There's been a lot of birthdays around here lately and I think that has helped to keep it fresh in Terah's mind that hers was coming! And it is an understatement to say she has been excited. We've heard the phrases, "me birfday" and "tober leventh" a lot for weeks now. She only recently got it right that she was turning 2 (rather than 5 or 9 or whatever number came to mind first when we asked her how old she was going to be).
So 2 she is! As of 5-something this morning. Since her older sisters have soccer practice this evening, we had a little party last evening for her. The night before she helped decorate the room - which I suggested in a desperate attempt to think of something to keep her happy and awake a little while longer on a "no nap" day. She also designed the menu (roasted chickens, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, pickles, applesauce and ricotta - which I made and forgot to set out). She actually sat in her chair for the whole meal which is unheard of for her and consumed more food too than is typical for her. By the time we got to her birthday cake she was excited about the idea of it and blowing out the candle and scraping off some icing, but I don't think she had much room left in her tummy for anything additional. The rest of us thoroughly enjoyed it - mom tried a recipe for a no sugar chocolate cake sweetened with dried fruits and it was yummy!
In the days leading up to her birthday, whenever asked what she wanted to eat on her birthday the answer was "meat." Her birthday brunch this morning included both bacon and chicken sausage. When asked recently what we were going to do on her birthday she said, "sing happy birfday me." I guess she had heard it sung a number of times in the last few weeks and most recently at her cousin Ivy's party. It had clearly made an impression and she was looking forward to the song being directed towards her. When it came down to it, it was really cute to see her response - it was almost as if she wasn't sure what to do with that much attention focused on her.
She has, however, been quite sure what to do with presents. She'll open something and pretty quickly say, "nother one." It doesn't matter what it is, really, she just seems to enjoy the process of opening things. We've been trying to spread out the few little packages we had but IF she sees something wrapped there is no distracting her. While I would dislike what appears to be a preoccupation with presents, it isn't really about hoarding anything. She opened a chocolate bar from Kali this morning and was quickly distributing squares around to everyone. In the end, I'm quite sure Alida ate more of the bar than Terah did. It was more about the chocolate bar being hers to do with as she pleased (and the fact that she used her very own muscles to break it apart for dispersing). It is clear she gets that this is a special day where she gets some special allowances and liberties. We'll see how she feels when tomorrow dawns!
I tried to keep my schedule mostly clear so that I would not be constantly trying to be productive with her in tow. I've done a little puttering with her, but have enjoyed taking our time when running chicken bones or persimmon pulp down to the pigs. It's been nice to have a day with just a bit more "space" in it, to soak up all the cute things she is saying and doing these days or to linger a little longer by the chicks or to sit and read books with her. It's also nice that we have a houseful of people wanting to help her feel special today so when I need to do something (like finish up her brunch or do some dishes...) there are other people she loves who are eager to put a puzzle together with her or build a block tower. She is pretty thrilled that Grandma and Grandpa are in their place upstairs this week. She is often asking about them and if we go upstairs it is not easy to extract her from their home to bring her back to ours. I think Mom and Dad are flattered, but the flattery might get old if they don't get much peace and quiet in the coming days!
I made one commitment around this birthday of Terah's - I want to write up more of her stories or funny/cute things she says and does. I will admit that I feel I can hardly squeeze out the few minutes a day or even a week that it would take to keep up with it, but I'm determined to try. I got her book down yesterday and discovered it had been about 6 months since I had put in any stories. Yikes! Her vocabulary and comprehension have exploded in that time. I'll just share here a few of the fun things she is saying and/or doing these days.
She loves to sing. As I was putting her down for her nap she was humming Twinkle Twinkle and then was trying to sing the Hokie Pokie but that is hard to do and keep the suction going when nursing. She knows her abc's and likes to sing Ba Ba Black Sheep. Happy Birthday has been added to the list very recently. She didn't quite learn it enough to be confident on my birthday but just this morning she was singing "happy birthday to mama."
She and Alida are quite a pair. She adores Alida, gets very annoyed at Alida, loves to chase Alida and get Alida all worked up, hates if Alida tries to get away from her when she desperately wants to be near her, at other times will say "go away" to her, giggles for Alida probably better than anyone else, is clearly distressed when Alida hurts herself or gets very upset (though not as much if she is the one causing the distress), and often goes looking for Alida to play with her. When they get along, it's wonderful! When they are at odds, it's not pretty!
