Two and a half years old. You're not quite as big as you'd like to be, but you're certainly not a baby anymore. You remind me every day that you're a big girl, and indeed, you get bigger every day. But sometimes, especially when you're tired or sick, you say, "Mommy, hold me like a baby," and I happily oblige. I put you on my lap and you curl your back against my chest. You lay your head on my shoulder and I wrap my arms around your back, which feels so big compared to two and a half years ago, but still seems so small and fragile, too. I breathe in the smell of your post-bath hair and exhale as slowly as I can, because I know that as soon as that breath is over, you're another minute older. In that one long breath, I remind myself that you still fit in my lap and in my arms. I'm still your safety and your home and your world. And you are all those things to me, too. No matter how our day turned out, in that one long breath, everything is right.
Watching you grow is such an adventure. You can do things that I never imagined a two and a half year old could do. Your favorite game is dominoes. You ask to play it every day. You also made up a game with Daddy called "Slinky Slinky" which goes like this: you sit at the top of the steps, Daddy stands at the bottom, he throws a slinky up at you, sometimes it hits you, sometimes it hits the wall, sometimes it goes sailing past you and you throw it back to him, laughing hysterically no matter how it goes. It usually just thumps its way down, but sometimes it catches and does the real "slinky" deal and you yell "SLLAANKY SLAAANKY!!!" and everyone laughs. You're a total nut.
You present us with quite a challenge sometimes, too. Most Internet mom-advisers and toddler behavior books tell me that you are "testing limits." I'm having a hard time seeing this as anything but good for you. You like to wander away, you ask to eat ice cream for breakfast, you'll climb higher and run farther than I would ever dream of doing myself. You roll around in the dirtiest of places, you never listen to "no" the first time (but usually do on the second or third try), and you are not afraid of anyone or anything (except a dark room). I prefer to say that you are a "risk taker." And I have no problem with that. Does it make me worry about you? Of course, but I'd worry about you no matter what. I think your risk taking is what will make you a good big sister, and what will make you an amazing adult, as long as you're always taking the kind of risks that make the world a better place. We can talk more about that when you're a teenager, but for now, just know that I'm not trying to be world's meanest Mommy when I say "No, you cannot climb over the edge of the deck."
I love to hear you talk and hear you sing. I love to see your little pigtails bouncing around the house. I love to eavesdrop on the stories you tell to your stuffed animals every morning. I love when you wrap your little finger around mine and I love when you say, "Mommy, I hold you!" when you want me to carry you down the steps. Your expressions and your voice are changing every day and your French is really starting to take off, too. I love how you take care of Margot and they way you make her smile. You are such a special part of our family and we love you beyond words.
Now enough with the growing up, young lady! Slow it down a little and let me hold you like a baby for a little bit longer.