30 Days of Thanks: Second Birthdays

Today is Pumpkin’s second birthday. It has most certainly been a better birthday than last year.

For his first, I had the invitations printed, invited a handful of friends and our families and made the appropriate plans for a fun-filled first birthday party. Then, my uncle passed away. Party cancelled. We regrouped and decided to do an even smaller, immediate family only get together while we were in NC for my uncle’s funeral. Then, Pumpkin got sick. The pediatrician did not recommend that we travel. Second party cancelled.  We have the saddest pictures of our sick little guy opening presents, just staring at the camera, expressionless.

I was excited to have this year as a do-over. And yet, somehow, it all got away from me. No play dates planned. No backyard barbecues. All were thoughtfully considered and then promptly pushed aside by the 13 other priority tasks at any given moment. Suddenly it was a few days before and I had to suck it up and admit that we weren’t doing anything special for his birthday.

Typical second kid, I guess. Peanut has had some sort of celebration for each of his five birthdays. I’m 0 for 2 with Pumpkin. And yet, somehow, we’ve had the perfect day. Just the four of us. Our little nuclear unit. There were outings and presents and cake and giggles and hugs and kisses and just enough crazy to make it a normal day. And at the end of it, we tucked Pumpkin into his “big boy bed” for the first time.

A year ago, he wasn’t walking. A year ago, I was still nursing. A year ago, we thought he had a milk allergy. A year ago, he wasn’t talking. A year ago, he was still my baby.

Today? Well, today he’s running. He’s crawling out his crib so much that we had to ditch the front wall of it and transition it to a bed in an attempt to save our sanity. He’s talking up a storm, exploding with new words this week alone. He’s thoughtful and funny. He and his brother are working together more than ever, making up games, making each other laugh, making up when they fight (after some prompting).  He can count to three on his fingers, proclaiming a triumphant “YAY!” each time he gets to three. He loves books and animals and all things vehicular from trains to cars to space shuttles. His favorite color is orange and he always gets it right. His next favorite color is green, which he does not always get right, and purple, which essentially is anything blue or darker. Flowers and butterflies are “wubbies.” Monkey and pumpkin sound exactly the same. He jumps. He wiggles. He sings. He is on the verge of boyhood.

Although we are on the precipice of those terrible twos, he is still my comic relief to the power struggles I have with the five year old. He’s always one tickle spot and giggle fit away from melting away all my worries. His little “hi” makes me smile and is always impeccably timed.

Today, I am thankful for my not-so-little-anymore Pumpkin and all the joy and wonder he has brought into our family. Here’s to another great year of discovery.

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