I can’t believe that it was only two short years ago that I met you for the first time, and already a year has flown by since I wrote to you on your first birthday. That letter still makes me cry…
Just ONE year ago, you were this little blonde cherub –
And now you are my big two year old!
I loved you as an infant. As you grew, I marveled over your developments – giggles and rolls, grabs and coos. I lived and breathed for you and couldn’t get enough. Yet, I was very happy to be a working mama. My only guilt was over NOT feeling upset about returning to my career. I was so content with our quality time in the mornings, evenings and weekends.
Now, as a busy two year-old, I’ve seriously considered putting my job on hold awhile to be able to stay with you all day – something I NEVER imagined I’d ever want to do. I think that says a lot about how much I adore this age. You have so many incredible traits and I cannot get enough of you.
You’re so very smart.
You speak in complete sentences and can articulate exactly what you want. Strangers are always blown away by your vocabulary and the fact that they can understand you, and doctors regularly call in associates to meet you. We’re told that you’re speaking closer to a three year old’s level – that is AMAZING to me. But not surprising. There is this iPad game that we have called Grandma’s Garden and I love all of the different strategy games it has – identifying the largest object or the smallest, matching letters, and memorization. I think the memorization is the most impressive to me. One particular activity is a bunch of barrels and you tap each to briefly reveal the vegetable underneath. You have an uncanny ability to always remember exactly where the matching vegetable is, and breeze through the game. While I hate sharing the iPad (it kills me you call it “my iPad” because you are two, and I’m almost 30 and this is my first Apple product and is still new to me!) I really appreciate the skills you develop – and you can work that thing better than I can. You know exactly which folder is yours, and can launch the games you like, or even Netflix to watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates – I feel like I’ll be able to hire you to do the coding for my blog before you’re in Kindergarten at the rate you are going.
You know all of your colors and can recognize numbers and count to 20. You recognize almost every letter of the alphabet, although you sometimes get some confused, like D and O. You know shapes, and not just circle and square – you’ll loudly call out “octagon!” when we drive by a stop sign, and know that a diamond, square, rectangle and trapezoid are all different shapes – and call them their correct names.
You’re a little ham.
When at the doctor’s office last week, you were asked to sit up in the big chair. Instead, you went completely limp to slide out of it, and announced, “I’m too slippery to sit here!“
When placed in time out (which can be frequently, especially now that I KNOW you understand me!) you throw your head back and pretend to sleep, complete with fake snoring. You also get a kick out of calling people their wrong names or using something the opposite way for a reaction from me – always with a sly grin and a glint in your eye. Then you loudly laugh (your fake laugh is fantastic) and declare “I’m so fun!” – meaning funny, but still awesome.
You’re incredibly musical.
The number of songs that you know the words to is astonishing – I can probably rattle off 15-20 toddler songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider or Where is Thumbkin? that you know all of the words to, and loudly sing – complete with hand gestures whenever possible! You also now are picking up on the songs that I listen to on the radio. I first noticed that when glancing in the rearview mirror to see you joining in on the chorus of the Pitbull/Christina Aguilera song “Feel This Moment”. Since then, you always “throw your hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us” when the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song “Can’t Hold Us” comes on – but your FAVORITE is Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” – you and I seriously rock out to that one.
You also can make anything an instrument. You have a floating xylophone for the bathtub, but love to play the drums – sometimes on pots and pans, often on the ceramic garden stool in my office, and recently we’ve been slapping our thighs with songs…you think that is hilarious. But your rhythm is spot on, and your dancing skills are already better than mine.
This can’t come as a surprise, considering that Tyler and I both are extremely opinionated and outspoken, but OH LORD do you know what you want and when you want it. You demand a say in what you wear, what you eat or drink, and where we go. You’ll demand that we go home when out running errands, you’ll demand that we go to the playground when we are home. When trying something, you either love it, or make a disgusted face and mutter “I can’t like this.” Never “I don’t like this” – always “can’t” – ha.
When you wake up, you will always say one of two things – either “Can I have a popsicle?” or “Go downstairs?“. When Daddy and I hear you on the monitor we place bets about which sentence will be your first, and always laugh to hear who is right that day. You are OBSESSED with popsicles and are always asking for one. You’ll argue fiercely to get one, too. If you ask, “Can I have a blue popsicle?” and I respond that its almost dinner time and maybe later, you’ll sit and think about that for a second, and then reply “Okay – can I have a GREEN popsicle?” Like changing the color and flavor will somehow get me to agree.
Well, not really. But heights and adventures are your favorite. You think nothing of leaping off a piece of furniture and into my arms – even if I’m not paying attention. Thank god I’ve always been able to grab you, and I adore your complete trust in me but GEE WHIZ I wish you’d show some caution once in awhile. For the “well, not really”, you do have some new fears. My weekly BabyCenter emails warned me about this phase, but all of the sudden, you think bugs and the vacuum and the dark are “so scary!” The other day, I was wearing my favorite necklace that has a giant silver octopus on it, and you begged me to take it off because it was scaring you. So thats a little weird – but when it comes to rollercoasters and white water rafting and skydiving? I know you’re gonna be my girl, cuz Daddy sure as heck won’t do any of those things with me!
You’re my best friend.
Seriously. There is no one I’d rather spend my time with. This week, you were deliberately disrespectful to Daddy and had to go to bed without a story. It was an appropriate punishment – you’d received multiple warnings, you knew you’d lose the story, and you misbehaved anyway. But it hurt me worse than you, since bedtime is my favorite time of the day. I’m not sure how I got to be the lucky parent, but every night I get to crawl in your tiny toddler bed with you, and lay my head on the pillow next to yours as we read a book. Usually, we read a book of your choice twice – once the “real” way, and once talking about the characters, and then we read a book from my childhood, Goodnight Kisses. You and I both have that book memorized, and I hope that it always holds a special meaning to you like it does for me. Lately though, you want to read a fourth round – reading a book yourself. Your memorization and analysis from the pictures is amazing – you actually summarize everything really well.
You’re my perfect complement. Like, when we went to a party last weekend and received a piece of cake. You only like the icing and I only like the cake, so we happily shared two pieces. Maybe I’m a little silly setting so many expectations, hopes and dreams on a toddler, but you’re my favorite person in the world to spend time with. Last week, you and I were driving and the windows were down per your request. A song came on the radio and I was happily singing along, glancing in the rearview mirror to grin at you like I always do. As the song wound down, you piped up, “Mommy, you happy?” With you girl, I’m always happy. And I love that you asked that.
Daddy and I always had a great time before you, but you’ve truly been the final puzzle piece to our family – and life is so incredible with you in it. I also love how proud you are of our family. When I ask your name, you are so pleased with yourself when you announce “Guinevere Johnson!” and I also am thrilled by how proud you are of me. Whenever we are out and about, you always get the attention of a stranger. And when they talk to you – to tell you how cute you are or some other sweet compliment, you always look at them, and then me, and say “This is my mommy!” I can’t tell you how it feels to know how happy you are to be my daughter. This was a tough year for us since I was working and back in school – but I went back to get that degree so that you could know your mama was a college graduate. You won’t know what that means now – to you, it meant on certain days you never even saw me because I left for campus before you woke up and came home after you were in bed. But when you’re older? I hope you are still proud of me. And I know now that I always think of my actions with regards to how you will think of me. I always want to be a person that you can excitedly introduce to a stranger as “my mommy!“
This past year was the best year of my life, and I’m confident that your third year will be even more amazing.
Happy birthday, baby girl. We love you.