Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Happy Second Birthday, Maddie!

Dear Maddie,

Today you are two! TWO! Like, two YEARS. Not two days or two weeks or two sandwiches. Can you believe there was actually a time when you were two sandwiches old? I just read through the post I wrote for your first birthday to give me some inspiration and it's amazing to consider how much has changed in just a year.

For starters, right now you are sleeping in your own bed in your own room. You only got up like 4 times before saying down for the night, too. And before you went to sleep (without a binky), you used the big girl potty. All of these things seemed impossible a year ago, and now they're just a part of every day.

This has been an exciting birthday for you. Your Aunt Anni came to visit. We had a great party with lots of your friends at a local crepes and tea joint with a slide (what, every town doesn't have one of those?). You've gotten presents on like 4 days in a row. Today we played on a playground, which is just about your favorite thing in the world to do. I think you've really loved it all.

Last year, I wrote about how an average day tends to go, and that seems appropriate to do again, because it gives a fun snapshot of what life was like for us the day you turned two.

You wake me up in the morning. Every morning. I set my alarm for 7:00am, but I literally cannot remember the last time I was woken up by my alarm and didn't have to go running into the other room to shut it off after I'd been up with you for two hours. You get up by 5:30am without fail. WITHOUT FAIL. Usually, you're in bed by 8:00pm. Sometimes, when you seem especially tired at night, we put you to bed at 7:00pm. This always seems like a brilliant idea at the time, but less brilliant the next morning at 4:30am when you're awake, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to face the day.

The past few mornings, the first thing you ask to do is use the potty, and so we do that. This potty training thing is crazy, and it's weird to publicly discuss your bodily functions like this, but I'm so very proud of how well you've taken to it. We're not all the way there yet, but you're definitely on board with the idea and that's life-changingly awesome for all of us.

After you've pottied, you usually ask for 'partoons and milko'. The problem with 5:30am is that cartoons don't even start on PBS until 6am, so usually we play a little, or I lie down on the couch and try to convince you that we're playing a game called 'rest on the couch' and the person who sleeps the longest wins. You're usually too smart for this game.

Can we talk for a moment about cartoons? Most cartoons are terrible. For example, the worst cartoon on television is Super Why. It doesn't make any sense. They claim that reading lets you 'change the story', which is pretty exactly what reading doesn't let you do. I think they're thinking of 'writing'. And the answers they always find to their problems are ridiculous. "Oh, your brother is mad because you broke his skateboard? The solution is 'ASK FIRST'." That's not even a solution to your current problem! That's a solution to a problem you don't actually have. Maybe that answer and a time machine AND you not breaking the skateboard would be a good solution. But you love it, and it seems to actually be teaching you things because you can spell words and you know your alphabet...but man is it awful. Peg + Cat on the other hand is practically the best show on television in any time slot. Anyway, those are my current feelings on 'partoons'.

So you and I hang out and play and watch cartoons and I try to convince you to eat various things and you tell me 'no' about 700 times until I eventually stumble upon the thing you actually want. At some point, your mom and Simon wake up and we all hang out for a little bit until it's time for me to take a shower and get ready for work. I complain a lot about the early mornings, but I'll tell you a secret: I actually really enjoy getting to spend some time with you alone, I just wish it didn't have to be before the sun was up.

I head off to work, and your mom texts me with funny stories about your day. You and mom and Simon are social butterflies. Some days you have Music Together. Some days you have a play group. Some days you go to the park or go hiking or I don't even know what. I can't keep track. I don't know how your mom does it. She's a hero, and she must love you guys an awful lot to run around as much as she does. You love all of it, though.

When I come home from work, you tell me all about who you saw and what you did. You often tell me there was a water table there, even when there wasn't. I guess you really like water tables. While dinner is being prepared, you often like to go out on our balcony and talk to the 4-year-old boy who lives downstairs. That's fine for now, but I'll be keeping an eye on that as you get older. Then we all eat dinner. You don't sit in a high chair anymore (Simon sits there now). You sit in a big girl chair at the table with us. You eat the same thing we do, and sometimes even use a fork.

After dinner, it's time for your bath. This is still one of my favorite times of day. You just love baths so much. We play and sing songs and make dinosaur noises. Sometimes lately Simon has been sharing your bath with you, which is fun, but I think you much prefer when you have the whole thing to 'swim' in, as you say. You've recently discovered that you can pull up the shower doo-dad when I'm not looking and cause it to 'rain' on both of our heads, which surprises me every time it happens. You'd really think I would learn. You still don't like getting out of the bath at all, though you've now grown to tolerate it a bit because you suddenly love brushing your teeth, and if getting out of the bath means you get to demand that we brush your teeth, then so be it.

Once bathtime is over, we play a little bit more, mom puts your hair up, and then it's mom's turn to get some alone time with you. I take Simon and keep him entertained while mom puts you to bed and reads you some stories. Some of your favorite stories right now include "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" and "Murray book", which is a Sesame Street book about words. Until VERY recently, you wouldn't go to bed until we'd read "Sheep Book", which is about various mama animals putting baby animals to sleep. Your tastes change suddenly, though, so next week will probably be different.

After stories are done, your mom puts on a CD for you. The current playlist is a Disney Lullaby CD, and we usually let that play through twice before we're confident you're asleep. Once the music is playing, she feeds Simon, and I'm on 'put Maddie back in bed' duty. This duty has gotten much easier over time. I used to have to put you back to bed about 30 times a night before you were really down for good. Now it's usually more like 4.

Once you're asleep, mom and I get to have grown-up talk, which in all honestly is usually just us talking about you and Simon. Then we go to bed way too early and get up in the morning to do it all again. Our lives right now are lives of routine, but it's kind of a wonderful routine when nobody is screaming.

I love you, little girl. Happy birthday! Please don't grow up too fast.