Little, crazy girl,
You are officially on your way to toddlerhood, if not already arrived. This was a crazy month for us - full of family and parties and travel (three out of the last five weekends away from home!)... and through it all you laughed and talked and toddled like nobody's business.
You're pretty much running now. And you've craved out a little room of sorts for yourself now, by your crib on the other side of our bed. You like to go there and move stuff from place to place (your daddy calls you The Relocator and it's apt - that and cleaning things seems to be some of your favorite activity). You sit on the floor holding the yoga Pez dispenser and the flashlight, singing to yourself and having a grand time.
That's been the most amazing thing to see this month - you are pretending now. Hugging your Elmos (all three of them - almost always at once), talking to your toys, moving them about in a little play only you really understand. You have all kinds of games you play - sometimes with me - sometimes alone. You are *really* good at making your own fun and that makes me so proud.
You're also learning to carve out your own space. No matter where we are - but especially in this, our too small apartment. This 350 or less square feet of ours definitely lacks in room to roam, but your finding places you can call yours. The other side of the bed, for example - or the little step you made out of Daddy's camping equipment in front of the window. You cleared a little space and now have your very own perch to look out at the garden. You seem endlessly fascinated there. You and I have that very much in common: we both can spend hours watching people go by.
Watching the cat go by, however, is not one of your favorite things. Why must she always be so fast? You chase her back and forth, back and forth ... moving your little fingers trying to call her like Daddy and I do, yelling "CAT!!" It makes me smile. You LOVE her now. You've mastered "gentle pets" though every once in a while the hugs get a bit too strenuous (Schiele doesn't seem to mind).
Our cat's not the only animal you're loving on here in our tiny abode. Daddy got you five fish! You stand trying to touch them through the glass, squealing with delight when they follow your fingers.
You have so much love, Maire. My heart just bursts. You are so kind. Not just to the cat and fish - but to your friends at school, too. You try to comfort them when they cry - giving pats and holding hands... I know this is not something we can really teach you, that it's something deep inside you. An empathy, a kindness. It shines like the sun when you smile.
One of the old men in our neighborhood stopped me the other day. You were playing shy, burying your head in my shoulder. "She's so beautiful," he said. "She's inside beautiful. Thank you for sharing her with us. She's our princess. Our Hell's Kitchen Princess. Our Beauty. It means a lot to all of us that she's here."
And I looked down at you, smiling shyly at him. And over to him, tears welling in his eyes as he thanked me for sharing that smile with our neighborhood and I thought - you are a princess. Not some fairy tale, waiting on a prince girl - but a grace, a loveliness. There's a reason people smile when they see you. A reason our neighborhood crowds around and loves you.
You are joy. You are endless, boundless joy.
You aren't just changing my life, small one. Every day, every single day you are doing good.
And I couldn't be prouder.