Today you are twenty-four months old… which means today is your birthday! Happy birthday, my sweet TWO YEAR OLD girl! You have grown up so quickly, I honestly have no idea where time has gone. You are talking up a storm lately and it is just so much fun listening to all the things you have to say. Mostly you are telling me “I do it!” because you are quite an independent little thing.
We celebrated your birthday last weekend and I know you had a wonderful time because you simply cannot stop talking about your party. You are obsessed with owls so it was only natural that you had an owl themed birthday party. As I pieced together all the details for your party (love is in the details, after all) from owl favor bags, to an owl pull-string pinata, and your (if I don’t mind saying so myself) adorable homemade owl cake, I kept you involved in the whole process. You were very quick to give my work your “Like it!” seal of approval.
In our family, smartphones are never more than an arms length away. From keeping track of all of our busy schedules, to responding to emails, to constantly snapping pictures of the adorable things you do, you are no stranger to having an iPhone in your face. So it was no surprise when I caught you trying to take MY picture with your iPhone the other day.
Before we round the corner into winter, I must take a moment to discuss all the fabulous fall activities that you were able to enjoy for the first this year. We went to the pumpkin patch with our MOMS Club friends and it is my firm belief that no pumpkin patch experience is complete without a caramel apple. So I bought one for you and Ana to share. You were delighted to no end with the sticky, sweet treat. Eventually you girls ate the apple all the way down to the core and I literally had to pry the stick from your gooey little fingers.
While we were at the same pumpkin patch, you took the opportunity to play on the assorted obstacle courses and slides scattered around the grounds. You were VERY fond of the tunnel slides. Not knowing how you would react the first time you tried it, I encouraged you to start with the little slide and gradually work up to the loooong one. But you, being the fearless child you are, as soon as you shot out of the small one you made a beeline for the large one and you never looked back.
We also did our annual family trip to Lakeview Farms for their corn maze and pumpkin patch. It managed to stay dry for our entire walk through the maze and while we wandered around selecting our perfect pumpkins. But just as we boarded the little train to take us back to the farm and check out, the sky opened up and it rained (there was even a little hail mixed in there) like I have never seen before. I pulled you close to me and use myself as a human shield to keep you as dry as possible. You looked up at me with a bewildered look on your face and said through chattering teeth, “It raining….co-co-cold.”
The grand culmination of fall festivities is indisputably Halloween. Since you had ballet that morning I seized the opportunity to use your costume from last year (which I had bought big) and dressed you as an adorable peacock for ballet class. You kept referring to yourself as a “Hall’ween Peacock” and you even remembered to say the “pea” the majority of the time.
While the peacock was perfect for indoor festivities, for trick-or-treating I insist that you wear a costume that will keep you warm in our chilly Oregon weather. You were more than happy to don the cuddly lion costume that was handed down to you from your big sister. You happily assumed the role of your character and would cheerily growl or gnash your teeth on command. Since your costume kept you nice and cozy, you became quite the trick-or-treating machine. I was very impressed that you walked all by yourself, never whined or fussed, and managed to keep up with the big kids the entire night.
You are a very determined little girl and when you want something to happen, you don’t give up until you succeed. The other day I was working in the kitchen when I came around the corner to check on you and discovered you had dragged the doll stroller up onto the couch and were sitting in it to watch TV (while still caring for your baby, of course). I’m not sure what was more impressive: that you had somehow managed to get the stroller up onto the couch by yourself or that you were able to fit into the tiny doll stroller!
Ana is still your favorite person in the entire world. Sure, you guys fight over toys and get cranky when you are in each others space, but the majority of the time you get along better than I could have ever hoped. I am always witnessing little moments where you are snuggled up together, sharing a snack or reading a book and it just melts my heart. I love the relationship you two have and so on my hardest parenting days I try to remember these moments and I know that I must be doing something right.
I don’t know if it’s from watching Ana and absorbing her interests, but you are suddenly into building and creating things. When Ana does art projects (painting, coloring, crafting) you climb up right next to her at the table to let your creative juices flow. You’ve also developed an interest in Legos and constructing things. I love watching your “thinking tongue” come out as you figure out how to put the pieces together and create the masterpiece you envision in your mind. It’s great to watch you develop your creative side and know that my prejudice against the mess and chaos that generally accompanies these activities hasn’t stifled your potential artist or architect within.
But don’t get me wrong, just because you don’t mind making the occasional mess doesn’t mean that you aren’t still obsessed with cleaning up. In ballet class your teacher is always commenting on how you like to stop the activity a few minutes before we are done doing it so you can start putting things away. And your cleaning up doesn’t stop with toys either. Grandpa Larry came over to help us trim some of our trees and haul away the excess of yard debris that accompanies a project of that nature. I brought out the bikes and scooters fully expecting you to go play while we worked, but you got right in there with the adults and did your part with delight!
And your OCD doesn’t even stop there. A couple days ago you kept asking me for “tan tire” and I was looking all over the house trying to figure out what kind of toy that could be. Eventually, seeing my confusion, you said (and I could almost hear you rolling your eyes with annoyance), “I show you.” You grabbed my hand, took me over to my diaper bag, and dug out my bottle of HAND SANITIZER. The whole time you were not looking for a toy to play with, but rather were asking to clean your hands. Silly mama.
But just because you get your obsession with being clean and tidy (and maybe even your stubborn determinedness) from me, doesn’t mean that you aren’t just as much like your Daddy. Just yesterday we were walking around Target and when you saw the Christmas decorations you got so excited you sounded like you were hyperventilating. Sure, you pointed and said, “Look, Mama! Hall’ween!” but I knew what you meant. This reminded me so much of your father who waited (just barely) until the day after Halloween to start listening to Christmas music. You two are going to be quite a force to be reckoned with one day.
Then this morning I asked you what you wanted me to make you for your special birthday breakfast. You promptly replied, “Ham sammich. Elmo on it, p’ease!” If your father had heard that request I know he would have beamed with pride. He would happily eat ham sandwiches, or “sammiches” as the case may be, just about any chance he gets.
I want to thank you so much for all you bring to my life. You make me laugh out loud every day. Oh who am I kidding, it’s more like several times a day. You are just about the sweetest child I know. Every time they pass out maracas at Gymboree or scarves at ballet class you are the ONLY child who quickly runs back to get some for me. All of the other children happily run off to enjoy their own toy while your only concern is that I get to participate as well. I am so proud of you and the amazing person you are. Happy birthday, baby!
All my love,