Today you turned two and while I'd like to say the past year went by too quickly for me, I can't. It's not because it didn't go by quickly, but because I've truly taken to heart the advice other moms gave me: time does fly when your kids are young so treasure every second. I did and I do and I hope I always will. This has been such a terrific year. You've changed more than I can believe. At your first birthday party you were crawling. Now you're running and swinging on monkey bars and dancing and playing hide-and-seek. When you turned one you were already saying words like, "no," and, "koo-kay," (for Cookie Monster) and, "sish" (for fish). But now, at two, you're saying, "I need privacy, daddy," and, "I want hats, cake, a pinata and a tycycle to my birfday," and, "Don't talk to me. I'm busy here," and today, "I'm so HAPPY!"
You don't mind getting messy but you don't like staying messy ("Mama? Clean my hands. I need a paypa towel."). You talk all the time about being a big kid. You tell us you're not a baby anymore. And, you're right. You walk up and down the steps by yourself. You can take your clothes and shoes off. You drink out of a big girl cup. You eat with a fork and spoon. You're learning how to use the potty and your daddy and I were so proud that you had several successes with that this week. Soon you'll be wearing the big girl underwear your auntie gave you for your birthday.
You love to read and have us read to you. You can recite your ABCs and count to ten and sometimes even higher. You're going to start preschool two days a week starting in September and I can't wait to see you take it all in and continue your love of learning. And, of course, I can't wait to watch you make new friends. You love playing with your cousins and your friends and meeting new kids isn't something of which you're afraid. You'll walk right up to kids you've never met before and say, "Hi, kid!" with a smile on your face as you wait for them to come to you.
You love going to The Little Gym. You're starting to take risks in your new class, maybe because there are lots of older kids. The bars are by far your favorite, but the balance beam is a close second. You love going to the kids' club at mama's big gym too because the ladies there adore you and remember you from when you started going at six months old. They always tell me how amazed they are at how much you talk and how you've changed and grown. They've sure got a sweet spot for you.
You rarely have tantrums and when you do I notice that you watch me intently to try figure out just how much you can get away with (hint: not much). You calm down easily and you always tell me you're sorry after you get a time out. We have the best time together every day and you make it easy and so fun for me to be your mom.
Delaney, I love you more than my silly words here can ever express. My heart swells and my eyes tear up when I think about the night you were born and the difficult days that followed for both of us. And I smile and laugh when I remember bringing you home and wondering what to do next. In those early days I had to learn to be a mom and I had to remind myself that you were always here, always needing my care. You still do, but it's amazing to me how, little by little and day by day, you're moving ever-so-slightly away from me and into becoming your own person who can care for herself. One day you'll be ready to take the world on yourself, but you'll never be by yourself. Your dad and I will always be here for you, loving you and supporting you and remembering you as the fearless, smart, happy little girl who ripped open her pinata out of sheer joy today.
Happy birthday, baby!