Dear Madelyn Mae,
I snapped this photo of you yesterday while you were swinging during Dylan's baseball practice. Ms. Theresa told me she loved it because she felt it captured your true self.
They say that who your child is at two is often similar to who she will be as a teenager. I wonder if it even goes beyond that...that the pureness, the trueness, and the you-ness of who you are as a toddler will always remain at the core of you, despite what life may throw your way.
I wanted to write you this letter so someday it could serve as a reminder of who you've always been -- who you've been since the beginning.
This month you officially turn two and a half. Mommy and Daddy can't get enough of you and your sweet cheeks. Not a day goes by that we don't grab a hold of you and hold on tight because we know you're only going to be little for a little while longer.
From the moment you wander into our room in the morning, pulling on Daddy's arm while he tries to hold on to a few more minutes of sleep, insisting, "Daa-EY, I want JUU," (you call everything "ju"...milk, water, actual juice, it doesn't make a difference to you) to the moment when we gather around your little toddler bed to tuck you in and pray with you at night (a family affair...none of us would miss it for the world), you keep us on our toes.
You are a sweet little toddler, often seen wandering around the house, blankey tucked under your arm, looking for a lap or a pair of arms to snuggle into. You hand out hugs freely...when you're in the right mood, or course. You give some of the best two year old kisses in world.
You prefer undivided attention whenever possible. (Your warning if a sibling or a random little girl in the store get too close: "NO! My Mommy!")
You are feisty and independent, a pair of traits that will serve you well as you navigate life.
When we get in the car, you grab the buckles out of my hands as I try to strap you in, telling me, "No! I guckle!" At mealtime, you've been feeding yourself for as long as you've been able to hold a fork in your little hand.
We've given up trying to make you ride in the grocery cart or wear a bib or leave the house without an entourage of blankies.
You can be easily frustrated - you put the temper in temper tantrum - but you are also fiercely determined. You are not easily distracted.
You love to wear your rain boots because you can put them on yourself.
You wear the badge of baby of the family well. Dylan is protective of you and hardly bats an eye when you mess up his Legos or eat the special treat he was saving.
You and Ella butt heads from time to time, but mostly she is your idol. You love to follow her around and play in her room while she's at school. She has an amazing ability to anticipate your needs before you even voice them, and you don't seem to mind.
You maintain the finest repertoire of animal noises this family has ever known. You are delighted when you see doggies in the neighborhood or horses in the fields or birdies in the yard. Even the fake deer on the way to Nana's house causes you to exclaim in delight, "Mommy! Cow!"
You love to sing. Current favorites include: the ABC's, Jesus loves me, and the clean-up song. You like to dance. (You and your sister already have your Daddy worried.)
You aren't in the running for any Toddler Vocabulary of the Year awards, but you are a great communicator. Trust us, we hear you, loud and clear.
You beg to go outside - "I ahna go o-u-t" - and bring me your shoes several times a day. You love to slide and swing and run - I think it's because you love the feel of freedom and wind in your soft, floppy hair.
Madelyn Mae, at two and a half, you bring much joy to our family. Although you
We love you,
Mommy (& Daddy too)