Piper is 2!

To Piper on your second birthday,

Piper Jane. Just saying your name makes me smile. Where do I start with you, child? You have changed so much in a year. You are bigger (33 pounds! 37 inches! That is actually off the charts, literally, in both weight and height), your hair is longer, you move around proficiently, you sleep through the night, and you talk.

You talk! We know what's going on inside your head now, and it is a delight to hear. The last few months have brought an onslaught of new words and combinations and sentences---every day it is something new, and you make us smile. You are more content with your world, too, because you can communicate so much better. There was a rough patch in there, around 15-18 months, where we endured a lot of whining and frustration from you. You had stuff to say but couldn't say it, I think. I'd be frustrated, too.

You are silly. It seems like you have a good sense of humor---at least when you look at us with your head completely still and those eyes darting around purposefully, they look to be filled with wisdom and understanding and humor. You make all of us laugh and you revel in it. Your latest thing has been putting your hand to your forehead and exclaiming “oh, man!”...over and over again, because we keep laughing.

You sing...your favorites are ABCs (which you demand that I sing every night before bed, like a lullaby), Silent Night, Jingle Bells, Away in a Manger (it is, after all, almost Christmas!) You can sing most of those songs on your own (with a few made up words)---but usually you want someone to join you, and you aren't shy about tapping my leg and saying “sing, mommy!” Sometimes you wake up in the morning, happy, and we can hear you singing in the crib. It's the best way to wake up. The other morning Rowan joined you in your crib in the morning, and your dad and I laid in bed listening to the two of you talking, singing, being sweet in the early morning hour. It made me feel so happy.

You have friends! And your play isn't just about claiming ownership of a toy or doing parallel play---you interact, love, hug, connect. We took care of the Kuiper boys every Tuesday this past year, and you have built a special friendship with Judah, who is 2 ½. “Judah is my buddy” you say. One of the most recent times we saw them, you announced “I so happy to see you!” as you gave him a hug. You are also friends with Jack, Ben, Hannah, your cousins. You seem to get it: these are people my size. My friends.

You love this new baby we have coming. I'm not always sure how much you understand about this baby---like that it will come OUT of my body in a matter of days, and will be moving in with us for good. What I do know is that you are very aware of my belly, and you talk to it tenderly, always calling it “my baby.” Today we were at the grocery store and out of the blue, from your seat in the cart, you just cradled and stroked my belly, talking closely and giving it kisses, “hi baby, I love you baby.” I do know that you love other babies in our life....we'll see how you feel about this one coming, who will forever usurp your position in this family. I'm eager to see you negotiate your way into the position of middle child.

This fall we've spent a lot of one-on-one time together because Rowan is in kindergarten three full days a week. Even though you ask all day long “where RoRo go?” and I know that you would prefer it if she never left us, I have enjoyed the time just with you. You have an attention span for reading books that is longer than mine. You are curious, engaging, easy to be around. Well, for the most part. If I have too much to do....if I've put you off one too many times with laundry or cooking or editing photos....you let me know. You are not a wallflower, that's for sure. You make your voice heard one way or the other. I always say that I'd rather my daughters be assertive---but sometimes you can be so demanding, child!

Oh, and sometimes you show that assertiveness with a bite. Not sure what to do about that one. Rowan never bit anything ever---so this is new territory for us. And it hasn't just been an experiment for you---you're pretty committed to the idea that biting will accomplish something. Or at least that it's a great way to express your frustration or anger or impatience. You've bitten several friends (hard) and Rowan has been on the receiving end of a half dozen bites, too. We've done everything we're supposed to---firm explanations, immediate consequences, time outs, apologies. None of it phases you much. And you say “I'm sorry, RoRo” so sweetly afterward that it breaks our hearts. And makes us a little annoyed. Then you bite her the next day. We're hoping that you grow out of it soon.

You walk into most situations with confidence. You love going to nursery and don't look back when we drop you off. You have no problem when I leave you with grandparents or someone else---you seem secure in yourself, secure in my love for you, secure in the knowledge that I will come back for you. You have a healthy dose of independence.

Some of your favorite things at 2: books, blocks, cars and trucks, puzzles, Rowan, babies, dolls, fruit snacks, church nursery, your paci (or papi, as you call it!), apple juice, yogurt in a tube, wrestling with daddy, swinging, singing, stickers, taking walks, playing at the park, swimming.

For these last days before our new baby comes, I am treasuring you as my baby, Piper. I have loved having you as my baby, my youngest. I know that in a short amount of time I will not be able to carry you as much...and even though my belly is big and you are a whopping 33 pounds, right now I just want you on my hip.

I want to snuggle you, hold you close, keep you right here. At just turned two. It's a good age. Will you just stay my baby a little while longer, so I can memorize everything, so I can be sure not to forget?

I love you, Piper Jane. How much do I love you? As you say to me now, “SO, SO much,” with your arms flung wide.

Yes, so so SO much.

Happy Birthday!


To see some more photos of Piper at 2 (and her big sister!) click HERE.


38 weeks

This pregnancy has just flown by! I guess it makes sense with a third baby--I'm pretty busy with the other two, time just goes so much faster.

I did make sure to stop and get some photos of the belly, though, just in time! My friend Jill Herweyer, who also took photos of me when I was about this pregnant with Piper, helped me out again and took some amazing shots of me and the girls yesterday. We had fun! I'm not used to being on the other side of the camera---but I know that I won't regret it.

Piper turns 2 tomorrow, then Christmas....so I'm just hoping that the baby waits until all those celebrations are done. I wouldn't mind going close to the full 40 weeks and having this child's birthday farther away from Christmas :)

I probably included too many photos here, but if you want to see a few more there is a set at Flickr that you can link to HERE.