For too long now I've had a post due, a post to one of the two most beautiful children this planet has every seen. No, I'm not referring to one of Brangelina's twins; I'm talking about our Hope.
Tonight we had a very rare "episode" with her that has finally pried my fingers off of a very comfortable mug of tea to write a love letter to her that was "due" when she turned two in September. If this was the library, they'd have confiscated my card long ago.
You see, tonight Hope was "caught" about to poop in the bathtub. She's only done that once before when she was a baby. Then, it was gross but a bit funny as we yelled "EVACUATE! EVACUATE!" at Emily. At 2 and almost a half, it isn't so funny anymore. John reacted as he would have with Emily, sternly but totally appropriately. However, this is Hope. She doesn't really get in trouble, simply because she doesn't do too much that warrants it. When she does get in trouble, she usually capitulates. If not, she gets a time-out, cries.... and then capitulates. That's pretty much it. She doesn't have tantrums (anymore - they were short-lived and pretty tame). She doesn't scream at us. She rarely hits Emily or pulls her hair (anymore - she was pretty fierce for a while there and Emily has the scars to prove it). What she isn't good about however, especially if she's tired or a little sickly like now, is stern talk or the threat of big trouble. And that was what she perceived to be coming her way tonight, I believe.
The result was that she sat on the toilet crying and crying and crying. The best I could make out was that she was scared to go back in the bathtub for fear of pooping while she was in there. In then end, I coaxed her back in (read: forced) but she had to hop out two more times to try to sit on the toilet. As an aside, she did end up peeing on the toilet which is a HUGE first and caused much celebration and helped reset the switch, as it were. In the end, she had the quickest bath in the history of our house and lots of snuggles and an early bedtime. What it really did for me was remind me of how amazing she is, how resilient and yet delicate as well.
My Dearest wee Hopey,
You are two and almost a half and this letter is long overdue. I meant to write it right after you turned two but things are busy around here and sometimes they don't get done when they should, as evidenced by the large pile of dirt in the corner of the kitchen that just didn't make it into the garbage can today. Or the unfolded laundry in the basket or the unmade lemon squares that I said I would bake or the long unfinished Grow Chart I've been working on for you for the past two months.
But tonight something happened that made me sit down and finally write this letter, well, two things really: (1) you reminded me how sensitive you are to criticism from Daddy and I and it made me want to capture "you" so I don't forget your amazingness in this moment and (2) you were in bed by 7:15 so I actually have a few more minutes of spare time tonight.
You are truly an amazing kid. I was lying beside you tonight kissing you over and over (something we do a lot - you have become a kissing and hugging fanatic. I'm not complaining!) and wondered who will be the person lucky enough to spend a lifetime with you. You are strong, resilient, stubborn, hilarious (an actual ham... you love to make us laugh and make yourself laugh) but also so sensitive to making sure that people love and like you and that you don't get into deep trouble with us. When you do, when we have to talk to you really sternly, you are crushed and call "Mimi snuggle me!" if you can get the words out through your tears.
You love to play, with Mimi, with Daddy and me, or just by yourself. You have so much imagination for a 2-year old. You can easily play any of Emily's make-believe games, you make up your own (right now your favourite is pretending to either be a dog or take care of a dog - your dog flashlight actually or your telephone which you pretend is a dog. Go figure.), or you play along while we all play camping or grandpa or Thanksgiving or some crazy game we have going on. You also are getting into board games. You've almost mastered Candyland. You rule at puzzles - regular ones, not those wooden ones anymore. Elementary for you. One of the things that really amazes me is your dexterity. About two months ago you drew your first happy face and are now onto happy suns and other "happy" things. You've been adept with scissors for about 4 months now, easily cutting around curves and other shapes.
You have outgrown, slightly, your need to be attached to my leg in any unfamiliar situation. You will now freely give hugs to people you've only seen once before, and kisses too. You make friends easily with adults after only a minute or two of shyness. This is so different from a few months ago when I couldn't pry you off my shoulder in a new situation. I give a lot of credit to preschool for this. Your favourite morning of the week is your preschool class, Terrific to be Two. I remember distinctly making a blog promise to you when you were a baby and you were lugged there every week when Emily was in this class. I promised that when you were two, you'd get to go and get my full attention. I'm so happy I've been able to keep that promise. The best decision of my life, aside from marrying your father and having the two of you, has been not to return to work after you were born. I haven't regretted that for one single second.
The first morning you were in preschool you were pretty unhappy and kept asking to leave. I wondered if it was going to work out, but now, six months later, you often ask through the week if we're going to your "class" and I have to keep reminding you that it is only on Tuesdays (not that that means anything to you). I'm so thrilled that you love it so much, as much as Emily did. And it's provided me with a chance to become friends with a great group of women. I loved going when Emily was two and I love it with you. You are totally your own person when you're there. You love it when I play with you but you don't need me to. You keep Darcy, your teacher, laughing, even when you still get grumpy during circle time. You fein doing the actions to a few songs but mainly just pout until it is over and we move on to snack.
You're easy to put to bed, you nap well, you love books and crafts and snacks (as long as they are fruit, crackers or chocolate). You're still not a great eater but I've seen some minor improvements just in the last week. You've had two new meals put in front of you and you didn't cry. And you actually ate one of them. Call the Vatican! I've witnessed a miracle!
I love, Hopey, that you are so different from Emily in lots of ways but also so similar in others. And I love how much you and Emily love each other. Today as we drove across town, Emily turned to you and said "I love you Hopey" and you said "love you too, Mimi." I was overcome. How did I get so lucky to have the two most perfect children in the world? Thank you Hope for being you. I love you so much.