Skyler at Two Years

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It feels daunting to sit down and try to begin writing Skyler’s 2-year update, which is why I’m a few weeks late. It’s not for any lack of excitement, or for lack of things to say, but for the challenge of being brief—at which I know I’m constantly failing (and have again).

So much happens between 18 months and 2 years. To another’s eye, the change isn’t as dramatic as from, say, birth to six months, but it’s during these six months that babyhood really seems to be slipping away the fastest. At two, she can barely be called a toddler anymore: she’s jumping and running all over the place, little blonde curls bouncing in her wake to create scenes that can feel almost cinematic at times. She’s also officially a preschooler.

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Skyler calls herself Skye if you ask her her name. Every other child besides Hudson (Hud-see) is “baby.” She has lots of words now, some really clear (rabbit), others less so (“babbo” is water), and though much would be unintelligible to strangers, our trained ears can occasionally carry on full conversations with her about her day.

She has a sweet little raspy voice and she mimics like nobody’s business. She babbles and sings to herself: “hello, everybobby” from Music Together is a favorite, and she sings it while swaying and clapping.

She often seems to be practicing at emotions—”happy face, sad face, mad face,” I recall us saying with Hudson—and loves testing our reactions to her voice and face. She does have a tendency to use a whiny-tone, with pursed lips and puffy cheeks, to ask for things—obviously we were too susceptible to the tone’s baby-like charm early on, so we’re working harder to make her repeat herself without that. She could never be criticized for being rude, however: “Please” and “Thank You” are routine for her. However, she will repeat the latter over and over (it sounds like “choo choo”) until the gratitude’s target acknowledges it with “you’re welcome.”

She likes to pretend to count: “2, 5, 2, 5…” and recognizes some numbers. She favors the color yellow, but recognizes most of the others. Cows and horses (neigh) come up often: cows whenever she’s looking out the car window over a green field (whether cows are there or not), and horses whenever she happens to think about how she’d like to ride one. “I ride neigh,” she says, usually completely out of the blue.

One of my favorite of her verbal habits is the way she accepts explanation. For example, if she sets her feet on the table and you tell her to put them down, you may see her stubborn side: she’ll leave them up and stare you down. Or she’ll put them down, then up, down then up again, asking for the “yes, no, yes, no” confirmation game. But if you then say something like “we don’t put our feet on the table because our shoes are dirty” she might reply: “Oh, alright,” followed by giggles. It’s hard to explain exactly, but the “alright” sounds like “right” and the giggles sound like someone laughing at herself—like, “Oh, right, duh. How silly of me. [Insert goofy laugh.]”

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When it comes to eating, Skyler is eager to try anything—and has a much higher tolerance for variety than Hudson does lately. She even likes spicy food and carbonated water. She does sometimes get ahead of herself: she has the very unfortunate habit of putting too much in her mouth, and large bites inevitably get spat out rather than swallowed. Her favorite food is possibly scrambled egg.

Sleep has been more of an issue at this age. She really wants someone in the room to help her fall asleep. We indulged for a time, but have recently tried taking a harder line because she was starting to wake up a lot more in the middle of the night, upset that we weren’t still there.

She loves to help. I’d like to attribute this to a highly developed sense of altruism, but I think it’s more a highly developed desire for independence. “I try?” (always put as a question, but acted out with the passion of a demand) usually comes putting on clothes, socks, and shoes; before getting into her carseat; before spooning her yogurt; before drinking out of your glass; and so on and so on. But lucky for us she’s also getting really good at all those things. And also lucky for us, she often directs those wishes toward being helpful to others.

You can see it in the way she cares for her baby doll. She got her own at Christmas and carries her around (even when riding in a bike seat), folds blankets to keep her warm, and often sleeps with her cradled in her arms.

She loves chapstick, band-aids, and rain boots. She has opinions about things that Hudson never cared about—like which shoes she wears, whether she has to wear PJs at night, or whether she can wear a dress. If she is sick or tired, she will literally crumble with sadness when the decision is not hers, but she can usually pull herself together again before too long.

We used to joke that Skyler has major FOMO (fear of missing out). And she still thinks anything someone else has, anything someone else is doing, might be better. This lead to lots of grabbing and, you might recall, some problems with biting (she could be quite the bully), but over these last six months she’s gotten pretty good at sharing. She may still get into a tug-o-war over the toy that’s grabbed from her, but she will hand it over gently with “you try?” almost anytime someone else asks for a turn.

And when that happens, she often tilts her head down and looks up at them as if she’s looking over reading glasses. It’s the same look she occasionally gives Sawyer (“doggy”) when giving him food he’s not supposed to have. She hands it over while ceremoniously telling him “no, doggy.” She really loves that dog (which hopefully helps make up for how much less attention he gets from us since she arrived on the scene).

I’m actually lucky to get quite as many hugs as Sawyer these days, because she’s very busy. She’s always on the go. But when she does come and lay her head in my lap, or stop what she’s doing to stroke my cheek or give me a kiss, I feel like I can hear that old song “Heaven, I’m in heaven…” playing in my ear. Aron is her go-to parent right now, however: if he’s around, she wants to be with him. And she actually can get very jealous and upset if he and I are hugging!

But her favorite person seems to be Hudson. Thank goodness he’s such a kind, sweet kid, because she wants to do absolutely everything he does, right down to the way he makes raspberry sounds before doing stunt falls on the carpet. (What does that mean, you ask? Exactly. But she wants to do it, too.) As was he, she is a fearless climber who likes to jump off successively higher platforms—from curbs, to benches, to playground slides. When she hops, she narrates: “hop, hop, hop.” But when she falls, she’s the tougher of the two, barely crying over bumps and bruises.

Watching them together—when they’re getting along, which is most of the time—is one of the greatest joys.

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Skyler delights us every day. She’s bursting with personality and it’s all very uniquely hers. Writing this makes me want to take more videos—of her many expressions, her brilliantly bright smiles, her silly slumped walk—because no words (and no still pictures even) can do justice to this charming, dynamic little love of ours.

P.S. Skyler at 18 months and some of my favorite photos from the last year at #SkylerBisOne on Instagram. Her actual birthday was at the start of this month.

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