Dear Layla...

Dear Layla,
You turned 2 1/2 this weekend. For some reason your 1/2 birthday seems like it should be a milestone... something that I should mark in time.

Watching you grow "up" in front of me - I sometimes wish that I could freeze time and keep you just the way you are, right here, right now...

- You are such a happy little girl. Singing, smiling, joking and laughing all the time.
- You talk A LOT! On our way home from Ottawa last week, you talked for 3 hours straight (!)
- You talk in French too (thanks to the time you spend in daycare)... and are showing a clearer and clearer understanding of what words are "french" and "english".
- You make up songs by putting several different songs together... it's weird and funny... and very cute!
- You are so bossy! (Remember, Dad's the boss... you're just bossy!)
- You love people - especially the ones you know well. It's actually quite interesting how sure and how confident you are around the people you are comfortable with and how shy and uncertain you become when you're around strangers.

- You absolutely adore your little sister and as she comes up on her first 1/2 birthday (6 months... already... wow.) there is more and more interaction between the two of you. She watches your every move. You make her smile. You make her laugh. You climb into her bed and try to use her exersaucer. You even try to fit yourself into the jolly jumper. I keep telling you you're going to hurt yourself and that you're too big for Meaghan's toys, but I'm not sure you believe me just yet.
- You have a best friend. "N" is a sweet little girl, just a little older than you. You knew her before you were born and I wonder sometimes if that's part of why you have such a close bond for two such young girls (her mom and I were pregnant together and used to work out in the morning's before work... maybe the two of you will work out together one day too!).
-You're still "too little" when you want to be and "too big" when you want to be (!)
- You love sugar. When we bake together, you always want to eat handfuls of sugar - especially brown sugar!
- You like to WALK when we go out to walk Reuben (the dog) but we can usually convince you to get in the stroller if we want to go for a longer (& faster) walk. You're getting better and better at running too. And you love to play games and hide from your dad or from me... sometimes your hiding spots aren't so great though. I can still see you when you crouch down in the middle of the sidewalk to "hide" :-P
- You're discovering your body and you wonder if you'll have "boobies" like me one day... you know that Meaghan is just like you and you wonder why Dad is "different". I try to be very matter-of-fact about the whole anatomy issue... though it's still a little weird for me too.
- You tried to shave your legs with my razor in the bathtub today. I'll make sure I don't leave it in there again. I'm very lucky you didn't cut yourself.
- You are usually a good little eater - but you give me a hard time when it comes to vegetables. You ate Meaghan's pureed squash the other day though... I wonder if this will be the way you eat your vegetables?!?
- You still love your little "mousie" but have started taking other toys to bed with you. Tonight you went to sleep with mousie, your little baby doll, mo (teddy bear) and a little toy from the dollarstore (?)
- You like to "help" your Dad work out... whether you are mimicking his moves beside him or sitting on him while he tries to exercise!
- You like playing with your toy-kitchen... or "chicken" as you like to call it. For some reason you can only say "K-itchen" when you're whispering... otherwise when we try to correct you - you always say "K...K...K-CHICKEN".
- You like to help me cook for real too.

-You make me laugh every night when I wake you up to go pee (before I head to bed). You are half asleep on the little potty in your room and I'm sure you'd fall off if I wasn't holding you. I've got to get it on video!
- You are sooo cute when you say grace before we eat. Last week you started thanking God for people you love... on top of "for the food... and for ...riding for us" (providing for us).
- We aren't thrilled when we hear you little feet coming up the stairs to our room EARLY in the morning... but we can't help but think it's cute when you climb into bed tell us that you're "awake now". But seriously... what happened to your 7/7:30 wake up time?????
- You "go to work" in the front entrance of the house (between the two-doors). You take a bag and some books and when I ask you what you're going to do at work, you're response is "I'm going to play math... and play science too".
- You really like it when I trace pictures on your back when I sing "oh mr sun, sun, mr golden sun, please shine down on me..."
- You give us a run for our money at bedtime these days... "I have to pee", "I want milk", "I want a hug"... sigh...
- You love books and seem to always pick nighttime reading that is way out of your league. It's awfully weird to be reading about greenhouse gases to a toddler!!
- You also LOVE movies and along with your dad have discovered a new bedtime routine watching little clips on YouTube or "drawing" on the computer (Dad's laptop has a touchscreen).
-You're getting much better at sitting still while I do your hair. I was able to do 2 french braids in ONE try today!
- ...

...and I just know that there is so much I'm forgetting... so many special little habits or moments... I wish I could remember it all. I hope that writing some of this down will jog my memory in years to come... and be special for you to read when you're older.

Layla...Lay-li... Layla-Lou...Laylou... monkey...

You are my FIRST. My first pregnancy, my first baby, my first toddler, my first daughter... my first try at being a good mother (!) You will always be my first. In a way I will always be figuring things out with you. We will always be learning together. But as long as I'm living... my baby you'll be (just like I sing to you whenever I put you to bed!)

I love you sweetie. Happy 2 1/2. That means it's only 6 more months until your first bike!!!

Mamma (a.k.a Mom, Mommy, Mommio, .... or just A.)


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