Now that the whirlwind of December is over, I have several posts to catch up on, not the least of which is... TWO! My baby girl turned two on December 14th!
Which means, as she likes to remind me, that she is a "big girl", not a baby. I search every day for the baby in her, but all I see is little kid bursting through, charging at the world head-on. Ahh, it was hard to let her turn two, to grow onward and upward. A year ago, she was still all baby fat and bald-headed awkwardness, no signs of walking or talking (or bossing me around).
Now she is tall and skinny, limbs always in motion. She talks constantly, happily narrating her day in long, winding sentences, each one sounding like a question.
She is in love with the letter W. In her world, all letters are either W or not W. Finding W's is her own little game and she is quite good.
She insists on climbing stairs all by herself. "Don't touch!" she yells. I let go, cringing at the sharp corners and rough tumbles in front of her. "Go!" she yells, as I linger. Sigh.
She astonishes me each day with how much she knows. How does she know that this is an ostrich? That a barber cuts hair? How does she know that we're driving past Daddy's work or the sushi restaurant with the "yummy edamame"? I can't even fathom absorbing information that quickly.
Some mornings, while we're all still in bed, I hear her chatting with her stuffed animals, telling elaborate stories, instructing them on what to do and where to sit and whom to kiss. Then I hear the tell-tale creaking of her door knob. I wait, because I know she will not walk down the hallway without first closing her door. Slam! I hear the slip-slapping of her feet on the hardwood floor as she makes her way towards our room, stopping here and there, distracted by who-knows-what. She pauses outside our door, giggling, anticipating. She swings open the door and, with a huge grin on her face, yells, "boo!" It is the best way to wake up.
While I miss the baby that she was, I am so grateful for this two-year-old. Wrestling with her independent, stubborn, defiant, mischievous little self is challenging to say the least. But I also get to spend the whole day listening to her chattering, playing her games, and exploring her world. There are snuggles and eyelash kisses and big hugs. She makes us laugh constantly, even when we're trying to be stern and serious and parental. She radiates joy and we, the lucky bystanders, get to feel that joy every single day.
She is our little chef. She helps me make cookies and cakes and other yummy baked things. She practically knows the recipe for my favorite chocolate chip cookies. She brings the flour and sugar from the pantry. She points out the vanilla and the baking soda. She steals handfuls of cookie dough. She also likes to make pizza with Daddy. She takes her job of adding toppings very seriously. The mushrooms are her favorite. I like the way she says, "pepper. oni."
So her big birthday gift from Mama and Daddy was her very own kitchen set. She got pots and pans and utensils, wooden veggies for soup (including mushrooms), and some felt breakfast items I sewed for her the week before. She loved it all. She still does.
And then there was the cake. The minute Juni woke up on her birthday, she couldn't stop talking about eating birthday cake. The Hello Kitty birthday cake was a big hit, though this Mama sorely underestimated how long it would take to pipe an entire kitty head with buttercream. The cake was a delicious chocolate orange marbled cake, adapted from this fantastic recipe. Juniper was much more interested in eating the red letters off the cake board, but we all enjoyed the birthday treat.
Enjoy every second of being two, sweet girl! We're enjoying it right along with you.