Dear Miss M,
Today you are two. I just can't believe we've had you in our lives for two whole years. We are so very, very lucky. You are such a happy, laughing, funny little ball of energy. We are just so totally in love with you.
This weekend for your birthday, we went away to this amazing family resort. It was kind of like summer camp for families. We stayed in a one bedroom cabin that had a full kitchen, living room, and a patio that looked out into the forest. You were delighted to feed the ducks that waddled up out of the nearby pond in a perfect little line, just like Make Way for Ducklings. You saw deer and squirrels and all sorts of birds, and found it all just tremendously fun. When we'd ask you if you could find any animals, you'd run over to the glass doors, peer out with one hand up to your forehead, and then said "animals are hiding." It was priceless.
We took you to a bunch of toddler classes, and you had a ball. You've changed so much in just a couple of short months. Back in October, you painted for a bit, but eventually lost interest and started to wander the room. In the first painting class I took you to, which involved tempura paints and glitter and construction paper animal cutouts, you took to it with glee. They gave you all sorts of sponges and rollers and paint brushes and stamps, and big dishes and little dishes of four different colored paints. You just adored it, and you did a fabulous job. When I told you it was time to go, at first you said no, but when you saw all of the other kids leaving, too, you quickly helped clean up and didn't make a fuss. I was SO impressed.
We played on the playground after that, and you were fearless. You wanted to climb all of the tall stuff and use the big slide and climb on the balance beam that slated upwards and generally do all of the things that make me cringe. But I want you to be continue to explore your horizons, and I don't want you to adopt my fears, so I swallowed my own reservations and stood next to you at the ready as you climbed 'round and 'round. You always held on, and you never once slipped. There is a life lesson in that playground for both of us.
Later that day, we did a different class, which involved a tromp through the woods, playing with a parachute, lunch, and a visit with a character from a cartoon that you like. You zestfully ran through the woods with the other kids, but weren't so sure about the parachute games and songs. When the character showed up, you were equal parts frightened and thrilled. After I picked you up, you turned on the charm full blast, smiled, giggled, and patted him on his nose. It was adorable.
We also painted pottery together. All of the other parents were painting their kids pottery for them, or telling them what to do. I let you do it all yourself. You had your choice of pottery to paint--a plate, a mug, a little cup, a cat or a dog. You chose the cat. I asked you which paints you wanted, and you pointed them out. I let you take the brushes you wanted, and then you painted it all yourself. You chose all colors that look great together (all blues and yellows and pinks and greens--such an eye, for two!), and when we got the cat back from the kiln, I was blown away by how fabulous it is. I just love it. You did such a good job painting it. I am such a proud mama!
You and daddy did another class together, too, and he also had a blast with you. When we weren't in class, we were in the amazing pool complex. You loved the toddler water slide, and just loved playing in the pool. You've only been to two swimming lessons so far, but you are already swimming under water. It's crazy! Daddy tells you he's going to put you under, and your mouth is always open when he does it, but somehow when you come up, your mouth is closed, and you haven't inhaled any water. We can't figure out when you shut your mouth, but you clearly do! And you always laugh like crazy when you come up out of the water.
For your birthday today, daddy made you a big breakfast. You ate all of yours, and part of mine! Then we went to the playground before setting off for home. On the way back, we took in a famous site, which you referred to as "big rocks," and then promptly returned your attention to the nearby farm animals. Well, at least we got some cool pictures of you on your birthday! Upon arriving home, you promptly destroyed the playroom, lugging out all of your toys and generally making a mess. It was a great birthday. Next week, we'll have a party with your friends.
At two, you are incredibly curious. You love to fiddle with things--buckles are a favorite. If someone leaves open the baby gate, you go and latch it (you haven't mastered the ability to unlatch it yet, though--last week daddy and I were in another room, and you went and locked yourself in the playroom, then screamed for "help" when you couldn't open the door to come back). You adore the Legos you got for Christmas. At first, you struggled a bit with the train tracks we got you, but you've quickly figured out how to hitch the pieces together and create a track for yourself. I'm impressed by how fast your skills have come along.
You have a large vocabulary, and every day you surprise me with a new word. When we saw a real live ladybug this weekend, you correctly identified it. While playing on the swings, we heard a bird that sounded like an owl, and you pointed up and said "owl!" I'm pretty sure you've never heard an owl in the wild before, so I was amazed that you could identify the sound. You call your sweatpants your "comfy pants," which makes me laugh. Your favorite song to sing is "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," and you randomly bust out with it. You know the alphabet, you can count to 15, and you are starting to correctly identify some colors, although we are still working on a few.
You are still not the best eater in the world. One day you will eat something, and the next day you will not. You've never eaten whole bananas before (you don't like to touch them) and have only eaten them mashed. Today, you asked for one, and ate almost all of it--after downing a full pear, a bowl full of grapes, and two giant slices of pizza. (Of course, you have plenty of meals where all you will eat is a cracker and a slice of cheese!). We generally try not to argue with you over food, and present you with an array of healthy choices. We leave it to you, what you will eat at any given sitting (generally, this involves a protein, a grain and a fruit--there are limits, of course!). You love all fruit, but refuse to eat vegetables. We are working on it, but it's slow going!
You are just a joy. I say that a lot, but it's really true. I love hanging out with you, because you are just so much fun. I really, really enjoy you. I never could have imagined how much fun it is to be your mother, never could have imagined what a big personality you would have, how smart you would be, how just generally amazing you would be. Thank you for being you.
Happy birthday, baby. I love you always and forever.