Miss Ellie Yeh is turning TWO in a couple weeks. TWO! I’m frantically ordering Daniel Tiger dessert plates and cake toppers and figuring out where to find balloons and debating making the cake or buying it and suddenly I stop and I realize…she’s a toddler. Officially not a ‘baby’ anymore. I want to laugh. I want to cry.
Two thoughts rush to the forefront:
1) Yippie she’s a happy healthy toddler!
2) Really? She’s not a baby anymore? That was over fast….So, so so fast.
I struggled so much when she was a baby - from trying to nurse, being in Virginia without my family and friends, coping with feeling alone, isolated, totally bewildered and absolutely lost 99% of the time. I had to stop looking too far ahead and just focus on getting through one day at a time. Because she was a preemie I had to wake her up and feed her every two hours 24 hours a day. Yes, even at night. Because she was born a month early she didn’t take to nursing quickly. She would take about 45 minutes each session. So when it takes 45 minutes and you feed her every two hours, you get about an hour in between to eat yourself, shower if you can, and sleep if you dare.
After the first three or four months when I was allowed to let her sleep for 4-5 hours at a time I felt like a new woman. Sleep deprivation can do strange things to a person. Bill didn’t get up with her through the week because of work. On the weekends he would try but what she really wanted when she woke up was to eat so…sometimes I would pump but usually it would be me getting up then too.
Maybe next time I can buy Bill those portable boobs that are filled with milk like Robert Deniro did in the Fockers movie. THAT would be a pretty picture for my blog page.
Anyway, I would wake up each day and check on her and be amazed at her healthy, chubby cheeks, her long black eyelashes, her tiny curled fist. And I thought, against all odds I am not TOTALLY screwing this all up. And I was proud of her, and proud of myself.
I learned two things in the last two years:
- I’m much stronger than I thought I was
- BOOKS ABOUT RAISING CHILDREN ARE ALL CRAP
I read so, so many books. I took a little from each one and meshed them together. There IS no right way to raise a child when done in love. If you are truly in love with your child, everything else takes care of itself.
Some people have asked me what my favorite age so far is, and my answer is, the one she’s in now!
Each milestone she reaches I think, no, THIS is my favorite stage. I probably won’t still be thinking that when she’s borrowing my car and not putting gas in and leaving sticky ice cream bowls all over the living room floor but really, I think I’ll just be grateful this wonderful soul has made her way into my life. She is a light and a joy and darn it if I don’t think she’s the most perfect creature on the planet. I can’t help it. My biggest parenting danger will be spoiling her.
Wish me luck!
Lastly, here is a quote from a friend I used to work with - she posted it on Facebook a couple weeks ago about a friend’s teenage daughter. I’m not there yet but I hope I can remember this quote when I am.
“My advice hasn’t changed since (my) first (parenting) go round. Back away. You can’t fix her because she isn’t broken. Keep calm and parent on. This too shall pass!! (Jeanie G - a wise, wise woman).