My sweet girl, it seems as though I blinked only once, and just like that you went from a tiny baby to a two year old little girl. I remember the day you were born like it was just yesterday. You woke me up in the middle of the night, and we slowly eased our way through the darkness, into the light of day, and on into the morning before you finally came into the world. I took one look at you and knew I was already wrapped around your little finger. You were a beautiful baby with lots of dark hair and the bluest eyes just exactly the same color as your big brother's. We dressed you in pink from the start; it's always been your best color. After much thought and debate about the spelling, we gave you our most favorite little girl name - Annabel - and then gave you the strongest middle name we could think of - Taylor - after my great-grandmother who was one of the toughest and most wonderful women I've ever known. The name definitely suits you with your strong-willed, do-it-yourself personality.
You were an amazingly easy baby, only crying when you were hungry or tired, and sleeping in your own bed right from the start. I spent the first few weeks of your life just holding you tight, watching you sleep, and feeling so incredibly blessed by your presence in our family. Before you were born, I knew there was something missing in our lives, and then there you were, perfect in every way, and all ours. You were the missing puzzle piece, and now our family is complete.
I think you must always have known that you were the second child and would therefore have some competition. Since you were just a few months old, you've always made your presence known with that big strong voice of yours. I remember thinking a few times that if you didn't stop screaming (not crying, just, well, yelling really) I would most definitely go crazy. I remember putting you in your bouncy seat, or under your mobile, or in your walker when you got bigger, and listening to you use that big loud voice of yours over and over and over again. I knew then that you would always keep up with Tommy, have all your own opinions, and never be afraid to stand up for yourself. Those strong Taylor genes gave you a confidence that I hope you'll always keep with you.
I've been so amazed by your fearlessness as you've grown. I've watched you as you carefully and closely paid attention to Tommy and then tried to copy his every move. From climbing on everything to learning to ride a scooter to jumping off of places that should not be jumped off of, you always seem to just go for it and not worry about the consequences. Sometimes this pays off (like when you climbed up onto the table to sneak some more birthday cake) and other times it gets you into trouble (like when you climbed up onto the table to sneak some more birthday cake...again) and still other times it gets you two bloody knees (like when you jumped off the curb before you really knew how to jump). Even when I stop you, you go right back and try again so unless you're doing something that could get you really hurt, I usually just let you go ahead and try. Someday this stubbornness (which you get from me) will hopefully pay off for you in whatever career you decide to pursue.
Although you have your tomboy moments, you are most definitely a girl. I've been so surprised by the differences between you and Tommy. Although you like to play with Tommy's cars and trucks and tractors, without any prompting from me, you also love to play with your dolls. You love to dress them and change their diapers and carry them around. You also love brushing your hair (and mine), and wearing nail polish on your toes and your fingers and telling me over and over again while pointing to them, "Mama, pretty." I've also found you, on more than one occasion, carrying around my favorite pair of red high heels. Such a girl. Since I've always been more of a tomboy myself, I'm having so much fun exploring these girly things with you. We'll definitely be getting lots of pedicures together, and hopefully one day you can wear those red high heels.
My sweet girl, as you continue to grow and change in the year to come, I am so looking forward to seeing all of your new accomplishments. From counting to colors to sentences to bike riding to swimming, I know you will use that strong will of yours to dive head-first into every new experience. I love watching your sweet and fiesty personality develop more and more each day and can't wait to see who you become.