Saturday, July 18, 2009

Maddie: 30 Months

My Dear Two-Year Old,

Why did you have to go and become two? Literally and figuratively. You are smart and engaging and funny and talkative. You are also stubborn and willful and frustrating and independent and stubborn (oh, I mentioned that one twice). The third year of your life, this one we're currently experiencing, has been one of the most challenging I've dealt with yet.

But challenging is good, in many ways. Your non-stop questions make me think about things more carefully and your intolerance for short answers make me elaborate more clearly. You can keep us awake for hours on a long car trip with your non-stop chatter. Independence is a good thing when it comes to getting dressed, brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, helping with the baby, feeding the dog and doing housework. I'm growing as a mom as I learn new ways to engage you. I'm growing as a person as you challenge me to be ever patient, understanding, thorough, and to live as a good role model. Your eyes see everything, your ears hear every word. Lord help me.

On vacation we stayed a few days in Seaside, where there is a carousel. You rode the carousel ever day. The face you made when that carousel started spinning was one of pure joy. Your eyes opened wider than I've ever seen. Your face stretched into the biggest open-mouthed smile. You laughed and screamed with delight. It was incredible. You face each new adventure with such glowing anticipation, such courage.

We also went with the whole family to the Oregon Zoo, where you got to ride your first school bus. You led us all in a jubilant rendition of "The Wheels on the Bus." The driver was smitten from your first greeting "...move on back..." You couldn't help from peeking around the seats at all your family seated around, smiling and taking it all in. We couldn't help but gaze in awe at what a big girl you're becoming as you announced "I'll be going to school in September."

"I can do it myself!" These words punctuate our days with their jarring, assured tone. And you can. The playground is completely yours, and you dominate the structures with your long, lean frame and go higher, faster and further than I believe you can. At dinner tonight your dad remarked how you have completely changed in how you relate to us, like you've gained a year in just a few weeks. You desire to be a part of every conversation, butting in with "Excuse me..." to raise a point or simply to say, "I love you." I am doing less and less as you do more and more. I'm less needed, less wanted, less involved.

But then you'll go and surprise me, waking up in the morning and calling my name like the little baby who once sang from her crib. You'll climb into my lap to cuddle and kiss my neck with your warm, sticky lips. We are at a crossroads; my baby becomes a girl. My heart warms each time you are sweet to your brother, every time you wipe some drool from his lips or substitute a toy to make him happy. You sing songs and dance and do the hula and use long words in complicated thoughts.

With each passing day, I understand you more and appreciate you for everything you are: both the fun and the challenging. Thank you for allowing me to have a front seat to the change that is occurring. I can't wait to see what comes next.

I love you, sweet girl.


No comments: