Countdown to Two

My mama heart can’t take this birthday business.

On Sunday, my baby girl will be two. TWO.

We’re getting a little birthday crazed in our house. Charlotte could already sing happy birthday, but ever since my mom’s birthday last week she now expects that there will be cake when you sing the song. She walks around the house singing happy birthday and then yells, “Cake? Cake! I need a cake?”

About 5 minutes ago, Catch texted me a video to show me that she taught Charlotte to blow out a candle.

If you ask Charlotte how old she is, she will tell you she’s two as she attempts to hold up two fingers. She has not mastered the fingers bit, and it pretty much just looks like she’s either trying to flip you off or throw some awkward gang signs.

In all the excitement and activity of birthday preparations, I can’t shake the feeling that I just want to stop. I want to scoop my little girl into my arms, lie back in the corner of the couch with her and sleep together like we used to when she was tiny. I miss being able to hold her for hours and study every last bit of her smallness.

In a wonderful twist of things, it’s Catch she clings to most these days. I am ecstatic to see this shift in their bond—it has been long awaited and hard fought. Still, even though I am so, so happy to see Charlotte choose her other mama over me (truly!), I find myself feeling a bit lost. I’m not nursing her anymore, and I’m not rocking her when she wakes in the night anymore. So much of me was tied up in those two things for so many months. I don’t really know what to do with myself now. Charlotte can be less than a foot away from me, but I will still feel like I miss her. Like the nursing and the night comforting have left an empty space that I haven’t yet figured out how to fill.

As much as this milestone is throwing me for a loop, I also have these moments of immense pride. We have come so far in these two years. We have worked through so much change. We have (mostly?) righted our upended world. We have kept this kid alive for two years! She is healthy and happy and thriving. That’s pretty fantastic.

We’re getting pretty good at this parenting gig.

15 thoughts on “Countdown to Two

  1. How is she already turning 2?! Seriously, that just blows my mind!
    You two are awesome at this parenting thing!!! I look to you for advice and ideas all the time, so you must be doing at least a few things right! 🙂

      • I’m planning for about 30, but I won’t be surprised if I’m off by 10 or more! Last year we had 50-something and it was more than our little house could even deal with! I am never doing that again! (Famous last words…)

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s felt this way! The missing her feels so strange… it’s welcome and unwelcome at the same time. Like yes, grow… but no, come back here and be my baby.

      • Yes! So much of what you described with C reminds me of D as she got close to two- and of us during that time as well. It’s beautiful and thrilling and heartwrenching in a good way somehow. Hugs to you all. ❤

  2. It just gets better and better. Happy (almost) birthday, Charlotte! I know exactly what you mean about missing her even when she’s a foot away. Something about watching your baby grow into a bigger toddler/kid changes so much.

  3. So so cute that she expects cake for singing happy birthday 😍. This post feels kind of like a premonition of my own future a year from now…. You’ve done such a great job as a mother, and it’s such a sad thing that the better you do for them the less they need you…

  4. Ha, my first thought was “Charlotte can’t be almost two – she’s only a few weeks older than Juniper!” Obviously I’m in denial (and behind on birthday planning.)

    I love how much Charlotte sings, it’s adorable. And one should ALWAYS get cake after singing happy birthday.

    As the NGP, I love that as J gets older, there is more balance in my wife’s and my relationship to her – the gestational connection is less and less important, which is what I had heard would happen and yet feared would never come to pass. I can definitely see how that would be an adjustment to be shifting out of that visceral and somewhat all-encompassing role.

    Happy almost-birthday, Charlotte – and congrats, mamas, for two years’ of awesome parenting!

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