You are my wild child and my sweetheart, often in the span of ten seconds. Sometimes you seem so grown up, amazing me with your ability to reason through the concept of waiting, or to name some obscure shape. Other times, when you fall apart because of a dropped Goldfish cracker, or when you cling to my neck and bury your face in my shoulder for twenty minutes at a crowded party, I remember that you're still my baby girl and you still need your mama.
I love your very individual sense of fashion- the way you've become obsessed, for instance, with your thick, plaid, pleated skirt and beg for it every day, despite the ninety degree heat. I love the way you sometimes yank all the barrettes and elastics out of your hair and shake it loose, looking exactly like an angry little lioness as your hair sproings out like wild dandelion fluff.
It goes without saying that I love these:
I still remember so vividly the day you were born, and the surreal feeling I had as I held you in my arms and tried to wrap my mind around the concept of a daughter. MY daughter. I'd had a vague and cherub-like concept of a baby in my mind, but suddenly here you were, in the flesh, an impossibly beautiful, impossibly tiny little GIRL for me to raise. Someone for whom I would be a ROLE MODEL. I held you for a very long time, staring into those eyes and silently promising us both to do my best with that commission. (Also, promising to lose the puffy pregnant face ASAP.)
You were such an easy baby, a ridiculously easy child who unfairly romanticized the newborn stage for us and ruined us for all following children. Not that I'm complaining. It was winter when you were small, and when we were out, you just slept and sucked down bottles. Sometimes it seemed you were just a small, cheerful accessory, perpetually cooing in your carseat carrier.
But spring came, and with it your budding personality. Your beautiful blue eyes could just light up a room, and your radiant smiles became as warm and as constant as the sunshine. I still remember this day, giving you your first taste of summer fun.
You've grown so much in two summers, become such a charming, hilarious, independent soul- a modern woman who wants to do it all and have it all. Preferably while wearing this:
Lastly, I have loved, more than words can say, watching you as a big sister. I couldn't have dared to hope that you would embrace Eli into our family and into your heart as quickly and generously as you did. I was so worried about this transition, but you accepted, with grace and cheerfulness, the exchange of your babyhood for the (sometimes dubious) companionship of a sibling. I may fear tight finances and cramped cars and lines for the bathroom, but I no longer fear the idea of introducing a new baby to an older sibling, for the joy of watching you with your little brother will be etched into my heart as long as I live.
I love you, princess. You're the one who turned me into a mommy, and no one could have done it better.