2.5 Years

To my sassy, spirited, opinionated, loud, sweet, funny, smiley, FULL OF LOVE girl.

You are my everything.

I want to do whatever I can to make the next 6 months of you being 2 as amazing for you as I can.

Your mind is a wonder.

I totally get all the talk about how crucial the first 5yrs are as far as development.

You are learning at a rate I never knew was possible.

You repeat everything we say to you with a question mark on the end...wanting to know what it means and then logging it in your mind.

Sponge sponge sponge. You are a sponge.

I feel SO grateful that I get to spend as much time as I do with you so I can help you learn and recognize your interests and talents so I can help direct you towards them.

You are super into emotions and talking about them and understanding them. You’re my mini me.

You are brilliant at communicating how you feel even if you are still getting the hang of the difference between sad and hungry. Lets face it, I’m 34 and am still trying to understand the distinction.

You also love music and movement. You remember melodies surprisingly well and can’t help but move if music is on.

Just yesterday at your swim lesson you were dancing in the water to the music they were playing. Your teacher was all smiles.

I know you would love a creative dance class or a singing performance group. I am tempted to buy you tap shoes right now.

You are a charmer. It’s hard not to smile when you are around. You are a bright bright light and people are drawn to you.

Secretly your dad and I both hope you will choose us when you need comfort. You are big but not so big that you won’t still ask to be picked up and lay your head on our shoulder as your dramatic 2yr old tears melt into the sleeve of my shirt. Most of the time that sleeve gets a side of snot as well.

Make-believe is a world you live in about half the time. You love role playing. Anything can be a mommy or a baby. I take the toy cow and you take the toy dinosaur and we re enact stories we have had in our real life. Playdates in the park, swim lessons, bedtime, grocery shopping, going to the beach.

You use this tool to have really great independent play as well. I hear you chatting away in your room (when you are suppose to be napping) putting animals to bed, singing songs, creating a world of fun and curiosity.

Naps are slowly decreasing but we still have a “rest time”...after which you always want a frozen snack. You run to the freezer and pull it open with a couple tugs and dig around for a homemade popsicle, frozen strawberry, frozen pineapple...the other day you yelled what sounded like “tauget!!!” and ran to the freezer. I thought you got super excited about Target but as you pulled the chocolate coconut ice cream out of the freezer I realized you were yelling out “chocolate!!”. That’s my girl.

After you have your frozen treat you want to eat it outside, stripped down nude. You very politely take off your diaper and then ask me if its ok to go inside and throw it in the trash. “dirty die-pee in trash, mama?” Then your naked little tush runs it inside to the bathroom trash can. Your chosen place for all dirty diapers.

In the last six months something huge happened...you became a big sister!!!!!

I have talked about it in what I have written for your brother or what I post on instagram...but you have been a fantastic sister.

You love him and play with him and notice him and share with him. It seriously feels like you were just waiting for him and once he was here it was super normal for you.

I’m so grateful you have each other.

You love showing him what you can do and he watches you with his eyes lit up. You are a superhero to him.

You have started swim lessons and are doing so well and really enjoying them. You talk about Mr. Nathan and Miss Christina non-stop and sometimes make me pretend that I am “mama Christina” your swim teacher and then we do make believe swimming on our bellies on the ground.

You jump in the water, can roll to your back and can float for a few seconds. You are kicking your legs and getting the hang of moving through the water. You are so happy being in the water. You don’t like staying still on your back but just because you want to swim and move and play. Yesterday you were floating on your back with your pink goggles on, smiling. I was smiling too.

It’s fun to see you try something new, like these lessons, with a little bit of uncertainty of the unknown and then blossom with confidence that you faced your fears and can do it. This is big kid life lesson stuff and you are handling it with so much courage. You have no idea how proud I am of you for trying so hard.

You want to do, or least try to do, everything on your own. Testing your own capabilities and exerting your independence. It is so nice to know you are doing exactly what you should be doing. Experimenting with boundaries and emotions and skills. It must be such an overwhelming time in your life and I am so honored to be at your side supporting you through it.

You talk now. You can say anything you want to say. I need to record some videos so you can hear yourself.

Here are some favorite phrases of yours:

“I don’t know about that...” (talking about anything she might feel unsure about or not want to do, swim lessons, meeting up with friends…)

“Puew yewe!” (Stinky or strong smells!)

“Thanks for putting my hair in a bun mom”.

“Are you sad or happy?” (If there are ever tears)

“Feel better now?” (Usually after she kisses us if she sees a physical or emotional owie)

“Lets watch a show...just a short show mom.”

“What’s that mean?” (Here we are at Seal Beach Boulevard…”Boulevard? What’s that mean?”

