The first thing that anyone notices about her is her hair. Its crazy curly and beautiful and so cute. Its almost always a battle to brush it, so there are definitely days when I just don't do it and its wild. But she also loves her pony tails and loves to see what I've done to her hair in the mirror. Then she'll just look at herself with a sweet, self-satisfied grin.
After her hair, really the most striking thing on meeting Megan is her verbal ability. She communicates in complex sentences, picks up new words like candy, and is almost always very polite. Recently, when we suggest doing something, she has started saying, "Oh, yes. That's a great idea." Or, "That sounds like it would be FUN!" She is a pro at saying please and thank you and reminds us when we forget to tell her how polite she is. "Say, 'Good job being polite' mama." Oh, yes, she's very into telling me what to say. "Say 'no no Emma'", when Emma drops her sippy cup. "Say, 'your friends are coming over after your nap'" when we're pretending its nap time. And my favorite, "Mama, don't say 'no you can't have some chocolate'" or some similar request.
For a while there, Megan was getting a little jealous of Emma. After talking with my mom and others about how to address this, I decided that Emma's morning nap time would be reserved for Megan and Mommy time. It really is amazing how much of a difference this has made for all of us. Megan loves it. She knows that while I put Emma down, she gets to watch Elmo. Then, after Elmo, we do any of a number of things that are only allowed while Emma is asleep. For a long time, we would open up the ottoman, which is where all our board games are stored. We played with and explored each board game, building a house with boggle letters, using game pieces as people to ride in game card cars, and putting the scrabble letters carefully on their "benches" and then sliding them off into the bag. Oh what fun a 2 year old can have with grown up board games! Now we've moved on to making Valentine's "cards" with paper, glue, and a permanent marker (no crayons for her!), but we also play with a magnetic doll who has magnetic clothes that can be put on her, read books on the couch while completely covered with a blanket (yay forts!), play with dominos, and do puzzles that are way beyond her, but fun for her to stand on when they are completed.
It has had an amazing effect on Megan and Emma's relationship. Megan was always generally kind to Emma, but now I can really trust Megan to take care of Emma (well, as long as I'm nearby.) I now leave them together in the crib or the play pen while I do quick things like wipe over a bathroom or shower. They are (almost) always as happy as can be together. Megan hugs Emma, sings to her when she is sad, "helps" her up when she falls over, talks to her in a sweet voice with sweet words, and just really tries to nurture her little sister. Now, when Megan has a snack, she always breaks off small pieces for Emma. Even when Emma is napping, Megan will give me some little pieces to give to Emma when she wakes up. She knows that she has to bite the tail off her goldfish crackers "so Emma won't choke" and never fails to do so. She knows that Emma can only have the white parts of popcorn, not the brown. (Although, those are two snacks that I don't give them when I'm not right there, just in case.) And, of course, Emma laps up the attention. Even when Megan is napping, Emma goes for Megan's toys first and just tries to play with them like Megan does, even though she really has no clue what Megan does with such things as dolls and puzzles.
And, of course, I'm just learning more and more what a wonderful, sweet daughter I have in my first born. (Not that I've ever doubted it.) I love those times of play and conversation and cuddles.
Megan is really a little smarty-pants. She knows all her shapes (the other day she couldn't remember what a circle was called and called it "the round and round thing"), almost all her colors (yellow and white are so similar!), and can count to twelve from memory...and count up to three objects correctly...usually. :)
Most of her time is spent playing pretend...usually either that she is going to bed or she is putting us to bed or she is putting her dolls to bed. She can also be found "doctoring", "packing to go to California", going to church (after which you can hear her little voice raised singing, "Hallelooooyah. Pwaise the Lord!"), going to the grocery store, and going to Starbucks. Recently she's also been making little hide-a-ways for herself by enclosing herself with baskets, boxes, chairs, and whatever else she can find to make herself a "house".
I am often amazed at her memory of events. She remembers details of things from a long time ago that we have never discussed. And I'm loving that she is verbal enough to tell us what happened when she is away from us. Ha ha. Her stories about what happened in Sunday School often include something like, "Miss Jessica said, 'no no.'" - We ask why. - "Because I was talking when she was reading." Poor child. I haven't had the heart to tell her that its just a foretaste of school life to come. She also told us the other day that Walker took her pacifier at Sunday School and she shouted at him. Sorry Walker. I guess next time you won't take what's not yours. Of course, I'm not sure how much of the dialogue that she told me occurred actually happened, and how much of it was from the movie "Elmo In Grouchland" where Mr. Huxley (the bad guy) takes Elmo's blanket and Elmo has to get it back. I hear her imagining that (very tame) argument relatively frequently.
She's old enough now for books with real (simple) plots. Woo hoo!!! Her favorite currently is The Best Nest. She also loves stories about when Mommy and Daddy were little and when she was "a little little baby." And the most satisfying story for her is one that ends either in, "Then he said, 'thank you'. And she said, 'You're welcome'." or "Then he said, 'I'm sorry.' and she said, 'I forgive you'." Oh how she loves those two little dialogues. They really are the building blocks of her world in a lot of ways!
She often, now, thanks us spontaneously for various things. I tell her she can watch Elmo while I put Emma to bed and she responds with an enthusiastic, "THANK you Mommy!" Or she'll be eating her dinner and just pipe up with, "Mmm. This is yummy Mommy. Thank you for making it for me." It really doesn't get better than that.
We do work with her on saying I'm sorry and she can be spontaneous about that too. The other day she was crying because she didn't want to do what I told her. I ignored it while I finished up what I was doing and by the time I was done, she had calmed down. Then she came to me, "I'm sorry for crying Mama." Oh, what a sweet tender conscience she has. Of course, I told her that I forgave her.
When Emma is crying in the play pen because she doesn't want me to leave her (so I can do something like clean a toilet), Megan will run to her, "Its ok Emma, Megan's here. Megan's here." Or, "Hi Sweetie. What's the matter Sweetie? Do you need your ba?" in a high pitched voice. Then she'll run to get her pacifier or a snack.
Yesterday morning Jamie was leaving for work and asked Megan if she wanted to feel his smooth face. She rubbed her cheek against his. Then proceeded to rub her entire face, both sides, over his cheek for several minutes. Then she looked at him and said, "Oh, THANK you Daddy for letting me do that." Jamie and I both about choked up at the incredible sweetness of it.
Trying to help her understand respect is a little difficult. She's just so verbal and so smart...and she loves to argue with me. For now, I tell her that respecting Mommy means saying, "ok mama" instead of arguing over every little thing. Usually that works...and keeps me from going completely batty when she argues with me over things like whether Daddy is home or whether its Sunday today.
On that same album of Bible verses that I mention above is a song "When I am afraid I will trust in you." I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but Megan has always been kind of, well, scared. When she was smaller she went through a phase where she was VERY afraid of feathers and bubbles...like jump-in-mommy's-arms-screaming afraid. But the amazing thing about her is that she is also incredibly brave. Emma is fearless. Megan is very brave.
About a week ago Jamie was getting something out of the garage and had taken Megan with him. He didn't even notice that it was pretty dark and cold in there until he heard her little voice singing, "When I am afraid I will trust in You...in God whose word I praise."
I know I'm forgetting some things, but really, this is long enough. And I'll never post it if I don't do it now.
Megan, you are the most amazing 2 year old I've ever known. I'm so thankful that I get to be your mommy! I love you!