Friday, August 13, 2010

On Turning Three

Georgia, I must admit that I've been surfing the Internet tonight, procrastinating on writing your 3rd birthday letter.  The problem is, you're changing so fast from week to week now that if I don't write this all down soon, I won't even remember it was true.  So it's time to reflect on you at age 2 before you head off to preschool and go changing on me again.

At age two you were extremely clingy.  You taught us patience, because no amount of cajoling can make a clingy person un-clingy.  At least that was our experience.  In the fall, you were bursting into inconsolable tears every time I walked down the hall to go to the bathroom.  By winter, you were still afraid to venture downstairs with close relatives if mommy or daddy wasn't with you.  Come spring, your father and I were sometimes sneaking out after your bedtime, your loathing of and resistance to babysitters was so great.  Even this summer, there has been a lot of "Can you come?" pleading when your father and I stray out of the small radius of comfort that you have established around yourself.  But as I said, things are changing.  Slowly, when you look at it over the course of a year.  And yet the change seemed so sudden when I saw you bravely running off with your cousins and grandparents in Wisconsin last week, something you would have freaked out at the thought of only a few weeks earlier.  Your clingy-ness this year also taught us to follow our instincts and to know our own child, because many people had plenty of advice on the matter.  The solution is to go out more, they'd say.  Try being tougher.  Try completely ignoring her.  Mmmmm-hmmmm...thanks, we'd say.  And then think to ourselves:  you do not know Georgia.

At age two you were sensitive.  To illustrate this, let me just say that other parents worry that when their tempers get the best of them, they yell at their children too much.  And I just think to myself, well, that's a problem I don't have to fret about.  Don't get me wrong - your dad and I are not immune to frustration and are certainly no better than the yellers in our parenting skills - it's just that we have a built-in check on that behavior called:  Georgia will completely melt down and start bawling if someone yells.  Or shouts.  Or unexpectedly makes a loud noise.  Or threatens to.  We've been trying to teach you that when loud things happen, your options are to cover your ears or to walk away.  Last weekend you looked adorable standing in the kiddie hair salon, holding your hands over your ears for two solid minutes, with the most concerned look on your face, going, "Mommy, why is he crying?!"  So maybe you're starting to handle it better.  But then again, when June recently bumped her head on a nightstand and started crying, you joined right in, dwarfing her response with your own, because you're not just sensitive to noises. You're also incredibly sensitive to people and animals (usually of the stuffed variety), and it's so sweet to see the moments when it shines through.  You'll share the last piece of cake.  You get great joy from making your little sister laugh.  And even though you are not always the cuddliest of creatures, you completely understand when I say, "Mommy really needs a hug right now, okay?"   

{Notice hands over ears. Abe is, um...loud.}

At age two you were dramatic.  Life with you this past year often had me thinking of this song that a college classmate of mine wrote called, "Help!  I'm Dating a Theater Major!"  Except your father and I are thinking, "Help!  We're Raising a Theater Major!"  And we don't mean that in the career choice sense.  We mean that in the emphatic hand gestures, spontaneous dancing, dramatic facial expressions, hands on cocked out hips, fake crying, fake laughing, voice impersonating sense, if you follow.  It's trying at times, but also provides fantastic entertainment and can be hilarious.  I don't want to stifle your creativity but must admit that I am on a current kick of asking you to "use your regular voice," which is a request having nothing to do with volume.

At age two you were verbal.  I can't get over how exciting it is to witness someone going from not knowing, to knowing.  From not using the past tense, to using it, even if you do still say "catched" and "throwed" and that sort of thing.  Although your growing vocabulary impressed us, it's actually all of the little foibles and mistakes that I don't want to forget.  How instead of pull-ups you call them hang-ups, and instead of blisters it was blizzards.  How you always say, "I don't want to be only!" when what you really mean is lonely.  How you (ironically) say "crabbies" instead of "Cubbies" when singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."  How your pronunciation of "Harry" sounded like you had a British accent, but your pronunciation of "park" sounded like you were from Boston.  Then there are all the phrases you picked up and went on jags of saying, like "Actually,..." or "Well, I'm busy, so..." or "Does that sound like a plan?" (with accompanying hand gestures, of course), and "Are you kidding me?" or a personal fave, "Am I kidding myself?"  But we'll never forget the funniest of them all, your addition of the word "Ohhhhhhhh!" in front of any other, to try to get us to understand what you were saying.  (You picked that habit up from our always exclaiming "Oh!" when we finally deciphered any of your toddlerease.)  So milk became O'Milk,  rabbit became O'Rabbit, and so forth.  

At age two you became a big sister.  You have been sweet to June from day one.  (Not necessarily generous, but we're working on the sharing.)  You're a wonderful big sister, and you always look out for June, but babies don't make the greatest playmates.  So it's only recently that your relationship with June has been blossoming from friendly indifference to true interaction.  Just tonight you were cracking each other up blowing bubbles into the bathwater.  I'm sure that fights and other bumps along the road will come with your changing relationship, but I hope with all my might that the highs outweigh the lows for you both.  It brings me such joy to hear you spontaneously say things like, "Let's give June a rumpus!" (I can only hope that that sentiment is shared by your sister.)   

Everyone has heard of "The Terrible Two's."  This year may not have been easy, but terrible?  Definitely not.  It was a year of growth and change.  At age two you were incredibly fun.  It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  Days filled with such frustration that nevertheless ended with your father and I heading off to bed already missing your precious little face, marveling at how much we love you.  Not figuratively, either - we actually converse about such things, dorks that we are.  (How many years until you recognize us for the dorks that we are, by the way?)  


I have heard people talking of "The Effing Threes" or of raising a "Three-nager."  I'm sure they mean that in the most affectionate way possible, right?  Time will tell, but we are looking forward, diving in.  We love you to pieces, Georgia!  Words can't describe it, and I've used too many already anyway.  Next year you're getting a haiku instead I think.   

{Just what you always wanted. Your own deck chair. No, really.}

Guitar Cake



Susan said...

I usually can’t make it all the way through these children update posts without getting bored…I know they are more for the parents anyway. But, this one was so well written and sweet – I loved it! Georgia is one of my all-time favorite little girls…so precious and adorable! I’m glad she’s starting to break out of her shell a bit. And I love her red cowboy boots! Happy (belated) Birthday, Georgia!!

Maggie said...

Oh what an amazing post. I get such a sense of who Georgia is every time I read your writing. Granted, I do actually know her, but it's so fun to hear her "voice" come through on the blog. Happy birthday, Georgia! Welcome to THREE...

Anonymous said...

I hope your girls appreciate this someday as much as your blog readers!! I know I'm not keeping up like I used to, but still LOVE the BGARD girls' blogs!!
Tom T.

jessica said...

Sweet and funny. Love, love, love the cowboy boots!

Danni said...

Awww so so sweet! What a cool little kiddo.

Angelique said...

So well said! You (and Georgia) will treasure how well you have documented this time in her goes too quickly.

Kelly said...

Such a sweet, sweet girl! I got a bit teary reading this post - very well written, Kate! I hope the birthday was amazing!

And I, too, absolutely love the red cowboy boots. They rock!

katandkarl said...

Love the image of the cake and the candles being extinguished! It screams happy and birthday!