You are two.
Everyone talks about the terrible twos, and already, I see glimpses of what they mean. For you, being two means regular meltdowns about things that just won't go your way: blocks that won't fit together just as you'd planned, a piece of furniture you can't move, toy ice cubes that won't line up just so in your cup. I see these moments coming, but you don't want help. "I do by self!" you cry, flapping your arms in frustration. Usually things escalate to the point where you throw the offending toy to the ground and run away crying.
I'm not sure exactly how to handle these moments. We're working on asking for help, on not running away, on picking up the things you've thrown, on saying you're sorry. But it's hard for you, and I think I understand that. Life rarely fits together the way we think it should, and sometimes, no amount of help or perseverance can fix that. It's been a hard lesson for me too, still is, in fact.
Sometimes, these moments I'm describing feel pretty terrible to you and to me too. I guess that's why they call them the terrible twos. But I want you to know, someday when you read this, perhaps when you have a two year-old of your own, that I see a lot more to your two year-old self than terrible tantrums.
I see creativity. For a long time now, you've liked the song, "The Wheels on the Bus," and to keep you entertained in the car, I've been adding extra verses about the Daddys on the bus who say "Go Ravens Go" and the Aunt Jens on the bus who say "We love Ellie" and so on. Well just this week, you've started adding verses of your own. Last night at dinner you said, "Sing about the water on the bus." "What does the water say?" I asked. "It says, 'Drink me Ellie,'" you fired back confidently. You were proud of yourself, and I was proud of you, proud to see you building on what you've been taught, creating your own part in our silly little family song.
I also see enthusiasm. Often, when I am getting you dressed in the morning, you ask, "Who come to our house today?" or "Where we go today?" You love people, and you love to go, to do, to explore. At the suggestion of putting on rain boots and going to jump in puddles, you dance giddy circles around the living room. When Daddy tells you he's taking you on a Daddy-daughter date, you run around excitedly gathering things to take: your milk, your "purple Cheerios," your baby doll. For you, life is an adventure to be embraced. You wake up expecting fun and excitement and joy, even though you don't know the specific plan, and because of you, I get to live a little bit that way too.
Finally, I see love. You've figured out what the word family means, and you talk to me about our little family: "Mommy, Daddy, Ellie." On weekend mornings, your Daddy gets you out of your crib and brings you to our bedroom, and we lie there together the three of us, giggling and tickling and talking. You know that you belong with us, and you're starting to use language to express that. "I love you Mommy," you said the other day, unprompted, eyes sparkling with joy.
"I love you too, sweetheart," I said, my heart full. And I do, my Ellie girl, so much more than you can know. On terrible days. On beautiful days. On average, ordinary days two-year-old days too.