You'll be two years old tomorrow, and it's been an amazing experience watching you grow.
Your first birthday was lots of fun, but you were just beginning to interact with people around you. You had a great time smashing your cake, but you didn't really "get" what was going on. I imagine this birthday will be much different.
In the past year you've gained a tremendous amount of independance. You can walk up and down stairs without help. You can tell us what you want with words (and some signs) instead of fussing as much. You know where your toys, books, and colors are and will pull out what you would like to do (whether we want you to or not).
Your vocabulary has grown every day, learning new words and phrases making us ask, "where did you learn that?" For example: <finger on chin>, "Hmm", followed by <finger pointing in air beside head> "I have an idea!" At your last birthday you loved having us sing to you, where now you can sing the songs yourself, sing along with my clarinet to tunes you recognize (with correct intonation), and even make up your own songs such as the "Candy Cane Song" or the "Blue Song" (which frequently just repeats the subject of the song over and over in various pitches, speeds, and lengths). You can sing the entire ABC Song and count to thirteen (fourteen and fifteen are added on, but don't sound right yet). You know all your primary colors and can sign them.
Understanding emotions aren't out of your grasp, either. "No cry; [it's] okay," you tell Jared. When Mom or I pretend to be sad you run over right away to give us a hug. You tell us when you're "so happy." If Mom and I are having a "discussion" you interrupt with, "No Mommy! No Daddy!" to tell us we need to be quieter.
You've also grown so much. 5 inches in a year doesn't sound like much, but it means you can reach many more things you couldn't previously; the running water in the bathroom from your step-stool, the markers and crayons, and you can put Jared's bottles in the sink. You've thinned out a good bit. So far you have kept your curly, blonde hair, but it's gotten long enough that Mom has had to trim your bangs a couple times to keep them out of your face. And you're so cute in pig-tails or a pony-tail! On top of that, you got your ears pierced this last weekend and are doing a great job with letting them alone so they can heal properly.
Things you love? Books. You go through phases with which ones you like; earlier it was these animal board-books we had, then Christmas ones, then the "Pigeon" books, and now Dr. Seuss books. You used to love to sit on our laps and have us read them to you, and while you still like that, now you love to tell us the stories. "LET [ME] DRIVE [THE] BUS!" you'll tell us while reading "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus." You also love coloring; definitely with markers (the ones with the special paper are nice, but not as exciting as real ones - thank god they're washable!) but also with crayons and colored pencils. Last year you mostly just scribbled, but you progressed to "snakes" (lines) and circles. Now your scribbling is starting to become pictures in your mind (that Mommy and Daddy need to label on your picture so we don't forget). You also love clouds and pointing them out. It'll be warm out soon and we can go out and see them again.
So much has changed in the last year, and it's just the beginning for you. I know this next year you will enjoy spending time with your brother more as he learns to sit, then crawl, then walk. I'm sure you'll love playing with him and teaching things. In your own right, you'll be making new friends when you move to a new class in Day Care and will probably start making friends on the playground when we go out. And you'll continue to grow and learn, and we'll be there to help you.