Oh, Zoe. You’re two today. Two? Really? Already?
It seems like just yesterday I was riddled with the insufferable sufferings of the fiercest stomach bug ever to hit this household, and then you were all, “Quit vomiting for 5 minutes, woman, and get me outta here!” What a way to come into the world. I guess you were already trying to make sure that your sisters didn’t show you up with their fantastic birth story?
The last two years have literally flown by, and I’m in denial of how much you’ve grown. When your sisters were your age, they were “big girls!” but you remain just a baby to me with your porcelain skin, fine baby curls, and oh my God those cheeks. Fess up. You’re a baby doll come to life, aren’t you?
Never mind, that’s kinda creepy.
People always ask me if I could imagine my life had you never entered it. The truth? Yes, yes I can. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t cherish every moment that you’ve graced me with your presence. Most moments. The ones where you cry inconsolably for no reason I haven’t really cherished so much.
This past year has seen you grow leaps and bounds. You no longer sit back and calmly observe the insanity happen around you — you participate 110% and have shown me that yes, it is possible for me to be pulled in 7 different directions at once. It was a knife in the heart the day that I realized I could no longer take all three of you to Target and have you be content sitting in the cart playing with a scrap of paper while your sisters checked out the latest Buzz and Woody.
No, you are an equal opportunity toddler — you must do everything that they do, even if it’s your own little made up version. They’re sitting on the couch watching Sesame Street? You must sit there too. They’re getting tossed in the air by Daddy? You too. They get their bowls of applesauce refilled? Well, by all means, I must top yours off too, even though it’s still full because you don’t eat anything but crackers and waffles.
You are the true definition of sugar and spice. Salty and sweet. Like chocolate covered bacon, only without the extra cholesterol, although I’m not convinced that you’re not going give me a heart attack one of these days with your daredevil ways. Just today I caught you trying to stand on your rocking horse like a circus performer. I’m pretty sure it all started when you flew off the bed that one time.
You don’t take any crap from anyone, most definitely not your sisters. But oh my word do they love you, and they love to show you, even if it’s with a headlock and a body check. But you’re crazy about them too. You insist on giving them each a kiss before nap time (along with the dog and the cats…), and before you go to bed at night you go back and forth between their beds, sharing goodnight kisses and sweet sisterly giggles, sometimes taking a moment to crawl into bed with one of them for extra snuggles.
And you’re such a good snuggler. Did I ever tell you were only 4 months when you stopped letting me rock you? Yeah. I wasn’t ready for that. And you never let me sleep with you. But in the past couple of months, thanks to a lot of nap protesting, you’ve more than made up for it, and oh how I love it. You are ridiculously attached to some random, ratty blanket, but as soon as it’s placed across your back, you command me to “Sit!” and nestle your head into my neck. And there we sit and rock. Sometimes at the end of a long, napless day, your soft snores grace my ears like a whisper within minutes. Other times you lay your head on my shoulder, lean up for a kiss, point out my nose, eyes, and mouth, and then you bury into my chest and we cuddle some more. Sometimes you point to your crib and say, “Beh?” when you’ve gotten enough snuggles and are ready to lay down, and it’s always before I’m ready. When did you get so big?
When you were on the way I had a hard time imagining what you would be like, inside and out. With two older sisters with such distinct personalities, how in the world would a third personality present itself? You, my dear, are your own person, that is for damn sure. You’re a mommy’s girl through and through, requesting to be held 97% of the time, searching for me through the house when I’ve abandoned you to go to the bathroom of all things, and only wanting me when you’re wet and wrapped in your towel after a warm bath. But then you’re a daddy’s girl when it’s super rowdy play time or at the end of the day when the witching hour has just gotten to be too much!
You’re Zoe. You want what you want, when you want it, whether it’s a cookie or a kiss. There is no “wait.” There is no “not this time.” One of these days I’m going to have to stop letting you get away with murder because you’re “just a baby.”
But not today. Today you’re still my baby. Happy birthday, little one.