On the morning of Kiwi’s 2nd birthday, our brand-new two-year-old woke up and wanted to snuggle in Mom and Dad’s bed. Minutes later, Big Sister Peeper woke up and joined us. Not to be left out, our dog Finn hopped up onto the bed, too. So the first thing we did on Kiwi’s 2nd birthday was snuggle in a big family pile. I can’t think of a better way to start any day, but especially the birthday of our youngest.
Mornings are understandably hectic, thanks to two working parents trying to get ready for their jobs, two kids who would rather goof off or read books than eat breakfast or get dressed, and one dog who takes his sweet time doing his business on our walks. But on Kiwi’s 2nd birthday, we let the usual morning hubbub take a backseat. Spending a few minutes together as a family, undistracted, didn’t come with a ribbon or fancy wrapping paper. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful gift.
Remembering the day of Kiwi’s birth
As the whole family cuddled, tickled and laughed in bed, I couldn’t help but think about the day two years ago when Kiwi entered the world. I had gone to bed the night before with contractions I had to breathe through, and mercifully I was able to sleep some. I woke up when my water broke, and I knew it’d be only a short while before we had to head to the hospital.
The breathing and visualization techniques I’d practiced worked wonders, and I wasn’t afraid of labor like I had been for Peeper’s birth. As Eric and I headed out the door and waved goodbye to Peeper and my mom, Peeper handed me a tiny purple flower. She said she wanted me to keep it and remember her at the hospital.
That purple flower made it to the hospital (despite a detour, when the nearby hospital was full and we had to drive an additional 45 minutes in the opposite direction—not fun while you’re in transition!). The flower stayed at the head of my bed as I pushed. And the flower was there as Eric and I greeted the new arrival, our sweet, feisty Kiwi.
Impossible to forget a painful birthday
I also remembered Kiwi’s first birthday. It’s actually painful to reflect on that time because she got really sick immediately before she turned 1. She ended up in the ER twice and spent the night in the children’s hospital. Those days were some of the scariest, most trying I’ve ever lived; I can’t even imagine how bewildering and terrifying they were for Kiwi.
She was discharged the day before her and Big Sister’s birthday party was scheduled. We considered canceling the shindig but ended up going through with the party—we couldn’t stand disappointing Peeper, who had been looking forward to the celebration. Kiwi attended the party for a bit and left early. She had lost a lot of weight and energy—our normally vivacious baby couldn’t even walk anymore, she was so drained. (I wrote about that experience on Scary Mommy.)
What a difference a year makes. At her 2nd birthday party—held at the same park as last year’s—Kiwi zipped through the splash pad’s spray, zoomed across the playground, kicked her legs in the big girl swing and stuffed her face with cake. She played like the energetic, sassy, curious, self-assured 2-year-old she is.
Getting to know our 2-year-old more and more
It is such a privilege coming to know Kiwi as she comes into herself.
She is many things—generous, fiery, loud, loving—but most of all, she is all-in.
When she eats a frozen yogurt bar in the front yard, she devours it—then asks for more. And if any drips—on my knee, say—she licks it up, not wanting any to go to waste.
When she plays in the pool, she peels off her swimsuit and diaper then jumps from the trampoline into the water, squealing as she drenches everyone within splashing radius.
When she goes to the playground, she plays on everything, regardless of it’s made for a person her size and age. She learned to hang onto the big kid swing even before she could walk; she climbs up playground equipment meant for kids twice her size; she slaloms down the slide head-first. She is not one to be left behind.
And she’s not one to wait around, either. On her 2nd birthday, she didn’t even let Eric light her candle—she blew out the match. We sang her Happy Birthday as she dug into her cupcake—there’s just no holding her back!
Happy 2nd birthday!
Kiwi can be challenging—her spirited personality can inspire conflicts with Big Sister and frustrations with Mom and Dad. But we wouldn’t change a thing.
On her 2nd birthday—and every day—we are so thrilled to have Kiwi in our lives.
Happy 2nd birthday to my dinosaur-loving, directions-ignoring, sleep-eschewing, hug-giving 2-year-old. I love you.