The first year of a child is a constant whirlwind of changes and milestones. As new parents, your entire world has been flipped upside down and you begin to obsess over how much or little your 10 lb. chub eats or sleeps. Over time, the sweetness develops some kind of sleep pattern, and you sigh with relief after crossing the first hurdle of parenthood. Whew, you think to yourself, thank goodness I'm such a great parent and totally have this new baby thing under control. With each new challenge mastered, you pat yourself on the back and march forward with your chin up. Each new milestone is documented with 127 pictures and carefully marked in the baby book. When Emily first rolled over at 8 months, I called my parents so excitedly that they thought we won the lottery. All of the hours reading child development books have paid off!
But then, something very strange happens:
The age of 2.
You see, kids are smart and they've heard about the infamous terrible twos, and they know they have to bring their A-game. They don't mess around. There's only 365 days to live up to this terrible two phenomenon, and boy are they going to live it up.
It's all gotta start somewhere. They make one sly move of independence just to catch their parent off guard, and then BAM! It's on.
When Emily turned two, she got lucky. Eli and I were drowning in a pool of new baby Leo plus buying our first money-pit (errr...house) Nothing quite says "now is the time to make my 2 year old debut" as 2 adults running around like chickens with their heads chopped off.
So wouldn't you know, Emily took charge of her life on August 11, 2009. That night, she decided that she was just flat out too old to sleep in a crib. In fact, she's too old to sleep period. Absolutely no naps ever again. And while she was thinking about it, she decided to refuse the high chair too. And sippy cup. She was on a roll. No more diapers. She'd rip that sucker off with disgust. "I dooooo eeet" was her favorite phrase.
Have you ever met a 2 year old? She weighed about 20 lbs and couldn't reach the door handle. I'll show her who's boss, I thought. I'll whip her into shape in 5 seconds flat.
At least, that was the plan.
The next 2 years were slightly a blur.
Leo's 2nd birthday brought the gift of stubbornness. He's slowly unwrapping it, savoring each moment. You see, he has an older sister who's still hanging onto that 2 year old gift of stubbornness, and she's about to be 4. So he's got plenty of time to use it up and wear it out.
Looking back on pictures, I have to tell you the truth. I'm a bit scared of the future. 3 kids, 4 and under. We're definitely outnumbered now. However, there will come a day when Emily will harness this fortitude and perseverance into something positive. And absolutely nothing will stand in her way. So watch out world!
Here's a look back at some of Emily's favorite ways to assert her independence and creativity:
We'd had a long summer of applying sunblock, and by then it was just second nature to rub something all over your face. Nevermind if it was lotion, mayonnaise, glue, or diaper rash cream.
Remember how Emily liked to protest cribs and naps? We'll just skip the part about her extreme sleep issues all together and look at these cute pictures. Even as an almost 4 yr old she still fights sleep with all her little might and continues to be an insomniac. I'd go to her room in the middle of the night and discover her missing, panic, then find her sleeping under a chair or on a shelf.
Or on the cold tile floor.
We finally drew the line on the pacifier when we realized, hey! You're completely potty trained...you're too old for this! Then commenced the frequent sneak into baby brother's crib and take the paci right out of his warm mouth.
This phase followed an intense basket-lady period wherein an urge to clean turned into hording and clearing out drawers and cabinets compulsively. Personally, I loved all the time spent working diligently to fill the laundry baskets. If ever a friend or family member gave me the "I'm in the neighborhood and would love to swing by and see your new house" I'd put her to work. Not so handy if you're looking for your toothbrush or keys or clean underwear and need to sift through 10 bags real quick.
As you can see, Leo has some very large 2 year old shoes to fill. He's not quite as willful as his sister, but he's a boy. And I hear that's a whole different ballgame. Wish me luck!