The Year That Was Too

Today, Chloe turns 2 years old.

I can’t believe I have a 2 year old human being child daughter.  For the last month or so, she has not been asking when she wakes up: “is today my birthday?”  Why is that?  Her sister did leading up to her birthday.

We have been celebrating birthdays in and around my house for what feels like months, starting with Mommy and Grandma and continuing through Uncles, Aunts, Sister, and Papa.  Now we get to Chloe.  Finally, its her turn and I suspect we care a lot more than she does.  Now, we’ve done quite a bit of celebrating for both girls.  They aren’t even a full 13 months apart in age so for the moment (and possibly the next 15 or 16 years), we’ll have joint birthday parties.

We had one 2 weekends ago.  It was great.  We’ve gone to see Disney’s Princesses On Ice.  We’re going to see Sesame Street Live, Elmo’s Green Thumb this weekend.  We’ve had a steady stream of birthday presents and random dance moments and hoodsies at school.  Meanwhile, I suspect that Chloe doesn’t really care about any of it.  Now, to be fair, she certainly likes the toys..and the hoodsies…don’t get me started…but I find that for a lot of this, as much as we keep telling ourselves that we are celebrating both girls, Julianna really seems to get it and Chloe…not so much.

Here’s the thing:  She’s perfectly content.  This is a little girl who has had the most amazing year and I wish there was a way for me to tell her that and for her to really understand it.  As crazy as the differences are between 2 years old and 3 years old, 1 to 2 might be even crazier.  Let’s recap:

Chloe learned how to walk.

Chloe learned how to talk, and I don’t mean little, baby talk.  This girl is conversational.  Conversational to the point that you have to remind yourself of her age and that she might not actually fully understand what she’s saying.  She asks me routinely before bed “how was work today daddy?”  Here’s the cutest example though:  Disney Princesses.  Spent a good portion of the show buried in Mommy’s shoulder and then in my shoulder (not crying, just hiding).  About 10 minutes into Act 2, she pops up, looks at me and says, “This is so much fun.”  Clearly.

She now loves reading, singing, playing with dolls, and recently, archeology (in the last week she has picked up this odd fascination with rocks).  She literally spent an hour and a half yesterday at a playground with a bucket walking around scouring the woodchips (and recycled tire stuff) looking for rocks.  This playground is large, very nice and has very few rocks but she managed to find the ones that were there.  All the other kids are running around, going down slides, swinging…and there’s my little nerd-in-waiting collecting rocks at the ripe age of almost-2.  I can’t explain how much fun it was to walk around behind her and watch her work.

Way back, I wrote about how different the girls are.  They are still extremely different in so many ways but maybe not in the ways that I originally thought.  Chloe is still very silly, loves causing trouble and completely knows when she’s doing it (the ear-to-ear grin is a dead giveaway).

We must of course give credit where credit is due.  Chloe has had Julianna to model herself after.  As a result, she’s doing things a lot earlier than Julianna did.  It doesn’t change how impressed I am with it though.  You still have to put one foot in front of the other by yourself.  What’s more impressive is how she handles the implied higher expectations her parents put on her.  Well, yeah, you should use a fork to eat your food.  Why don’t you just tell us when something is bothering you?  How about you play by yourself for a few minutes so I can take care of something.  Chloe handles it all in stride, like a pro-kid, on her way to the dollhouse to play, or the coloring table to draw for a few minutes.

And then there are the times when she gets quiet.  She often likes to just sit and stare our a window.  I think she just likes the calmness.

There was a good stretch of time when I truly couldn’t see anything of myself in Chloe (whereas I am clearly Julianna’s father).  It was only recently when I started to be able to see it for myself, and you might think I’m weird for saying it, but, its her weirdness.  Her weirdness is very similar to my weirdness.  I know years from now she’ll read this and know exactly what I meant.  I love it.

Its that weirdness that is uniquely hers and totally awesome and in the last year, it really came to life.  She just does her thing.  Awesome.

Happy Birthday Chloe.

I hope you find a lot of cool rocks this year.