June 18, 2014

Three at Two

The cheerfullest birthday girl on the block
Today, my littlest little turns two years old.

I could tell you how time has flown, how much she's grown, but I don't want to focus for one second on the past. Right now, it's all about now.

On Saturday, we had her birthday party. It was planned and essentially thrown by DD and SI. One day, about two months ago, we had this conversation:

Me: "I should figure out what kind of party to throw RH!"
DD: "I know! It should be a Care Bears party!"
Me: "You guys had a Care Bears party. This is RH's party. It should have to do with what she likes. What does RH like?"
SI: "Green!"
Me: "Yup. What else?"
SI: "Green! It should be a green party!"
Me: "That's it? Green? How do you throw a green party?"
DD: "With green food and a green cake and green decorations!"
SI: "Green ICE CREAM cake!"
Me: "...that sounds like a pretty good party, actually."
DD: "Me and SI will throw the party, Mommy. You just make sure RH's diaper isn't stinky."

I could handle that.

And plan the party they did. I tried to tell them that people would rather eat apples and grapes than broccoli, but they proved me wrong.

I taught them to make bunting, and they made enough to decorate a full half the yard. And I tended to my job- sending invitations, and making sure all the food was to SI and DD's specifications.

Honeydew, grapes, apples, mini cucumbers, celery, broccoli, guacamole, green tortilla chips, green juice
And green flowers. I was told that was important.
Plus more of SI and DD's bunting!
Of course, no matter how clean her butt, RH was a bit of a pill. I'd just come home from five days away- and she was punishing me for it.

The first day back was a dream, she lay back in her chair and just stared at me, occasionally whispering, "Kiss!" or "Hug!" Mostly just looking at me like I was an angel who had descended from heaven to rescue her from the torments of going to the aquarium daily to see jellyfish with my parents.

She spent the next four days attached to me at the hip, screaming for no reason and demanding amounts of my attention she hasn't commanded since she weaned. She spent a lot of her party crying, as despite DD and SI's planning, I was still essentially on hostess duty.

But like I said, I want to focus on now.

I want to remember what she's like right now.

I want to remember the way she says, "I yike a hair! I yike a face! I yike a pwetty dwess!" every morning when I change her diaper, regardless of what I'm wearing or how I look. I want to remember the way she flails her legs while she's running, but keeps her head steady.

I want to remember how fearless she is. How she crawls under bushes or through the mud without blinking an eye. How she tries every new food. How she jumps into the water without hesitating, much to my terror, or how she leaps off chairs, or stairs, now that she's finally mastered the art of getting both feet off the ground at once.

I want to remember how she puckers her lips into a full on fish face whenever she wants to give a kiss, and how sweet and soft her little kisses are. I want to remember how despite being a monster truck, rolling over everything in her path, she is still gentle with animals, other children, and her toys. Most of the time.

I want to remember how she participates in conversations without having a clue what's happening. How she shouts, "Me too!" about anything and everything, and will not be distracted from being included. How she insists on what she wants, when she wants it, and I find myself acquiescing because I have no real reason not to in the face of her determination.

I want to remember how until two weeks ago, whenever she said, "I lub you!" she followed it immediately by saying, "Good night!"

I want to remember the way she sings, "Shoo fly, don't bother me," or the alphabet song, or "Ring Around the Rosie," with better pitch and timing than her older sisters, even if half the words are incoherent.

I want to remember how sassy she is. How much attitude she's got. How sure of herself, and determined to do whatever her sisters do, and to be part of any joke the adults are enjoying. I want to remember the way she laughs a sound like clinking china and announces, "I laughing!" as though it weren't impossible to notice.

I want to remember the unbearable softness of her skin, and the way her hair smells, and the way that her curls flatten against the top of her head when she's filthy. I want to remember how tidy she is, and how she refuses to eat with her hands if they might get messy. I want to remember being perplexed by how she could get scrambled eggs in her nose, and at the same time how she can finish a bowl of ice cream without spilling a drop.

I want to remember how she asks for something indirectly, like, "Mommy, ponies?" And you try to fill in the blanks, "You want to watch ponies?" And she acts like it was your idea. "Okay!"

I want to remember the way she counts. "One, two, fee, four, five, six, seben, eight, nine, tan, eleben, twelf, fourteen, fourteen, fourteen, fourteen, eighteen, twenny fee!"

I want to remember how if you sing, "Na na na na na," she yells, "Batman!"

I want to remember how serious she often is, focusing on on a task until it is complete to her satisfaction. I want to remember how she seems to study the world with fierceness and determination, cataloging causes and effects and storing them away. I want to remember how much she cares.

I want to remember how unfathomably cheerful she can be.

I want to remember how she sings the theme song to "My Little Ponies," how she dances happily, distracting herself from all else in the world for ages, spinning in circles and hopping, gesturing wildly. I want to remember how she sings, "Tomorrow." I want to remember that she'll go around the room, approaching everybody one at a time, saying, "I gonna eat choo!" until they say, "Oh no! Please don't eat me!" and moves on to the next person.

I want to remember that her favorite movie is "Wreck It Ralph," and I love that sometimes she tells me, "Mommy, I a bad guy!" with an angelic grin and dimples for miles.

I want to remember how her smile lights up like sun when she's happy, even if she's covered head to toe in green frosting and ice cream. Even if five minutes earlier she was sobbing her eyes out.

I want to remember how she curls up on my lap, how she pulls me to the floor to sit on me for no reason. How she calls out, "I lub you, Mommy!" from the back seat of the car, for no reason. How she wants to help me brush my hair, and my teeth, and god help me, how she wants to tear off toilet paper for me in the bathroom.

I want to remember the way her little hand feels in mine.

But I know I'm going to forget.

I look at her big sisters, not that much bigger, and no matter how I wrack my brain it feels as though their nearly-two-ness is already gone. I can't remember them. I've forgotten my own children.

Of course, I know if the two year old version of DD or SI ran up to me, I would know them. But it's not the same.

It wasn't intentional. I was just so busy, and so tired. When DD and SI had their second birthday party, I was already pregnant with RH. When they were two years old I was finishing my degree and running through the day with M gone from before dawn until late an night.

I can watch a video and go, "Oh, yeah, that's how it was." But it's still just not the same.

I didn't have the energy to really hold onto all the moments with my twins. And knowing that, running through milestones and chubby legs and baby curls a second time... it makes it so much harder to know how soon it's gone. And so much sweeter to see it happening.

I truly am enjoying things more this time around.

I don't ever want to forget this little girl.

Happy Birthday, my littlest favorite person.

Let's not get to the next one too fast.


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