Happy 2nd birthday big girl! I'm pretty sure there has to be a mistake because there's no way you are actually two whole years old, but then I look back and realize yep, you really are.
I thought you changed a lot in your first year, but wow, year two was just as amazing. You started out not even being able to walk, with no teeth and no ability to communicate with us. You ended being able to run and gallop, with 10 teeth and speaking your mind on a variety of topics in two- and three-word phrases.
Your personality has grown along with your body this past year. You love baby dolls and cats and going outside. You hate being denied a request for a snack, your brother taking toys away from you and having your fingernails cut. Oh my God, the fingernail cutting -- you act like I am trying to pull them out one by one instead of simply cutting them slightly. You love to take your socks off, but love to put your shoes on.
This last year's biggest change happened when you became a big sister. While I was pregnant with Maeve, you had to become a lot more independent because I couldn't lift you up. So you learned to crawl into the stroller, the high chair and your car seat by yourself. You spent a lot of time with your grandmas and grandpas when I was out of commission with surgeries or hospital stays and you really bonded with Daddy when he took over bedtime and bath duty for a few months. After Jack, Daddy is definitely your favorite person. I call you "Mini Josh" because you look so much like him. But thankfully, despite my limitations, you never wavered in your delightful outlook on life. When Maeve finally came along, you were so excited. You loved her from the minute you saw her and learned to say "Mafe" right away. You beg me to hold her, sitting on the couch and patting your legs yelling, "Lap, Mafe! Lap, Mafe!" You run to get the pacifier whenever she cries and you love to pat her head and hands. There's an occasional eye-poke, but you like to poke everyone in the eye, so I don't think Maeve should take it personally.
Your relationship with Jack was very up and down this last year, meaning you spent a lot of time hitting the ground while looking up at him crying. You took your licks from him, but in doing so, became a tough little girl. You run around at the playground and bounce off other kids without a second thought. You stand your ground when it comes to staking out territory in the sandbox and you're not giving up a favored toy without a fight. As the year went on, and you were able to run and jump and communicate, Jack started taking more of an interest in you and actually playing with you instead of pushing you around. The two of you jump from the ottoman to the couch and laugh hysterically. You play "ship" with Daddy by pushing the toyboxes and little chairs and couches together. You love sharing a bath with Jack, splashing him and dumping water on each other. You kiss and hug each other goodnight every night. When we take Jack to school in the morning, you always look a little sad, but when we pick him up, you are genuinely excited to see him.
You are fearless when it comes to running, jumping and climbing. I can't keep up with you at the playground because you do all three of those things at once, thinking you are one of the big kids. I beg you to stay in the sandbox and then you laugh and run to the slide. You love the pool and the lake, fearlessly jumping in and under the water and riding the jet ski with Daddy.
At every meal, you request cheese and milk, which you call "num num ma," and love "okurt" (yogurt), "bockee" (broccoli) and "appasass" (applesauce). If we let you, you would shun all bread products and go on the Atkins diet. And your love for cereal bars borders on addiction -- you have one with every meal and if we don't provide you with one, you break down into a screaming mess. Needless to say, we buy them in bulk and we're going broke doing so.
Bedtime is awesomely easy and has been for just about all of the last year. You take a bath, brush your teeth, get your jammies on, read "Goodnight Moon" and we put you in your crib and you go to sleep with three fingers on your right hand in your mouth. Just like that. You play the music on crib soother, Turtle, and we don't hear from you again for the next 12 hours. Hopefully things will stay this easy for the rest of time.
While there are a lot of things you love in life, your fascination with "The Wiggles" creeps dangerously close to obsession. "Go-gee-goes," as you call the show, is the one thing we can use to get your attention. We can use it as a bribe, a reward, a promise or a calming technique. You can be throwing the world's biggest tantrum and if we offer up "The Wiggles," you stop crying, run to the couch, sit down with your legs sticking straight out and your fingers in your mouth, in rapt attention. You also enjoy "Ee-go" (Diego) and "Door-dah" (Dora), but not nearly as much as your beloved Wiggles.
I love that you are my cuddly girl. You crawl up in my lap just before lunch time almost every day and lay your head on my chest, happy to just chill for several minutes. You love to sit with us and read books, especially "School, School, School" and "Go, Train, Go." You also beg us to color at every opportunity, begging us to do it with you saying, "cuh-wer, cuh-wer, sit!"
You are smart, loving, energetic, adorable and fun. I am so proud of the little girl you have become. You are curious and inquisitive and you learn things so quickly. I watch you play with your dolls, seeing so much of what I do in your actions. You pick your babies up and pat their backs, kissing and hugging them. You put them in the stroller and in your little sling and carry them around, kissing them on the head. You feed them and play with them -- and incidentally, you call them all "Mafe." But watching you play with them makes me so proud as I see how caring you are.
People say that the middle child gets the shaft, because you're not the oldest and not the baby. But I will always pay special attention to you, even when you're 16 and screaming about how unfair I am and how nobody ever sees anything your way. You were my first daughter, my sweet little Emmie. With your little face, your blonde hair, your tall, skinny body and your huge brown eyes, I can't imagine life without you. You have brought us such joy this last year and I know the next will be even better.
Happy birthday sweet girl -- I love you so much.