On Your Second Birthday
I didn’t – couldn’t – write this letter to you on your actual birthday. It was not a good day for me and it was not what I wanted your second birthday to be. Although I know that you don’t understand the concept of birthdays yet – to you, it was just another day – the last thing I wanted was to find myself slumped against the wall crying my eyes out. (The circumstances of your mother’s moment of weakness is not something I will document here, it is not something I want to remember or talk about ever again.)
But, oh, my darling daughter. You didn’t want to see me unhappy either. As big tears fell, you came up to me and stroked my hair. You said, “Mommy, happy.” You hugged me, throwing yourself against me in the spazzy way of yours, and bent your head towards me so I could kiss your forehead. It made my heart break even more to see how much my sadness can affect you. I guess you are growing into a sensitive soul just like your Mommy.
There have been so many changes this last year and one of my favorite ones is how much more affectionate you are. Everyone – and everything – needs an ug (you are so adorable in your inability to pronounce the letter ‘h’). Mommy needs hugs and kisses. Daddy needs hugs and kisses. You make kissing noises at animals. You hug your stuffed animals and Sesame Street figurines. You make me kiss your toys. I can spend ten minutes telling you to give me hugs and kisses and you will run back and forth across the living room and throw yourself into my lap.
Although, you’ve always been a snuggler, over the last month you have wanted more and more to be with Mommy – Daddy, too. I wonder sometimes if maybe you don’t understand, at least on some level, the you are about to have a baby sister and that things will change. Where I used to be able to just put you in your crib for a nap and you could put yourself to sleep, these days I have to hold you snuggled against me in the rocking chair and sing to you or you won’t sleep. It doesn’t matter how tired you are. I wonder if maybe I should try to break you of this habit but I would rather hold onto my snuggly little baby girl awhile longer. On more than one occasion, I have found myself either in bed or on the couch with you curled against me, your face smushed into the pillow next to mine and the sound of your little baby snores in my ear. I’m not getting any nap, but I get to breathe in the scent of your sweaty toddler head and watch the gentle rise and fall of your chest.
Another one of my favorite things about two year old Lorelei is how much you talk. You always made a lot of noise and baby babbles, but these days I actually understand much of what you say. You know all kinds of animals and the noises they make. You know about cars and trains and planes and buses and boats. You can count (and even read numbers)! I still sometimes have to guess about what you are trying to say, but with each passing day it becomes easier to understand you. My favorite mangled Lorelei words are a-fly (butterfly), lay-bug (ladybug) and unkey (monkey)
Lest you think you are an angel (even though you are perfect), there are moments of frustration. We’re still working on please and thank you and asking for things instead of indiscriminate screaming. Your favorite word is no. I can ask you almost any question and the answer is NO! I’ve head to develop elaborate strategies for leaving the house to avoid any possible tantrums while I run errands. This accounts for the lack of outings we’ve had recently (sorry). Food is a constant struggle for us but we’re getting better – much better than it was even a few months ago.
Some things you love: The movie Cars, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the television, fruit and yogurt and spinach (HA! tricked you into eating a vegetable!) smoothies, pancakes of any variety, Hedwig the owl, tractors, frilly skirts, making me dance in circles with you.
Some things you hate: Meat of almost any kind (unless it’s fresh roasted chicken or completely smothered in BBQ sauce), getting your nails trimmed, anything being put in your hair, when Daddy has to leave for work (me too), anytime I play music but don’t dance with you.
You are my strange and wonderful little girl.
I will always, always love you (even when I am endlessly frustrated by you),