Thursday, April 19, 2012

Esther at TWO (and a half)

Dearest Esther P,

Your birthday has long come and gone, but I never did write a birthday post for you. You have certainly not been forgotten, just postponed!

So, instead of writing as if I remember exactly what you were like on your 2nd birthday, we'll start right now. You are exactly 2.5 years old. The entire family adores you for your laid back ways, ready giggle, and tender spirit. We all gush over you, telling you what a sweet little girl you are. Eva and Hope both love to play with you. You and Eva play games of tag or tickle together. She is always happy to read to you or help you with something. Currently you and Hope play house or Little People together all morning most days. Usually Hope is the mom and you are the "tweetheart", but sometimes you reverse roles and you get to boss Hope around. Amazingly, you two almost never fight.

By yourself, you spend most of your time playing with baby dolls. You dress them, push them in the doll stroller, rock them, feed them, nurse them, and generally dote on them. You often tell me that your baby is crying because "she/he misses his Grandpa and Grandma." Speaking of playing baby, you are really tuned into the upcoming arrival of your little sister. When we go out, you tell people that "My baby sister is coming out of my mommy's tummy soon. But I'm not a big sister yet." You like to rehearse all the things that you are going to do to take care of your sister. I think you understand what is coming, and I think you'll adjust pretty easily. Of course, time will tell!

You have been VERY much the baby of the family for awhile though. Up until a few months ago, you seemed to be pretty naive to "big girl" stuff and content to let Mom and Dad guide you through life. Two year old independence has arrived, however! Around February, you pretty much demanded to be potty trained, telling me when your diaper was wet and insisting, "I need to use the potty, mom!" These last few months have been so insanely busy for me that I pretty much decided to take your pants off and let you figure it out on your own. Sure enough, within a few days (and many accidents), you considered yourself done with diapers. You still wet at night and have a few accidents each week, but for the most part you have done a good job of potty training yourself! Now you tell me, "I'm a big girl. I'm bigger than Eva and Hope."

One funny anecdote about your being a "big girl" happened last week. In our new neighborhood, the kids play outside almost constantly. They go back and forth from yard to house, riding bikes and scooters in our dead-end street. The bigger girls are allowed to roam pretty freely, though they always have to ask if they are going to another person's house. Around dinnertime there were a bunch of kids in our yard, I was making dinner, and Daddy was working on some project. I looked down at my phone and saw a text message from our neighbor and church friend (about three houses away). It said, "Esther is here. Can she have some lasagna?" WHAT??? Esther is not at our house? The rule for you is that you never leave our yard without Eva or Mom or Dad. Eva was in the back yard. Well, I walked down immediately to retrieve you. You were sitting up to the dinner table eating lasagna with the Gray family. You told me that you had ridden Hope's scooter over to the Gray's. WHAT??? I didn't even know you could ride a scooter! Needless to say, we talked a lot about the boundaries on the way home. I was just floored that sweet and docile Esther had her own big ideas to see the world!

Now for some Esther data: You are average size for your age, but are still pretty squishy and roly-poly. You love to dance and sing in a pretty little voice. You wear size 2T clothes and wear size 7 shoes (you've just recently mastered dressing yourself). Your favorite foods are spaghetti, lasagna, bananas (about 3/day), smoothies, and raisins. You don't prefer beans or most veggies, but will eat them if force fed. You've recently discovered videos and think Dora the Explorer is the bomb! You love to be read to. Your favorite books are "The Very Busy Spider" and a Bible songbook. You are really interested in learning the letter names, so you are constantly asking me what each letter is. I think you know about half of them by now. You are a bright little girl, and often repeat my own explanations or books we've read word for word.

I've said it already, but if I were to sum you up in a word, it would be SWEET. You are well-loved by your family and friends. We adore your gentleness, happiness, empathy, and cooperative nature. Some have said you are an "old soul", which is an interesting observation. I guess we'll know about that as you grow, but for now the observation does reflect something about your open and loving spirit.

Esther, Happy Belated Birthday! You are a treasured part of this family!

love, Mom and Dad