Today you are 23 months old. This month marks the last month of defining your age in months; I think that after you hit two years old, I'm supposed to say you're two -- not that you're 27 months or 32 months or whatever. And saying you're two just makes you seem so grown-up, that you're no longer a baby.
In many ways, you are still such a baby. You still wear diapers, and although we've adorned the bathroom with a hot pink potty chair, you haven't show much interest yet in potty training. You still eat while sitting in a high chair, and you constantly throw your sippy cup and your food on the floor (and on the dog). You're obsessed with my water bottles, fast food cups with straws and drinking glasses but you have yet to drink out of an open cup without sticking your dirty fingers in it or dumping its contents all over yourself.
You still like to put miscellaneous things in your mouth and can't be trusted with things that are small enough to be choking-hazards or things that can be destroyed (like books with paper pages). You often forget that you've yet to master walking the stairs, only to be reminded of this by tumbling down a few of them. You're still quite attached to your baby blanket, your "kee," which you sleep with every night. You still sleep in your baby crib -- so far you haven't attempted to crawl out of it-- and we haven't yet dared to think about converting your crib into a todldler bed.
In many ways, it's so obvious that you're not a baby. You've outgrown the infant section of most clothing stores, and some of your clothes are size 3T. You idolize the 5 year-old neighbor kids and try your best to keep up with them and their Power Wheels jeeps. You're obsessed with books, and your favorites include Llama Llama Mad At Mama, Olivia and Hello, Truman! You can't count or say the alphabet, but you sure can rock it out to Beyonce's Single Ladies.
You like to identify objects by their names, and you love seeing photographs of babies and of dogs, cats and fish, and of me and daddy just so you can tell us what you see. You could eat cheese and popsicles at every meal, and you could chug whole milk ALL DAY LONG, but otherwise, your eating habits are unpredictable, to say the least. You demand to have a bow in your hair only to rip it out at any given time. You'll tap your head and repeat, "bow, bow, bow" until we put a one in your hair. And, for the first time, I painted your toe nails last week, and you couldn't stop telling me how pretty they were.
We've recently introduced a naughty corner for time-outs. The idea is to get you to stop doing "bad" things that you particularly know you're not supposed to do, like rattling the window blinds or pulling the dog's tail. You definitely have a mind of your own, and you insist on expressing it. If you know the word for what you want, you will repeat it over and over in valiant hopes to get your way. However, there are many unfortunate circumstances where you DON'T know the words to express your desires, and you instead cry or whine or throw a tantrum. Those times are increasing in frequency, and I have to say that parenthood has never been so trying for us.
According to multiple child-rearing articles and countless Google searches, your behavior is completely normal in this stage of development. Which is great in the sense that it indicates you're developing normally. But it's not great in the sense that you're really giving me and Daddy a crash-course in parenting a toddler. These times are the most challenging we've yet experienced as parents. We're not flunking the course, but I wouldn't say we're acing it either. We're trying our best to roll with the punches, I promise.
And I just hope you'll do the same in the next few months. We've got lots of changes in the works. You've got a baby brother on the way! And I know that means nothing to you right now: you see a mom who can no longer take you to do fun things like going to the zoo, the park and out for walks. You see a mom who lays on the couch a lot, and you don't see that that growing bump of a belly as a baby, but instead you see it as the perfect bench for your little bottom.
For the past two years, our whole world has mainly revolved around you. I'd like to think that we've made you feel loved, secure and well-cared for. I get nervous that the changes in our family will be trying for you. I know they will be.
You're growing up so fast, and each day I'm reminded that you're no longer a baby. But please know this -- in my heart, no matter how many little brothers or sisters you have, some things will never change. YOU made me a mother, and you will always always always be my first baby. I love you.
30-something year-old mama, wife, sister, friend, who likes to scrapbook, sleep, love her daughter, play with her Lab, cook, shop, watch movies and read. I wish I could sing, and I'd love to become a better photographer. I'm overly anxious and sometimes paranoid, but I do my best to make it through each day by reminding myself it's just one foot in front of the other. I'm silly and blunt and brutally honest, and I think I turn off some people because of this, but if you're my friend, you are my friend, and I will give my all to you. I'm quirky. That may make you hate me. Deal with the quirks, and you might just realize that you love me.