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A Big Weekend for My Big Girl

There was a time, pre-Pumpkin, when I didn't understand why people measured their children's lives in months, or even weeks with infants. There was a lot of other things I didn't get either. This age-by-month/weeks was one I didn't judge but didn't understand. Now (and for a while), I totally get it.

My daughter is officially two now. She is a two year old. Yet I have a really hard time telling people she is two. I will often say, "She just turned two" to most people. To people who also have young kids, I'm likely to say, "She is 24 months old." This is because there is really a huge difference between a child who just turned two and one who is two but about to turn three. There is even enough of a difference between just turned 2 and 2 1/2 that I feel the need to distinguish the Pumpkin's age.

Physically and verbally, she is on level with a lot three year olds, including her cousins. But emotionally and developmentally (outside the physical and verbal), she is very much 24 months old. She does not have the reasoning abilities of an older 2 year old. She does not have a grasp of all the concepts that an older 2 year old has. She does not have the independence of an older 2 year old. She is only 24 months old.

And yet, she's truly becoming a big girl. I see it coming in so many ways. This past weekend was just full of examples, which warm my heart and make me slightly nostolgic for the baby days.

This weekend, the Pumpkin had her birthday party and moved into her new room.

On Saturday, we had just family over for a little birthday party. Because the planning had to happen while I was still in a rough spot and Londo was doing EVERYTHING around the house, we decided to keep the party small in number of guests and have it for only 2 hours, prior to toddler nap time. We didn't invite any of the Pumpkin's friends or mine, just the in-laws who could come up and my immediate family. And there were still 15 or so adults (don't make me count!) and 4 toddlers! Next year, we'll do a bigger party, when it starts to become important to her and there are all sorts of fun party things we can do.

We had a great time. I got the Pumpkin all dressed up in a party dress and matching sweater and put her hair in pigtails. She was SOOO FREAKING CUTE!!!! We went downstairs, where Londo had put up Winnie the Pooh decorations everywhere, as I continued to tell her about her party. She started to put on her shoes, but I told her she didn't need them. Her face started to fall as she said she wanted to go to the party. I tried explaining that the party was here and people were starting to arrive, but she didn't get it! She looked heartbroken, about to start crying, and said, "I want to go to the party!"

Luckily, one of her aunts who was there next to her swooped her up and said cheerfully, "The party is in the dining room!" And with that, they went into the dining room, more guests arrived, and the fun began! (Thank you, Aunt, for quick thinking!) We ate, we talked, the kids played and played. Finally, we had cupcakes. The Pumpkin, who usually loves to be the center of attention, was a bit overwhelmed when everyone was looking at her and singing to her. Luckily, she made it to the end of the song and then blew out her candles. She really seemed to enjoy her first real cupcake (last year, I made low-sugar cupcakes), especially the frosting.

We opened presents later, after everyone had gone, and she loved them all. It was a really fun day and great time. The Pumpkin was her exuberant self, having a great time playing with her cousins, spending time with her family and eating blueberries (my goodness, the girl can put away some blueberries!).

It was so different from last year's birthday party, when she didn't really get what was going on and didn't participate much. This year, she understood what a birthday party was and seemed to love being at the party. Like a big girl.

On Sunday, after trying unsuccessfully to put her down for a nap, we made the big move into her new room! My mom, MIL and others helped me finish moving all the stuff out of the room. Londo, my dad and brother painted the room the perfect shade of yellow (I'm good at picking colors) a couple weekends ago, and painted one of the shelves that had been in there white with yellow on the back of the shelves. Once the room was cleaned up from painting, we let the Pumpkin run around in there a bit, regularly referring to it as her new room.

Saturday after the party, we let her play in it a bit. I had brought out the adorable (but thick plastic) tea set my MIL got her for Christmas and put it out on the shelf in her reach. She loved the tea set at Christmas time, but I put it away when we got home. She's been playing with another set that came with other plastic cups and a pitcher down in her play kitchen. But this one I had set aside so all the pieces would stay together. She LOVES it. She didn't want to leave her new room that afternoon because she wanted to play with the tea set! (I've made a rule that the tea set has to stay in her room so that pieces don't get lost or spread out. I hope that the rule sticks!) The only things in the room were a bin with it's top on, a small side table, and the shelves with just the tea set on them. And she didn't want to leave!

So, back to Sunday... After my nap (not the Pumpkin's), we all went into her new room to get it ready. Londo brought in her bed/mattress and box spring, which she had been sleeping on in the nursery. We haven't bought a new bedframe yet--or dresser, or radio, or bedside, or toddler table and chairs--but we realized that those things were not required to move her in. In fact, it made more sense to bring in the mattresses she had been sleeping on to help with the transition.

I was putting out things on her shelves. She was playing with the tea set and other random items she'd find. She also helped me bring books from the nursery into her room. She got to pick which ones she wanted to bring into her new room, and we'd put them in the basket I set out for books. Londo put the closet shelves back in the way I wanted them, and then the Pumpkin helped me move her clothes into her new room. Then Londo hung up the two pictures of Winnie the Pooh and friends which I had showed to the Pumpkin and asked if she wanted them in her new room. He also hung up a mirror that will go over the eventual dresser, two shadow boxes that I will put other decor in (probably Pooh-related), and a pretty little board with pegs on it at her height so she can hang up sweaters and a set of Winnie the Pooh "keys*" and whatever else she wants. We also brought in some other toys for her to play with in her room, such as a couple of baby dolls and the bassinet for the dolls.

I'm not doing themed wall paper or themed sheets, since I do want the room to be able to transition from Winnie the Pooh as she gets older. Instead, we are doing accents and some decor, mainly from things I already had with Winnie the Pooh (I was a big Pooh fan) and a quilt her Great-Granny made for her when she was just a baby. Oh, and all the stuffed animals of Pooh and friends that she got for her birthday!

The room? Is adorable! The Pumpkin? LOVES it! She's starting to understand that the toys in her room should stay in there, and she's starting to play in there... even BY HERSELF! Monday evening, while I was in my room, she was playing in her room by herself for a while (both doors open, but babygate to the stairs closed). She would come in my room and check on me or call down to daddy to check on him occasionally, but then go back in her room and play!!! Did I mention she was playing in her room BY HERSELF??? Like a big girl!

The sleeping is the same crap shoot it was in the nursery, and we're just happy it's not worse. She seems to be handling the transition pretty well so far. I expect that there will be some rough patches, but overall she tends to handle change well.

A super long post about my little girl who is becoming a big girl. I needed to write it all out as I process her growing and so I can document some of these big occasions. There were too many things this winter that I wanted to write about and record for posterity that I just didn't have the energy to write. So I may overdo it for a while now. But she's so adorable and I'm so in love with her, how can I resist?


Carmen said…
I felt the same way after my son's 2-year party! It was so much better than his first birthday party b/c he GOT it this time:)

Sigh. They grow so darn fast!
Anonymous said…
I can't remember my daughter ever playing quietly by herself in a room separate from us, and she is 3 1/2.
HeatherY said…
It's so bittersweet, isn't it! Now if we can just get her to sleep like a big girl! ;-)
Karen said…
Awww, happy (belated) birthday. I wish I could see pictures of her darling pigtails. And new big girl room.

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