Our little Christmas present turns two

December 25th, 2011  |  Tags: ,  |  1 Comment

Birthday Girl

Happy birthday, sweetheart! Dad loves you. It was an exciting Christmas Day when we got to meet you1, and you’ve sure kept it interesting since. You were so excited about your second birthday (we’d ask you whose birthday we were going to celebrate on Sunday and you’d gleefully shout “The baby Jesus! and Maggie!”), and we had a lot of fun celebrating with you. Here are some of my favorite memories of you from the last year:

You started to walk in early Spring. At first, we had to nag and plead with you to take a few steps — you weren’t sure it was for you! But now you only have two speeds: running (when you aren’t tired) and being carried by Mom or Dad (when you are). You had a lot of fun hiking this year; some of your favorite trails were in the UW Arboretum, at Blue Mounds State Park, around Peninsula Point, and at Governor Dodge State Park.

You were an early talker, and you had many words at your command quickly.2 Starting this summer, you couldn’t help but describe everything you saw, many times in complete sentences. (You still use some fragments, though: one of my favorite is “Too loud!” to describe anything noisy, whether it’s the sound of high-volume music or the sight of a vacuum cleaner or hand drill.) You’ve just recently stopped exclusively referring to yourself in the third person (although you have developed a charming possessive: “Mag-gee-gees” for “Maggie’s”3). Your affirmative has evolved from “uh-huh” to “yem” to “yes” over the last few months, and I sort of miss the middle one. One of the little sad things about being a parent to kids who are as amazing as you and your brother is that you do these neat things, but only for a little while, and then you start doing different neat things. So I hope you don’t grow out of saying “Oh no, happen?” (always with upturned palms) in response to minor household disasters for a long time.

I love the way you use language; it’s like we’re getting literal translations of your thought process (when you want to nurse, for example, you’ll say “Maggie wants milk from mama’s tummy!”). You’ve also become a shrewd negotiator: once, when I told you that I’d be happy to let you eat ice cream after you’d eaten your supper, you carefully stacked all of the food from your plate on the table and then said “OK, Maggie eat ice cream now?” But you don’t have to negotiate that often, because Dad folds pretty easily (especially when you wake up in the middle of the night and call for Dad, even if you ask for Mom and Otto first).

For a couple of weeks, you identified every letter as “S” and every number as “3.” This really delighted your mother and me in a way that you probably won’t be able to understand until you have an impossibly charming child. You also regularly identified pictures of Lukas Cranach, Vic Mackey, or any Lycra-clad dude on a road bike as “Daddy.” These generalizations were pretty harmless, but assuming every non-ketchup red sauce was salsa (which you could probably eat as a meal by itself) only worked until you pleaded with me to let you try some Sriracha once when we were out to dinner. Although you’d liked spicy food and other hot sauces in the past, even a tiny speck of rooster sauce was “too HOT!”

You’ve also shown an amazing facility for music, singing Christmas songs, hymns, “Yo Gabba Gabba” tunes, Star Wars themes (courtesy of your brother), and “Land of Hope and Glory” (which you called “duck music,” since your papa David introduced it to you to via Fantasia 2000) — all with excellent pitch and rhythm. But it’s also fun to see how much you like to play with music, whether it’s banging on a drum machine, talking into a darbuka, yelling in resonant rooms to hear your voice reverberate, strumming Dad’s guitar, or twisting controls on effects units and MIDI controllers. I’m really excited to see where you take these gifts in the future.

Maggie and Papasome awesome kidsInner tube with Aunt Ingrid!At Arnolds Park

You love people, especially your big brother (who you usually call “pumice” or “pomace” — and he loves you too!), your Papas and Grandmas, your great-grandparents, your aunts and uncle, and your cousins, all of whom you talk about constantly when they aren’t around. You’re also in the thrall of your little toddler and baby friends, and you often impress their parents by calling them by name or identifying them in photos, even the ones you don’t see that often. Your parents, while impressed, aren’t surprised; after all, you seem to know everyone by name.

At the arb

Nature delights you. (You are quite the little treehugger.) You love to to smell flowers and often bestow an approving appellation: “pret-ty!” You love Otto and other dogs and always want to give them a “hug” or a “nice pat;” Otto in particular is a pretty good sport about having a wonderful little girl hanging around his neck, but you do give him a lot of food (sometimes you’ll entertain him by bringing him many servings of kibble — a teaspoon measure at a time). Some of your favorite animals are rabbits (which you used to call “hop-hops”), lambs, elephants, and ducks; this summer and fall, you loved to ride in the bike trailer on the paths in Madison and see all the hop-hops and birds. (Sometimes at night when you’re too happy to be quiet, we’ll remind you that the bunnies, birds, and probably some babies are sleeping, and you’ll say “ssh!” and drop a few decibels.)

You’ve done so many amazing things in the last year, Maggie. I’m really looking forward to seeing where you take us next.

love,
Dad

1 Your first appearance on the Internet was a sub-140-character post I made right after you were born in which I referred to you as “Margrete” — because your mom and I hadn’t yet agreed on whether or not your first name should be spelled the Scandinavian way (with an “h”) or not. I was pro-“h,” and was trying to issue an orthographic concession, but Mom had a change of heart.
2 Including, as of early October, “perambulation,” which makes it far more difficult for your parents to discuss going for a walk without committing to the idea.
3 We speculate this is you generalizing from how awkward it is to say “Thomas’s.”