Letter to Olivia: You are 2!

My dearest Olivia, 

We've just celebrated your birthday party today with mostly mama's friends whose children have become your playmates too. And I am so thrilled when one of your own friends turned up after we have invited her because I knew how much she meant to you. At a tender age of two, you actually made a friend on your own at the gym and it is mutual! It is really sweet and beautiful to see the two of you play together. Her mama told me that you are A's first friend just as she is yours.


This highlights what a lovely and friendly child you are. In many circumstances you're usually the first to reach out to other children even though they may be older than you. Your curiosity and desire to socialise is something that we definitely encourage and nurture. Mama is very pleased that you usually enjoy hanging out with other children.


In general, you are a really sweet and sensitive child. You get along well with both adults and other children. Because of that we thought that you are ready to be in school. Your journey to formal learning started on January 5, 2015. You did pretty well for someone who has never been apart from your primary caregivers. Mama was both proud and sad. Proud that you're entering another world where there is so much to learn, new adventures and experiences to pursue on your own with your teachers and friends. Mama needs to learn to let go of my desire to keep you to myself and to a smaller circle of trusted people where we are your "world". To be perfectly honest, mama is adjusting to the fact that you're in school as much as you are. Perhaps, you are doing better than I am!


The past one year has been incredible. Your first year was amazing and the second year turned out to be just as exciting. We are often blown away as watch you develop physically, intellectually, mentally and emotionally. Your determination in overcoming the developmental hurdles is so strong that you teach me what grit is.


I remember vividly the time when you first learn how to flip over,  sit up, stand, cruise and walk. You never give up trying. Obstacles simply mean you are gonna try harder. I love that spirit and I pray that you will always have that in you.

For the record, you first walked independently and confidently on 22 May 2014. You were cruising for the longest time and able to take a couple of steps unassisted. On that particularly day, you decided to just walk and you did it so beautifully. I can still visualize the look and sense of accomplishment on your face. You were so thrilled and excited! The following day we went to the gym and again you seemed so amazed that you no longer need to hold on to anything when you walk. You walked with your arms wide open just to test if it were true. You had that joy and glow in you that was indescribable. Mama is so thankful that I managed to witness and share all these important milestones with you.


As young as you are, you've shown me how you can solve problems. With the goal in mind, you find ways to overcome obstacles and reach your goals. What I've read in books seem to be true for you. It's just so intriguing for me to observe and witness that in you. You continue to amaze me.


Mama loves to observe and listen to you now since you're communicating so much more. You show that you can understand instructions (you're mama's little helper) and you have your own preferences and opinions too. I love to hear your thoughts or when you give compliments to us like, "nice". You are mindful of your please and thank you and it warms my heart when you say it to those in the family without prompting. Your, "thank you kakak" never fails to make our helper feels appreciated and touched. I am very pleased that you don't take things for granted and has already started to express your gratitude to the people who have cared and loved you.


Today, you expressed that the birthday cake that I have baked for you was nice. You said thank you to mama's friend who has helped to bake and decorate the cake as well. It certainly makes me feel like we have done something right with you.


My dearest child, you have your dark side as well. When things do not go your way, you tend to bite, pinch and throw a major tantrum. In the last 2-3 months, the intensity of your tantrum has escalated. Mama understands that this is a normal developmental stage for you where you learn to assert your own preferences and ideas while you don't really have the physical and mental capacity to understand what's going on. Night terror is something else that has been plaguing us as well although we are grateful that the frequency has reduced.


When mama first heard from your teacher that you've been misbehaving in the second week of school by pushing/biting/bullying your classmates, I was sad and perplexed. You have never exhibited the tendency to hurt or bully other children when we were out in social events. In fact, you show compassion and empathy towards others. This was not consistent with the child that we have gotten to know. Thankfully, after some firm actions by the teacher and reinforcement at home, you are behaving much better now. Mama hopes that you continue to remain engaged and inspired in school and love learning and not be driven into boredom and the need to behave negatively in order to seek attention.


Letting you grow also means that I have to learn to accept your choices. Rather, I need to empower you to trust in your own choices by respecting you. For the past several weeks, mama has stopped being your number one and it was such a bitter pill to swallow. You no longer wanted me to do things for you. You have your own clear preference and despite knowing the fact that I was sad, you were clear with your choice. I couldn't get you to change your mind. But when you said to me that," "when mama is sad, baby is sad"

I knew that I am not to force you against your wishes. That despite knowing that i was not happy with your choice, you went ahead with it because that's what you really wanted.


This is such an important lesson for mama to learn. Mama didn't grow up with that sort of confidence. Mama grew up feeling that I had to obey and please others in order to get approval. Hence, watching you reacting differently has been a new experience for me. It is refreshing. I am really proud and pleased that you don't succumb to pressure. It also helps also that in the past week, you've started to want to be with mama more and mama knows that I am still important to you. It totally sucks to feel that mama can be redundant in your life. That was a truly scary thought.


My dearest child, as much as mama will always miss your baby days, I want you to know how proud and pleased I am that you are the amazing child that you are today. Your energy, sense of curiousity and wonderment, love and care for others has certainly impressed me. Your ability to connect with different members of the family and making each one pays attention to you reflects your remarkable understanding of social skills. I hope we will continue to nurture what is good in you.


Please do not ever forget that we love you very dearly. While we need to discipline and teach you what is right and wrong, you are never the issue. In you, i see what God has intended each of us to be - the image of God Himself. That each of us is good and worthy of love. There is nothing that you need to prove. Our love is a given, it's not something that you need to earn. May you always remain deeply secure in our and God's love for you.


On your second birthday, mama's wish for you is that you remain healthy, adventurous and open to new experiences. More importantly, you get to know more of God, the one who has gifted you to us. More than our child, you are God's beloved child and that is your identity. May we, your parents and godparents serve as a worthy mirror of God to reflect His steadfast and unchanging love to you. Pray with us that God will grant us the wisdom to guide and teach you in His ways. "Peacecyou" :)


Happy second birthday my dearest baby! We are so thankful for the gift of you.


Always loving you,

Imperfect Mama