You turned 2 a month ago and of course we can hardly believe it. It’s the journey of parenthood to constantly stand amazed at how fast time passes. You talk a lot and say things that surprise us on a daily basis. Everyone tells me to write it all down but honestly by the end of the day I can barely remember! You put my pants on your head yesterday and told me you were a “ghost”. I have no idea where you learned that but it was hysterical. You’re going through a “Grampy” phase right now so he’s pretty much all you talk about. Grampy, animals and “Go park!” are your favorite topics. You spend most of the day smiling or laughing and you’re typically very easy to have around unless you’re tired and then you’re grumpy and whiny and that can be a challenge at times. Toddlers, it turns out, are a TON of work! Even the good ones (which you are) tend to be pretty messy, very active and command the attention of an entire room! Your dad was joking with me this weekend while we were at the farm that it’s amazing how one 2 year old can keep 4 adults running around in circles. I switch back and forth almost every day between wanting another baby so you can have a sibling and feeling like “one is all I need”. I’m guessing this is a pretty normal way to feel. There’s a huge part of me that wants another baby and a bigger family and there’s an equally large part of me that thinks the 3 of us are perfect just as we are. I still have a few years to decide.
You still love all things artistic. Coloring and drawing and going to the park are what you love do do most during your playtime. You like to talk about the “big slide” and you also love the library because they have a fish tank and lots of animal puzzles. Over the past couple of months you started saying phrases which is so much fun. You can tell us things like, “Oh no! Messy!” when you walk into a room or, “Go see NannaPapa!” (all one word). You love taking bubble baths and your favorite thing to draw lately are “bubbles” (oblong shapes over and over). This weekend you did a shapes puzzle at the farm and there was one left but you didn’t know where it was so you looked up at us and said, “Missing oval!” Sure enough, it was an oval indeed.
I took you to the zoo for the first time 2 weeks ago. You had been to the rainforest once before but never to the rest of the zoo. You loved the monkeys and elephants and when I pointed to a turtle you exclaimed, “tortoise!” I looked at the sign and of course it was a tortoise. You’re smart and detail-oriented and so much fun. Your personality is definitely a combination of your dad and myself in some ways but also very much “you”. You like to sing chopped up versions of Happy Birthday and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Your daddy is the light of your little life and although you love animals an impossible amount, you’re still not a big fan of Thea. I’m thinking it’s because she steals your food.
Speaking of food, ice cream is your favorite. You ask me for an “ice cone” at least once a day. I, of course, don’t give one to you that often but this summer you’ve had your fare share of treats. I tried so desperately to feed you healthy foods in your first two years of life but these past few months you could survive on chicken nuggets, yogurt and applesauce alone.
Things are still busy in our lives as your dad and I are both in school. For him it’s just the beginning. He’s in his second semester. For me it’s nearing the end. My program ends in 3 short months and then I have 1-2 classes left before graduation in May. You often have a sitter one afternoon a week but otherwise we rotate being with you so we can study and I can go to work a few days a week. It’s not always easy but I’m really proud of how we’re doing. We’re getting good grades and taking care of you and our house is only a minor disaster for the most part. The wedding is 8 months away so most of our plans are in place. We’re getting married at the Greek Gardens (pictured above) in a morning ceremony surrounded by family and having brunch at L’albatros. We thought we might go to Paris for a honeymoon but we seem to have decided against this because it’s so far way. Instead we’ll probably go away for a long weekend and save a bigger trip for down the road when school is over for both of us and things have calmed down.
We can’t wait for you to say, “I love you” back to us but you’ve been saying, “I see you” instead and it’s almost better than “I love you”. You hug us around the legs and look up at us with those big, brown eyes and we know that you really do see us. And we see you.
I told your dad this week that I feel seen by him. I always have. It’s funny how you go through life and know so many people and many of them you love but when you stop and think about it you realize you don’t actually feel ‘seen’ by them all. It’s a rare thing and I’m so grateful to have found that connection with both of you.
I try not to rush you or push you or breeze over the small moments. You have your own pace and it’s a lot slower than mine but I’m lucky to get to walk beside you so I take a deep breath and slow it down. Where do I really have to be that’s more important than holding your hand?
Yesterday we were getting ready to go to Trader Joe’s to get groceries and I was zooming around the house throwing things in my purse and putting your shoes on and feeding the cat and when we got outside and started walking towards the car you stopped in your tracks. I said, “What’s wrong? Let’s go to the store!” You responded with, “Play with rocks!” Everything in me wanted to pick you up and march you to the car so we could get on with my plans but instead I said, “Ok” and I sat down in a lawn chair while you gathered rocks from the driveway and lined them up on the picnic table in a perfect row (smallest to biggest). When you were finished with that you came over to me and crawled up on my lap. I wanted to cry because I almost missed it, you know? I almost missed 10 minutes of your ‘two year old ness’ because I was rushing to run errands and being ‘that mom’. There will be a day when you can’t sit on my lap anymore and I know it’ll come faster than a bullet train. Everyone tells you to soak it up but so few of us actually do. I often forget but I’m trying to remember.
I read this quote once by Catherine M. Wallace, “Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them, all of it has always been big stuff.” That feels true to me.
You stopped calling me “Mama” this month. I don’t know why or how but you did. We were upstairs and I wanted to go downstairs so I said, “C’mon, Mo” and you responded, “Ok, Mom” and I stood there in shock. You haven’t looked back since. When you call me from your crib you say, “Mommomomomomom!” No, “Mamamamamamam” anymore. I mean, I knew the day would come eventually but you’re just a freshly minted TWO!
For all of the ways our lives have changed and the sleepless nights and the messy house and the bath bubbles on the floor and the markers on the wall and the coaxing to get you to eat something or put on your shoes… I would not trade one second of being your mom because there is also the sweaty hair on my shoulder after a nap and the ‘precious moments’ eyes when you’ve done something naughty and the tiny, chiclet teeth grinning up at me when you’re happy and the soft bottoms of your feet and the sound of your laughter and the “Ok, mom” and the crib full of stuffed animals standing guard as you nap and the jumping up and down when you hear the words “ice cream” and the way you say “YES!” when I understand what you want and the click of your overalls when I’m getting you ready for the day and it’s all too much for one heart to hold.
We have a thing, your father and I, where you do or say something brilliant and we just look at each other. We don’t even need to gush or praise or say anything at all. We just look at each other. Quick. And then look away. Because if we look any longer we’ll talk and if we talk it will ruin the moment. Words aren’t necessary. Only the ‘flap of a wing’ second where we share the ridiculous joy that is you. That’s all there is and all there will ever be for me.
I love you.