A Letter to my Baby Girl on Her Second Birthday

EmmaDear Emma,

Happy Blessed 2nd Birthday. And as with all other birthdays that we’ve celebrated for you and your brother – and I suspect for all birthdays from now on – I ask, “Where did the time go?”

It’s taken me a while to get to know you, little girl. It’s taken me a long, long while, I feel. And it is only very recently in the last half a year or so, that I’ve started to be able to somewhat identify you – and this is something that I’ve wanted to write to you for so long but didn’t get down to it.

So here it is: You’ve been a real surprise, Emma. You’re like this treasure box I had held in my hand for quite a while and one that I had been afraid to explore for fear of breaking it. So all I did was to hold on to you, carefully and with a lot of uncertainty about what to do. You had seemed so fragile and gentle that many times I had asked, “How is it you’re so 姑娘?” Nothing wrong with that, my little sweetie-pie; it’s just that your mother here has never been such, and that was why I really didn’t quite know what to do with you.

Then in the last few months, you changed. Somewhere along the way, you went from gentle flower to feisty ‘chilli padi’. You definitely stand your ground – well, you actually roll in the ground every time you protest, and you make your intentions clear and your wants, heard.

This mother cannot be more proud.

I love your spirit and your passion, as much as they wear me down on a daily basis! But even in the worst days, I’m very aware of the part of me that’s just waiting for you to become a proper little lady so I can hear what you have to say about the things you feel strongly about.

And then there are the days when all we do is roll around and cuddle and it seems as if you can’t get enough of me. How is that possible when I still feel like I never devoted as much one-to-one time with you as I wanted to? You would run to me and throw yourself into my arms, snuggle up to me and tease me by blowing saliva-bubbles at me, wait for me to scream and tickle you, or just insistently shove everything else away from me before you plonk yourself into my lap. I know what you’re doing – you’re declaring that I’m yours and you’re mine. That you would choose me at all makes me feel so proud and possessive and protective all at the same time.

Somedays I watch you fight with your brother, pull his hair and try to bite him, and I want to laugh. You’re truly quite the fighter and I feel assured that you’ll be able to hold your own as you grow.

Other days, I watch you get bullied by your brother and you cry in the most heartbreaking baby-girl sobs that gets me jumping to your defence and it takes all I have to remain calm to moderate the fight.

Emma, sweetie, you are such a big surprise. And while mummy hasn’t yet learned how to react to your every whim and fancy, I honestly cannot wait to watch you blossom as you continue to bravely take your steps forward.

You are two today. Six to nine months ago, you started to call me “Mum-may!” but then you’ve entirely stopped. Then you called Daddy “Deh-dee!” and now you’ve stopped too. All you seem to want to call is “Kor-kor!” everyday, every moment.

I can’t wait for you to call me “mummy” but however long you take, I’m going to try to be patient and take the time to marvel at the rest of you – from your thunder thighs to how you feel when we squish you, from your girly attitude to those most feisty mannerisms. I love your cry, your girl-voice, the way you brush your hair aside, how you dance to all kinds of tunes and rhythms, how you skip and hop when you run, how you always look out for your brother and take the time to bring him his toys, how you exclaim “THERE!!!” when we ask you to look out for certain things, how you respond with confusion to questions you don’t understand, how you search for our hand to grasp and tug at, how you squeal and gurgle, how you take such care to put your “baby” to bed, how you love shoes just like me, and really, just so much more.

I confess that I don’t always pay enough attention to all the little things but somehow, they still make their way to my heart and register themselves clearly within. Somehow, we do belong to each other.

foxMummy coloured this fox for you. After pondering over the pages for so many months, I finally found the one as you grew into my own mysterious fox – passionate and fiery, all sparks and bursts of surprises every which way. This is you. From me. I coloured in my prayers for you, sweetheart. May your life ever be filled with such beauty and may you always embrace them with as much spirit as you do now.

Happy Birthday dear sweet girl. Mummy and Daddy love you so, sooooo much.

MMJ

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