This is a story about kid number two. Oh, how I love this child.
We had family pictures taken recently. Two doesn’t love family picture time. She doesn’t love it when too much attention is focused on her. She doesn’t love having to do new things until she is ready.
But lately we have been doing new things. We do gymnastics and we do story time at the library and art time at the children’s museum and speech therapy. We go on vacations and ride ferry boats in our car and swim in indoor water parks and go to the zoo.
And we watch Daniel Tiger. We watch Daniel try new foods and try new things and little by little we learn that trying new things can be fun. So we talk about getting our picture taken and we practice smiling for the camera and we look at our book of past family pictures. And when the day comes we get dressed up in our fancy new dress that looks like our sister’s and we comb our hair and we do our best. And we try, just once, to have Daniel watch us get our picture taken from a few steps away, but in the end it’s better if we hold on to him.
And that’s okay. In fact, it’s perfect. I love that Daniel Tiger is now cemented in our family history via photograph. Because, right now, he is Two’s best friend. The kind of best friend that helps you grow and changes you for the better. Those kind of friends leave a mark on you. Even when you’re two. Especially when you’re Two.
So we embrace it. Daniel follows us to gymnastics and story time and the children’s museum and speech therapy. He sits beside us at dinner and sleeps beside us at bedtime. And the truth is, I love that. Sometimes we all need a friend who is there whenever we need them.
As a parent, we want our little people to have everything they need. Some kids make it easy to know what that is and other kids are a bit more complicated. Two can be a little complicated. Sometimes it’s hard to know what are the things I need to help her with and what are the things I need to accept as part of who she is. There’s no doubt she is different than her siblings in many ways. In some profound ways. She amazes me every day with the things she remembers, the things she notices. She is aware of her surroundings on a bigger level than even I am sometimes. Since she was very little, she could always recognize where we were while driving in the car. She would comment on where dada worked as we drove past or notice sister’s school. She picks out tiny details off in the distance or sounds coming from another room. She picks up on it when people are nervous or uncomfortable. She picks up on it when attention is too direct.
And then in the next moment she is just like any other toddler. She laughs and chases her sisters around the room. She asks me to tickle her. She loves brushing her teeth and reading books before bed. She loves hats and music and “dance parties” and suckers and snuggling mama and apple juice. She is stubborn and hilarious and brilliant and attentive.
And she has the best, most contagious laugh in the whole world. She laughs from deep down in her belly. (So much so that if she laughs for too long she will barf.)
She is featured on my arm as a moon, clear and bright. Reflective. Powerful enough to move the oceans, but preferring to do so from a quiet, discreet distance. Perfectly situated between her star and sun sisters. And just like them, the sky wouldn’t be the same without her.
Two is incredible in ways I can’t even comprehend. And I’m not always confident in my ability to do justice to the task of being her mama. But I am in awe of her every day. And that makes me the luckiest.