Content note: Child-centered post
Yesterday marked the first day in quite awhile that the weather was fine enough for a good walk outdoors. The temperature was in the mid-40s, which, given cold this winter, felt downright balmy. The sun shone and we took a short walk to the park down the street. E rode her trike and collected rocks. We came home tired and a little muddy (the trike tipped in a puddle) and it was wonderful to finally get outside again.
The girls will turn two and four shortly. They’re no longer babies, but instead children who are more interested in running ahead, picking out tiny treasures for their various collections, and reading books. It is, of course, a little bittersweet – after waiting so long for them, it feels like the days have sped up – but it is also marvelous to watch them grow and change and begin to fill in the contours of their personalities in demonstrable ways.
M waited a long time for words but suddenly now in the last few weeks began speaking in full sentences: “I want more milk.” “Don’t go that way. Go there.” “It’s time for snack.” She’s almost discharged from developmental therapy (for the speech) and knows her own mind well. Books are her favorites, particularly Paul O. Zelinsky’s gorgeously illustrated Rapunzel, along with almost any book that has flaps to open.
E also is doing well. Every time I think about the tiny 2lb 8oz (1190 gram) baby in the NICU incubator and stare at this child who is still quite petite in stature but huge in personality, it almost makes me want to cry with happiness. She’s at age level in most skills except for some gross motor that needs to finish catching up. Her favorite thing is stickers and making cards for people that she happily scribbles all over and explains to me what she “wrote” there.
Together, as much as I dislike the term itself, the girls are the definition of “frenemies”. A sample interaction: E yanks a toy away from M, who tries to push E but doesn’t quite manage to do more than brush E’s shoulder. E flops on the floor and starts sobbing loudly. M goes over and pats E, making soothing noises. E yells at M and stomps off. A few minutes later, both girls are cuddled on the couch with E explaining a book to M, who is listening with great attention.
In other words, they’re siblings. But I also know how much they genuinely care for one another. E worries about M, M searches for E when E’s not in sight, and they play together well a surprising amount of the time.
They’re small children and there are days that don’t look nearly this idyllic, but every day, I’m grateful.