It’s your second birthday today!
I can hardly believe it. You’ve grown and changed so much this year that it seems difficult to connect the baby I remember with the boy I see now.
You are full of so much joy. You love sharks and fish and dolphins and anything else that swims in the sea. Sometimes I wonder if that is because you think you belong in the sea, too. You could swim almost before you could walk, and you’d spend your whole day in the pool if I let you. I never knew a one-year-old could jump off the side into the deep end of the pool alone and love every second of it.
You are enthralled by books, and you’re constantly asking me to read more and more. You’re not very subtle about it, either; you push books in front of my face until I can’t see anything else. Each night when we put you in your crib to sleep, you ask to take a few books into bed with you. As I close the door I see your little face peering into a book as I leave the room. Sometimes, you even read your books to your stuffed animals just as Mommy and Daddy read them to you.
I can tell, my dear, that you love a good thrill. You ride your tiny car down the hill on our street so fast that it would scare me to death. It has never occurred to you to be scared. In fact, you’ve learned in those moments that your greatest joy is to do something daring and then look at me to see the expression of pure horror and fear on my face. I wish I could capture that self-satisfied little grin that you save just for me in that moment. It’s the same one you give me after you’ve jumped into the pool and I lurch to save you until I realize that you’re actually fine. You tread water and you give me the smile as if to say, “Yes! I got her again.”
A few days ago, I decided not to react when you tried to scare the life out of me. Whenever you were bobbing like a cork in the water, I would just say, “Tell me when you need help,” and I let you tempt fate without acting too concerned. You were holding a squirt gun and jumped into the pool. I said, “Tell me when you need help.” Without a word, you just lifted the gun and shot a few squirts of water my way as if to say, “I got this, lady.”
That pretty much sums up the dynamic between you and me at this point in your life. I’m trying to save you, and you’re getting a good laugh. When Avery was your age, she wanted to please me. You love to entertain me, and let me assure you there is never a dull moment with you.
One of the things I love most about you aside from the laughter you bring to our house is the tenacity I see developing in you. If you can’t do something, you just keep working on it until you figure it out. You’ll try something over and over again until you get it right. That’s how you figured out that you really don’t need Mommy to help you swim. You’d just launch off of the steps and see how far you could get until you could pretty much swim the width of the pool by yourself. When you color or paint or do anything that requires fine motor skills, I am a little bit in awe of your abilities. You have a dexterity, a balance, a physical capability that is simply unusual for a kid your age.
You have begun to say so many words! Tonight after Daddy put you to bed, I heard you crying and yelling in your room. I thought perhaps your foot was stuck in between the slats of the crib or you needed to give Mommy one last kiss and hug. When I went in I saw you yelling at your stuffed shark saying, “Don’t bite! Don’t bite shark!” So I reprimanded the stuffed shark and told him not to bite anymore because it was time to go to sleep. You were very satisfied with that.
My favorite moments are the ones where you and Avery are playing together and she makes you laugh a big, belly laugh. And that makes all the rest of us laugh, too. You adore your big sister- most of the time. There is some hair pulling and pinching and hitting when you don’t get what you want, and we’re teaching you how to be kind and to use your hands to be gentle. You also know how to give the best hugs. You like to go off and do something crazy and then come back to Mommy, give a quick hug to be sure I’m still there in case you need me, and then back out to find some fun.
If I had one word to describe what life with you is like, I would say it is an adventure. Every day is wild and fun, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.