It's been some time since I've written to you. Maybe I've been lazy, or maybe your expressive nature has made my letters obsolete. Maybe I just haven't known what to say, or how to say it. The dust is finally settling from our massive uprooting to a country that at first was foreign to you but home to us. You've adjusted beautifully and I am so, so proud of the little lady you are becoming.
You are almost 2 and a half years old now, and while I will be making a new photo/video montage of your latest and greatest, I'd also like to capture you here, in my mind, so you can not only remember how you looked and sounded, but how the rest of us adored your every breath and movement.
I'm duty bound, as your doting mother, to share a few of what I affectionately refer to as "Hannacdotes." Every morning you tackle the daunting chore of getting me out of bed, and you do it with style and panache. If the bedroom door is closed, you lay on your belly and sing songs to me through the crack under the door. "Bear Necessities," "Twinkle, Twinkle," and "Bippity Boppity Boo" are among your favorite repertoire. There I'll be, laying in bed, searching for just ONE thing motivating enough to get me up, and then I hear a sweet little voice drifting from the floor:
"Ee da da, BEAR Negessities,
da pimple Bear Negessities
aget abou' da wawies ah da tife
I mean da, Bear Negessities
da why a Bear can resteties
wi' just a Bear Negessities a life!
On days when Daddy
When you aren't busy eating us out of house and home (three breakfasts you eat before shouting "what about elevensies?!"), you can be found diligently taking care of your babies (of which there are five, you busy little Mama you), climbing into laundry hampers, changing your clothes 50 times, applying orange marker like lipstick, following everyone into the bathroom ("You did it, you did it, you pee-peed in the potty! Yaaaaaay Nana!"), or on lucky days when he's home, being chased by Daddy. Last week he was chasing you around the upstairs hallway/bathroom circuit, and steadily gaining, though you were swift in nothing but a diaper. Then suddenly you stopped, turned around, and with your biggest, boomiest voice yelled "STOP! Care bears . . . STARE!" Such was my pride in that moment, that had my chest puffed up any further it would have exploded, sending me flying away like a farting balloon. My little girl just quoted Care Bears! I get a little choked up just thinking about it. Just a little.
So much playing is bound to inspire mischief in my creative little sprite. Aside from the various uses you've found for markers and crayons (lipstick, body paint, wall decorators, fabric softener), you also ransack drawers, summit furniture, and jump jump jump to your heart's content until something goes CRASH and the only thing left to do is to run in the opposite direction and not look back. Those times when I catch you (and most often I do), and begin to scold, you, my little actress, will stall like a stickshift car:
"I, I, I . . . hug?"
"I, I, I . . . snack?"
"I, I, I . . . love you?"
And when Mommy doesn't budge, though it's difficult not to laugh out loud when you're trying so hard, you conjure up the most beautiful, contrite little face and say with perfect sincerity, "I, I, I . . . I sorry."
We recently moved you from your tiny pack 'n' play crib to a big girl bed, complete with purple Tinkerbell bed tent. You've not only adjusted to your new bed/nest/fort for bunnies and bears, but you've become a master of luring unsuspecting parents into your lair and capturing them in your embrace. Sometimes they don't return until dawn, so seduced are they by your warmth and sweetness. "Mama nap? Come on Mama, right here," you tap the pillow next to your head, "Mama lay down. Please? Oh, Mama. Night night." No, not tonight, sweet baby. Your siren's call is tempting, but my ribs can't take the kicking.
you are getting sleeeeeeepy . . .I apologize for this waterfall of sentimentality, but I need to say one more thing before closing, my darling. I've met a lot of wonderful people in my life, Hannah, but no one has the same capacity to love and empathize as you carry in your little toddler body. If ever you accidentally:
Poke someone in the eye
Kick someone in the groin
Step on someone's face
Knee someone in the ribs
Pull something's tail
Spill someone's drink
. . . or see someone, something, hurt in any way, whether or not you are the cause of that pain, you become almost sick with grief, wrap your arms around that person/animal and say "Oh no? Le ouchy? You ok? Oh no! I sorry. Le kiss? Mmmmuah. Dere. All bedder?" Seeing how empathetic you are and knowing how very much you strive to emulate your parents, it feels good to know we're doing something worth emulating. Yesterday you were playing outside, collecting walnuts to roll down the driveway and every so often pausing to gaze heavenward and marvel at the trees. Then you were gathering muddy rocks from Nana's garden, and when you dropped a big one I thought it had landed on your foot. I gasped and asked if you were ok, and you looked at my worried face, mirrored my expression, then picked up the rock and held it next to your cheek and crooned "You ok rock? Ohhhhh. I sorry. Here, le kiss. Mmmmmmuah." Because deep down inside you is the desire to always do good, to always do right. And though you don't mean to, you will mess up sometimes and I have every confidence you'll know how to make things right. And some day, in the quiet shade of the trees you love, that rock will forgive you.
How can it not?
All my love and then some,