bears is record the kids' voices and put it in the paw or the foot of the bear. I thought it would be a cute way to memorialize their little toddler voices.
Here's my recollection of what the kids have recorded for their bears to say over the years:
Ava: "Hi. My name's Teddi. I got little bears at my house."
Saverio: "There's a ghost. Let's solve a mystery."
CJ: "Knock knock. Who's there? Snake. Snake who? There's a snake on your face! Ahhh!"
(I was the voice of the second person for this one)
Victoria: "I love princesses."
Francesca: "I love you."
After building, Francesca had her mind on one thing. Hot dogs. She absolutely loves hot dogs. We lucked out that there was an A&W in the mall. We sat around talking, laughing and enjoying each other and had a really great time.
Then something really special happened. A man who was probably in his late 30s, early 40s came up to our table on his way out of the food court. He leaned into Alessandro and said, "I just wanted to let you know, you're a very lucky man." It hit both of us hard and I think we both got a lump in our throats. It was a good reminder about what is really important in life.
And this little girl is one of those things.