Chiara, Age 2

Chiara had her birthday two weeks ago. We were traveling on the date, but my in-laws were kind enough to arrange a cake and candles at the rehearsal dinner and the whole group of 30 or so people sang to her (including several opera singers, so it was quite the serenade!) She smiled with muted delight and ate her chocolate cake with serious concentration. But then, as is her style, told me all about it that evening with bright eyed excitement. “Mommy! I ha’ cake an’ can’les, an’ sing  Happy Birthday Chi Chi!” Again yesterday, when we mentioned we would be opening her presents the next day- she remembered the occasion with delight.
Chiara is an incredibly verbal child, and acquires language through the habit of parroting. She often repeats what I say, or repeats the phrases of her brothers under her breath. Yesterday,  she said off hand “Forget about it! It happens!” The same day she crinkled her nose in disgust and spit out the word “Stupid!” She knows that a burb will get a laugh and will at times fake one when she’s at a table of boys; but if she does it when her mother’s in the room, she’ll say “Excuse me.” Earlier this week she started using the word “favorite.” She often talks about herself in the third person. “Dis Chi Chi fav’ite book.” She loves to label the items in her First 100 words books, and will sometimes sit down and drill herself- “Bunny, cheetah, Zeb’a, gi’aff. . .” Last night, as I was tucking her into bed she said with distress “I nee’ give brothers kiss!” She’s taking to giving kisses and delivers the sweetest most delicate little pecks.
She has an adorable run- all bubble and bounce. Her arms flap, her curls bob, and her cheeks go up and down. You can’ help but smile and want to sweep her up into your arms when she approaches you that way!
She’s become a bit more decisive about her clothing. She loves our new routine of picking out her pajamas. Will it be penguins, cupcakes, polar bears? One day she looked into her drawer as I was picking out clothes for her and said “I wan’ my star shirt.” “Okay, Chiara you can wear your star shirt.” I grabbed the shirt and a pair of jeans. She fussed and said “I wan’ my cozy pants!” and pointed to a pair of gray leggings.
As Tom and I watched her flutter around the gymnasium this afternoon, her full pastel blue dress bouncing up and down, he voiced “We’re going to turn her into too much of a girl. You dress her so cute, and I spoil her so much too.” I’ll admit I love to dress her up, and one of the few delights I have about rainy weather is the way it makes her hair curl up.
Chiara is starting to be a genuine playmate, at least with family. We played a darling game with our puppets on the airplane, and Anders and she make me lavish meals from the school’s preschool room kitchen. She loves her friend Quincy, a 12 year old neighbor who watches the kids for an hour while I teach, and often asks “Go Kinzy’s house?!”
She’s not prone to smiling at strangers, more often she’ll offer a grimace or sneer, if not turn her head and burrow it into me in some way.  If they speak to her she’ll strength her look of distrust. At home she is  confident and independent, but in public she’s an all out Momma’s girl. Though, as our time with family showed, she’s able and willing to switch that affection to anyone who promises time, attention, and love. She took full advantage of her grandfather’s attention, enjoyed long snuggle sessions with her Grandma and still asks for “Tassie”- after their many sweet interactions.
She spends many hours playing LEGOs with her brothers and has gotten quite adept at working with the small pieces. She’ll bring her creations over to me and tell me about them. This morning it was something like this: “Mommy! Airfane! It ha’ ice c’eam” (she said pointing to the one pink brick.) “And boo. . .” (pointing to the blue bricks) “and lellow. . .”
She’s taken up singing. Yesterday, as she played with play dough she sang the whole time. I recognized clips of two primary songs, “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam,” and “Happy Family.” and often she’ll belt out her own tunes, usually with a false vibrato.
I’m always humored by the various voices she chooses; from her sweet and smiley high pitched one, to the low husky one, to the nasal strident one, to this silly one I can’t even describe.
The last two weeks she’s started to do this thing where she’ll grab my face with both hands and direct it towards hers so she can communicate her needs. This usually happens when we’re at school and I’m holding her while talking to friends. She’ll direct my face to hers and request I take her to pick out yet another handful of lego heads.
Chiara can be a tremendous helper. She’ll see me sweep and go and get the little broom and join me, or find the dust pan and bring it to me. She knows to  grab a rag and wipe up any spills she makes. She can be a tremendous picker upper, and loves to help set the table. She often helps her brothers unload the dishwasher.

She loves running, slides, her baby, shoes, milk, her Paci, her blankie, naps, books, treats, pockets, pas’a, cheerios with milk, tomatoes, cheese, her brothers, her Daddy, her Mommy, her stride bike, painting, flying in ‘airflanes,’ going to Ga’ ma’s house, Quincy, and singing. 

We love her. Oh, how we love her!

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