Happy 2nd birthday to my sweet girl!
What a difference a year makes. Every day you amaze me with yet another new thing that you can do. I love watching you grow and discover things. You're so full of love, laughter and excitement for the things that are around you. You love your Daddy and me with such a strong fervor that when in our presence, you never want to let us out of your sight. While this makes it hard to get some things done or to leave you with a baby-sitter, this love that you have for us is such a special gift and one that we will always be grateful for as your parents.
The last 12 months have brought many big changes for you that you have handled well for someone so young. A year ago tomorrow, you moved from the only home you knew in San Jose, CA to the beautiful, yet vastly different climate of the desert of Arizona. Unaware at the time, you had to say good-bye to your first friends and your first daycare teachers in San Jose. Once in Tempe, it took you about a month to adjust to your new daycare teachers, but once you did, you fell deeply in love with Ms. Debbie, Ms. Alisha and Ms. Olga. Every day on the way home from daycare, you would ask about Ms. Debbie and your best friend Ethan. Seven months later, we moved you again, but this time to your first house. Like the last time, it took awhile for you to adjust (we realize now that change is tricky for you...much like it is for your Mom.), but finally this past month we've heard you talk about your new teachers and your new friends, Carter and Amelie. Such a relief for your Mom and Dad to hear!
You love your new house. From the moment you walked in, you would run through the halls and kitchen laughing. To this day you still do, and you love to have me chase you when it's time to put on your pajamas. Most nights around 7:30, I can find you running away from me naked. On the weekends, you corral your Daddy and I into your room--one of your favorite spaces--and sit us down for "circle time" and coloring.
At seventeen months you were able to say your ABC's, and a few weeks later, you were counting to 10. Around twenty months you could count to 20 and at twenty-two months you could count intermittently to 10 in German. You started brushing your teeth (mostly) by yourself around twenty-two months. You love to take charge (a trait I believe you got from your Daddy), and always let us know when you like or dislike something. Some of the most memorable phrases you've learned this year are, "Not nice," "Just walk away," "Oh my goodness", "I love you!" "Look at all the mountains (or birds, or trees.)", "I tooted" and "Lipening go fast!". You love to sing and for awhile, I think there was barely a moment in the day when you weren't belting out a tune.
You've recently become a pickier eater, but when you like something, you will eat huge portions of it. Your tastes seem to go in phases. One week you love broccoli, another week you love strawberries, another yogurt. And then suddenly you want nothing to do with a certain food, only to have it become your favorite the following week. This can make meal-times tricky, but Mom and Dad are slowly trying to teach you to, "Just try it." Sometimes this works, most times it doesn't.
You are one extremely happy and vocal girl, but if something doesn't go your way, you have mastered the art of throwing a temper tantrum. Sometimes it's a long, loud wail, other times you fall to the floor with the grace and drama of a well-paid actress. In the past couple of months, you've been introduced to short time-outs and as independent as you are, you always obey when you're told to sit down for a time out.
Bedtime has been a complete change this past year. You use to go to bed with a bottle around 8 and never made a peep until morning. You've always been such a good sleeper and still are once you actually fall asleep. We managed to finally wean you from the only bottles you took before your nap and bedtime just a couple of weeks ago, which was longer than I wanted you to have a bottle, but it made you fall asleep so much easier! As you've become older you're realizing your time is much better used to explore and have fun, rather than sleep, and with this comes nighttime calls from you every 10 minutes or so for about an hour after we put your to bed at 8. It's typical childhood requests, like a book to read in your crib, or some more water in your sippy cup, or keeping the door open or asking to be tucked in and kissed again. Your Dad and I are slowly learning how to be more firm with you and gradually the time it's taking you to wind down is dwindling. You still sleep soundly through the night, but where you once woke up around 8, you now wake up anywhere from 6:30am-7:00am. Your naps are becoming shorter as well, sometimes only being an hour to an hour and a half.
Aliyah, I'm so excited to see what the next year will hold for you. Your exuberance for little things like taking walks and watching the birds are what make you such a joy to be around. Thank you for making your Daddy and I so happy with your presence. I love you so much. You are such a beautiful little girl and a true blessing to have in our family.
Happy Birthday my sweet daughter. I'll forever love and be smitten with you.