Sunday, March 8, 2009

Zoe Turns Two

Yesterday Zoe turned two. I looked back (on this blog) about what I had to say on her first birthday and to see how far we’ve come (lack of sleep has caused me to blank out the previous twelve months). With all the changes we’ve seen over the last year the first thing that comes to mind is Zoe’s recent and often repeated phrase, “No, mine.” I commented on her use of this phrase a couple of weeks ago, but beyond being an attestation of the infamous age of two it shows how independent she has become. She uses the phrase when we leave the house; I can’t carry her down the forty steps to the street, she has to walk down herself. I’m not even allowed to hold her hand. She uses the phrase when we get to the car. I am no longer allowed to lift her into the car seat; she has to climb in herself. When it’s diaper changing time she says it as we enter her room, meaning she will climb up onto her changing table herself. Once on top I am not allowed to position her, she will get herself into the proper position by herself, which is actually sort of cute (or ironic), since her independence doesn’t extend as far as using the potty.

There are other indicators of how fast she is growing. A year ago she was just starting to stand and she wasn’t talking. A year ago I could use the bathroom without her needing to join me; and without the additional five minutes it now takes because she has to walk down the stairs herself, stopping every few steps to exam some piece of dirt she finds along the way. I see her changing emotionally as well. When we read her a book with a sad part, she gets sad and sometimes we have to stop for a hug and reassurance that everything will turn out fine in the end (she is allowed that luxury as a two year old). She remembers things—even the smallest things—that happened to her sometimes months earlier, like receiving a bag of peanut M&M’s from a flight attendant on a trip, and pointing up into the air every time she sees a bag at a store. And I don’t know if she does this ironically, but when she sees towel she makes a fake throw up sound (she sticks her tongue out and says, “blah.”) from her experience during an illness, when we kept a pile near us for vomiting episodes.

Zoe’s second birthday party was a huge success; she scored a huge pile of birthday loot. The party started at three and stretched past her bedtime, and this morning was the first time I’ve seen her so absorbed in her toys that she didn’t need to sit on the counter while we prepared coffee, fed the cats, and prepared her morning milk. I’m not always thrilled with the idea of children getting huge piles of gifts (although I’m perfectly fine if people give me huge piles of gifts), but Zoe’s toy box is filled with stuff that dates back to her infancy. Also, this was the first opportunity to give Zoe gifts based on things that she has shown interest in, not just random things we thought she might like. She may cast off these new toys by the end of the week, but for the moment we can enjoy her joy.

There are some changes I am looking forward to, such as not having to change Zoe’s diaper or having her sleep through the night. But like a year ago I will miss the baby that is disappearing. I know that there are a lot of exciting times and plenty of changes still to experience, but I for now I can still get choked up thinking that soon I would be sending her off to school and into the big wide world.


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