Dear Maggie,

Oh my…the running. All the running. The fists clenching-arm pumping-hair blowing-toddler bouncing-little giggles running. You run everywhere now and it’s one of the many new things you have learned to do. You run — with mischievous giggles — away from me when I want to get you dressed; you run to get me a towel after Willow spits up; you run, screaming, “Uh oh!” away from something you knocked over and you run chasing Twinkie with your baby doll’s stroller. But your favorite running is when you back up really far across the room, say, “Un oo te,” (kinda) and run towards us at top toddler speed. We toss you in the air or fall backwards just to hear you giggle. You’ve even been known to run at us without us knowing — which is terrifying if we are cooking or if Great Grandma is holding Willow. The other day I was making fun of how you run to your daddy. I said something about the fist clenching and the head down running. After teasing you about your running, your daddy said to me, “That is how you run, Dear, that is EXACTLY how YOU run.” Mom-genetics fail. Sorry about that one.

You are almost 23 months old and getting super duper close to the famous terrible twos. I can see why they call it the terrible twos, BUT you aren’t too bad. You sleep through the night and generally do what you are told — only with shiftier eyes and a habit of running like a crazy girl when you need to get dressed.

The impending twos have made you a curious little troublemaker. You are trying to use crying to get what you want (it won’t work) and you have gotten in trouble for coloring on the walls, chairs, windows and cabinets with a multitude of different coloring utensils. You’ve dumped the trash into the toilet (that went unnoticed for a whole day), you kick when we change your diaper (which makes your Grandma Roznik laugh because your dad did that to her). you once put an unwrapped tampon inside a water noodle, and you are constantly trying to feed the dog your food — Twinkie is getting fat ‘cause of it. You love watching Barney and other TV shows now, which thankfully gives us a little breather to get things done around the house — its fun to watch you clap and dance to the TV. You also must say, “Bye bye,” if anybody flushes the toilet. In the mornings when we go get you, you have to grab your stuffed fox and anything else on your bed and take it with you into the living room — it’s always quite a large load to carry if you are a short 25 lb. person. We just follow behind you and if you drop a sleep accessory you have to juggle the rest of it while you try to pick it up — it’s so cute from a sleepy toddler.

But through all the toddler-ness, every night after you go to bed, I’ll find something funny around the house that reminds me how lucky I am to have a child in the house. Your Obi Won Kenobi doll will be strapped into the stroller or Darth Vader’s helmet will be under my pillow. There will be Cheerios stacked oh-so-carefully on the TV stand or your dolls will be in Willow’s car seat.

I definitely learned in the last 23 months that days and weeks will pass without much thought and suddenly you look so much older you are no longer my baby, as your fat rolls are almost (almost) gone and your little feet and hands are no longer clumsy and sporadic, but instead are replaced with little girl hands and feet that are helping you explore this great big world. You are a little girl that is tall for her age and you have little ideas and toddler agendas when you awake in the morning. Cereal and outside is usually the main goals every day. I love kissing on you, especially if I’m having a “moment” or you do something cute. You can’t stand that nonsense and always turn away.

Magatron, outside of snacks (cereal, lunch meats and cheese), you love spaghetti as your favorite dinner food. You love all pasta — it’s a slippery carb-loaded slope, kid, so be careful — but most of all, it’s spaghetti you get excited about. You love eating with a fork if I cut it up and you especially love slurping up the spaghetti noodles. I usually have to remove your shirt so as not to stain it. I’m pretty sure it’s bad parenting to let you slurp and play with your food, but I’ll have to unteach that a little later. You get so excited when you find a particular long piece of spaghetti you can slurp. I can’t help but videotape and watch you eat spaghetti, but Willow loves watching you too.

Maggie, you have mixed feelings about Willow. I’m pretty sure you are totally OK with her and love her until she needs Mommy’s attention and then you get a little jealous and start vying for mom-attention. That’s natural; I still make sure to set aside some Mommy/Maggie time. You love rolling Willow over and clapping. You stack things on top of her, clean up her spit up and you love holding and hugging her. She adores you and watches you like a hawk. Remember that — as an older sister your sister will look up to you.

Your dad and I love watching you explore things, love watching you problem solve, and love watching you copy what we do (but with your own little imaginative flair). You are a joy to watch while figuring things out and playing pretend. You love watching your daddy and I do things and you try to mimic us. You “try” to spit when we brush our teeth, you’ve tried putting on lipstick (cap still on), you try putting the Q-Tips in your ears and my hair mousse in your pigtails. But the funniest is when you try to put your contacts on like Mommy and Daddy. You are constantly putting on our shoes and walking about the house. You want to use a metal fork and ceramic plate. You want to eat fried rice out of the carton because you saw Daddy do that. As a parent it’s really interesting to see a very mini toddler mirror of how you act and move. I’m gonna have to straighten my act up real soon. I really want to set a good example of how a woman should behave (something I’m not that good at; I’m always doing something awkward or inappropriate).

You still don’t talk much, but I’m not worried. You know a few words and you are pronouncing the first syllables of the ones you don’t know. I think you have a lot of your dad in you — and not just the way you look — because you and him both are very quiet, calm people who only speak when you feel like it, except you have a very distinct toddler demand to you. You say, “Bye bye,” “Up” and “Ice,” which I think is “outside,” with unmistaken clarity. You say, “W-whoa,” when you can hear your sister crying, you can say, “Jessi,” “Papaw,” “Momma,” “Dada,” and a few other words that really only me and your daddy understand. You can make several animal noises including a cow, elephant and coyote. But all-in-all, you are doing much better than a few months ago with your words. I’m excited to hear what you’ll say next. Mainly cause “UP!” has gotten a little old.
A blogger I have grown to like immensely named Matt Walsh described how he can’t describe how his children make him feel — I agree whole heartedly.

The problem is that anyone can easily describe the stressful [parenting] things; the good things, on the other hand, are much more difficult to illustrate. Difficult only because they’re so deep and transcendent and immeasurable. I can tell you about the love, and the joy, and the beauty, but even those words fail to contain how I feel about my children. After all, I’ve used “love” when discussing my favorite steakhouse, and “joy” when talking about the Ravens winning the Superbowl last year, and I even said “that was a beauty” yesterday when I successfully banked a ball of paper off the wall and into the trashcan from halfway across the room. I’ve wasted all of these words on food and sports, and now I’m left with nothing in the English language that can even come close to communicating what it means to me to be a father.

Maggie Lynn, that is how I feel. I wake up everyday and tell you how much I love you, but it’s not the right word. I look at your daddy and with awe in my voice tell him that we made stunningly beautiful babies. God has blessed us in so many ways but nothing comes remotely close to the blessing he bestowed on us the day you and your sister were born. I have wasted the word “love” on such trivial things that there is no other word in the English language to describe how I feel about you. I rejoice in the beautiful, joyous, over-the-top lovey feeling I have for you (and your sister).





You can't pick up Willow. THat doesn't stop you from trying.

Feeding Willow. You love doing this. Willow not so much.

I don't care that my photos are sometimes blury. I'd rather have blurry photos than no photos at all.

There's a bug over there you don't want any part of. :0) 

1st pony ride. You weren't keen on it at first but you warmed up to the idea.

Talking on the phone with Grammy. You never talk just listen.

Maggie I take a ton of pictures of you eating. I think its just too cute. 

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