Your baby brother or sister is due to arrive any day. But before you’re promoted to “big sister” status, I want to remember you as our littlest.
You are our blue-eyed beauty. Our spunky and opinionated one, sometimes stubborn and demanding and dramatic, but also empathetic and sensitive.
You love with your whole heart and give the greatest hugs. You are constantly rubbing and kissing my belly. And if I cry in the middle of the day, for no reason at all (thank you, pregnancy hormones), you are quick to wipe away my tears and say “I yuv you so much, Mommy.” I love that I can still calm your cries, too, and sometimes the two of us just take a break to rock together or snuggle on the couch.
You are, and always will be “daddy’s baby,” and you immediately correct us if we say otherwise. You give him multiple kisses goodbye every morning and wave to him from the front door. You love to “honk” his nose and jump on his back for rides around the house. Sometimes you grab his face in your hands to get his attention, and he pretty much turns to mush and will do whatever you ask. “Daddy’s baby,” indeed.
You and Sam certainly have your sibling spats, but you are constantly thinking about your big brother — like when you ask me to save a slice of pizza for him to eat after school, or you beg to play with him for “just one more minute” before nap time. And one of my favorite parts of the day is when you give him a kiss on the forehead before bed. You still call him bubba, but also “Dam,” which I adore.
You insist on feeding Lucy and letting her out the back door — even though it triples the length of time to do both tasks. You also love to dust and sweep the deck and help carry the laundry basket up the stairs. Honestly, I don’t know how I would accomplish anything without your assistance.
You are going to be such a big helper when our new baby arrives. Every day you practice feeding your baby dolls, changing their diapers, and tucking them into their cradle. I love how you “shhh” them to sleep and bounce them and sing “rock-a-bye.” And insist that they are swaddled just perfectly. Interesting how that motherly instinct is already so strong. You make cozy beds for them out of pillows and blankets, or use tissues for your littlest princesses and Paw Patrol pups and Peppa Pig.
One weekend, while Nini and Poppy were visiting, you snuggled up to Nini with a toy bottle and pretended to drink from it. Ironic, considering you never, ever took a bottle when you were an infant. And when I asked you why, you said “because I did it like this with Mommy” while leaning in to Nini’s chest. We were all shocked that you remembered this despite not having ever seen a mother nurse a newborn. Such a smarty pants!
For about two weeks, you developed an unexpected obsession with a toy dinosaur that you named Rexy. He went everywhere with us — to the park, to preschool pick-up, to Panera, to gymnastics, to Sam’s swim class. And it was the very first snuggle buddy you have ever requested to sleep with. Not the soft and squishy stuffed animal that I would have chosen for you, but it was pretty darn sweet. You said, “Rexy is my best friend.”
I love that you equally enjoy “girl” things and “boy” things. You wear tutus and bracelets. You bake cookies in your kitchen and have tea parties in the bathtub. But you also pretend to be a ninja with a sword and a shield. You build magnet block castles for Matchbox cars and LEGO spaceships. You pick dandelions and throw rocks in puddles. You know Cinderella and Rapunzel and Spider-Man and Darth Vader.
We just wrapped up our six-month session at the Little Gym, and we are both going to miss it! You have gained so much confidence since January, and it’s been amazing to watch. You walk right up to the colored circle at the beginning of class and answer “Nora” when asked “what’s your name?” You flash a shy smile, then do your forward roll, and quickly run back to me for high fives. You are a good listener and follow directions while most of the other two-year-olds run circles around the gym. You especially love running and jumping across the air track, swinging from the rings or bars, doing the bear walk, and jumping on and off the foam blocks. You do not like hanging upside down from the bars or climbing from the low bar to the high bar. You get so excited for “ball time” and “bubble time” at the end of class. Though you have cried more than once if you weren’t fast enough to grab the red ball or the blue ball, depending on your color preference of the day.
You love art projects: drawing circles and lines and “letters” on paper, coloring flowers and butterflies in Mommy’s books, standing at your easel with markers or sticks of chalk, painting on paper plates. You still switch between your left hand and right hand, though you seem to have a bit more control with your left. We try to get to the library every Tuesday morning for toddler storytime and crafts, and you are always so proud to show off your creations to Daddy and Sam. You can also spend an incredible amount of time rolling and cutting play dough, scooping kinetic sand and forming it into balls, or standing at your sandbox on the back deck.
