A letter to you at two-and-a-half.

Luci Belle,

It seems that you've changed overnight - chattering and joking and pretending more than ever.  I don't want to forget the details of these fleeting days with my toddler-who-is-becoming-a-little-girl.

So, here are some fun things I want to remember about you at age 2 1/2...

  • You sing "happy birthday" to everyone and anyone, regardless of whether it's their birthday.  We actually had a real birthday party to attend on Saturday - a "dress-up" tea for your friend turning 3.  Before the party, we had to have a little talk because you grabbed your friend's present and said, "This is MY present.  I'm going to MY birthday party."  You chose your outfit for the party - a ballerina tutu and pink tights.  At the party, were the presents or cake your favorite?  Nope.  You were perfectly happy playing kitchen, hopping like a bunny down the sidewalk, and chasing after a round birthday balloon.  That evening before bed, I asked, "What's your favorite thing you did today?"  You smiled and acted like you were about to tell me a secret and whispered, "Berfday party."
  • Later in the day as we were passing a grouping of trees on our way to the park, you asked, "Mommy, is this a rainforest?"  We'll credit Dora and Diego for that one.
  • After the park, we were driving to a friend's house, and you declared, "I want an ice cream cone.  With chocolate chips."  I told you we didn't have cones, but maybe we could make ice cream later when we got home.  You replied, "Mommy, let's go to CONEY ISLAND!"  What?
  • When we got home from the park, you wanted to get out of your car seat and play in the front seat of the car (turned off of course).  After a lot of fresh air and sunshine, Mommy was in a good mood so I let you linger and play in the car instead of rushing you inside.  I sat on the front steps for a good 20 minutes as you explored the front seat, turning down the visors, examining your teeth in the mirror, playing with bobby pins in the console.  After awhile I sauntered over to check on you.  "Whatcha doing?  Ready to go inside?" I asked.  Without even looking up, you answered, "No, I'm fixing this right now," and continued "fixing" the mirror on the visor.
  • You love to yell, "WATCH ME!" and then do your latest "trick" for us.  Lately, that includes lining up your puzzle pieces or toys and counting them, "reading" a book out loud, or building a castle with wooden blocks.  Sometimes you'll say, "STOP!  You stay here.  Now, watch me," and then go jump off the couch or go down the slide by yourself at the park.  I love seeing you develop self-confidence!
  • A few nights ago, I pulled out an old issue of Mothering Magazine and found an article that said, if you really want to get a good laugh, ask your toddler how they came into the world.   So I asked you, "Luci Belle, do you remember how you were you born?"  Your answer: "Jesus."
  • You are very - shall we say - spirited!  It keeps me on my toes!  We're working on keeping eye contact when you need to listen to me or Daddy and trying to teach you to relax a bit when you're all riled up.  The other day, I was upset about something and you put your hand on my shoulder and said, "It's okay, Mommy.  Just relax."
  • A few days ago, I asked if you wanted to take a walk and you said very matter-of-factly, "No, not today.  To-mow-wow."  Well we did take that walk the next day, and what an outfit you chose...

Yes, you are quite the character, little one.  And such a delight.

I had the sobering realization the other day that right here, right now...we're creating your childhood.  This is it.  What a responsibility, yet what an opportunity for me to remember that I can do my best as your mom, but ultimately I have to open my hands and know I cannot control your life.   I've said it before, and I want you to know it: your mommy isn't perfect.  But I hope in my heart of hearts that your first memories are wonderful ones, that you know how much you're loved and celebrated and treasured for the unique person you are.