Wow. You're two. Where did those two years go?! It feels like seconds ago that I was looking at your sister, getting rubbed down and wrapped up across the room and waiting to see if you looked anything like her. When I saw you for the first time I couldn't believe how tiny you were. So small. So perfect. So beautiful. You were such a quiet baby. You let us know if you were upset, but that didn't happen very often. It seemed like you and Kenna had a deal worked out. She'd let us know when you needed something and then we'd take care of it for both of you so you never had to get upset. And that's still kind of the trend around here. You're starting to cry a little more and tell us when you want something specific or you just need some love. But for the most part, you're pretty content to let Kenna do the talking.
You're getting to be a good little talker. You say a lot of words but aren't stringing many together yet. You really don't have to though. Kenna will talk for you. You LOVE birds which you call, "CawCaw". You love to chase them and make them fly. I think it makes you feel tough. Your first word was "Momma" but I think it was because I said it to you ALL THE TIME, determined that I had to be someone's favorite. But I'm pretty sure most of the time Dad's still at the very tiptop of your list. You and Kenna have him absolutely wrapped around your tiny fingers.
You're a pretty even keel little lady. Kenna pushes you around sometimes. If you won't give her what she wants she can pull your hair or hit you and you usually just take it and then forgive her so quickly with a smile and a hug when she comes to apologize. It's amazing how quickly you little people let go of things. You haven't learned to hold on to hurts and it's a quality I admire so much. I find myself thinking, "She'll probably be a little more wary this time" after Kenna has smacked you or you've fallen off a chair, or wrestled too rough with Finny. But nothing seems to phase you for very long. You roll with the punches and shake off your battle wounds really quickly. Sometimes you get your feelings hurt and the instant tears and expression of such deep hurt on your face just breaks my heart. But again, after a little love, you're pushing me away, ready to get back to the playing.
You LOVE your siblings. When any of them give you a hug or a high five your face absolutely lights up. You love going to the door to wave goodbye to Tate in the morning as he gets on the bus. You love climbing all over Finn during his reading practice, or playing with marbles or at a park with him. Your brothers are both incredible with you but I think you have a special bond with Finn. You and Kenna are getting better at being kind to each other as well. Just in recent months I've seen you run to her side when she's fallen and wipe tears off her cheeks while telling her, "oh cye" (don't cry). Or insisting on give her a hug before you go to bed for naps or night time. And whenever we get you out of bed or give you vitamins or snacks, or anything really, you immediately say, "Kenna", to let us know that Kenna needs to be taken care of too. Of course, you also immediately volunteer "Kenna" when I say, "Who wants to get out of the tub first?" or "Who wants me to do their hair first?" You love your sister. You're a pretty special little pair. You're both so different but you just get each other. You know how to make each other mad but you know how to comfort each other too. It's a beautiful thing.
You're a smart little princess, Miss Taryn. You love to get in to things and seem to take special pleasure in getting in to things, over and over again, that you know are off limits. You've climbed on the piano bench and then onto the keyboard of the piano to stand on your tiptoes and reach a marker on the top of the piano so you can color with it...on the keyboard, your toes, the floor. You climb onto the computer desk so you can play with the keys or to get another marker to color on the computer or keyboard. You LOVE to help yourself to snacks in the pantry and you're so sneaky and quiet that we usually don't catch you until you've had several handfuls of whatever you were after and when we walk around the corner you grab another, shove it into your mouth, and THEN run away. It's funny that such a delicate, gentle little lady can be so unapologetic about getting in to things you know you shouldn't over and over and over.
You are a funny girl. You're very timid and shy when you first meet people and big crowds of people make you especially clingy and snuggly. You can give a death stare with your serious eyebrows that will warn off the most determined of would-be fans. You're intimidated at first but you eventually warm up and once you're in the mood you can be a total goof. When you're feeling silly and want to show off your facial expressions are like magic. They're SO big and hilarious it's like you're a cartoon. I love it so much. It's so happy and silly it's contagious. You've got a tender little heart and you can get scared pretty easily. Loud noises or just things that are unfamiliar will shake you to the core. When we went to the zoo in Madrid we got you too close to some baby chicks and your whole body trembled in fear and you clung to us like you feared for your life. It was so sad.
