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Happy 2nd Birthday, Caroline

Dear Caroline,

You are two years old! I have to say, I loved a lot about the baby stage. I loved the never ending cuddles, I loved holding you while you slept in my arms, I loved all of your firsts- your first smile, first laugh, etc. There is something about the toddler phase that I can’t get enough of, however. I have loved getting to watch you learn, I love hearing you talk, and I love the activities that we do together. So far, this is my favorite age. I have a feeling I’m going to say that next year as well, and probably the year after that. It is just fascinating watching you turn into a sweet, beautiful, smart little girl.

Lately, we take our time in the mornings (unless we are going somewhere). You wait patiently for me once you wake up-  you wait for your clock to turn yellow. I then come in. You always request to stay in bed. Sometimes we stay in your bed, and sometimes we hurry over to Mama and Daddy’s bed. We bring books, your blankets, and sometimes a friend (Pete the dog, Elmo, etc.). We read books, and sometimes we watch a show (Dinosaur Train is your latest favorite). I eventually tell you it’s time to get up and get ready so we can go downstairs and eat breakfast. You beg for “more more more”, and ask to stay in bed longer. I love these mornings and so do you. We wake up at 7, and often aren’t eating until 9. It’s a perfect lazy morning.

We were on the go a lot. And, while we both enjoy all of the activities, I realized we weren’t taking time to just slow down and enjoy being home, enjoy each others company, and relax together. So, now I make it a priority to do this a few times a week. We still go out, and you love your outings, too!

First thing in the morning, before the reading and TV, before even saying good morning to mama, you say “Daddy, work”, and “Walk, Moose”. You always like to confirm where Daddy is (at work), and you always request to take Moose (our dog) on a walk. You just love your daily walks. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like- it can be raining, snowing, freezing cold, or crazy hot- nothing phases you, and you want to stay outside forever. We now go on walks in the morning a lot of the time. I even take Moose along, and he’s gotten much better at listening to me.  You are an excellent listener, and walk the entire loop (3/4 of a mile) on your own. At times you ask me to stop and wait. You say “bye” and walk away smiling. You turn around to check on me and make sure that I’m truly waiting. You never go far before turning and running back to me. I love seeing you explore your independence. We go on a lot of evening walks with Daddy as well, and often take Moose for a hike. You love exploring, throwing rocks in the water, climbing over fallen trees, and sitting on them as well.

On our walks, we always stop at the swings. You are addicted to the swings…

You are on a peanut butter and jelly kick right now. Every single lunch, you ask for one, and you devour the entire thing- crust and all. While you are eating (breakfast, lunch and dinner) you now ask to “hold hands”. If Daddy is home, you hold his hand while you both eat with your free hand. For breakfast and lunch, you do the same with me. You’ll hold our hands for the entire meal.

Your favorite toys- you honestly hardly play with your toys right now! You read books- you could read them all day long. You have “little books for little hands” from Usborne that you simply love. For your birthday you got a play shopping cart, and that is a new favorite, but really you just prefer to read or be outside. You also like helping me- we put dishes away together, you help cook, etc. You have an art bin with playdoh and washable paint in it. You love stacking the paint and playdoh- rarely do you want to actually play with the playdoh or paint with the paint! LOL

In your room, you love playing with all of your “friends”. I’ve lost count of your stuffed animals, and we can hardly see your bed anymore! We’ve named each and every one of them, and you know the names as well as I do. Daddy forgets a name every once in awhile, and we correct him and laugh.

Once a week you go to school (a mother’s day out program). You really enjoy it this year and you hardly say goodbye to me anymore. You are so excited, you just run into the room. When I pick you up you want me to ask you as many questions as I can think of about your day.

You also go to gymnastics once a week. We’ve done a few sessions now, and we’ll continue doing it as long as you love it as much as you do. Your skills really took off this last session and you simply amaze me, and your coach, every week.

You now say sentences as long as 6 words! “Read this book again, please, Mama”. When I ask you what you want to eat, or what you want to do, you come up with the words on your own. It used to be that I had to provide you with a choice. I often still do, but sometimes you know just what you want and just how to express it. I love hearing your voice.

When we go somewhere, you insist on getting in your car seat on your own- “Caroline do”, you tell us. We stand you up on the car step and you climb all the way up into the seat and turn around. You then do the top buckle all on your own as well.

At night when we tuck you in, you still request “Boo” from Daddy. This has been going on for at least a year and I know he loves that you love it so much. You then ask for “2 more kisses”. Daddy gives you two more, then I give you two more. You’ve started requesting 3 lately. Speaking of, you can count to 4 consistently, and I’ve heard you count to 10 all on your own!

It’s pretty crazy how much you’ve learned. Last night you took every letter out of the alphabet puzzle, and named each letter as you went. You’ve known your alphabet for some time now, but it was amazing to hear you able to say all of the letter names as well. You are learning your numbers, and learning to count. You know your colors and also say the color names well. Orange is the only name you still say differently – sounds like “oage”.

Your wooden block puzzles are a breeze for you now, although you aren’t quite ready for the next level of puzzle. You enjoy this dress up puzzle a lot! You like matching the outfits and always fix it if I try to mix and match with different colors!

You’ve now broken out of your shyness a bit. You say hello, thank you, and goodbye to strangers when we ask you to. This has also been amazing to watch you rise to our challenges and feel comfortable doing so.

You are just becoming such an amazing person. You say please and thank you all on your own. You like things to be put away, and are very good at cleaning up. There is so much I’m forgetting to write down I’m sure.

The past two years have just been so wonderful to be a part of. I am so glad that I am on this motherhood journey with you. My days are filled with more joy than I could have ever imagined. My heart is so happy, and I just can’t imagine anything more perfect than you. Thank you for being the sweet, silly girl that you are. Thank you for loving me so much and trusting in me.

I love you more than words can say.

Kisses for a lifetime,

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