My little baby turned two this weekend. When I brought her down stairs to say good morning to her daddy and Hannah, I announced that today was Maggie's second birthday! Hannah immediately instructed me to put Maggie down. Then she asked Maggie to put her baby doll down for just a minute. Hannah cocked her head to the side, squinted her eyes, and said, "I guess she looks a little big."
To Hannah, being two years old is the magical line between a baby and big girl. And I get it. I always greet the second birthday with a sigh of relief. To me, it feels like they got over that "hump" where they are really understanding things, wanting things, and doing things, but not quite saying things. I mean, saying the basics. But it always reminds me of how I felt in Costa Rica when I did a language immersion program. I had studied Spanish a decade before and retrained a surprising amount of it. The program was just two weeks long and by the end of it, I was literally in tears. I knew just enough Spanish to know (more or less) what people were saying and how to convey (more or less) basic ideas. But it was exhausting. And isolating. And super frustrating. And probably how a lot of toddlers feel. But now we have an honest to God sentence talker! And oh sweet Jesus, we are all feeling a lot better around here.
I will never forget the first time I got to hold Maggie. (I didn't really get that with Hannah because she had to be checked out for meconium aspiration. Cue my lingering bitterness about not inducing Hannah sooner). And oh, it was magical.
Maggie was a full pound smaller and seemed so fragile compared to her sister (both the real-life one-and-a-half year old, and my memories of the 9lb 2oz baby Hannah). But what she lacked in post-due-date baby fat, she made up for in feistiness.
I remember even in the hospital I couldn't put her down without making her cry. I had to ask the nurse to take her around 2 am so I could get a few hours of sleep. And it wasn't just a first-day fluke. It was her personality. But whoever tells you that holding a kid too much will keep them from walking is talking crazy. Because this child was held (in my arms or a sling) pretty much nonstop as a baby (I mean, tummy time and naps, but that's about it), but she took her first steps before she turned nine months. She has always had this weird mix of wanting her mommy in her arms and wanting to run off all by herself.