First off, let me apologize for not getting a 'Happy 2nd Birthday' letter written for you. When you turned 2, I was in a difficult position. I had just been laid off, had no job and was newly pregnant. I didn't want to divulge that information on the internet and didn't end up getting the letter done. That being said, I thought you changed a lot from 1-2, the difference between 2-3 is amazing.
You didn't grow up so much in regard to your features, but your hair grew and grew. Your smile and eyes still have the same sense of wonder, the same sparkle. But your mannerisms, your flair for life, your bossy toddlerhood truly emerged.
You're a clear leader. You'd be a dictator if we'd let you. You have an opinion. One that we hear whether we want to or not. Sometimes, that's a good thing....
Other times, well, it's difficult for all involved. You went from using toddler words and sucking your thumb to well, still sucking your thumb but speaking in sentences.
And dress up. Oh, the dress up. If we let you dress up, we had to prepare ourselves for the end of the day when it was time to take the dress up clothes OFF. Tantrum city. But seeing you in your princess goods with your shoes on the wrong feet was worth it every time.
Because you're beautiful.
And you make us laugh. A lot.
We moved you into a big girl bed in the fall of 2010. You picked out the bedding all by yourself and were so very pleased with your pink princess bedding. The transition went a lot smoother than your Dad and I anticipated, and we got a little sniffly when we realized you really are growing up faster than we'd like.
Your speech blows us away. Speaking in full sentences. Repeating ANYTHING you hear, in context, up to a few weeks after you heard it. You're smart, big girl. Brilliant even. It keeps us on our toes and it forces us to try to stay one step ahead. We aren't always able to keep up.
Our family of 3. Not for much longer :)
This year you were so excited for the holidays. You remembered last year, but this year you really understood that if we went trick or treating, you would get CANDY. You also loved to dress up in your costume, which resulted in tears each and every day we asked you to take it off.
Which leads me to the day I bribed you for a nap. Because we're trying to stay one step ahead of you, I told you you could try on my wedding dress, but only if you took a nap. A GOOD nap. One that would let Mommy rest as I was pregnant and tired that day. And you did. You were SO VERY EXCITED to try on my wedding dress, even though you couldn't move in it. I have fond memories of dressing up in my Mom's wedding dress. It's the primary reason behind me holding on to my dress, for you, for your sister to play dress up.
Those blue eyes. You will forever have both your Dad and I wrapped around your finger with a glance in our direction. As for boys, you won't be permitted to date until you're 30, per your Dad's rules. Keep those eyes away from the boys.
More dresses. We can no longer go shopping for you while you tag along. Now you have an opinion. You have to pick out the outfit. If we pick something you don't like, well, we don't purchase it. You have to pick out your outfit. Gone are the days of dressing you up as I pleased. Now we must coordinate around YOU. One would think you were a teenager or something.
And then you became a big sister. You love your sister so very much. Sometimes too much, especially in the beginning. You wanted to hold her, love her, SQUEEZE her.
I was so proud of your transition into sisterhood. You are very protective of YOUR baby sister, Clara Jane. You let anyone that glances in her direction know her name and that she's yours. You never asked to send her back. You knew she was part of our family and you welcomed her with open arms, ready to squeeze her. And love her and squeeze her some more.
We still try to get one on one play time with you, however. You don't seem to need it, but I think your Dad and I like the one on one time with you for us. It's good to remember that you were here for all that time without Clara, and even though it's hard to remember those days since she fell into our lives so seamlessly, it's fun to spend time walking, talking and playing with you as a big girl.
You're such a ham. You LOVE the camera. It works out well as I'm a shutterbug.
I keep trying to step out of my comfort zone and allow you to help me bake. This was another thing I used to do with Grandma when I was little. I have fond memories of baking with her. As far as letting you bake with me, we do, on occasion, when I'm ready to clean up the big mess. But you LOVE licking the mixer almost as much as I do :) You get the mixer wand and I get the spatula. We make a great team.
Your relationship with Daddy makes me swoon. I love to see the two of you together, I love to see him teach you, I love to see you learn. It's really awesome.
Big girl, you really are awesome. So intelligent. So beautiful. You make each and everyday a challenge. I remind myself often to love you as you are today because as I already know, time flies by. I can't believe you're *3*!
Happy birthday, big girl. You'll start preschool this next year. I've realized how quickly the time has gone by, and how little time I have left before you're in 'real' school. You're growing up before our eyes and I cheer the developmental leaps you're making at the same time I mourn the toddlerhood you're trying to leave behind. Can I keep you like this forever?