Today, you are two years old. I wanted to write you this letter so that, some day, you can look back and read it and see how amazing you were when you were two. Because, my darling, you take my breath away every day with your amazingness.
Two years ago, we saw you for the first time, held you for the first time. I kissed you and kissed you and breathed in your new-baby smell and laughed in delight at the fierce brightness of your dark and knowing eyes. You were such an intense little person.
You still are, but now that you can run and climb and talk and grab things and laugh and cry, so you have more outlets for your feelings; they aren’t all bottled up in a tiny little bundle, and I think that allows your feelings to diffuse a little. I get the sense that this is a real relief for you. It’s certainly fun for us to watch you learning and growing and changing. I marvel at how you constantly change while always retaining the character you had when you were just a few days old. You are more you every day.
Right now, you like – Steve Martin’s banjo rendition of King Tut, ice cream “in a spoon,” our cats, playing on the “shaky bridge” at your school playground, bubble baths, Old MacDonald, Rapunzel, broccoli, pretending to work in your office alongside Daddy, drawing “tangles,” apple sauce-ah, trips to the library, “driving” the kids cart at the grocery store, dancing, pretending to fly, jumping and hopping, reading in our laps and also by yourself, the big blanket on our bed, your snowman and elephant pajamas, looking at photos of your cousins on Mommy’s phone, looking at videos of you and Daddy swimming, climbing the futon, climbing on top of your play table to watch us do dishes, trying to put shoes on by yourself, sitting on the toilet and pretending to go potty, pretending to be a dragon, pretending to be a “little baby,” making “soup” by putting various crackers or veggies into your water cup, and any number from a musical that features “dancing dresses.”
Today, for your birthday, I made a mostly successful attempt at a pony tail, and you went proudly to school with your pony tail and two barrettes. You picked the barrettes out yourself. They are purple.
Four days ago, you woke up, looked at me, and said, “You should go make some coffee for Daddy.” You were, of course, right about that.
You are fair. You will wait your turn and seem to have a good understanding that waiting your turn is important. You also make sure, almost all the time, that Mommy and Daddy both get equal numbers of kisses and hugs from you when we’re all together.
You say no a lot, my dear one. I think it’s part of being a toddler. You say it with such emphasis that I’m still sometimes amazed that you can’t bend the universe (and us) to your will. That’s probably a good thing in the long run, but I can tell that it’s really frustrating right now. It gets a little better, not being able to shape the universe to your will, and then, some day, it will probably get worse. I hope it doesn’t. I hope that, if it does, we’re here to help you through it.
You’ve started saying “sweet dreams” at night. It’s usually the last thing you say before you fall asleep. And here’s the thing of it, my little love. You really mean it. You really want me and Daddy (and yourself, and, I think, the whole world) to have sweet dreams. It melts my heart every time.
You are asserting your independence. If we try to hug or hold or lift you against your will, you yell, “My own body!” I love that you are already claiming your own space, taking charge of your dear little self. I hope you keep this belief that your body is your own your whole life. I hope you insist on the right to be safe and comfortable.
You are smart, so smart that I worry about our ability to parent you once you figure out a few more things. Last month, when your daddy told you to stop drinking the bathwater, you stopped to consider, then looked at Daddy and said “turn around,” so that you could gulp down some water when he wasn’t looking.
You are fast. If we turn around you can be two-thirds of the way up a staircase, or in another room, or across the park. I hope we can keep up with you!
You are very interested in siblings right now, though you seem to think they should all be named William, even the sisters. I wish I could tell you about your brother Teddy. The day will come when I will. I know that talking about him is really hard for your daddy, but I think you would like to know about your brother and it’s hard for me to keep this secret from you even now, when you’re only two. I think you already have some idea that something is going on there.
We knew we would love you, but we didn’t know how funny and smart and strong and perceptive and fast and sweet and sometimes-exhaustingly brilliant you would be.
It’s such a privilege to be your mom. I’m looking forward to seeing all that you do with two.
Happy birthday, little Dot.