I have written, erased and rewritten the first sentence to this post about 5 times now. I don’t even know where to begin.
My big girl … two years old.
You know, in all the years I imagined myself as a mother, I never saw myself as the mother to a tiny baby. When I was pregnant with you and tried so hard to picture you in my mind, I imagined you as you are now: walking, talking, cracking jokes, singing, dancing, hugging your daddy’s legs, having conversations with me that I could barely understand. Somehow, in my mind, I skipped the baby part and always imagined you as a toddler, so full of life and personality.
Except I never could have dreamed how truly funny you would be, how strong, smart and simply beautiful you would be. I had no idea how much I would love being your mom, in good times and bad. How, after I figured out all the basic stuff (diapers, food, sleep patterns, car seats, etc) that everything else would just sort of, fall into place, kind of like I had been your mother forever.
Have you always been here? Have you always been inside of my heart? I know that physically, you have only been on this planet for 2 short years, but I know deep down inside, somehow I have known you my entire life.
This year has been a lot of fun. I have watched you seamlessly evolve from a baby to a toddler - a real, live, person. Someone who walks and talks and has an opinion about which socks she wants to wear to school or where Elmo is going to sit while she is eating dinner. Your personality has grown and changed so much from this time a year ago. As Paul McCartney once sang:
"I thought I knew you, what did I know?"
Not to say it’s been without it’s challenges. There are hard moments, hard days, even hard weeks. You are a determined little girl and you are very good at testing your boundaries. You often chose to not listen. I have to be strategic with how I ask you to do certain things. I have to trick you before you trick me. But even on the days you seem to defy every single thing I say, I can tell you are not generally a defiant person. You are a good, kind soul. And more than anything, you think you are being funny, which makes me happy to know that at the end of the day, you want to be silly and make people laugh, which is one of my favorite qualities in any human being.
You can now speak in complete sentences and have full conversations with me. Sure, sometimes it takes me a bit of repeating what you said before I decipher what you meant, and sure, 50% of the time, it’s pure nonsense, but you love to talk to us. The things that come out of your mouth sometimes… They are pretty hilarious. How did you learn to say these things? Or better yet, how did you learn to understand what they mean? Where was I when this light bulb went off in your head?
You can now walk, run, jump, and climb. I am always so grateful for every new movement your mind and body master. I love seeing you scale the climbing wall in the daycare yard and slide down the big kid slide with ease. You’re fearless and willing to try anything. I love this about you so much.
You have an intense love for books (Richard Scarry and Llama, Llama are your favorites) and would sit with me on your little glider until the end of time to read if I allowed it. Your favorite people in the world (besides Mommy, Daddy and the Grandparents) are Bert and Ernie. Your BFFs (besides Mia) are your Elmo doll and your “Baby” who you sleep with every night.
Your favorite songs are The Alphabet Song (ABC’s), Jingle Bells and Five Little Monkeys. Actually, this week, it’s been Happy Birthday. We have to sing them together as a family in the car every morning on the way to the train, per your request.
You also allow me to sing, To Know Her is to Love Her, Till There Was You, Wonderful by My Morning Jacket and The Best of My Love by the Eagles (not really a lullaby, but you like it anyway) at night before you fall asleep. Any other time I usually get a, “No Mommy! I want JINGLE BELLS!” Christmas obviously had a profound effect on you.
And you love to dance. You’ve got moves better than Jagger, kid. Actually, when I think of it, you do kind of look exactly like Mick Jaggar when you dance…
You can eat all by yourself now with a fork and spoon and drink out of a normal cup. You love yogurt, pasta, cereal, hummus, pizza, applesauce and grapes. On a good day, you like broccoli.
You dress yourself, or at least try to. You are determined to put on your own socks and shoes. You can flip on your coat, no problem (thanks daycare!) and have started to show an interest in potty training (which I promise, I will never discuss on the Internet. You’re welcome).
You’re funny, silly, smart, stubborn and so unconventionally beautiful. The things you accomplish every day that make me proud, the things you do that make me laugh, or the gestures you do that make my heart swell are too abundant to recount here. I couldn’t try to capture it all if I tried. The most loving, tender moments are fleeting-in and out like a shooting star. When they happen, they hit my heart with the force of a Mack truck and I try so hard to ingrain them into my mind, hoping to cling to them forever. But then, as instantly as they appear, they disappear, and it’s on to the next moment: spilled milk, climbing on a table, uncontrollable whining, you know, typical toddlery. And I wait for that next fleeting moment to shoot across my horizon.
Every day I am grateful that you came to us. Even on the worst of days, you have made my life and your daddy’s life so much better in every way.
I love you my Bean, my Quinny. Happy 2nd birthday.