“Time for breakfast!”

“I don’t wanna take nap. I not tired.”

“I don’t feel so well. My tummy hurts.” (Love make-believing sick time, due to a Yo Gabba Gabba episode)

“I love you forever mom.”

“You’re my best friend.”

“You were at a photoshoot?”

“No working mom. Stay here.”

“You’re baby mama. Time to grow up!!” (While you laugh and I fake cry because I am a baby and don’t want to grow up)

“Baby brother only drinks breastmilk. Not cow milk like big kids.”

“I want mom..I want dad..I want mom...DAD!!!!!!” (basically wanting whatever the other choice is)

“Oh, thank you mom!”

“You’re welcome mom”

“Know that, mom?”

“Yeah mom.” (Said about 50 times a day, in response to whenever either of us says “Oh, really?”)

“Cheerios and milk.” (whenever you are sad or tired)

“No more snuggling mom”

“It disappeared” (sometimes you bust out big words I didn’t even know you knew)

“I’m trying to tell you something.”

“actually…” (filler while you think of what you want to say)

“Baby brother, I’m your big sister!”

"That's so funny."

“Just girls.” (when you want to be alone with me)

“I want some alone time” (Something we taught you to say instead of “go away”. Love to hear you express you need some time to yourself. Don’t we all?)

“Your name is Rachel and daddy’s name is Grant”..brother’s name is Fairbanks!!”

“Story about peter pan and wendy and john and michael and captain hook and tinkerbell.”

Songs you hum or sing….

“Think of all the joy you’ll find when you leave the world behind…”

“I love you so much, just wanted you to know…”

“I love you, I love you I’ll sing it to the skies. I love you I love you as I look into your eyes…”

“Families can be together forever…”

“Close your eyes it’s time to sleep..”

I sing a lot of what I say to you throughout the day and like to make up a lot of songs while we do stuff, like brush our teeth, make dinner, soothe to sleep...so it’s no wonder you are starting to do the same. You always have a little tune coming out of your mouth as you play. Just pleasantly humming or singing to yourself. My happy girl.

Also if I am wrestling with you and you want to be released I trained you to say “ I love you mom. You’re so pretty”, before I will let you go. It’s fun.

You love reading. You want to read books all day long. Your favorites ones lately are Berenstain Bear books. You love the practical life stories. I did too when I was little. No more TV, The Bears Go To Camp and Sick days are some of your favorites.

You also love reading Knuffle Bunny, Go Dogs Go and so many more.

There’s a book called Fish Out of Water where the fish is fed too much and it grows bigger and bigger. At mealtime you like to say “just eat so much and not much more”. Adorable.

Never enough books to read.

I have so much I want to remember!! I want to write every single detail down! So hard to recap when every day and every minute something life changing is happening.

That’s the best kept secret of raising little babies and kids...life changing things are happening all the time even if the days seems to be spent changing diapers and fixing meals. You just have to learn to recognize them.

What I want more than anything is for your to have a fun, joyous childhood. I feel like I can help you do that by giving you a schedule...making sure your belly gets full and your eyes get rest. I feel like I can also help you do that by helping you giggle at least once a day, smiling whenever you enter the room, talking about and planning fun activities for us to do as a family. Helping you be happy also means helping you understand it’s normal to feel sad and to be able to express that to me. Taking life’s rough moments and working through them until we are smiling and laughing again. It is such a joy to do all of that with you and for you.

I refuse to curate your life. My job is to help you be you. Not my version of you. Not the world’s version of you...but you. Your best self.

I refuse to “style” our life to look like something that is popular or trendy. I do like pretty things and hope to gather them into our home and life but not all pretty things are tangible. Sometimes the prettiest days look like a tornado blew through our house but our eyes are twinkling. Eyes that twinkle are pretty much my end goal for our family. I want to help fill our family with happiness and contentment. Appreciation for the little things and meaningful, connected moments.

The days I really connect with you or dad or Fairbanks are my best days. And even though it’s a fight at times, I promise you to always try my hardest to be present.

I can’t stop this growing up thing. I find that if I can take a few second everyday to look at you and stop what I am doing to focus on the way my heart feels when I watch you, it helps me be brave. I have to let each moment pass and wait with bated breath for the next.

Watching you grow up is like watching a miracle.

If I think too much about my job to keep you safe or the fragility that your life has..I tailspin to a not so good place. I don’t know how I would ever go on without you next to me.

I’m not sure I deserve everything that you give me but I feel so much gratitude for the gift of being your mother.

My pickle, noodle, nunus, sweet pea…”Mom, my name is Nova”..............My Nova.

If you can’t tell by reading this, you being two years old has been magic.


Three squeezes,