It happened. The day after Christmas, my baby turned 2.
I knew it was coming, of course. But the milestones, somehow, for my youngest (and likely my last) are much more emotional for me than I recall them being with her sister.
For weeks, in casual conversation with her school administrators, it had been mentioned that before her birthday she would start visiting the 2-year-old classroom. And then, one day, it happened quite suddenly. They called to say they would send her over that afternoon, if it was OK with us. Of course, it was. But when I picked her up, I was choking back tears. My little Peanut is small for her age, at the time she was among the smallest in her 1-year-old class despite being the oldest. She looked so tiny in the new class. “How did she do?” I asked “She did great,” the teacher replied. “She walked in here like she owned the place.” My baby is not a baby anymore, and everyone’s gotten the memo but me.
Over the next few weeks, she continued to visit. One day during her last official week in the 1-year-old classroom, we stopped in to surprise her at snack time with (tofu) ice cream bars and to sing Happy Birthday with her buddies.
After she went to sleep on Christmas, we snuck a new kid-size recliner into her room (she loves the one in her sister’s room). The rocking chair that I had nursed her and her sister in was passed on to a friend who is expecting her first baby. The truth is, Peanut didn’t like being rocked to sleep after she started rolling over at 3 months old (she’s had her own personality from day 1!), and had been done nursing for almost a year. But saying goodbye to that chair felt like a big transition.
On her birthday, there was a big balloon, breakfast out with family and Elmo cupcakes.
And then, Monday, Peanut started full-time in her new classroom. Just like that. And she’s doing great. She clings to momma a little bit more at drop-off, but she’s already learning more from being there. She was ready. She says more words, she knows more numbers, she knows more colors, she (mostly) puts her classroom toys away when I pick her up, she asks to sit on the potty, she tries to put on her own shoes and clothes and hair clips. She’s so smart, and mostly just the chillest kid (although some 2-year-old tantrums have started sneaking in) and hilarious. She loves hide and seek, and her big sis, and her dogs, and her mom and dad and everyone, really. She’s currently all about “Me, too!” (“I want that, too!” “I want to see, too!”) She’s not a baby anymore, and I’m coming to terms with that.
But she’ll always be my baby.