Today Gracelyn has birthday number 2 (although it’s technically #3 when you count the day on which she was born as #1). She is precocious, funny, clear-of-mind and heart, and as loveable as ever. Many people inevitably comment that we’re about to start the “terrible twos” but, as you can probably guess, I don’t cotton to that notion. (Check the photos page for more recent pics.)
Yes, as Gracelyn gets older she has more desires for autonomy and for getting the experience of doing things herself. Sometimes if mama or daddy isn’t ready or willing for “just Baby Gee,” we say “no,” or provide an alternative that isn’t to her liking. Our default mode, however, is “yes,” even if it means cleaning something up afterwards or practicing deep breathing during it all. Here’s some of what’s transpired with our self-confident girl.
- Two weeks ago she lifted the toilet seat lid, pulled down her potty reducer seat, climbed up on the toilet, peed, climbed down, shut the lid, and flushed the toilet. Though she still will take assistance periodically, she’s obviously very delighted to be able to do this task all on her own.
- She explores high drawers and counters on her own by carrying a stool to where she wants to reach and then clambering up to stand and browse. Frequently she’ll say “See what’s going on up here” as she reaches her perch. It’s also very cute because the stool she uses is wood and a woven cloth seat/step so it’s somewhat heavy and it takes most of her strength to tote it around.
- Yesterday she fetched a dish cloth from a kitchen drawer to clean up some washable marker she’d gotten on a chair (I hadn’t seen her do the drawing at all). She gave me the cloth asking me to put water on it so she could “wipe up” which she then did with only a minor follow-up by me.
- Lately she’s enjoyed “putting in her contacts” (mimicking mama) which last night consisted of risotto and roasted broccoli she placed on her eyelids while eating dinner.
- While visiting Chicago after a visit to Grandma Jeri and Grandpa Arlen’s, Gracelyn enjoyed walking down the sidewalks of many of the streets near the Art Institute, Lake Michigan, and Lakeshore Drive. I carried her when crossing streets and only a few times asked her to move further away from the curb which she was already doing naturally well.
- She brushes her teeth and even does a little bit of flossing with pleasure and even some accuracy. Our new routine is that she does the first brush and then mama or daddy finish with a second brushing.
- This girl loves to talk, rhyme, sing, repeat, and create. I’m repeatedly met by people who comment “she speaks very well,” “wow, she talks well for her age,” or “she’s just how old?” and they’re right. Daddy jokes that her career avenues might be either prop comic (G now calls herself “Prop Comic Dirty Face”) or linguist. She and I carry on simple conversations, we read books together (G finishing some sentences or filling in parts of the story), and sing many favorite songs. My recent favorite saying is “How ’bout that idea?” which she uses when putting forth her suggestion of something to do.
Forever my baby (“our” baby to be exact)
Of course, while Gracelyn’s independence is burgeoning in myriad ways, I’m grateful for all the ways she allows herself to still be a baby.
- She kisses so sweetly and always on my lips. She has a loving expression on her face and comes away from the peck smiling and happy.
- “Nursie!” is G’s cry when she’s feeling stressed, overwhelmed, tired, or has hurt herself. We still nurse before and after sleeping (naps or nighttime) and occasionally during the night, yet the once frequent cuddling and feeding has waned as she’s grown. It’s such a sweet treat to be able to still comfort her with my body and my milk and I relish having her nestled close and holding her tenderly as she regains her equilibrium.
- Hugs, piggy back, and snuggling still keep us physically close as G continues to grow physically independent. Just today after a nap she snuggled up next to me, got nose-to-nose with me and we spent a minute or so in our tender embrace.
- Being carried in our ergo carrier or sling keeps her cocooned against my body. While she often enjoys walking (and sometimes insists on it), I’m grateful for all the “mama carry you”s I get and every minute shes the joey to my mama kangaroo.
Celebrating this precious child
Here is a poem to give voice to the blessings that this birthday brings and the gratitude I feel for this most precious child of god.
On Your Birthday
by Shonnie Lavender
Today is different than other days
Except that it is not.
Today you will be exactly who you are meant to be.
You will create and imagine your own visions.
You will play and explore our world with awe and curiosity.
You will do and say things that give me pause, make me think, and wake me up.
You will be bold and quiet, quick and slow, playful and serious.
You will help me be myself, the person who I was made to be.
You will remind and reheart me of what is possible and inspire me to make it so.
Today you will be and do all this and more.
Today is the same as all other days
Except that it is not.
Today is the anniversary of your birth.
Thus today brings a special reminder.
How lucky I am to have this day, and this life,
with you, darling daughter.
P.S. I found Bath Time this most heart-warming poem from Lisa M. that she wrote about bath time (and not bath time) with her son. It so speaks to me about a mother’s love and how much we always want to be their for our babies whether they are babies or not. Enjoy!