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Where Did The Year Go?

Madeleine’s second birthday is
coming up and we’re celebrating this weekend with a few
friends at – where else – the zoo. Nana and Papa are
flying into town and it’s going to be a big shindig, I
guarantee it.

I remember how I felt last year at this time: weepy, nostalgic, not
wanting to see my baby grow into a toddler. I was digging in my
heels and being dragged kicking and screaming into Maddie’s
toddlerhood. This time around I stand in disbelief: where has this
year gone?

I look back knowing most of
Madeleine’s second year was spent with me pregnant, which
obviously colored my sense of time passing. Time was measured in
trimesters, or weeks pregnant, or months to go before delivery,
rather than 18 months or 19 months or 22 months. I remember when
Maddie turned 6 months old, and I realized we were on the downhill
slope of her baby year and needed to savor every minute of it. Now
I’ll look up and whole weeks have gone by without me dumping
photos from the camera or looking up developmental milestones in
the reference books. Time’s become more fluid and less of a
checkpoint, which I guess is good.

I also can’t believe how sad I was to see that first year end
with Madeleine. This time around, I spend much of my waking hours
gritting my teeth and saying, “Just get through the first
year. Just get through the first year. Then you can sleep
again.” This time around, I’m under no
first-time-parent illusion that babies really start sleeping
through the night at three months and I’ll be getting a sold
8 hours again soon. This time around, I remember how hard every
part of that first year was: learning to breastfeed, worrying about
holding her head correctly, dealing with colic and reflux, worrying
about SIDS, sleep training, worrying about the soft spot on the top
of her head, starting solid foods and the constipation that comes
with it, sleep training again, those three months where she woke up
several times a night because of developmental surges, worrying I
we didn’t install the new car seat correctly, babyproofing,
worrying I didn’t baby proof well enough, that first time I
gave Maddie finger foods and hoped she didn’t choke on the
Cheerio, worrying we’ll never save enough for her college
education – you get the picture.

All of this to say that there is great truth in what my girlfriend
Rebecca told me right after her daughter Elisabeth’s second
birthday: “It just keeps getting better and better.”
I’m not mourning the loss of Maddie’s second year;
I’m celebrating that we had a whole second glorious year

And I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for

So wish us a wonderful birthday weekend as we celebrate in style at
the zoo! It’s all Maddie can talk about, and she runs down
the guest list several times a day, as well as listing out
everything at the zoo she’s going to show her friends. And
every time the doorbell rings she now says, “Present!”
UPS knows us well.

Photos soon to follow, I’m sure.


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