Your favorite color is red; purple is a close second. You know Sam likes dark blue, and Daddy, too. And you insist that Mommy likes brown because I like chocolate. You can count to 12 and are just starting to recognize letters, which is pretty cool. You are a sponge, soaking up everything we say and do and not forgetting a single detail.
You love books and tend to request the same book every night for a week before moving on to the next. Recent favorites include Goldbug (of course, you and Sam compete for who can find Goldbug first), Snuggle Stories (Minnie’s Sleepover, Donald Duck, and Rapunzel), and Our New Baby book. You will often sit and flip through books and say “Just one minute, I reading now.” And you are quick to catch us if we change a word or skip a page.
We’ve reached so many important toddler milestones since your second birthday. First, we ditched the binkies. We decided going cold turkey was the best approach. So I bought a special pink box for you to put them in before bed one night, and we left the box outside your door for the binky fairy to pick up and deliver to babies who needed them. At first, you were really excited, but as soon as you realized that those binkies were not coming back into your room, you cried and cried and cried. It took you so long to settle and soothe yourself that night, and you woke up multiple times. But the next night was a bit better, and the one after that even better. And, by day three, you had completely forgotten about those beloved binkies.
Next, potty training! I have to say that this was a much easier process than it was with Sam. You wanted to wear your Minnie Mouse undies right away and never refused when I asked you to sit on the potty. In the beginning, we rewarded you with mini marshmallows and smiley face stickers. And we must have sang the Daniel Tiger potty song at least 100 times. You have now developed a potty routine (as with every single thing in your day), which involves putting the little seat onto the big potty, climbing onto your stool and up onto the seat, singing the ABCs, doing your business, wiping, climbing down, removing the little seat, flushing, closing the lid, and washing your hands. Whew. Yes, it is as exhausting for me as it sounds. But it works. You have had very few accidents and are totally comfortable going in public restrooms — also totally comfortable singing the ABCs at the top of your little lungs. You still wear pull-ups for naps and nighttime, but almost always wake up dry. Good job, little lady!
And, finally, we moved you into your “big girl bed.” You were so excited to help Daddy and Sam take apart the crib and assemble your bed. Mommy was also pretty excited to get that beautiful piece of furniture back into your room. We put on the butterfly sheets and purple quilt that you helped to pick out and added your little lamb pillow and favorite pink fleece blanket. Of course, you (and Sam) had to test out its bounciness on the first night. But you finally calmed down for a book and a story and a song. You didn’t get out of bed at all and only woke up once during the night. Again, completely different than your brother! In fact, you still stay in bed until Mommy or Daddy comes to get you in the morning. Now, this is not to say that you sometimes don’t make a dozen requests for a cup of water, a tissue, or a blanket adjustment. But it’s getting better.
We purchased a tot clock for your room while you were still sleeping in your crib, and before I turn out the light every night, you repeat at least ten times: “Goodnight, Sweet dreams, Until my green light comes on.” Then you almost always stay quiet in the morning until the green light comes on at 7:15am.
I think you love your room as much as I do. You will often play quietly with your toys while I clean or cook or shower. I love listening to the way you talk to your baby dolls and the scenarios you create with your miniature characters.
You love bacon and maple syrup, apples with the skin peeled off, grapes, watermelon, pretzels and carrots with hummus, potato chips, pizza, gummies, and strawberry ice cream. You still won’t touch milk and have just recently taken a liking to apple juice. Your favorite shows are Peppa Pig, Caillou (despite the fact that Daddy and I cannot stand Caillou), Princess Sophia, and the baby episodes of Doc McStuffins. And you love to play the Daniel Tiger games on my iPad.
You are definitely not one to be left behind and are constantly trying to keep pace with Sam and his friends. You race around the playground, demand to ride scooters that are too big for you, and confidently climb over rocks or walk along stone walls. Now that shorts season has arrived, I believe that your legs will be permanently decorated with little scrapes and bruises.
A few of your cutest expressions: What you doing? What happened? Did you see that? I have an idea. Oh my goodness. No, I not did it. It was an acci-didnt. It was an oopsy-daisy. Yummy in my tummy. I promise. I’ll never do it again. I can’t right now. I do it by myself. You get it, I don’t have any hands, see?
And everything you say is with such emotion — whether it’s excitement or concern or irritation.
Oh, Nora, I could go on and on about how much fun you are at this age. And we are just so excited to see you in your big sister role. We love you, sweet girl!