Friday, September 2, 2011


Dear Vivienne,

Happy 2nd Birthday!  I feel so fortunate for the place we're in right now.  I adore this stage of life with you, and I adore you.  I've been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to get last minute things together for your party, and you've been tagging along (no choice) like a champ.  Today I also added on the list of things "to do" your first dentist appointment.  It was swell, and you had the whole office eating out of the palm of your hand, naturally.  I was so proud of you Toots, handling such a big girl appointment with such bravery.  I didn't even need the 10,000 things I packed in my bag.  You just watched the movie Up with Hannah, the assistant at the desk, while Mommy got her teeth cleaned and then you sat on Mama's lap while the doctor looked at your teeth.  Every once in awhile I could hear you up front while I was laying in the chair, commenting on the movie or asking after where I was, and the biggest smile would spread across my face.  Then you would take a little trip back to where I was to check and make sure everything was okay.  You stood right next to me while I rubbed your little hand, and you looked so intently at what was going on without saying anything.  Then after awhile, you took Hannah's hand back as if to say, "We can go now, Mama's fine".  It may seem silly, but I will never forget that moment and how it felt laying in that chair and knowing I was your Mommy.  Watching you walk back down the hall so independently.  I thought my chest was going to explode with love for you.
Our new morning routine.  Snuggling with Mama, and Sam and reading books

Recently you have experienced your first real bout with separation anxiety.  It's been especially loud and clear in these last few weeks.  You definitely want to know that I am within reaching distance at all times.  Daddy putting you to bed?  Forget it.  I'm told on the rare occasions I do leave you for awhile, you say my name constantly the entire time.  I'm not gonna lie baby, my heart melts when I hear this.  It does get a bit trying when I just want to put a load of laundry in or take a shower, and you come screaming down the hall in a panic like the house is on fire and I end up hauling both you and the giant pile of laundry downstairs.  I know this phase won't last forever, and I'm trying to soak it all up for what it is.  I think the most amazing thing for me right now is watching you study my every move.  When I get ready in the morning you stand on the toilet, and mimic my routine.  You make the spraying sound for hairspray, and you brush your hair.  I'll give you a dollop of lotion and you rub it on your face.  All you want to do is put my makeup on (to which I quickly tell you is off limits).  Lip gloss (Aquaphor) is fair game though, and you LOVE to do this together.  Sometimes you'll put more on your lips just so that you can rub your lips on mine and give me some.  We brush our teeth together mostly every morning and every night (when Daddy doesn't get his turn :).  You spit when I spit, and flick the excess water off of your brush exactly the way we do it.

Your mimicry does have its moments of horror, like when we catch you mid-pee in the bathroom, peeing "like Daddy".  The best part about this for me, is seeing Daddy explain to you why you should not do this:  "Because, you. have. a. vagina.  Not. a. penis.  You. are. a. girl.  Girls. sit. down."  Oh, the joy this brings me!  Also, it's not so flattering when after falling down or getting an owie, or dropping something, you say loudly "See!"  I promise I don't mean to be rubbing it in your face when you get hurt, it's just after the 40 billionth time of telling you not to jump in the bathtub, and then you slip, it's nearly impossible not to let a "SEE!!" slip out of my mouth.  It's not my more mature moment babe,  sorry bout that.
Reading, reading, and more reading.  Oh, how you love to read.  The newest thing you do now is read to us.  It is such an experience to be had, sitting in the red chair with you in your bedroom, and having you turn the pages and say (mumble) the words on the page.  And you do it with such gusto!  Daddy and I have to nod like we are tracking with you or you get a little peeved.  The last month or so you like to read by yourself which feels really odd, but when you're pushing me away from you and your book and saying "no, Vivi!" I take the hint and let you have your time alone surrounded by mounds of books.  You love this time.  You are definitely your Mama's daughter in that you need your time to decompress.  If you don't get this time, your head spins around in a full circle and you start to spit fiery acid from your mouth.  Daddy doesn't understand this need, but I know full well how it feels to need your space!
You are still amazing us daily with all of the sweet and intuitive things you have always done.  You give love to everything, and hate it when babies or people or animals get upset.  I love this about you.  Sometimes we have to take you outside until a baby in the room has calmed down, or if sounds get too loud for you as you will start to scream like someone is giving you a root canal.  It's true Vivi, it's empathy at it's finest.  We have to try not to chuckle as we escort you away from the offending thing that is upset, so we don't look like the coldest, meanest parents there ever were.  You've also started putting diapers and blankets on your babies and being very nurturing with them.  It's all so very sweet.

Daddy and I have given up on making you eat a full meal if it's before dinner time.  You like to pick, and I have NO idea where you get this from...(that's sarcasm, it's me).  You'll go from the time you wake up in the morning, until the afternoon sometimes with nothing but some juice and a few bites of toast or some fruit.  At first it drove me crazy thinking you were going to DIE of starvation, but then when you didn't DIE and just kept on being a normal toddler, I eased up and decided who cares?  It's not worth the fight.  Thank god for the scrambled egg, which you have at least once a day.  That and anything green (including limes and olives).

You are the happiest when you wake up.  You are always smiling when we come in to get you and you take out your pacifier and give every one of your stuffed animals a hug and a kiss, and a suck on your paci.  Then, you instruct Mommy to do it.  You wake up rearing to go and whatever activity I tell you is on the agenda for the day, you answer with a "OOOHH!" and a "YEAH!".  I am not a morning person but seeing you first thing in the morning has almost taken the place of coffee for me.  That, and holding you at night before I put you in your crib are two of the most exhilarating feelings I have ever experienced in my life.  The way people feel when they use illegal drugs?  That's how I feel when I'm holding you -- as you rub my arm and my hand without knowing you're doing it, while you're drifting off to sleep.
Daddy's doppelganger (with red hair)
As I've been sitting here writing this out to you, I've been trying to find a way to tell you what it means to be your Mommy.  With all the events of the past few weeks (which we can talk about in great detail when you get older), I've never felt so lucky and close to you.  You are the moon and the stars to me Toots, and I just don't know how else to put it.  My days begin and my nights end with you, and all the stuff in between is full of you.

Sometimes when you are running around naked at the end of the day and squealing with delight and then you jump into my arms and say "MAMA!" and then squeeze me extra tight (you do this) and "kiss on the lips?!", then go do that same exact thing to Daddy before running off again and screaming with joy -- it's those times where I want to grab my ten year old self and tell her that everything is going to be okay.  That I will have a family - a beautiful family!  That there will be more love and peace and contentment than I know what to do with.  You've brought that to us Vivienne.  For that I will always be thankful.

I love you, love you, love you!


*Go here to see my note to Vivi when she turned one.

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