This past year has been full of fun and challenges. One of my older and wiser mom friends encouraged me to ask myself these questions and keep them as a record of where we are and where we've been. Time flies by so quickly, that these memories will always be cherished. So here goes....
1. What was the best "milestone" of the year? I'm torn here between learning to walk and learning to talk. Both are amazing in their own right. Today on the way home from church Tom sneezed and from the backseat we heard this sweet "bwess you"... oh my gosh, I could just eat her up!
2. What was the biggest challenge of the year? Beyond a shadow of a doubt I would say dealing with biting. I cannot begin to tell you how many tears I've shed over this one. If I could have bottled them, and they'd be worth anything - I'd be a rich woman. A biting child will bring a parent to their knees (and does many many times a day!). If you ever have a biter... Oh my gosh - call me and we can cry together and we discuss all the things we've tried that don't seem to work. If you don't or perhaps your child is the biten offendee - please know that if there was a way to truly stop it, we would die trying. It's painful to know that other kids know Megan as "the girl that bites" and are scared of her because I want so much more for her than that. And there have been many days that I feel like I've failed as a parent because I can't stop it. Megan can now say "self control" because of my prayers for her and with her about this one... and she knows the word "obey" very well..... but the bottom line - I don't live in her body and I can't make better choices for her. At 24 months she reverts to caveman status when angry, feels offended, just wants her willfull way, or is tired and grumpy (and sometimes just because she's teething and you're nearby). For anyone who's never had a biter in their family - I can't really portray the weight of the emotions that go along with this. I am writing this because I know this too is a horrid stage that will one day pass.... but it's brought me and kept me on my knees as we walk through this valley. Ultimately I pray that God would give her a tender spirit, a kind and gentle heart, and that she would treat her friends with respect and a quiet humility..... until then.... lookout - there's a biter who just turned 2 (and she had a great non biting day at church today - however I do profusely appologize if my child has bitten yours this year!).
3. What was the most fun memory of the year? On a happier note..... This is a hard one. Day to day we have so many fun moments and firsts to keep track of. But I think our travels have sparked the cutest memories.... Like Megan catching grasshoppers at Grandma and Papa's, and playing in the ocean when we went to the beach, or dancing at my friend Laura's wedding.... then there are the sweet things - like the first time she said "I love you" or "miss you" and the way she playfully says "nnnnoooooooo" like Uncle Dan, or how she chases squirrels, or how she jumps up and down saying "blast off" the way she learned in gym class, or how much she loves her friends and hugs them (prayerfully without biting them).
4. What surprised you the most about this year? Other than how fast it went, I think it's how much Megan has learned this year. I love it when she walks past a car and says "blue" or when she starts naming animals that I didn't know she knew (like Koala). It's just amazing when literally every single day she seems to demonstrate a new skill or language ability. I love it and my heart just melts.
5. What are you most looking forward to about this next year? Well I have to say, to even think about it makes me a little sad because this is my baby.... and she's 2! Wow. But as she enters this new age group I guess I'm looking forward to more of the same - more discoveries and new skills and being shocked as she tries new things (that I might think are too "old" for her). I think it'll be fun to watch her learn how to ride a bicycle, play in the ocean, learn to hold her own in the pool, and hopefully to get along with her friends without chomping on them. :^) I'm looking foward to her discovering more about the world God created for her and seeing the excitement on her face as she explores. That joy is contagious!
6. What are you most fearful about this next year? Watching her grow up in the world. It's a scary place. I daily have to remind myself - every day is a gift from the Lord and ultimately He is in charge of every one of them. I'm also nervous (I don't know if fearful is the right word) about discipline. Megan is very strong willed. She's really shown a lot of restraint in the past couple of weeks - but lets just say we have many years ahead of us as we work on obedience and training her heart. I've watched friends with the meekest of kids go through the worst power struggles during the 2's..... and my child is very head strong and willful... oh my goodness, just thinking about it makes me want to stop and pray for more wisdom, courage, and backbone.
7. What do you want your child to know/remember about this time in their life? That life is fun! That we laugh and giggle and enjoy being together. I want her to remember her sense of adventure and curiosity and always seek to enjoy the days God has given us. I also want her to know that she's a little cheerleader - always excited and encouraging others. She can be a little mama at this young age because she wants to take care of the littest ones. Her heart is tender in spite of her courage. Above all, I want Megan to know that she is loved more than words can say and is an amazing blessing from the Lord. Not one day has passed in the past 2 years that I haven't hugged and kissed you and been so thankful that you are a part of our lives.