Today, my toddler turned two. I wasn't sure what to expect from this birthday. Last year felt monumental somehow. She went from being x months to an entire year and I was flooded with nostalgia and emotions over the events of my labor and her eventual birth.
This year, not so much. It feels big, sure. I mean, she's TWO. That feels way closer to kid than baby, but it didn't bring the same sort of emotional surge for me. Part of that is probably because I'm simply busier this year (at this time last year, I was still a full-time at-home mom, fully focused on gazing into the little one's eyes approximately 15 hours a day), but the other part is, I think, this new baby I'm growing in my belly.
With every passing month, Poppy gets more and more mature. Nothing has made this more evident than our recent turn at bedtime. What was, for nearly 22 months, an exhausting nightly battle suddenly became fun. Now we have a strong bedtime routine, get through it with fun and laughter, then kiss her good night and leave her to fall asleep in her own big kid bed. Whereas this would've once freaked me out, I can't help but be thrilled instead. Instead of, "She's getting too big, too fast!" I now think, "Thank goodness we've more or less gotten over that hurdle because I don't even know how I'd handle too difficult kids at night once February arrives."
Funny how much a little thing like a looming second child can suddenly change one's perspective, eh?
Today, we spent the day with my mom and sister who traveled in from Chicagoland to help us celebrate this milestone day. We went to the zoo (she requested we "see animals!" today) and walked many miles through Brooklyn, stopping at favorite restaurants, bookstores, and toy stores along the way. The focus was all on Poppy and I tried to savor every moment.
Pretty soon, we'll have two little ones to focus on and, for the first several months, there will be few opportunities to give Poppy our full, undivided attention without tag teaming somehow. So I'm trying to relish our days off together during the week, when it's just her and I, and hope to stop working at least a couple of weeks before Boo arrives so that Ms. P and I can have a bit of a last hurrah before the baby blows our usual routines to bits and turns our household on its head.
Most of all, though, I just want to delight in this little creature while I have the chance. While she still thinks mom is, "coooooool" and wants to hold my hand while out in public (or, at least, while crossing the street). I know she's only two and we (hopefully) still have a couple of years before she gets too independent, but sometimes these first two years feel like they've passed in a minute and I'm afraid the next several will be the same.
Two years. Already. Happy birthday to my favorite first kid.