The last few months have been a true rollercoaster of a time with you. We've experienced our lowest moments yet as a mama-daughter duo, but also, some of our very best. I'm beginning to distinguish a pattern. You (and maybe all toddlers, how the heck should I know?) are prone to sudden, massive mental leaps - one day you wake up a different person with new questions, deeper understanding, and altered preferences, but you don't yet have the words to convey any of this to us. Your current vocabulary is insufficient to express the complexity of thoughts rattling around your semi-baby brain, so you are frustrated. Angry. You act out, fight me on everything, hit and bite and throw guacamole around. You are a tumultuous beast of a child, to put it mildly, and then.... it's over, just as suddenly as it began. One day you come up with 50 new words and you are my sweet, sunny, loving baby girl again.
|A less happy moment|
June was one of those crazy frustrating months for us, but July has been blissful. Life with you right now is an endless love-fest, with hours spent laying on the floor while you climb all over me, stopping only for the occasional "big hug" and "fish kiss."
You're a different kid these days, and the biggest development by far has been with your words. Four months ago you had around 80 words, but now I'd estimate that number closer to 1,000! You talk all day long, about everything. You put together rather complicated sentences, everything from "Mama, get up!" to "I take bath and then watch Frozen and mama do hair!" You say seem to understand the concepts of "tomorrow" and "later," and you are very good at remembering the names of new people you meet. Best of all, you can now tell us more about how you feel. Simple phrases like "it hurts!" or "foot itchy!" or "too hot!" have taken our relationship to a whole new level. We can have real conversations now, and actually communicate to each other. I can see in your eyes, how happy you are when you say something that I can understand and respond to.
You love nothing better than to have a job. I will be sacked out on the couch sometimes, only to have you come up and demand to "help Mama." I then have to get up and figure out something to do that you can assist with. You're a pro at sorting laundry, unloading the dishwasher, and dusting. You will occasionally get tired of your own clutter, proclaim, "I make a mess!" and then toddle around gathering up your toys and putting them away while I gawk at you. Fingers crossed that this quirk persists into teenage-years and beyond!
You just seem so mature lately, and do so many things that I (who didn't know much about 2-year-olds before you) never thought a 2-year-old could do. You recognize most of the alphabet on site; You've memorized Goodnight Moon and another ABC book, and read them to ME at bedtime; you know all the words to more than five songs; over the weekend you told us right around noon each day that you wanted to sleep, marched into your room, and asked to be put down for a nap. You eat almost everything we put in front of you, from broccoli to beans, kale to cucumbers, spicy goat stew to smoked trout on toast, and you haven't met a fruit you do not love. Every time I give you a bite of my fig, or slide a morsel from my plate to yours, you offer up a sweet, unprompted, "thank you, Mama." I find myself asking out loud, "Who ARE you? Who is this kid in the crib where my baby once slept?"
|Your passion for cake is almost scary.|
But I know who you are.
You are a nurturer - your favorite toys right now are your baby dolls, which you spend hours carrying around, changing, bottle-feeding, and strapping to your high chair for pretend breakfasts of oatmeal and peanut butter. If I lay on the couch, you immediately find a blanket to put over me. Two weeks ago I saw you run up to a kid at daycare who fell down and pat him on the back. You like to take care of everyone around you.
You are a leader - I feel that your language skills have skyrocketed because you were tired of watching your daddy and I do everything wrong, and felt we needed to be corrected sooner than later. You dictate, delegate, fight to have things done your way and in your time, and there isn't a complacent bone in your body. Type A all the way, just like Mama.
|Naughty ice cream smile|
You are a thinker - you've never been a very outgoing child. You want to sit and observe, ask questions, repeat words, and make sure you have a full picture of what's going on before you jump in to participate. You are not the slightest bit impulsive, preferring to talk things through and tread cautiously into new scenarios. We're trying to help you be more confident in new situations, to not be intimidated by new people and places. Your reserved nature serves you well though, since at two you can already spell your name and count to 20. Quite the intellectual, just like Daddy.
You are loving - with new words comes a new understanding of how we communicate in this culture, and you have been very perceptive to these nuances. You say please and thank you constantly, and in the proper context (we prompt you more for "please," but you are generous with "thank you!") You thanked me one day for changing your diaper, and say thank you to us several times during each meal. You've been saying "bless you" at sneezes and coughs for months, and will remind us if we forget to say it. One day you tried to shove me out of your way and said, "excuse me," which blew my mind (I didn't teach you that; must have been daycare). You love sitting on laps and giving big hugs and randomly planting enormous kisses on me in public. You always want to see your Daddy and I kiss, and will pull us together sometimes for a big group hug. Every night ends with you wrapped around me, snuggling into my neck while I sing to you.
|Snuggles and silly faces|
This is so long already, but I could go on - there is just so much substance to you these days. Your personal growth is astounding, and our relationship is evolving from caretaker-baby into this living, vibrant partnership between mama and daughter. Parenting you is harder these days, less about physically keeping you alive and more about teaching and guiding (I can only imagine how much more complex this will be in 10 years or so), but also infinitely more rewarding.
I tell you this at least twice every hour, but here it is again - I love you, baby girl. You make every day gloriously bright.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Amaliya!