At 11.06am Brisbane time on 29 March, Lil Z will turn two years old. She will still be my baby, but she will no longer be a baby. I’ve yet to get my head around this – I still find myself wandering into the baby section when buying her clothes, despite the fact she’s nearly wearing the same size as Vegemite these days. I also need to process what it means to have a special needs toddler, instead of just a baby whose development is behind. But that is for later.
Birthdays are for celebrating, so that is what I want to do – both here and on Saturday when I’m having a small party for her. And Lil Z deserves to be celebrated. So, here are a five reasons to celebrate my special little girl as she turns two:
- She has become a super trooper. The eye surgery to correct her in-growing eyelashes went well. Once the swelling and bruising disappeared, Lil Z began to really open her eyes again and look around her. She watches things much more intently than she did before. But that hasn’t been the only result. She is now sleeping less during the day – and coping much better with the challenges she faces. This week she made it through 2 hours at playgroup (where she was working with the physio and OT) AND an hour-long OT/PT session at FECS. All with only a 10 minute nap in the middle. And there was no meltdown, despite the fact she was doing things she didn’t like or want to do and that some of the therapists she encountered were new to her. She also made it through her private physio today, including spending 10 minutes in her standing frame, without losing the plot. She is coping! What a trooper.
- She is beautiful. I’m her mother, so of course I think she’s beautiful, but honestly, she is. With her eyes wide open again, she’s just so lovely – crazy hair, long, dark eyelashes, big blue eyes, and little bow-shaped lips. I could sit for hours, just gazing at her pretty little face.
- She loves to cuddle. How many mothers still get to snuggle with their two-year old and hold them while they fall asleep? I am lucky to have such a cuddly girl. Yesterday morning we sat on the swing on the verandah and listened to the birds. Lil Z fell asleep with her head on my shoulder and I closed my eyes and relaxed. It was a perfect moment – and one that I get to experience regularly.
- She wraps people around her finger. She may be non-verbal, she avoids eye contact much of the time, is a master at wiping her nose on you when you hold her, and she is prone to grumpiness when she doesn’t get her way, but none of this stops her from wrapping people around her little finger. She can stop her nanny in her tracks with just a look. She managed to get her physio to hold her while she took a nap on him the other day. Her paediatrician makes special visits to see her when she’s in hospital. Respite workers plead to be requested next time so they can see her again. She can melt your heart and convince you to do her bidding.
- She likes to read books. I’ve been reading stories to Vegemite since she was born and she always loved it, but Lil Z was less enthusiastic. When she stopped breastfeeding, I really wanted to read her a story before bed, but she would become fractious and bored very quickly. However, that’s now changed. Not only does she like to listen to stories, but she likes to look at books, too. It has been a wonderful way to bond with her as she gets older.
Life undoubtedly changed at 11.06am on 29 March – but it was undoubtedly for the better. Happy birthday Lil Z.