My Dearest 2022 Two-Year-Old

My Dearest 2022 two-year-old,

The terrible twos, they say, will be difficult for us both.

As I look back at old photographs, I often find myself thinking, Oh, how things have changed. You are no longer the baby I snuggled in close, as you babbled and cooed, while I rocked you to sleep with a lullaby—your warm head tucked under my chin. No, now I chase a “little” boy whose endless energy cannot be contained by hugs from his mom … and whose babble has been transformed into constant questions, funny one-liners and empowered declarations. A boy who has outgrown his crib and interrupts my lullabies with a heartbreaking “No singing, Mommy!” request.

Your strong will was always there, right from your infant days of letting me know how much you hated socks and tummy time. These days, that same will exhibits itself when you refuse my help with anything and everything. Your independence is wonderful, but Mommy just wants to make sure you’re safe. I promise you that I’m working on my hovering; I just wish you could promise me that you’ll never get hurt so badly that I won’t be able to fix it with a bandage and a kiss. A naive wish, I know.

After all, how will you learn to get back up if I never allow you to fall down?

Since your twos began, your dad and I have witnessed some incredible changes in you. Your vocabulary has skyrocketed and your memory almost seems photographic. You’ve finally mastered jumping on the bed (oh boy!), climbing into the tub on your own, and effortlessly using the remote control to skip commercials when you’re watching cartoons. The little bruises on your shins and forearms showcase the rough-and-tumble gymnast you’ve become. And, suddenly, you confidently call out “I’ve got this, Mom!” as you climb the playground rock wall.

I find myself laughing as I listen to you narrate your life. Your goofiness and desire to make others laugh is showcased with the silly jokes you repeat while smiling with that grin that you’ve learned can get you out of trouble.

The twos are not terrible, I think to myself. No, how can that be when your manners are impeccable? The words please and thank you, you say ever so sweetly; heck, you even apologize to the wall when you run into it. We have so much fun together—the cuddles on the couch, the bedtime stories, making cookies and dancing in the living room. The twos are terrific!

But …

Heaven forbid that I cut up your fruit or can’t fix the granola bar that you broke into pieces. Chaos erupts when instead of the blue car I pick up the red one for you to send down the track. There is trouble to pay if your teacher helps to put on your shoes when you want me to do it. And how dare Daddy sit down on any of the empty deck chairs (those are reserved for your teddies and toys!).

You’re a roller coaster of emotions, these days, constricted only by what you physically cannot do or communicate. I see the frustration bubbling up inside you when I don’t understand what you’re trying to tell me. And I’m guilty of missing the sadness you feel when I tell you that we don’t have time for you to do it by yourself. I remind myself that even when I want to pull out my hair, I’m not the only one who’s feeling disrespected in that moment. And, more often than not, when I feel ignored, you feel the same.

In those difficult moments … heck, on those difficult days, I find myself putting on that song by Amy Sky, as I sit down with tears. She sings about the “ordinary miracles” of watching her little boy grow up, and it occurs to me that one day you’ll be grown and these bad days will simply be forgotten. I won’t remember the breakdown you had this morning because we ran out of bananas, or the poop I cleaned up off of my elbow after one of our recent diapering battles. I don’t think I will look back at this year and remember the frustration we felt.

But I know I will remember your smile as you ran around with the best friend you made at daycare. I will remember your first time riding a bike. I’ll remember you twirling with your teddy bear around the dance floor at a loved one’s wedding this summer. I’ll remember how carefully you helped me rescue a ladybug from the neighbourhood pool. And I will certainly remember how brave you have shown yourself to be this year.

My love, you are not a baby anymore. You’re a kind, strong, confident, independent and curious little boy. Your skills and abilities are increasing every single day, and you want to exhaust them just to see what will happen. You live life unafraid, and while I can’t always promise to let you do all of the things that you want, I will do my best to never inhibit your spirit.

After all, that spirit is what sent you running towards all of those big-kid rides at the amusement park, a few weeks ago. The rides that Mommy thought you were too little to enjoy. The same ones that Daddy allowed you to try—and that you ended up loving. I’ll forever have the memory of that giant grin on your face as you exclaimed “Again! Again!” after riding your very own horse on the merry-go-round, when Dad sat beside you rooting you on. As scared as I was to see you doing it alone, I can’t deny how well you did and how happy it made you to do it without help.

Yes, keep that courageous flair of yours, kiddo. It’s amazing!

And so, I will say the twos are not terrible. In fact, they’re more daunting than terrible—like an obstacle race that we have to run as a team, with no knowledge of what lies ahead. We’ll fight, fall down, fail, succeed, and come out united—feeling proud of ourselves and of what we achieved. So, let’s enjoy the “terrible twos” while we can—for in no time at all…you’ll be a “threenager!”

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