She's got quite the little shake when singing/doing the Hokie Pokie - esp. on her "put your booty in..." verse. I could watch her do that for some time without tiring of it. She has to be with people she feels comfortable around to go to it, so it's fun to be in the inner circle that has enjoyed it multiple times. I imagine a Hokie Pokie party might need to be on the agenda before her birthday comes to a close.
Probably one of her best birthday presents this year was that she got to enjoy some baby holding this past weekend (though not as much as she would have liked). She and Ivy are just starting to do more parallel play and are on the cusp of actually playing together. Terah no longer seems scared of Ivy's mobility but does seem to be grieving that she can't snuggle/hold her cousin like she used to be able to. So what excitement there was for her to meet her new baby cousin, Meri, this past weekend. I really was worried I was not going to be able to extract Meri from Terah's arms without Terah clamping down and squeezing her. Meri was rooting and clearly wanting to eat, and Terah was sure that she didn't need to be anywhere but in her arms. We made the transfer to her mama, but not without tears on Terah's part. She adores babies!!
She really likes "baby things" in general. She gets a high squeaky voice when she is talking about little or baby things. She would say "baby Meri, very very cute" or "very very tiny" with such adoration in her voice. She has extended similar types of expressions to our baby chicks or even a baby potato we pull from the ground. All of us are inclined to pass Terah the littlest things of anything we can find because I think we all get a kick out of her reaction. Kali made a point of putting a "baby bow" on one of her presents!
She loves reading books. She is rather obsessed with Curious George - especially Curious George and the Puppies. I'm wondering if this story will actually be a therapuetic one, maybe working at, in a very gentle and fun way, her fear of dogs? We'll see. I'm trying not to tire of reading it at least once daily, if not more than that. At bedtime, she has gotten into this thing of letting Alida sit on my lap while we read and she sits beside me. It cracks me up to have this very big girl on my lap and a little one squished beside me, but I'm also thrilled as I need more cuddle time with Alida!
When I am rested (which feels like not very often these days), I am enjoying this spunky gal a whole lot. Our family really does feel complete with her and I can't imagine our home without her energy, curiosity, laughter and, yes, even intensity. I love when she brings something to me and says, "what dat called mama" or when she sees Jason doing something and asks, "what ya doin dada." She really doesn't want to miss anything and is normally excited about being in the middle of the action.
She is not a fan of limits, even ones that are set for her own safety. We try to say "yes" to our kids when possible. But we do have some non-negotiables. Terah doesn't seem quite ready for sharp knives, for example, and I did put my foot down recently when she wanted to have the tape dispenser all to herself (not just because of the little cutter on it but I really didn't feel like having no tape left by the end of her session with it). I would say she doesn't let go of her frustration or being upset very quickly and last night proved to me that she takes some of that emotions to bed with her to work out at night. I was woken in the wee hours of this morning to her having a mini-tantrum in her sleep, complete with kicking her feet and being inconsolable even with mama milk. The only thing she kept crying over and over was "me hold dat...me hold dat." I honestly didn't know what to do. She wasn't waking up. She was clearly upset and was getting louder. I finally just started saying "you can...you can." Upon recounting this story, Jason reminded me that I have no idea what I told her she could hold. Ok, so I wasn't thinking long term in that moment, I just wanted to get back to sleep!!
I better wrap this up so I'm ready to turn my attention away from a screen when she wakes. I'll end by just noting how odd the weather has been of late and how very different today feels that the day of Terah's birth. We had a wood fire in our stove the night of Terah's birth and I'm sitting here sweating in a t-shirt. It's been warm and muggy and we've even run the window AC this week a few days. It didn't feel like potato digging weather the other day either and I think we would have lasted out there as a family a little longer (than the time it took me to take these two pictures) if it had been cooler. Sometimes our "family work" ends up being "Jason's work with maybe Kali's help" while I go back to the inside tasks. There are plenty of those but I do still feel eager for the ability to do more of our projects together!
|Potatoes out and working to get barley in!|
But we are (ok, I am) trying not to think too much about big projects today. The cover crops will get in when they get in, the garlic will get planted in time, and we'll get to raking leaves and stockpiling them eventually. We are working hard at those things but also trying to take time for other things that nourish us (beyond just food). We enjoyed another date evening with Ivy recently and took advantage of the warm temps to cook over the outdoor fire again. And, for today, we are savoring the littlest member of our family's life and feeling grateful for her!
P.s. a few more baby pictures from this past weekend and grandma/granddaughter time!