Time is rushing by, as it will do when you are more or less enjoying yourself. Come Friday morning at 8:35 I will no longer be able to say that I have two kids under two years old. Stressful as it can be at times I’m going to miss that, and not just because ‘two under two’ sounds so much more impressive than ‘a two year old and a baby’.
It’s ironic, but even though I hate team sports with a passion I am constantly reminded of Margaret’s impending birthday by the sports talk at work. The Celtics are in the playoffs, and one my vivid memories of labor with Margaret was hearing a commotion outside while I was frantically throwing a few toiletries into my bag as we were trying to get underway to the hospital. I realized it was because the Celtics must have won the championship and I was ready to curse basketball for all time if that resulted in traffic issues on the way to the hospital. Luckily the roads were amazingly clear.
Speaking of timing coincidences, we are due to meet Hongmei, our new au pair at almost exactly two years to the hour after I went into labor with Margaret. Her first day of work will be Friday, Margaret’s birthday.
I’m not much for milestone birthdays myself. I like celebrating birthdays, mostly because I associate that with presents and cake still. OK, I haven’t had an actual birthday party since I was seven, but still, birthdays are supposed to be fun. As milestones, though, they don’t mean much. I’ll be turning 40 in a few months and I couldn’t care less about the number; being a number divisible by ten is not hugely interesting. The fact that Margaret is turning two, though, is more of a milestone. She’s not a baby anymore
I’ve been looking at the new pictures we had taken of the kids this past weekend at work, where I have a framed copy of one of the pictures of Margaret from the last photo session back in December. I find the difference in the two sets of photos striking. She has changed so much in six months.
To my eye she has gone from looking like a baby to looking like a little girl in those months. Maybe it’s the hair, which has finally gotten long enough to give me an excuse to use hair bows, and which forms delightful ringlets in back on humid days. Of course it is so much more than just her outward appearance. She’s had a dramatic increase in her interest in pretend play, she understands now that books tell a story and will now let me read the pages in the order the author intended, she talks so much more clearly now, though she still clams up around strangers. At this point her ability to tell me what she needs or wants is limited by her own understanding of her needs or wants (i.e. not realizing she is hungry) rather than her ability to tell me in words.
I remember Margaret’s birth so clearly. I remember her as a tiny bundle in my arms. Now she’s so big, and it seems especially noticeable with her little brother there for contrast. Now it frequently strikes me that the tiny bundle has transformed into a strong and increasingly competent little girl. I once promised myself that I wouldn’t wish her babyhood away, I’ve enjoyed it for the most part. It seems to have gone by so quickly. I certainly expect that I will continue to enjoy it even though ages 2 and 3 are supposed to be difficult; Margaret just continues to get more interesting, it’s difficult to imagine not enjoying it, tantrums and all.