Two years ago I held you in my arms and thought nothing could be better than the moment I first saw you. All pink and plump and looking like me.
But honestly El? It’s gotten even better. True, those first moments will always be up there in the “All Time Favs,” but only because of the significance they hold now. You made me a mama.
My first thought when you were born was, “woah – she looks exactly like me!” And now when I look at you, I think, “Gosh. She looks EXACTLY like me.” Except girl you got some amazing eyes and beautifully tanned skin from your daddy; those I can’t claim.
It’s hard for me to really describe what it means to be your mama… what it means to be a mama anyway, really. Motherhood is such a unique endeavor, and everyone’s story is different. And while this post is about you at two, your two years of life have had incredible impact on me as a person.
You taught me that motherly instinct is a real thing, despite years of thinking I didn’t possess a nurturing bone in my body. Raising you up in the wee first years has transformed me. I know God better and I’ve learned to know myself better. Parenting requires a ton of inward and outward reflection, and knowing myself better has allowed me to know my limits, develop my strengths, work on weaknesses, strategize discipline, and have empathy when you just need some space and independence.
Girl, from the very get-go you were independent. You were never much of a cuddler, but always ready for action. Even now at two, you like quick hugs, limited besos, and tons of play. You’ve begun to associate outside with “bubbles,” (because we keep bubble toys outside) and whenever you want to go outside you say, “outside bubbles?” and point to the door. You are an outdoors woman; we’ve figured out that you need outside play often – or else you turn into a grump. And that’s not a bad thing. I think there’s something in the way we are made that refreshes us to be outdoors. May you never lose that.
You are a fearless beach girl. Just yesterday we took you to a lagoon on the West side and you walked straight in all the way to your mouth until I finally stopped you and put some water wings on. Your uncle Patrick about had a heart attack. You, on the other hand, could have kept on going and probably wouldn’t have noticed you were underwater until you tried to take a breath.
There are few curiosities about you. What I mean by this Ellie, is you’re all out there. You’re like an open book – letting us know when you’re tired, hungry, mad, happy, bored, frustrated. Nothing is hidden. Perhaps that’s part of being two, but you’ve always been that way. You ask for nap time and bedtime, you get into your booster seat at the table when you’re hungry, and goodness knows when you’re upset you make a pretty big deal out of it. Of course, when you’re happy? Your face could light a lamp.
When you were born and came into the doctor’s office screaming, the pediatrician said you would be a strong woman who wouldn’t let people walk over you… that you would possess leadership qualities and be clear about your opinion. “Strong-willed and determined,” is what they call it. At two, I’d say she was right on the money.
You are extremely passionate. I don’t yet know something you’ve only given 50% in. If you don’t like it, you don’t do it. If you like it – you’re all in. Your current passions: dancing, music, Madagascar, uncle Patrick, your friends, the beach, milk, and apparently – being the center of attention.
At your birthday party, we sang happy birthday to you TWICE because after the first go-around, you looked at everybody, clapped your hands, and said, “AGAIN?!?!?!” So we did. It was the sweetest thing to watch your face make eye contact with all of your guests. Your expression was thrilling, dear girl. I might have had tears in my eyes, and no – I’m not pregnant.
For your two year old birthday party, we took a small group of friends and family to Kailua beach and had a BBQ. Nonnie made your cake, a beautiful butterfly. We picked the theme off your cake, and decorated with butterflies and balloons. For entertainment, in addition to – oh you know – the ocean, we had a pinata. Age appropriate? Probably not. But still a blast. We videotaped the whole deal and you and Kana were probably the most excited about hitting the butterfly. I’ll save the video for another post because I have some editing to do and it deserves its own space.
At home, before your party, you eyed nonnie making your cake and repeatedly said, “want eat it?”
It was eaten.
El, you are all sorts of great. There are so many things I want you to know about your life at two… like you now have a baby sister and our only problem is keeping you off of her because you love her so much, and that sometimes if Uncle Patrick is coming over I use that reason to get your shoes on or finish your lunch, and how you’re having sort of a hard time right now because people have been in and out of our house nonstop since Claire was born and mama’s been your only constant…
You are passionate, and you are also pensive. Thoughtful. You don’t smile unless you really mean it.
You are crazy independent and this doesn’t surprise me one bit. Apparently your mama and daddy were (ARE) the same way. Because of this, we know you prefer to get your own shoes, keep your distance with affection (though your daddy persists because you WILL give him besos and a hug), and walk a football field in front of us.
You are like a little mama in our house, taking care of Claire, cleaning up your messes (just today you spilled a glass of water and I caught you using wipes to clean it up), asking us, “you ok, baby?” if we seem bummed out. I KNOW there is a nurturing bone in your body… girl you are all about taking care of everybody. It’s awesome – it really is.
As weeks go by your vocabulary and conversational skills get better and better. We LOVE communicating with you and watching you discover new sentences. Currently, when you ask for help or ask for anything in general, you substitute “You” for “I” – ie “You want eat?” “You want help?” “You want… go outside?” A few more catchphrases: “you so cute!” “go nigh nigh?” “oh, HI CARES!!!” You know what coffee and Starbucks is, you can navigate our iphones, and when we give you options you usually repeat the options without choosing one. You can pretty well communicate what you want and don’t want – Today I asked you if you wanted to go to the beach to watch daddy swim and you very clearly said, “No. Don’t want to. Want see Ty Ty?” (Ty Ty is our dear neighbor and we had gone to the beach several days in a row so she was beached out – normally she’s all about the beach!!!). I’m amazed at how quickly you catch on to things!
And finally daughter, as I wrap this up, you are sitting on the floor playing with magnetic paper (wooden) dolls and there is country music playing in the background. Moments ago you were swaying your hips back and forth, twirling around the living room like you were meant to dance for the rest of your life. I wouldn’t be surprised if you do. You dance, and dance often. You orchestrate dances according to different sounds and rhythms and this blows me away – cuz girl it aint from me 😉 You dance every chance you get… and we love it.
Els, I can’t believe you’re two and I can’t wait to see what this next year brings for you. I love you and your squeezy neck hugs, whispy blonde hair, and your sexy chunky thighs. Happy Birthday love love…