Recently, I engaged in the lost art of…email with a friend. Yes, email. Not text. Not an FB message. Not even a DM over Twitter. We lamented the fact that neither of us had the spare time to even attempt to handwrite the other an actual letter. Topic of the hour was how we were each dealing with the recent birthdays of our babies.
As I typed my response early one morning at my desk from work, with coworkers slowly making their way in, I imagined I was actually sitting at a table at home with my toddler quietly playing with his blocks at my feet on the floor, and bread baking in the background. Wait. It’s not 1904? Oh sorry. Yes, welcome back to 2017 with the coworkers and loud toddlers.
My Little Man having turned two, and her sweet baby girl turning one, how was I handling my baby boy gaining another year? Was I sad? Weepy? If I was being honest, I hadn’t really thought about it. I found I was just really happy. And proud of him! What did come as a surprise to me, was how much I thought the second birthday was even better than the first.
And the third will probably be better than the second. We had a simple birthday party with just grandparents and a few cousins. At his first birthday, with a tiny apartment full of family, friends, and kids, I relived many moments of this day one year prior. I remembered how my water broke as dinner was delivered to our door, our drive to the hospital at 2:00am, and a loooong 26-hour labor with my incredible husband, who never slept, by my side. Things that seem so distant two years later.
At our Little Man’s first birthday, quite frankly we celebrated making it through the year! Isn’t that always the way? The first birthday seems really to be a celebration for mom and dad. Celebrating all the “firsts” the parents encountered during the first year. The things that turned us into parents, and turned our selfishness into selflessness: changing dirty diapers in the middle of the night, suffering through mastitis three times, teething, and croup. Hallelujah! We made it!
But at two! I found I wasn’t sad or nostalgic. The things I thought would make me sad—missing him falling asleep in my arms or holding his hand while he nursed—I actually still find glimpses of those fleeting moments in the few minutes before bedtime. During the day, he is a busy, destructive little boy. But at bedtime, he is his mama’s baby and wants cuddles, hugs and kisses before he drifts off to sleep.
Between ages one and two I have seen so much growth in our Little Man. At two, I’m just so incredibly proud of him and all that he has learned. It’s especially good when you get that elusive kiss before they run off to day school. Or when he comes running at the end of the day when you get home to give a knock-you-over hug! They can’t do that at one. I love that he can recite our favorite books with me, and when he finally gets all the words in a song we’ve been singing on repeat for months, and he exclaims, “I did it!!” He was so proud of himself for saying all the words to “Away in a Manger”. (Yes. It’s March, and we’re still singing Christmas carols.) It was a precious moment that came while we were cuddled up under a blanket before bedtime.
Little Man can recite our favorite books with me, and when he finally gets all the words in a song we’ve been singing on repeat for months, and he exclaims, “I did it!!”
They don’t stay little for long. But I’m so glad to be able to watch this little one grow. Every day gets better and better. And, though I’m not there yet, I imagine each year will too. Two was definitely better than one. And I can’t wait for year three!
If you are fretting, sweet mama, or if you find yourself missing their sweet baby coos and giggles, remember all the hard work it took to get to this moment. This celebration of your kiddo wouldn’t have happened without the hard work of the last year. The precious moments are not gone forever—they keep getting better!