You love music but you're much more shy about it than Kenna. You like to listen to it and ask for me to play certain songs in the car but you have to be in the right mood to sing along. You love music from the Sound of Music, Tuppence a bag is another favorite (maybe because it mentions birds and you love birds). You've got a very quick little mind and you'll pick up on tunes and words quickly. If we leave off the last word to a phrase in a book or a song you can finish it, but only if you're in the mood.
You can be a pretty picky eater. I feel like you're getting trickier in the last few months since you got really sick around Thanksgiving. Grandpa Arthur came all the way to Saudi Arabia to visit us and the first day he was here we spend most of the day in the hospital with you and K getting fluids in IVs because you'd been throwing up for a week! Since then there have been good weeks and not so good weeks with you and food. When we travel your dad and I are very aware of how picky you are and how hard it is to get you to eat and drink enough that we feel like you're doing okay. You'll pretty much always drink my breakfast shakes with does much to ease my mind, and you like bananas and pizza and raisins. But honestly, most other things are a "sometimes" with you. Some days you'll be in the mood for applesauce or soup or pears and others you'll just spit them right back out or refuse to open your mouth for them at all. It's curious and a little stressful when we're traveling, but you're gaining weight and seem very happy so we just try to roll with it and let you keep figuring this whole food thing out. One thing that you always love, however, is "cannie" (candy). Finn and I still quote this one time when you saw me opening the cupboard where we keep the candy jars and you got so excited that your arms got stiff at your sides and you flexed your whole body and with wide excited eyes screamed, "Cannies!!!!!" I don't think you've ever met a candy you didn't like.
This year your two favorite shows are Little Einsteins which you call "pat pat" because the characters pat their legs to get the rocket to fly, and "EsAnna" which is what you call "Frozen". I woke up a few days ago to you singing, "Ehh GOOO Eh Goooo!" (Let it GO Let it GO!) at the top of your lungs in your crib. It was so darling to hear you singing first thing in the morning. What a perfect way to wake up!
We've been on the move a lot this year. We traveled to Spain, Dubai, the USA, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Austria, and then Disney World just a couple of weeks ago. This year has been a completely different animal than last year because traveling with you two has become infinitely more tricky. You don't love staying in your stroller for long periods of time. You don't nap well or for very long when we're out and about all day. Our trips to Austria and Disney World were especially tricky because you and Kenna kept randomly throwing up and it was so very stressful trying to figure out what was going on. Maybe you get motion sickness or maybe you just throw up when you're super tired, but whatever the reason it's awful and I hope we can figure it out!
It was really fun to see you interact with your family in Disney World. You love your cousins but have a very sensitive spot in your heart for "baby Senny" who is barely more of a baby than you are. She was very patient with your unending adoration and being showered with hugs and kisses. You warmed up quickly and were soon giggling and goofing off with your cousins and the rest of the crew and it was sweet to see you recognize how these people are different because they love you like only family can.
You are a very physical little miss. You seem to take pride in being very strong. You're always looking for something to climb. You hang on things and lift your legs up to your tummy and just hang there like a tiny gymnast. You're very independent at the park. You don't need to be able to seem me or need my help at all and you're constantly trying to just walk off of places that are way too high for you to be able to walk off. You love being outside in our cul-de-sac or playing at a park and you love the swimming pool too but get a little bugged when you get water in your face in the pool or in the bath.
You love stories and we never go to bed at naptime or bed time without at least one. It's just not possible. Your current favorite is "Fancy Nancy". You think it's so silly.
Taryn, baby, these two years of being your momma went so fast. I loved you something fierce from the first time I saw you. I could tell that you were somehow both calm and self-assured and also really strong. You're a little marvel. You hug with your whole body. You smile with your whole soul. You're a beautiful little miss and while I wish these two years could have passed just a bit slower, I know that what comes next for you is going to be pretty special and I feel immeasurably lucky that I get a front row seat in your life. I love you, Taryn. I love you so so much.
Happy Birthday, sweet girl. The world is yours.