Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thoughts on Two Years

I'm writing tonight because I'm afraid I will get overwhelmed with second birthday party prep tomorrow and run out of time to sit, and think, and write, about what it means to sit on the verge of celebrating 24 months with our baby girl.  Birthdays really have a way of making me nostalgic...and sappy...and yes, maybe a little emotional.  And tonight, I keep finding myself thinking about how much different things are than I imagined they would be two years ago tonight, as I anxiously and completely impatiently waited for Annie's arrival into our lives.  But also about how very much they are exactly how I imagined they would be.

I've written on here before about how much I wanted to be a mother, how long it took for David and I to achieve success in our mission to grow our family.  And I've also written about how unprepared I was for what being a parent is really like, how much I have struggled at times with the balancing act and the mommy guilt and the loss of identity that motherhood can bring.  Two years ago tonight, I understood that things were going to change once Annie arrived...but I had no idea how much I would change.  I find myself looking at life now in a completely different way than I did prior to June 29, 2011.  I see challenge and risk where I would have overlooked it before.  It takes much less to scare me.  I take far fewer things for granted.  But I also see joy where I didn't see it before.  And I find myself reflecting an awful lot these days on how the most simple moments with my little girl and my husband can be the most beautiful.  I cry much more easily (and that's saying something!), but I also laugh a lot more often too.  I just feel things bigger.  And I think that's, in part, because having a child's spirit as a constant presence in my life makes me see some things the way she does.  And sometimes see them as if for the first time.

Over the last few weeks, Annie has on occassion woken up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.  This is pretty unusual for her and something she hasn't done with any regularity for a very long time.  She has also been taking longer to fall asleep at night, sometimes requiring an extra visit from Mommy before she settles down completely and drifts off.  And, while a year ago, I might have been anxious about that or frustrated by it, these last couple of weeks, I have found myself relishing the extra time with her...this time when she needs me to snuggle her and rub her back and calm her.  Granted, I'm sure this is much more charming than it used to be because it doesn't happen often, but it is charming nonetheless.  It has given me the chance to have my little baby for a while longer, and it has been a reminder that even though she has somehow managed to become a little girl, a 2-year-old, a full blown toddler before my eyes, she still needs Mommy, and she still wants me there.

I'm sure it surprises no one to hear me say that I can't believe two years have already passed.  If there has been a theme thus far on this blog, it is that I am continuously amazed by how quickly time is flying now that Annie has joined our family.  But never has it been quite so evident to me as tonight, two days before our girl's birthday.  Never have I felt so blessed to have been chosen to be her mother.  Never have I felt more strongly the desire to cherish every minute - even the hard, frustrating, and trying ones.  Because I just know in the blink of an eye, these moments of quickly changing toddler emotions will be memories that I long to relive.  Just as I sat tonight, rocking my baby, whose body now fits much less easily into my arms, recalling with a smile the many nights I did that when she was tiny in the wee hours...in a year or two or three, I will remember my on-the-verge-of-two-year-old Annie and have to wipe away a nostalgic tear.

These last two years she has taught me much.  And she will teach me much more.  I am blessed to be her momma.  And I look so forward to another year being just that.

Monday, June 3, 2013

23 Months!

The countdown has begun.  In less than one month, Annie will turn the big 0-2.  Yes, I'm amazed by how quickly another year has come and gone.  Yes, there is a part of me that feels like my child is growing up overnight.  Yes, every day she continues to lose her baby-ness and turn more and more into a little girl. 

This age she is in right now...well, it is so fun.  Sure there are the crying spells for no reason, there is the blink-of-an-eye mind and/or attitude change that creates a challenge or two, and there is the slight acting out that comes with trying so darn hard to be independent.  But it is also so much fun to watch her personality continue to develop, to see the pride she has when she climbs to the top of the playground equipment or puts her sandals on by herself.  And there are the hugs and the kisses and the hand-holding and the "I wuv you"'s that pretty much top anything else in the world.  David and I frequently find ourselves looking at each other at night after she has gone to bed and just saying how much fun it is to watch her grow.  Because she really is something.
The pigtails are every bit as fun for Mommy as they are for Annie.
In the her 23rd month, Annie's speech has continued to grow and grow.  There isn't much she can't communicate to us, and many times she is able to use multiple word sentences to do just that.  She is really big on repeating what we say to her, so the time for watching what we say is upon us!  Not that David or I would ever say anything questionable. :-)  Along with her speech, Annie also continues to develop in her coordination and agility.  She loves to climb and jump and spin.  She is cautious for the most part, but far more adventurous than I ever thought about being.  I think she got the perfect blend of David's enthusiasm for the outdoors and adventure and my pragmatic evaluation of a situation.  Fortunately, that blend results in her seeming to know how to have a lot of fun.

Annie has also learned her numbers between 1 and 10.  I would say that she can count, but she doesn't actually get the numbers in the right order most of the time.  She seems particularly partial to the number "7," and likes to throw that one in at random times in the counting process.  She also knows some of her colors, but declines to choose a favorite just yet.  I can't say I blame her...there are a lot of good colors out there.

Our little girl continues to love to sing and look at books and play with her dolls.  She also loves to color and paint and draw.  But I think her favorite activities are those that take place outside - she loves to swing on our porch and go down the slide in the backyard, and anything involving water, such as pools and waterslides and water tables, really makes her day. 
This girl loves to "ping!"
This month, we unfortunately had to say goodbye to one of our kitties, Cooper.  Our cats are fairly aloof and neither one of them has ever really paid much attention to Annie.  So her interaction with them has been much less upclose and personal than her daily loving harassment of our dog, Jackson.  So I wondered if she would say anything about Cooper not being around.  Sure enough, immediately she walked around the kitchen, where he usually hung out, and then looked at me and asked, "Tooper?"  I explained to her that Cooper was gone and he wouldn't be staying with us anymore.  She sort of let it go at that and went off and played with something else, so I thought we were done with the topic.  But then the next day, she saw a cat in the neighborhood, looked up at me and said, "Tooper gone?  Tooper no home?"  Clearly, she got it.  She understood that our situation where Cooper was concerned had changed.  And she continues to tell me at random moments that Cooper isn't home anymore.  Amazing, I think.

Finally, with her 23 month birthday came a move to a new room at daycare.  Annie went from being a Butterfly to a Ladybug.  She has been trying to move herself into that class for the last several weeks because she has some good little friends who had already moved into that room.  But now it is official.  And as happy as I am for her to be in a new class with even more structure and activities, I will miss her teacher Miss Sally terribly.  And so will she.  But she is in such a wonderful place, I know she will have new, great teachers and continue to thrive.
Headed to school...and looking like a Kindergartener to me.
So that's where we are, one month from being two years old.  And with new changes happening every day, I'm sure there will be more fun to report in her 24 month post.