You're 2 1/2 years old - can you believe it? I'm sure having a hard time wrapping my brain around it because having you in our lives for the last two-and-a-half years just doesn't seem possible. Though, I was looking back at photos of you from your second birthday and you've visibly changed so much in the last few months.
Tory Bean, you keep Daddy and I on our toes because you are a busy little thing. After observing you during a play date or at gymnastics class, for example, other mothers often say to me, "Wow! She's active" (with heavy emphasis on the active) and, yes, you are an energetic little girl. There's not a moment during the day you stop moving (well, except those few [and I mean few] minutes you take a nap each afternoon). I love your excitement for all things, big and small. It's one of the ways you're so special to us.
Although I don't have your official stats, I wouldn't say you've physically changed much since I wrote to you back in December. You still weigh 25 pounds and measure 34" inches on your growth chart. You're still wearing size 2T clothing and size 4 diapers (diapers, ahem, I'll get to that ...). Ways in which you have changed are the loss of your squishy baby cheeks (you're looking less like a toddler and more like a preschooler everyday), length of your hair (it's now as long as your shoulder blades), increase in shoe size (up to a 5 1/2 or 6, I think) and your ability to verbally communicate, listen, understand concepts and follow directions.
One thing that's completely floored Daddy and I lately is your ability to speak Spanish. Dora the Explorer is one of your favorite television cartoons and while some people would probably shun us as parents for allowing you to watch TV, you're actually learning things from it. You're able to count from 1-10 in Spanish and know the translation for the words "up", "down" and "hello." One night recently I heard you muttering in your sleep, "Get down! Abajo!" It just goes to show what a sponge your mind is at this age.
You're speaking quite well, and have an excellent memory. At night, you like to recap your day by telling me what activity we've done, people we saw or story lines from your favorite television shows. Some of your adorable "Tory-isms" lately are the way you call oatmeal "oat milk," the way you tell us how you're feeling by saying, "I pretty tired / I pretty sad /or I pretty hungry," and answer questions by saying "probably I not." When you find a solution to a problem you'll say, "That'll do the trick!" and if I answer a question for you, you'll say, "Oh, I knew that."
We celebrated Christmas, Valentine's Day, Grandpa Jim's birthday and my birthday in the last few months, so now you're all about partying. You play "beach party" with your dolls and Minnie Mouse figurines and you love to decorate the house with arts and crafts. The promise of baking goodies or making crafts is usually the only way I can convince you to take a nap in the afternoons.
Oh, what a sensitive point of discussion. Four words - you stink at sleeping. I hope this gets better one day, but for now it's safe to say we're basically surviving this time in our lives. Between you and Aden both up several times during the night, this Mama is getting zero sleep. Oof.
Lately, learning the alphabet has peaked your interest. You'll rattle off the ABC's, but you don't have all of them down just yet. You can correctly identify T-O-R-Y and proudly affirm "T" as your favorite letter. You can count from 1-14 and then always skip to 17 for some reason. It's super cute the way you've started to count on your fingers, but you can't quite get them to stand up on your hand the way you want them to. You like to play Stop and Go and when we're out and about town, you've very good at listening to my instruction to "stop" or "go" in parking lots. I'm so appreciative for this because it can be quite challenging maneuvering you and your baby brother through snow-covered parking lots in the frigid winter temperatures.
One not-so-positive milestone is your accomplishment (and then regression) of potty training. Shortly after your second birthday, you were gung-ho in using the toilet and had relatively few accidents. Then, enter little brother and ever since Aden was born, you haven't the slightest desire to use the bathroom. It's ironic, actually, because you know exactly what to do but prefer to wear diapers at this time. Honestly, it's fine with me as it's one less thing I have to worry about right now. This summer we might give potty training another try before you enter three-year-old preschool. I'm not too stressed about it, and I don't think you are either.
Some of your favorite things are playing doctor ("I have a diagnosis!"), imaginary play with your dollhouse and little figurines, cooking with pretend food, helping me bake goodies in the kitchen, arts and crafts, playing in the snow at the cabin and showering Aden with love.
THINGS TO DO
You're a busy little bee as we've kept very active this winter. You're involved in ECFE toddler preschool, gymnastics and music class. I'd say you enjoy music class the most, though you do more running around with your little friends than you do singing or participating in class. Gymnastics has taught you quite a bit of physical control in the last two months. You can now do an unassisted somersault and have learned to line up and wait patiently for your turn. And finally, you've come a long way in your love for school. You now enjoy your toddler class and Teacher Anne. You no longer cry when I leave you for the parent / child separation portion of the class. I'm proud of the way you're starting to engage in the class by sitting quietly and paying attention in "Circle Time" when just a few months ago you weren't able to follow the teacher's directions at all.
You're a good little eater when you're consuming foods you like -- yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, toast, chicken salad and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, oatmeal, pancakes and waffles, tomato soup and grilled cheese and quesadillas. Basically, cheese. You're not very good at trying new foods and will announce even before trying a food that you "don't yike it." Almost all vegetables are a no-go and fruits are hit or miss. You go through spurts where you're interested in bananas, strawberries and blueberries and other times you're not interested in the slightest.
PLAYMATES, FRIENDS and FAMILY
We traveled back to Nebraska for Christmas this year and visited Nana, Papa and all our family there. You also spend lots of time with Grandma Janie on evenings she stops by the house to see you. A big highlight in the last few months was when your best friend Ashley and her sister Baby Taylor joined us at the cabin for the weekend. You and Ashley continue to talk about the fun things we did that weekend (like how you girls got to ride in the same car together - you both thought that was the neatest thing!).
You also love playing with your little friend Hannah at the cabin when you're both up there on the weekends. Every Friday as we pull onto the cabin road you ask, "Hannah at my cabin?" We always joke about the trouble you two girls will get into someday.
Tory, you truly make my life worth living. There's no else like you in the world and I love you for everything you are. Happy 2 1/2 years, little girl!