Zoe turned two on Monday. She's been "two" for months, really, in that she's been pushing her limits (and our buttons) as hard as she can, and has proven herself more than willing to throw fits if she does not get her way. But this week makes it official.
Recently she's started spontaneously saying Please, Thank You, and Sorry at the appropriate times. I'm so startled I frequently forget my line (You're welcome, Zoe, for example). She is interested in letters and words, and whenever she notices some will launch into the alphabet song without warning. She gets a little muddled in the middle, but always ends triumphantly: "Now I know my ABCDEFGH - Nex time Sing Ah Me!"
The Ah construction is an invention of Zoe's own. Instead of differentiating all of those complex prepositions and their idiomatic English uses, she says Ah. (Sit nex Ah Mommy! Give phone Ah Daddy! Mommy walk Ah Zoe!) It's passed effortlessly into common usage in our home. (Steve, are you coming Ah bed Ah me? No, I'll be Ah computer for a while.)
She's started to develop some caution, which is a very new thing for her. It's a relief that she's becoming less apt to fling herself into danger's way, but somehow I feel like we've lost something, too. I always admired the fearless enthusiasm with which Zoe tackled new situations. From the time she could walk we could drop her onto an unfamiliar playground and she would instantly head for the tallest slide and zoom up and down it until we dragged her away. Now she hesitates. She often turns around and comes back down the stairs, holding tightly to the railing until she reaches terra firma. Last year I swam with her in the Atlantic Ocean and numerous lakes and pools. This summer she is utterly freaked out by sand and water. Two years old seems too early to look back fondly and miss the good old days, but there it is. Little girl is growing up.
What I want to say here is how wonderful she's made my life. What I want to say is how much harder and more complex it is now than it used to be, but that I would never, never, ever go back to a time before Zoe. But I have read these words before, a million times, in other people's blogs and poems and memoirs, and I have no new insights to add. I am a complete motherhood cliche - glowing with pride and adoration and exasperation and exhaustion (little girl does NOT sleep well on the road). Everything they say about how great this is - is true.
Happy birthday, little Bean. I love you. That is all.