When you wake up in the morning (around 6:45-7:00am), you unfailingly say two things.
First, you command: "Eat!" You are always ravenous upon waking and often eat three breakfasts in a row.
Next, you say: "Outside!" You want to be out in the great wide open - watering the plants, digging in the dirt, running on the porch, pushing the wagon, or splashing in the water. You love family walks and clamor toward the door whenever the word "walk" is heard. Similarly, you are a fan of going places. If anyone announces they are leaving for an errand, you immediately pipe in with, "too! too!"
You're also a road trip expert. You soak up the sights and very rarely cry when buckled in. On our last trip, you were ecstatic whenever we spied a train and disappointed when they went out of sight.
Other things you love: animals, trucks, cars, balls, popsicles, and dancing to music.
Things you don't: fireworks, thunder, and bugs. When you see/hear these things, you put your hands up in front of your face in perfect pantomime and say, "scared me" or "bite you."
Your vocabulary is vast and growing. Plus, you're a mannerly little gentleman. When you want something, you typically say "please" without prompting. Examples: "up, please" and "milk, please." You also say "thank you" frequently and without being asked.
I'm delighted to note that you are a "book baby" through and through just as all of your sisters were. One of your favorite pastimes is crawling on to my lap to be enchanted by a picture book and you have quite a long attention span. Your current favorite book is probably "The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree" (which we refer to as "the spook"), but you enjoy a wide variety.
Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, you play next door with your grandma ("ma") and it's a time you immensely look forward to. You run out the door eagerly, barely looking back to wave and say "love you." Her house is full of fun - painting, a train set, rows of trucks, and plentiful treats. You also proudly and willingly assist in helping with "po," your 98-year-old great-grandpa who knows you by name.
For your once-a-day nap, I walk circles around your room and sing to you until your head nods against my chest. My most frequent song selections: "Take My Life and Let It Be" and "A Mighty Fortress" - although I sometimes throw in "Away in a Manger," "Holiness," or my modified version of "Rock-A-Bye Baby." After you are asleep, I put you on your bed and tip-toe out of the room.
At mealtimes, you will try most everything and you insist on having at least one of everything that everyone else has. As a result, you typically have black pepper on your Caesar salad, sour cream on your enchiladas, jalapeños on your burgers, BBQ sauce on your chicken, and salsa on your tacos.
At bedtime (7:30-9pm, depending on the night), you kiss each sister in turn and say "nights" to all. Then, you curl up happily next to me in your twin size bed to nurse (only at bedtime now).
What else? You are the spitting image of your dad when he was two - white-blonde hair, blue eyes, perfect skin, and the most charming smile. "Handsome" doesn't even begin to cover it. When we are out and about, people compliment and you wave back like a little prince in a carriage.
At age two, you are energetic and sweet, friendly and lively, gentle and determined - and oh-so-lovable! Yes, two can be tiring - but it is also terrific. The last thing I want to do is wish away this wonderful stage. You already insist that we don't refer to you as a baby. You're growing up; it's true. I'm both glad and mournful at the same time.
Happy Birthday to our heroic and happy toddler. We all adore you.
* I write letters to each of my children on their birthdays so that they will remember and I won’t forget. As Sheldon Vanauken so aptly put it, “Writing has something of the timeless about it – a breath of eternity.”