There will be several additional "birthday" blog posts before this birthday is over - we still have 2 parties yet ... But I want to take a moment to reflect on Kayleigh's accomplishments, her developments and who she is so I can treasure it forever. I have to preface describing her with the simple statement that this age of parenting is a complete dream. It is NOT without its challenges (there are days when "terrible twos" does not even BEGIN to describe her tantrums), but as a whole, this age has been full of moments that make us laugh out loud ... and keep laughing long after. Kayleigh's Physical Growth: I'll know her stats better in a week when we do her 2 year check up at the pediatrician, but she towers over the other children in her church nursery class. Compared to her 18 month pictures, she's thinned out quite a bit ... Compared to her 1 year photos, well, she's still wearing the same clothes, so yes, she's thinning and growing so tall. We've given her one hair cut ... of course we trimmed her bangs before that, but this time we needed the back to get evened out ... She currently looks so much like a pre-schooler it makes me want to cry sometimes. Her little "bob" just bounces as she walks ... and when her bangs, which are growing quickly, cover her face, you almost get a glimpse of the future teen that will hide from eye contact underneath.
Kayleigh's Social Growth: K loves playing with OLDER kids. She is not intimidated by the 4, 5 or even 10 year olds that we run into a public play areas. In fact, she gravitates to them over age appropriate playmates. She's also doing better with kids her age, but ... as the nursery workers at church say, "When the play gets rough, Kayleigh heads for the cupboards." She has no interest in wild, rough horse play and so she leaves the vicinity. Apparently this is a regular thing since her Bible Study nursery group consists of 6- 2 year old boys and her. Each time I pick her up she reminds me that today she "Played with toys and boys." When Kayleigh is comfortable she is very verbal around adults. As soon as she realizes you respect her ability to communicate, and will listen when she talks, the words come pouring out, sometimes in very long stories. It's amazing to me to watch her grasp for the right words. She's picked up "ummmmm" as a great filler, so while she's thinking she often employs that one just to keep the sound flowing. Here's a sample: "Good morning, Momma! I'd like to eat ... ummmmm juicy and ummmmmm ummmm chocolate milk and CHEERIOS!"
Kayleigh's Intellectual Growth: This child amazes me. I know that children progress at all different levels and stages and I will be the first to claim that high verbal skills early in life doesn't indicate a genius. But somedays I wonder just how in the world she became so smart at 2.
She is capable of remembering and recalling details from stories, events, or shows from weeks ago. She will bring them up whenever a connection warrants. (ie Mommy will humm a bit of Mickey Mouse stuck in her head. She will first launch into singing the lyrics of the entire song followed by telling me about the Goofy Robot episode and how she was scared of Goofy robot and Mommy had to turn it off).
She is capable of "pretend" play - she had a tea party with Mickey and Minnie yesterday, engaging them in conversations and appropriate actions (like thanking them for coming by giving them a hug and kiss)
She can count to 12 independently and employs counting techniques often when she sees multiple copies of an object or begins repeated action (like jumping, stepping, etc).
She can converse with me during a meal time or play time well enough to convey her needs, desires and even emotions. Most recently, "Mommy, I'm happy." (Oh really? why is that?) "It's my birthday and I'm having fun."
She adores helping ... every time I try to get in a "quick" chore (blend some previously chopped fruit/veggies, clean the bathroom, or change the load of laundry). "I'm coming too, Momma! I help too!" And she usually does.
She dispenses hugs, kisses, pleases and thanks yous almost ALWAYS at will ... sometimes she needs a prompting but she's quite good for her age.
She THINKS and problem solves ... if her path is blocked by obstacles she will find an alternate route, or if she is incapable of reaching something she uses appropriate tools (ie she can't get the crayons and Mommy is busy so she looks for her step stool, opens the door and finds it).
She follows multi-step directions. "Kayleigh, get your coat, go to the car and wait by your door." (Done ...) This is Mommy's FAVORITE!! Since Benjamin still needs help getting loaded up, this gives Mommy more free hands ... ahhh I love two year olds.
Kayleigh's Areas of Growth: Currently Kayleigh still struggles in several key areas: (1). Potty training - she WILL NOT DO IT! Though she clearly understands how and what needs to happen (2). Fear - she is developing fears of the dark, strangers, heights and separation from parents. (we haven't used a changing table in months!) (3). Disobedience - She loves to test the boundaries!!! (4). Temper - She's got one ... a fierce one ... it makes some epic battles at home sometimes ...
And that's our beautiful 2 year old ... thanks for listening, loving and caring.