Now we are two.
Well, you are two and I am trying to force myself to think of you as a person all your own. Apart from me.
I didn't have this trouble with your sister and would chalk it up to last-child syndrome, but at the time she turned this auspicious age I had my doubts there'd ever be another baby in our house.
Of course by this age, she had moved along to her own room and had decided cow's milk was sweeter than mine. I'd changed back to my non-nursing bras and embarked on a new journey of bringing up toddler.
But every time I look at you, I see the infant you were two years ago not the boy you are becoming.
You are just as feisty as she was. You ask for what you want and expect to get it, but you melt my heart when I tell you "Later, Ok" and you sigh and say "OK."
I feel a jolt of disbelief as I leaf through photographs from just a few months ago ... the baby is becoming a boy. You love trucks and tractors and horses calling them out as they pass by your window on the morning and evening commutes. Translating your words has become a family past-time.
CHAMP: "Ah-bells coos!"
MAMA: "Annabel's cool?"
DADDY: "Annabel's shoes?"
ITTYBIT: "I think he's saying Annabel's SCHOOL!"
THE CHAMP: "Yeah. Ah-Bell's COO."
And where you can ask for "Coeder" (demand the Courduroy Bear book be read over and over) or locate and procure your own snacks (usually raisins, though sometimes 'Gookies’) you have no interest in changing your brand of milk.
You think cow's milk is the sole property of your sister, and you have no intention of fighting her for it.
Milk, for you, for now, is me. In that way, you are still my baby.
But as your legs stretch longer and your body thins out as you are able to ask for what you want: "Milch, peas," nursing on demand has gone by the wayside. At least in public.
"Later," I coo, "later."
"Ok," you say with a sigh, "ok."
And where I was once confident to lactate in public, during your infancy and early toddlerhood, I am furtive and feeling the pressure of secreting your sustenance now that you can tell me what you want in ways even strangers can understand.
And though you are interested in big boy things including — against all stereotypes I've ever been dim-witted enough to believe — using the potty the way all plumbers have intended, I'm having a hard time recognizing you without my shadow.
Your father is counting the days until you have your own room. Your sister is even packing your things, she feels she's given you free and first access to her mother for long enough.
But I'm just not ready to make you grow up faster than you are growing on your own.
Happy Birthday, love