Hello, my baby girl.
No surprise here, but I'm already making mistakes. According to the potty training book I’m reading, I’m not to refer to you as “baby” any more as it sends a confusing message about your new status as a toilet-ready Big Girl. As one who rarely considers any parenting advice to be gospel, I found this idea to be a bit ridiculous when I first read it. As a person who’s slowly realizing her days as Mama to an infant are long gone, I also cried my eyes out.
Your official foray into toddlerdom became abundantly apparent in real life a few days ago, when I was sneaking us a handful of our favorite snack—baked Cheetos, which we call “puffs.” I turned to you and said, “Mmm! Mama loves puffs!”
“Me too,” you said.
Since when do you and I have conversations? Since now, I guess, and this time I won’t tell you how hard I cried after that exchange (A LOT).
Basically, you seem to be having a much easier time than I am when it comes to accepting the fact that you are no baby. You’re 2 today, and honestly, you’ve not stop talking since you learned how to make words, so our little exchange should have shocked me in no way.
A few things are the same as they were around this time last year. You still save most poops for times when only daddy is around (keep that up, by all means); you still love when we tickle your stinky feet. You still love other kids and all things Mickey, though another show, “My Friends Tigger and Pooh,” is gaining on the mouse (you call it “Tig Pooh” and I die every time).
Much more has changed. Here is what you’re up to as of Feb 3, 2017:
You NEVER STOP TALKING
As previously mentioned, unless you are asleep or eating, you are rarely quiet. But actually, you do talk in your sleep quite a bit and I holler at you daily about talking with your mouth full, so, really...YOU NEVER STOP TALKING. There are days when I think, “Child, I love your sweet little baby girl voice but if you say one more word, I’m going to go cry in the pantry.” Joking(ish)! Mostly, you narrate your day. If you’re watching a show, you tell me so many details I could watch it with my eyes closed, which is tempting. For example, a typical episode of “Tig Pooh” involves the characters doing something fun until a problem arises and the Super Sleuths (Pooh, Tigger and Darby) must use their smarts to solve it. Watching with you goes like this:
You: “Tig Pooh! Piglet! Eeyore! Darby! Rabbit! Friends? Play? Woods! Fun! Uh oh. Sad. Oh no! Super Sleuths! Think, think, think! Tigger? Bounce! Yay! Fun! Friends! Play! Tig Pooh!”
Me: (after everything you say): Mm hmm.
This type of exchange applies to just about every activity imaginable: talking a walk in the park, grocery shopping, coloring, sitting quietly. Just kidding on that last one! You never sit quietly! But, now that we’ve brought it up...I mean, it might be something worth considering. I hear it’s fun! Just saying.
I have no idea where you learned this or when/how it started, but when you ask the question, “Where?” you press the back of your hand up to your forehead in this “Woe is me, I’m just a dainty damsel in distress,” manner that slays me. You also pronounce it like, “way-year” making it all the more hilarious. Never stop doing this.
It's hard to catch you randomly saying, "Where," but around the 42-second mark, it happens in all its glory.
You also developed a super secret handshake that you surprise us with from time to time. We’ll be hanging out, and you’ll come rushing over, and say, “Friends?” We’ve come to learn we are expected to present our hands side by side, so you can do this little finger wiggle atop them, like you’re trying to tickle our palms. Again, no idea where this one came from, but no one is complaining.
This is my favorite thing in life right now. You’ve taken to snuggling up on either dad’s or my lap, wrapping your arms around us and simply saying, “Much.” It’s because I tell you about a thousand times a day, “I love you so much.” It’s your way of telling us the same and I melt every time. I hold on to you so tight in those moments, as I am fully aware of the day in the not-so-distant future when a teenage you will want nothing to do with me and I will have to wait for days like my birthday or posed prom photos for you to even entertain the idea of hugging me. Regardless of what happens in the next 12 months, if I’m still able to say “Much” is a thing, I’ll call that year a success.
Your grandma, who loved you beyond measure, died this past November after suffering a stroke a few months prior. It equal parts kills me that you were robbed of your time with her and comforts me that I don’t have to help you navigate your grief as I stumble through my own. All I can tell you, my dear, is Grandma could not have wanted you more, loved you more or been more excited for every single second she got to spend with you. She loved to rock you to sleep or get down on the floor and play with you. She loved feeding you snacks, watching you run around her big backyard or swim in the pool she set up every hot summer day for you and your cousins. We took many walks in the park, went on countless shopping trips, and just really had so much fun together.
Grandma also loved to laugh, so I’ll end this with perhaps one of our funniest memories with her. You were playing in the pool and got out to run around for a bit. Grandma had been using the garden hose to fill the pool, and it was still out in the yard. You were very curious about it, so she picked it up to show you how it worked. She failed, however, to realize the nozzle was still set to full pressure and essentially blasted you in the face full stream, practically knocking you off your feet. She was horrified, until we all realized you were utterly unfazed and, squealing, came rushing back for more. She held the hose out, this time at a reasonable setting, and the two of you had the time of your lives. She retold that story to anyone who would listen and nearly cried laughing every single time.
So, remember, my love: Life will knock you off your feet from time to time. That’s no reason to forget about all the joy there is to be had.