22 January 2006


Today, Dear Hazel, you turned two years old. Two years ago, at this moment, I was in a hospital bed at Providence, mooning over you and amazed that you had finally arrived. You were content to sleep deeply after all of those long and uncomfortable hours of labor. I have infrequently slept deeply ever since. I have traded sleep to watch you expand physically, mentally and emotionally. How big is Hazel? You are SO big to my world. Sometimes I forget that you are two, that there is so much you do not inherently know, that you are little and just beginning to explore space and time in ways that have nothing to do with me. You are essentially my entire world, but for you I am a springboard into something else. I am excited to see what that something else is. As you were working your way to becoming officially two you looked like this:

Your father, who also is blown away by the powerful force of having you in our lives, made several attempts to create clever birthday announcements. You resisted, for some reason, but we managed to get at least this out of you:

I will be honest. Although I've always found you to be cute and charming, your charms have increased as you've left infancy behind and become interactive, explorative and taller. The extra height really makes it, if you must know. You throw trash in the trash can, help me put groceries away, encourage the cats to behave properly ("No scratching, Elbow!"), with take on the important task of carrying items such as laundry from one room to another and so much more. Your memory is strong. You know all the words to some of your favorite songs and will sing Itsy Bitsy Spider, Baby Beluga and the ABC song willy nilly as if you were just trying to make me break my face apart with smiles. The other day you called me "nice" and no one prompted you to pump my ego. You often ask to sit on the couch with me so we can read books. "You can read it, Mama," you inform me as you press If You Give a Mouse a Cookie into my lap for the sixteenth time that day. Every time we go to the library for a new haul of books, you have the patience to sit with me for a long, long time to hear each story.

You draw circles and just this weekend you added dots to your circles for eyes. I know that ability is from your father, since I just learned how to add dots for eyes a couple of years ago. I love to watch you flop down on your belly and draw in your sketch book with your crayons. You love to jump on the bed and dance to music. We are teaching you disco dance moves, among other things. In the morning you will often refuse food for the first hour or so, but if I'm eating a breakfast stir-fry with chopsticks, you will appear at my side and open your mouth like a little bird. You enjoy my feeding you from chopsticks.

Some of our most fun times are at the pool. We sing to each other and glide through the water. I think you and I both smile wide the whole time we are in the water. I thank you for loving swimming and taking baths as much as I do. You enjoy playing outside, jumping in puddles, watching other people and playing. You love Sesame Street and the Backyardigans.You have so many toys that I am ashamed of your wealth in the face of other's poverty. But, I contribute to your piles of toys more than anyone else. I still hope to find a way to teach you that living is not merely about consuming. Bear with me.

You are also in love with your baby dolls and taking care of them. You are so gentle and helpful with children who are younger than you. You have a deep nurturing side, and although I resist stereotyping you by your gender, I am so pleased that you are a loving person. You want to do whatever I do, most of the time, and I enjoy having you around. I like doing certain things even more, because you are there alongside me. Today I made cupcakes for your party and you wanted to help.

You were so patient about the cupcake process, which began two days ago when I asked you if you would like cupcakes for your birthday. You needed some reminders that we needed to wait for your friends to come over to eat dinner and play before they would sing to you and you would then get to eat a cupcake. Eventually, your cupcake time came and you mostly focused on the icing. I think the whole experience left you looking like a chubby-cheeked Italian man:

To summarize: I love you, Hazel. I can't believe you're two. You're rad.


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