Welcome to the world of a two-year old.
Her creativity is amazing. Her communication is simultaneously imperative and adorable. She is quick with a laugh and she is innately compassionate. She can play a game for a long time and it doesn’t get old.The games (and everything else) are played on her terms. And she is always one step ahead of me.
And I love every minute of it.
In Iris’ first year, I learned to appreciate the art of parenting (it’s definitely not a science). But I was playing defense, just trying to survive without getting arrested or a visit from the Department of Child Services. Yeah, I was really setting the bar high, wasn’t I? After all, there was no manual (not that I read manuals) and I had no clue what she was trying to say. I know the experts all say there are different cries, but all I heard was the wailing that I was desperate to stop. Dirty diaper? No. Hungry? No. OK, I am out of ideas. Looking back, I am a bit amazed. Did they really trust ME with a newborn?
But in the second year, the tables have turned. Even as I peek through the blog entries, it’s hard to believe how far things have come. Simply put, it comes down to two things: she is far more advanced and I am far more confident. As a result, I race home, ready to see what Iris has learned and add to it. Every night, when I put her to bed, I remind her of everything she did that day and how wonderful it was and we have a short conversation about it. I’m more anxious to be a part of Iris’ development because it feels so much more real. We talk about real things and she loves to express herself. She hugs. She kisses. You never know what she is going to do next. Yet unlike when she was months old and she’d be oblivious, now when she does do something major, she shares in each victory because we can tell her how proud we are of her and she’ll understand what we mean. And nothing will ever beat the feeling of your daughter spotting you from a distance in the airport after you’ve been apart for a week and running full-sprint to you for the world’s biggest hug. I get emotional just writing about it.
But while parenting has gotten a lot more fun, it also means being more of a real parent, especially when it comes to targeted discipline. Iris’ actions are now quite deliberate and teaching her about the consequences of actions are something that will stick with her throughout her life. Neither Cherise nor I want to be the bad guy, but we know what can happen if we don’t put our foot down now. That said, I do feel a little surreal when I say no to Iris with a firm voice as I can literally hear the words come out of my mouth sounding exactly like my dad’s did 30 years ago. I think you can even hear the Indian accent. And I couldn’t be more proud. I also hear Cherise’s mom coming out of Cherise and I am certain she feels the same level of pride. I’ve always heard the phrase "Oh no, I’m growing up to be just like my parents." I guess some of us don’t think that’s such a bad idea.
So here’s to year#3 and hoping Iris keeps advancing, Cherise and I keep getting more confident, we keep finding new ways of channeling our parents, and I keep finding some time to tell you all about it.