You are the pain and the beauty of our lives; the loud mini version of what Maria-used-to-be-as-a-child; the character who wants things NOW! and to do it MYSELF! and to point out that things are MINE!
Always mine. Now. Myself.
When any of us get hurt, you come up to us and give us a kiss. You stroke our heads - something you learned from your brother who strokes your head when you are upset at having to lay down to get your nappy changed, and it soothes you. You give us the same hugs as your brother, too: tight, close-by and warm from the heart.
Actually, you are a lot like your brother full-stop. You want to do everything he's doing. You like him a lot.
But you are also different, oh how so different! Loud, demanding, stubborn, self-assured and loud. Did I say loud already? That's good, because you are twice as loud as anyone else of us can be loud. And then some.
But we are learning that by giving you space and challenges - just the way I was given space and challenges by people who understood what drives me as a person - you can be incredibly reliable and independent, to an extent beyond what we'd expect from you given the fact that you are only jut turning two tomorrow.
And I am grateful, more than I will write in this blog post, for the lessons you have taught me along the way, and how the very fact that I carried you inside me taught me things about The Kid and myself I had not known about; that part of the reason I get on so well with The Kid now is the fact that you are here, my little loud munching monster of a girl.
I know that you are my last baby, and I cherish the time I get to spend with you, but I also look forward to the future when you are older, and when we will start arguing over things and exasperating over each other, as we are both stubborn, the way your father and your brother are both kind and gentle. You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me want to pull my hair out, and crawl back into bed at 5 am when you are cheerfully chirping in your cot and wanting to get out NOW! because who cares that everyone else in this house is still asleep - you aren't, and you want out NOW!
You are a character of a child, and we love you very, very much. Maybe not as openly at 5 o'clock in the morning ;), but still.
Thank you, my dear daughter, and happy birthday to you tomorrow.