"A miracle? This is modern times! There ain't supposed to be miracles anymore!" - Cher's character in Moonstruck.
My Dearest Penelope,
It is hard to believe you are 2 years old today! The last time I wrote you a letter, you had just been born. http://penelopemannato.blogspot.com/2007/03/learning-your-abcs.html As a new parent, I was experiencing so many emotions I had never felt before. Well, let me tell you, I still am.
Back then, I assigned a word for each letter of the alphabet to describe an action, a task, that I hope you will tackle head-on during your life. Well, now that you're singing the alphabet, in tune, I thought I would give you some more words to ponder. They describe you, the person you are, the person you are becoming, the person I see growing up before my eyes every day:
Adamant: You know what you want, and you will not stand for anything less. And while this is difficult to deal with from time to time, I love this about you. Stick to your guns. Be confident in your choices. But always be willing to hear - and take - the other side of the argument.
Brilliant: All parents think their children are smart. The smartest. I am no different. I hear you say things, see you do things, observe you repeat and try new things, and can't help but think your future will be paved with the opportunities your limitless potential brings you. But no pressure.
Coy: Don't think for a minute that I don't know what you're up to. Like when you agree to the terms we negotiate at bedtime ("Alright, one more book, then it's bedtime) and then try to reopen the contract when it's time for you to meet those terms. And like I really think you don't hear me when I ask you a question about changing your diaper or eating your dinner. You're plotting. Just don't plot against me. I'll always be on your side.
Delicious: You're a very good eater, which is appropriate, since we are Italian-American (you are half but I still love you) and good food marinates in our bloodlines. You have a very mature palate. You like good food, and will not accept a cheap imitation. I also love that you like your fruits and veggies (some veggies) too. Keep eating well, and healthy.
Entertaining: One of your favorite things to do is laugh, followed closely by making people laugh. You perform funny tricks and immediately turn to us for our approving smiles or laughter. Stay funny. Everyone loves to laugh. Everyone loves the person who makes them laugh. But don't be a clown. And don't compromise your dignity.
Frustrating: You are stubborn beyond belief at times. You use the word "no" as effortlessly as the strictest teacher who refuses to let her students use the lavatory. And there's no debating you when you are like this. I have no idea where you get that from.
Gorgeous: You... are... so beautiful... to me. But most important, you think you're beautiful. You love to look at yourself in the mirror. You love to try on new clothes, and look at yourself in the mirror. You love to make yourself laugh, and look at yourself laughing in the mirror. But you're not conceited, and you're not a girlie girl. Always think you're gorgeous, because you are, inside and out.
Hilarious: Pulling up your shirt and revealing your belly button is now a key part of your comic repertoire. This has not gotten old... yet. What's funnier, is how hilarious you find this to be. Recently, you've also found it amusing to run full speed at me and mock tackle me. I love this to no end. Once again, not a girlie girl.
Independent: You march to your own beat, and I think that makes you really cool. You might not be in the cool crowd in school, but I don't think you'll care. Or, maybe you will be in the cool crowd, and tell all your friends that they're not as cool as they think they are. To get over themselves. You zig when everyone else zags. In my book, that makes you cool.
Judicious: While you are good at making decisions, and do not waver once you've made one, you eventually should start working on making better ones. No rush. I understand you're only 2 years old. First order of business: sharing, and when NOT to make your friends cry.
Kind: I see you arbitrarily walk up to Luna as she's sitting on the couch, and kiss her on her head. You've come a long way from the days where you would walk up to her and smack her in the face.
Loveable: It is impossible for me not to maul you with affection every time you do or say something new. Even times you do or something not new. You're just THAT awesome.
Meticulous: You are very particular about a lot of things, bordering on obsessive compulsive. Stuff needs to be in its proper place. You spend a lot of time putting your stuffed animals to sleep, placing the blankets over them ever so carefully. You only accept one of your four Lammies as the Lammie. You make sure your mother and I have our specific roles. I give the bath, I read the books, I provide the piggyback rides. Your mother is the face washer, diaper changer, and tear wiper. We didn't do this to you intentionally, but your parents are anal to a fault. Sorry. It's genetics.
Naughty & Nice: Even though you flash occasional signs of naughtiness, it is safe to say I don't foresee any problems in the Santa department in the near future.
Optimistic: Some days, you make me feel like I can do anything. Maybe because I feel like you can do anything that your heart desires. Always believe in yourself. There's nothing you can't do. Your possibilities are endless.
Perceptive: Last week, I was lying on one of the green pillows on the floor. This is my default position when we are playing. You've always sat Indian-style or plopped onto your beanbag chair. But this time, after you asked me to read you a book, you grabbed the other green pillow, put it on the floor next to me, and laid on your stomach like me. I hope you continue to recognize my good ideas throughout your life. But don't follow me. Chart your own path. And continue to learn from my faults and mistakes.
Quiet: As loud and persistently energetic as you can be, there is nothing like the wind-down time we share right before you go to bed at night. I could read as many books, sing as many songs as you like. But I don't. Boundaries are important, afterall. You in my lap holding your Lammie and sucking your thumb, as I'm telling you one of your favorite stories or comforting you with some of my favorites lyrics... now that's just a little piece of heaven right there.
Rambunctious: It is amazing how quiet our house becomes when you fall asleep. It is amazing at how two grown adults find it so difficult to corral you when you are awake. Is is amazing how many times a day your answer to even the most simple of questions or suggestions is "no."
Sleepy: We are lucky that you sleep so well. That you have always slept so well. You're like a high school student in that you sleep in on the weekends. You don't know how much your mother and I appreciate this. So much so, that we are spoiled and get aggravated when you have a 'bad night.' That being said, I anticipate you being impossible to wake up when you're in high school.
Talkative: Hearing you speak is amazing. You form such beautiful, and at times amusing, sentences. It is a joy to hear you form your thoughts into words. If only I understood everything you said! We listen to you talking to Lammie, reading books, and singing the ABC's (and more recently, "Happy Birthday") as you fall asleep in your crib. I hope you always feel comfortable enough to say what's on your mind. Don't be afraid to open your mouth.
Ubiquitous: Don't know what it means? Look it up. You're going to get that a lot from me. Dictionaries will be within arm's reach in our house once you can read one. Your dad loves words and hopes you will too.
Vivacious: Always have the love of life, the love of simple things, the love of new things that you have now. Keep exploring. Keep being interested. Keep learning. Keep asking questions. Life is good. Life is fun. Life is interesting.
Wily: The elusive moves you've developed are nothing short of astonishing. When your mother and I are trying to wrangle you into your highchair, your jacket, your crib, you have the uncanny knack of slipping away, and quickly changing the subject. You execute swim moves as if you're rushing the quarterback, the duck-and-under as if you're navigating through a crowded bar, and the spin move as if you're a hockey player on a breakaway trying to juke the final defender before taking a wrist shot. But mark my word, little girl, I will always be faster than you. I will always be two moves ahead of you. I will always be able to catch you.
Xstatic: One thing you have taught me in the last two years is that the roller coaster of parenthood is a non-stop thrill filled with plenty of ups and downs. But I am certainly enjoying the ride. I look at pictures and video from when you were just an infant, and marvel at what an amazing little girl you have grown into already. You bring an infinite joy to your mother and me. More than you will ever know.
Young: You are young at heart, and you make me feel so young. You're growing up so fast, but always keep the imagination, exuberance and (please) innocence of a child.
Zerbert-licious: Since you enjoy exposing your belly button so much, I will perform a mouth-induced raspberry on your tummy every time you do it. I don't make up the rules, I just play by them.
Happy Birthday, Sweetie! You are my greatest accomplishment.