Dinah. Dinah-saur. Dinah-mite.
I cannot wrap my head around how time seems to be always speeding up, always passing faster and faster. Now a full-fledged toddler, you are a walking contradiction, a cautious daredevil, a feisty firecracker, full of ideas and understanding far beyond your age, an ornery bubble of pure delight. Basically, you’re two.
Dinah, you make me laugh more times in a day than I can keep track of. Your laugh is infectious and lights up our world – for all of us. You have a sense of humor to rival a comedian, with impeccable timing. You burst into giggles at the tiniest of things, at the most unexpected moments.
Another smart kiddo in the family, you can already count to twelve. You point to the letter “D” in a book and proudly exclaim, “Dinah!” You love sorting and stacking the way I love chocolate: with passion and vigor. You love to take our rainbow-colored silicone muffin cups and spend an hour or more just stacking and re-stacking them all, making towers with them or filling the muffin tin. You beg for paper and crayons or dry erase markers and a board to do “tuh-loring.”
I love the way you pronounce things. You like to put a “y” sound on the end of a lot of words. “Shoesies.” “Uppy.” “Eggies.” Other words are shortened, like “Meal!” every morning for “oatmeal.” (That’s your favorite food, hands-down). You also do a really good secondary “L” sound, over-pronouncing the beginning consonant to make the “L” extra clear. “Cuh-limb!” “Buh-low bubbles!” “Suh-lide!” All in the sweetest little toddler voice.
You are a big fan of “outside.” The slightest hint that anyone is going outside causes you to loudly proclaim, “Shoes! Me! Outside!” Then you go and grab your shoes and demand we put them on you, refusing to be satisfied until you are outdoors. Then you happily toddle around, looking at ants on the ground, walking in a circle on the bricks around the maple tree, or digging in the sand box. You have a growing interest in your tricycle and the plasma car, always wanting to keep up with your bigger siblings. You can easily climb the ladder to the swing set fort now, but you’re still wary of coming down the slide. If you must come down it, you prefer to lie on your belly, coming down feet first. This is problematic now, though, as you no longer wear onesies so your shirt pulls up and you get a rub burn on your belly from the slide.
Speaking of “owies,” you currently look like you’ve been through some kind of toddler war, or at least a few battles. There’s a great big purple goose-egg on your forehead from tripping on the pavement. There’s a huge bruise and scrape on your lower back from pulling a heavy metal wheelbarrow over onto yourself. Let’s not forget the ever-present bruises and scrapes on your shins and knees from just being a toddler. Here’s the awesome thing though: you always get back up and keep going. Even that wheelbarrow didn’t phase you for more than a couple minutes. I think you were honestly more scared than hurt, which is incredible because it really is quite heavy. You are one tough cookie, and determined to never let anything hold you back or stop you from getting what you want. God, I hope you never lose that, because girl, you’ll move mountains some day.
You love to be held, coming up to me and your daddy with arms reaching out, asking, “Uppy? Uppy ‘gain?” If we’re talking and you’re trying to get our attention, you’ll “knock” on our legs like a door. You don’t really give hugs or kisses often, and they’re rather feeble when you do. But the other night, when you woke in the middle of the night, I held you in my arms the way I did when I would nurse you, and gently rocked you and you reached one little arm up around my neck as you drifted back to sleep. It was the sweetest moment, made all the sweeter by how rare it is.
Music and dancing still hold a special magic for you, Dinah, and I hope that they always will. You love to sing along to “Baby Beluga” (it sounds like “Baby Buddha” when you say it) and “Yellow Submarine.” When your brother does his (now online) preschool “goodbye” song each day, you stand nearby and smiling, waving and singing along. I signed you up for the two’s class at the preschool this fall, and I think you’re going to love every second of it.
Dinah you are the one person in our family that is overjoyed that we all have been quarantined here at home for the last five weeks. You used to walk around the house all day, forlornly asking me, “Dada home? Ellie home?” You missed everyone so much when they would go to school and work, lighting up when they came in the door at the end of the day. But now! Oh! We are all here, all the time. Your little love cup is overflowing with the attention from five other people, always someone to hold you, play with you, share their food with you.
I think you know how much we adore you, Dinah. I hope you do. You truly are our sunshine. Thank you for being ours.