0, 1, 2: Happy Birthday, Stella



DSCN2574Stella turned two years old this week. It was basically a weird repeat of last year (different visitors, though): Wes and I wore the same shirts to dinner at the same restaurant; I got sick the week before her birthday; and Wes left his credit card in Waikiki, just like Wiley did last year.  And this weekend we’ll have her birthday party at the same place we did last year. Everything has changed, and nothing has changed. She’s 34 3/4 inches and 26lbs 6oz. She had two vaccines, a TB shot, and a blood draw today at her two year appointment and she was a champ. A few bandaids, a snuggle, and some mints and she was fine. My mom and I tried to prep her for the shots so she kind of new what was coming.

Two years is amazing. And awful. All at the same time. She is a little sponge, soaking up every thing we tell her, and a few things we don’t tell her but say around her without remembering that she can understand. She’s speaking in full sentences, though her tenses are a little out of order and she thinks that “you” is “me” so she’s always saying, “Mama help you” when what she really means is, “Mama help me”. English is very difficult and I don’t blame her for getting confused. She thinks you is like Stella. She can count from one to three and four to nine, but not one to nine. She picked this up from watching me do planks so sometimes she’ll try to plank and yell out, “Four! Five! Six! Seven! Eight! Nine!” and it’s just as adorable as it sounds. I love her toddler voice and everything she says. She’s taken to saying, “Nice to meet you,” and the way her words cut off and squeak makes me smile and also want to start crying because I know it’ll be too soon before I understand every word that comes out of her mouth and she’ll lose that toddler mumble and that is just too sad to think about. My mom was back in town this week and she reminded me that while she and my dad were here in July, Stella was constantly saying, “I got it!” I had forgotten all about that since she’s moved on to other phrases and I wanted to sit down and cry because there are so many things that I’m going to forget about her at this age. So many things that I will think are a huge part of her personality and will love, but they’ll get replaced by something else and I’ll forget about the thing before. It kills me that this is what life is like: a series of forgetting something that was once so huge.

We moved her to her new room so that James could get out of ours and into the nursery. Wes painted it a few months ago and she was pretty excited about the colors. We tried to talk to her about moving in but it was unclear how much was getting through to her. Once the new crib was in, though, and sheets were on, she was ready for her new room. The first night in she practically climbed into bed. She didn’t ask for a story and didn’t even give me a hug or a kiss goodnight. Success!

We’re working on potty training. It started when my parents were here. Well, we’ve been talking about it for a while and trying to get her used to the idea of peeing and pooping in the potty. She wasn’t too interested in it while my parents were here, but in the six weeks since they left we’ve made huge progress. I ordered a travel potty and keep that in the car and we’re actually venturing out of the house in underwear! We have a lot of success with pee, but there’s still a timing problem with poop. Hopefully by the time we go home for Thanksgiving we’ll have it all squared away, though.

She is incredibly friendly, giving hugs and kisses to pretty much everyone we know. She’s a little shy with new people, but once we introduce her (“Nice to meet you”) she’s quick to welcome them as a friend. She loves Frozen, Brave, and Yo Gabba Gabba and I fully admit that she watches a little too much television, but I don’t care. She’s smart and I can tell that she’s actually learning things from watching these movies and shows. We talk about what’s going on in the movie and I can see that translate to other parts of her life. Everything’s a learning tool if you make it one, is my motto (that I just now made up). She likes Minnie Mouse, but doesn’t care to watch her in any show or movie. She can navigate and iPad and iPhone and so we bought her an iPod for her birthday. Already she’s taken nearly 70 pictures, and probably 15 are of feet. She just gets so excited pushing that button and yelling, “Pictures! Pictures!”

We go to gymnastics, Gymboree, and swim lessons and it seems like we are always busy. Getting out of the house keeps us all sane. Sometimes I wonder if we’re doing too much but then I see Stella incorporate some skill that she’s learned and I can see that all these activities are helping her. We color and swim in the kiddie pool and take walks with Tsunami and go to the Farmers Market and make an endless amount of errands each week. We talk and talk and talk and when I try to sing she says, “No, mama, no.” And I stop because she’s right, I can’t carry a tune so why ruin the song. For the past two years she’s been with me nearly every single day and I have loved every one of those days. Even the rough days when it seems like all she does is whine about everything. She is an amazing kid and every day I have to remind myself how lucky I am to be her mom. I know that this next year (and every year after) is going to bring huge changes and I’m so ready for them. I love this age but I can’t wait to cook with her and teach her to read and write and all the other stuff that we’ll learn along the way.

Two years. What an amazing trip it’s been. Stella, I love you like frogs love flies. I love you to the moon and back. I love your hugs and your kisses and they way you slide over to me on the couch and say, “Snuggle Mama” (I love that a lot). I love your smile and your laugh. I love that you cheer for me when I’m peeing in the potty. I love how you bring me my coffee and how you make sure that you grab a mint for everyone else before taking yours. I love how you say hello to James each morning and how everything is a “little bit”. I love how you remember that Daddy painted your room and that whenever you pretend to call someone, it’s Daddy. I love how you sign “I love you” and how your voice sounds when you say it. I love how you love. Happy Birthday, Darling Stella.


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