**Disclaimer: This post is over 6 months overdue. I started writing it just before Magnolia's 2nd birthday. I'd work on it, then life would get busy. I finally finished editing it and wanted to share it before my letter to her at 2-1/2. I know it is long. Mostly, it is for Magnolia, but I thought some of you might enjoy learning more about my daughter through my eyes.***
A letter to Magnolia:
These are things that I've noticed, that I love, that I never want to forget about how you are at 2.
You are growing, changing, learning so fast it is hard to keep up. We find you copying almost everything we do. We see elements of ourselves in you as well as your own emerging personality. You get excited, just like me, over little things like a cozy bed or blueberries hiding in your yogurt. You've inherited my ticklishness, but unlike me, you invite it. Papa loves this! Just like your Papa, books go with you everywhere -- to the potty, to bed, in the car. You "read" on your own and to Kaleia. Kid books, contemporary art magazines, it doesn't matter.
Everyday new words come out of your mouth surprising Papa and me. We already miss your baby words like "nu-nu" (bunny). You say things like "Sounds good" and "A-K" (okay) and at 2, call yourself "you," which is no wonder since that is how we address you. Some of your attempts at correct pronunciation are hilarious. "Ho-ho-potty" (Hippopotamus) is one of my favorites. Or like how you can't just call something little or small. It has to be "little tiny baby ho-ho-potty" in a high sqeaky voice. You also still accompany speech with signs when you are really excited. And at times your increasing vocabulary makes you pretty hard to understand.
These breakdowns in communication are beginning to turn into meltdowns because at 2, you are very emotional. When faced with a choice you are often crippled with regret after your first choice and passionately flip-flop between wanting the two choices. (Sorry for the times we could not hold in our laughter. It's just really funny.)
The easy choices for you are whether you want to do something on your own or if you want help. You are independent. For the most part you dress and feed yourself. You love to brush your teeth and floss. Sometimes you even do your own airplanes when you need encouraging to finish food on your plate.
Although you prefer to do things for yourself, you love to be a helper. If you hear the dishwasher open or the dryer door close, you come running to help put dishes away and fold clothes. I can't cook a meal without you running in asking for a chair so you can cook too.
To balance your newfound independence, you've also grown more affectionate. You ask to be held more these days and love to cuddle. You like to give back rubs--and we love receiving them. Much of your days are spent caring for Mona or Baby or the animal of the day, rocking, feeding (both breastfeeding and in the high chair), and putting her to bed.
Your caring nature goes beyond the pretend world. You are in tune to whether people are happy or sad or tired, often equating the last two. You've moved beyond Mama kisses as the cure-all. Your kisses apparently have healing power now too and you generously administer them whenever you hear someone exclaim in pain. You have soothed us all, including yourself and have even taught Mona the art of healing with kisses.
You are especially in tune to your sister's needs, often hearing Kaleia's waking cries before the rest of us. Your peek-a-boo makes your sister laugh the hardest. Recognizing when Kaleia needs a toy, you happily provide one for her, sometimes even sharing your Mona.
But the sharing must be on your own terms. You say "No, no, no Keia" when she gets into something you believe she shouldn't have. But you are your bossiest with the dogs, often banishing them from a room or instructing them to sit. Even so Otis can get you to laugh harder than anyone but Papa. You and he will often chase his tail together. Your animosity may come from the fact that Otis likes to eat your books and wooden puzzles. Usually, you just state that it is sad, and play with the mangled puzzle pieces anyway.
That you are able to forgive this offense so easily is impressive because you LOVE puzzles. Both jigsaw and magnetic-bear-dressing entertain you for hours. You build towers and lines with blocks, organizing by shapes and color. You are always on the look out for matches. You love to count and say your abc's. You can be distracted while driving in the car by finding letters.
You love to sing. Sometimes you practice songs you know or make up your own. You've got twinkle, twinkle little star down and can almost do the ABCs, but you are pretty shy about singing when you know someone is listening. At bedtime, we sing ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle, and Rock-a-bye Baby, with the occasional bonus track: Itsy-Bitsy Spider.
There is so much I treasure and love about you at 2. I know you will outgrow many of these things and others will form the building blocks of your character, but either way they make up a layer of your story that I will always love.