pensive babyTwo years into this gig, and no one has yet fully explained to me exactly what being a Godmother entails. There are few handbooks on the subject. Unless you are a Fairy Godmother. Then it’s pretty clear: you let evil witches do bad things to your charge, swoop in at the last minute, after the day is saved, to take some credit. If I were Italian, I’d know to sit in a chiaroscuro study dispensing favors for favors and making offers you can’t refuse. Wait. That’s the Godfather. Maybe the Godmother just makes spaghetti. Not my favorite dish. Let’s move on.

Whatever it is a Godmother is supposed to do, I’m pretty sure it entails a lot of advice giving. And I’ll be doing just that. My friends will tell you I always have lots of advice to give: what books to read, where to travel, what to eat, what Christmas music to play… But I’m coming up empty on advice to a Two Year Old. About my only memory of that time is when my brother was born and when a bear chased me in Yellowstone Park. I have no advice on weathering those sorts of events. But I did come up with a few suggestions to tide you over until we can get to that reading list. So I know you don’t have many words yet and the only reading you are doing is in puffy cloth books, but pull up a chair to Daddy’s computer and check out these five rules [and a bonus] to live by. At least until you are Three.

1. Maintain your physical edge

One thing that astounds me about you — besides the fact that you are The World’s Most Beautiful Baby — is how physically advanced you are. While other kids your age are lumbering along, falling over and struggling with manual dexterity, you are climbing everything in sight, racing along with an Olympic sprinter’s form, and mastering and reprogramming every electronic device in the house. Just when you’ve done the baby equivalent of a Jillian Michaels’ Last Chance Workout, you drop down and do several Pilates Hundreds. All while laughing. I’m in awe, especially given my status as a Godmother of a Certain Age Who is Trying to Get Back in Shape. Your astounding physical condition is truly a use it or lose it proposition. Keep it up and you’ll thank me when you’re my age. Or at least when you make the Seventh Grade Volleyball Team.

2. Cry for 30 seconds max. Then smile. And don’t look back.

You seem to do this a dozen times a day. But you may not be aware how this technique can get you through most of life’s challenges. I don’t want you to forget it as you grow older. In fact, I think I’ll start practicing it just so we’re both in good form.

Amelia does Itsy Bitsy Spider

You are still struggling with that Itsy Bitsy Spider routine. But I'm so impressed that you are practicing so diligently.

3. Sharing is Good.

I know you are working on this. And although you are an only child, your mother is giving you plenty of playgroup opportunities to practice it. Again, this is advice in theory. It’s a lot easier to share with people who don’t live in your house. [See that birth of younger brother above on which I have no advice to give.] But I have found that, when you share, people share back. And somehow you always end up getting more than you give. Just trust me on this.

4. Itsy Bitsy Spider is a great song. And harder to master than you’d think.

By which I really mean to say how impressed I am that you are so receptive to a wide variety of music. You don’t just listen, you have a whole-body response — dancing, clapping, singing and twirling. You seem to have a special affinity for Classical, but don’t forget those Pony moves I taught you to Nancy Sinatra and that Y-M-C-A dance. They will make you a hit at certain parties. And even though you haven’t yet got that Itsy Bitsy Spider routine down, you’re practicing and practicing on your own. Keep it up. [I may not even have to put a severed horse head in the bed of Julliard’s Admissions Director to get you in.]

5. All Life’s guidelines are to be found in Dr. Suess.

There are so many distractions for toddlers these days: Dora, Spongebob, Nickelodeon. Listen, I know you are having this crush thing on Elmo, but all you really need in this world is The Doc. Want to conquer your fears? Check out The Pale Green Pants With No One Inside Them. Need a lesson on the dangers of prejudice? Look no further than The Sneetches. Need to evaluate who is a true friend? Pick the Hortons and stay away from Thing One and Thing Two. Want an environmental role model? Al Gore has nothing on The Lorax. I could go on and on. In fact, I’ll let The Good Doctor deliver my birthday valediction for you:

Oh, the places you’ll go!

You’ll be on your way up!

You’ll be seeing great sights

You’ll join the high fliers

who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind because you’ll have the speed.

You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.

Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.

Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Happy Second Birthday, Amelia May. Oh the places you’ll go…

And before I forget, that Bonus advice I promised (you knew this was coming):

Bonus: Always keep a Terrier in your life!

stuffed terrier

Even if it's just a plush facsimile, a terrier will help you remember to laugh, jump and dance.