You know mommy has started writing you letters since before you were born (see Exhibits A, B, and C), I probably should do them more often, but alas, you keep me plenty busy every day, so from now on, I'm going to declare your birthday as the "Annual Write My Daughter a Letter Day"...
...which brings us to... Today! It's your 2nd birthday! Wow, since when has another year passed by? I looked back at the letter I wrote you a year ago, and it's amusing to recall the days we obsessed with every one of your milestones- sitting up, feeding yourself, sleeping through the night, then back to not sleeping through the night when you're teething...
That seems like ages ago, especially when we look at the 2 year-old little girl today, running, jumping, singing, blabbering non-stop (you haven't yet mastered phrases- the one milestone we still admittedly obsess about), and waving "hello" or "nihao" to just about everyone you meet with your signature "up and down" wave.
We are delighted that we have come to know you as a little person with your own personality. In case the future-you want to know what the 2-year-old-you is like, here's how we'd describe you today:
You're kind, easy-going, and even-keeled: you got these traits from your dad.
You love to dance and twirl and pose in front of the mirror (or iPad camera).
You like to doodle with your new markers, we love it too, except for that one time you thought they were mommy's lipsticks... Major oops.
You're a little bit shy, and can take a while to warm up at the playground.
You're uncharacteristically cautious for a toddler- what 2 year-old sit down before going down the curb? I'm not complaining though...
You sometimes have this serious look on your face- Por Por compares your frown to mine when I was little.
But when you laugh, it's the purest, most infectious, joyful laughter in the world.
You surprise us by how well you follow directions, although you do practice selective hearing from time to time (I guess all toddlers do).
You're still a champ when it comes to sleeping, taking 3-hour naps daily (thank you!).
You can be a picky eater- which may explain why you're at 95th percentile for height and 50th percentile for weight. You love all sorts of fruits though.
Your favorite shows right now are Sesame Street, Curious George, the Wiggles and Winnie the Pooh.
You yell "Come on!" very passionately every time someone honks the horn (oops, you probably learned that one from me).
You still call everything "dada" when you're not sure what they're called (I know you're forever attached to your daddy...).
When you're upset (which isn't often), you pull my hair and try to poke my eyeballs out.
I love that you love to have your hair pulled up in pigtails (you're so cute!).
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And how crazy is it that we're spending your birthday with the terracotta army in Xi'an, China? And that you've had your 3rd birthday cake today- starting with the first one with your friends in Hong Kong (thanks, Angie, Ruby and Melanie!), followed by another one with Gong Gong and Por Por, and another today from mommy's coworkers?
Some day I feel slightly guilty for yanking you out of your comfort zone and schlepping you all the way across the world with me, and not being able to spend your birthday back in our cozy little home with Bryson by our side...
I know the world must feel a bit confusing and overwhelming to you right now, bouncing from one Chinese city to another every other week. And I'm pretty sure you have no idea the cultural significance of any place you've been to- you probably enjoyed the ramp you ran up and down at the terracotta army museum today much more so than the UNESCO site itself.
I just hope that some day when you look back at the pictures of our adventures, you realize how lucky you are to have the opportunity to experience the rich culture of half of your heritage (being Chai-American, our short for Chinese-Thai-American); to understand how people may look or act different on the outside, but want to be respected, understood and loved all the same; and most importantly, how much we love you and have enjoyed traveling with you, seeing the world through your eyes (thanks for reminding us how the little thing is what makes the world so beautiful and mesmerizing).
And I apologize that mommy's forgetful- I forgot our camera's card reader, and thus, can't add any of our photos to this post. I have to "borrow" your Gong Gong's photos. Here are a few. I promise I'll add more of them once we get home.
Sweet dreams, baby girl. Happy birthday again, can't wait to spend another adventurous year with you and watch you blossom.