My dearest Livy-Bug:
Happy Birthday, little star! I have to say, two looks so good on you. You have grown so much over the past few months. At Christmas time you were not yet walking and still seemed very much like our baby. But you're definitely not a baby now — you're walking, running, jumping, dancing, and talking up a storm.
Your personality sparkles and your smile and giggle can light up any room. You have brought so much joy and life to our family and none of us can remember what life was like without you. You have an amazing friendship with your brother, Hank. (Sprinkled with a healthy amount of sibling rivalry and fighting, of course.) One of my favorite things is to watch Hank look at you and smile — he is so entertained by your cuteness and your sense of humor.
That sense of humor is QUITE well-developed for a two year old. You have a knack for figuring out what makes people laugh and doing more of it. And your comedic timing is spot on. Living with an older brother means you learned about fart jokes early on, and we were all amazed when you figured out on your own that taking credit for a fart that wasn't yours would make people laugh. You'll say, "NO — LIVY!" and then grin and brace yourself for the laughter that's coming.
You still LOVE to talk and you speak in sentences with ease. Some of our favorites:
- "Is dirty, Mommy." — when anything has something on it, like spices on your food
- "Hank, have it!" — when brother has taken something from you and you want it
- "Is mines" — we didn't understand why you were tacking on a "s" on Mine until we realized all the other possessives have an "s" on the end too — yours, his, hers, ours, etc.
Puppies and kitties are pretty much your everything and you'll point them out to us everywhere, all the time. You love our new puppy, Penny, and know the pets of all of our friends and relatives and ask about them often. We lost our dear Sophie in December and it makes me sad to think that you might not ever remember her.
If there were a professional wrestling association for toddlers I think you'd be the reigning champion. You love to wrestle and roughhouse and are quite the bruiser — you often get knocked over and just pick yourself back up without crying. We have a bean bag in our living room and you and Hank like to roll around with it and wrestle each other, giggling the whole time.
Your favorite thing to do is read — I think you would read books all day if we let you. You'll even just read by yourself sometimes and go through book after book, jibber-jabbing through the pictures you see. It's hard sometimes for you to stay quiet during our bedtime reading because I think you would rather just read the book yourself.
Your other favorite toys are baby dolls, stuffed animals, puzzles, and your pretend food and kitchen. We have a toy room setup in our house now and you love to go in there by yourself and play on your own. You love to point out objects and things that you see and describe them to us, and you know all of your colors but will sometimes resort to calling everything "green" (I think to be funny). You've recently started exclaiming when you see something pink, "PINK! IS PINK, MOMMY!" I'm not sure how both of our kids ascribe to stereotypical gender preferences but since it wasn't something we forced on you I'm okay with it. :D
Your favorite characters are Minnie Mouse and Judy Hopps from Zootopia. The two songs on constant rotation in our lives are Try Everything by Shakira from Zootopia and Let It Go from Frozen. You listen to both on repeat in the van and we're so relieved to be done with Elmo that we don't even mind. Plus it's super-cute to listen to you sing along to both songs.
You love to wash your hands and sit on the potty, but you aren't yet potty trained. And you've picked up some of Mommy's OCD habits — wiping counters and tables and shutting doors. I've seen you take pieces of cloth from your toy bins and use it to wipe the floors and tables.
Your favorite foods are strawberries ("shawbees") and broccoli and you also love bread and pasta. You can chug a drink faster than any kid I've ever seen and will kindly ask, "More, please!" after you've finished. You learned how to be polite without much effort on our part and will say "Please," "Thank you," and "You're welcome," without being reminded most of the time.
You truly light up our life, little one. I feel so lucky to be your Mama. I found a book that I bought for your birthday that made me cry because it so beautifully stated all of the things I hope you know I feel about you. I'll share the words here for you to read someday:
The Wonderful Things You Will Be
By Emily Winfield Martin
When I look at you and you look at me,
I wonder what wonderful things you will be.
When you were too small to tell me hello,
I knew you were someone I wanted to know.
For all of your tininess couldn't disguise,
A heart so enormous... and wild... and wise.
This is the first time there's ever been you,
So I wonder what wonderful things you will do.
Will you stand up for good by saving the day?
Or play a song only you know how to play?
Will you tell a story that only you know?
Will you learn what it means to help things to grow?
Will you learn how to fly to find the best view?
Or take care of things much smaller than you?
I know you'll be kind... and clever... and bold.
And the bigger your heart, the more it will hold.
When nights are black and when days are gray —
You'll be brave and be bright so no shadows can stay.
Then you will discover all there is to see...
And become anybody that you'd like to be.
And then I'll look at you and you'll look at me,
And I'll love you, whoever you've grown up to be.
All my love,