Harper, you have just crossed over into the 2 1/2 age and it's been interesting and fun all in the same breath! You are a ball of LIFE, and at this stage I am reminded that you are more interested in living that life more independent from your parents every day. Last Tuesday epitomized this stage perfectly:
While we were playing in the morning, you ran off to go play in another room. I followed you like I usually do when we are playing and you turned around and said ever so calmly, "no, don't come with me mommy." I think I might have stopped breathing for a split second.
It wasn't even 15 minutes later that you ran into the bathroom to go potty. Again, I followed you to observe that you followed all of the "steps" (especially since if you had it your way, you would skip washing your hands every time so you could get back to playing). You turned and looked at me again, as you began shutting the bathroom door, and said, "go away mommy!" I respected that (after my heart skipped a beat) and let you exert your independence... after we had a tiny reminder about manners and using the word please. As we got you ready for your gymnastics class, you were determined to put on your leopard print leotard and rainbow leggings on yourself... and I have to say, you did a great job! We arrived to gymnastics and I walked you over to teacher Cindy. It was your second week in the toddler class without parental involvement. The week prior, you walked out to teacher Cindy and did the entire class without looking over your shoulder... barely realizing that I was no longer by your side to help you through all the drills. On this particular day, you were into the beginning stretches when you DID realize that I wasn't right there. Oh how you melted down screaming yourself into a puddle. "Mommy, mommy!!!! I want my mama!" Needless to say, Bentley and I came down from the bleachers and joined you on the floor. I don't think you transitioned from one drill to the next that day without crying for me, to check if I was still standing close enough. Bentley and I were happy to give you hugs and loves along the way to get you through class.
My mommy brain was spinning that poignant day with the dramatic back and forth of independence and dependence. I am realizing the importance of you exercising your independence at appropriate times and, at the same time, realizing to stop and cherish the moments when you reach out for my hand and reassurance.
Harper, you still love music and dance every time a song comes on. You have turned into our little tumbler - doing summersaults constantly. You climb anything and attempt jumping off many things that make mommy and daddy look at each other wide-eyed. Thankfully, you still have a sense of caution and do seem to know your limitations. You are obsessed with our ipad, asking to use it more than I can count. You love being outside, but make it known that you don't like the rain and you love the sun (mommy's little girl). You can spot water a million miles away and love playing in it, whether it be a fountain, the sink or a swimming pool. You have a love-hate relationship with bugs - calling them your friends and then squealing/screaming(?) when you actually touch one. Harper, one of the things your daddy and I love the most is your heart. You have the biggest one out there. It often comes across in sweeping emotions, but you are sensitive because you care about others. You try to calm your brother when he's crying and recently have been seen putting your arm around him. Anytime anything or anyone appears to be hurt, your eyes wince and you can't move on without assurance that they will be ok. When mommy's grandma died this month, you caught me crying once and you kept saying, "it's ok mommy, don't be sad" and hugging me. You talked about it for weeks. You are so precious to us sweet girl... don't ever change or lose your heart.
2 and 1/2 has proved to show us the rewards and challenges of parenting. Every day there are countless reminders for you to use your manners, to share with your brother, to eat a healthy "real" meal (not just a snack), to stop stalling and go to bed, to obey us the first time we ask you to do something, and to stay in your big girl bed at night. Mixed in to all of those daily challenges and tests of patience are: morning greetings that would make anyone smile, belly laughs that are nothing but contagious, an imagination that is creative and dramatic, kisses and hugs that soften any moment, a sweet little voice that can make all our worries go away, and two big brown eyes that sparkle and remind us that life is meant to be celebrated.