It’s the night before Trevor’s second birthday party. Tru is asleep for the night, the house is still, and Chris and I begin the work of preparing for the party.
I tape the choo-choo train banner to the kitchen cabinet as Chris holds it in place. Was it really one full year ago we did this exact thing in this exact spot?
I cut open the bag of multi-colored Mickey ears confetti and scatter it across the countertop. Trevor has grown so strong and fast on his feet, I have to hide the scissors in a spot high off the ground. The days when my shoulders ached from holding him all day. They are just a memory now.
Chris asks what’s bothering me when I try to pick a fight with him over the way he’s smoothed the white tablecloth. I say I’m sorry, I must just be worn out from a long week.
I think about Trevor’s way of taking my hand into his when he wants to show me something.
That warm little hand – impossibly soft, impossibly tiny.
I notice my throat closing in as I set out his “I Am Two” birthday mouse ears. I’m not sure if he’ll wear them or refuse them. He’s old enough to have strong opinions in these matters now.
His tiny little hand in mine.
As I set out the paper plates, my mind plays before me a scene of my future son – his hand fully grown and dwarfing my own – waving goodbye from his college dorm room as I get into the car to drive home without him.
Finally, the floodgates open and the truth I’m afraid to confront is drowning me.
I’m weeping into Chris’ arms with heavy, aching sobs. “He’ll leave me one day! He can’t leave me! Don’t leave me Tru! Don’t leave me! Don’t leeeeeeeeave me Truuuuuuu!”
And I thought 2-year-olds were supposed to be the dramatic ones!
All About Trevor’s Second Birthday:
Trevor loves the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse TV show. He’s always asking for “ninnie, ninnie!” (i.e. Minnie Mouse).
And he loves the Choo Choo Express episode especially. He asks for “choo choo” or, more often, just makes the sound of a train by randomly bursting out with a piercing, “whooooo, whoooooo!”
So the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Choo Choo Express theme was the obvious choice!
The showstopper for Tru’s birthday was the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Choo Choo Express cake.
We are lucky to have the most talented cake designer located just 20 minutes from our house, so we went all out with a two-layer themed cake. (A vanilla and strawberry layer and a chocolate Oreo crunch layer – both delicious!).
I found a Mickey Mouse choo-choo train banner and multi-colored Mickey ears confetti on Etsy.
Chris and I bought matching multi-colored balloons.
And when we were buying snacks for the party, we saw some fresh tulips at the grocery store. We bought some in bright yellow and vivid red to go along with the Mickey Mouse theme!
Tru was old enough this year to understand that family would be arriving to celebrate his birthday. So he definitely got excited for his party this year, and he loved running up and down the hallways with his balloons.
When we ask Tru how old he is, he sometimes says “two” and he sometimes says “five.”
Some of Trevor’s Favorites at Age Two:
Colors: Trevor has learned to name most of the colors, and I think he loves being able to now choose what color (cup or plate or toy, etc.) he’d like to have. For a while, purple was his favorite. I think just because that was the easiest for him to say. Now he also loves green and yellow. He does this thing when he tries to say pink where he scrunches up his eyes and nose like he’s looking straight into the sun. It makes Chris and I laugh. He can’t say it yet, but we know he’s trying to get out “pink” by his expression alone.
Buses: He loves to stop and wave to the bus driver each day when I pick him up from school. We have to stand and watch until the bus drives away…
Numbers: Trevor is in love with numbers. He can identify numbers 0-13 and loves to randomly pick anything throughout the day to count… stairs, chips on his plate, fuzz on the carpet…
Food (Very Specific Foods Only!): Trevor has a tiny variety of foods he’s willing to eat. I always put down a small bowl of whatever I’ve made for dinner (a stir-fry or pasta with veggies, etc.) and he always says simply, “no.” What he does love: smoothies (thankfully! This is the only way to get him to eat any type of fruit or vegetable!) Peanut butter sandwiches. Hummus (he’ll dip pretzels or veggie chips into hummus. or, he’ll eat it plain with a spoon!) Yogurt. Muffins (another opportunity to sneak pumpkin or zucchini into him!) Grilled cheese. French fries.
Playing Outside: The wind can be howling, the rain or sleet or snow can be pouring down. Doesn’t matter. Tru wants to be outside. And once he gets outside, he normally wants to be out for at least an hour. I bought myself a pair of insulated snow boots that come up to my knees when I realized that my foreseeable future would be spent facing the outdoor elements!
Greatest Challenges at Age Two:
The Chaos and The Mess: Tru doesn’t like to build a tower of blocks nearly as much as he likes to pour the bag of blocks all over the floor. And his favorite activity is always whatever is most messy: jumping in mud puddles, blowing bubbles and spilling the solution all over the floor, getting his hands sticky with peanut butter and then playing peek-a-boo in the curtains. I’ve kind of just given up hope of having a clean house. And now that Tru is going to activities and school, he’s always got a cold! I’m trying to adjust to a new reality where a little person frequently hops into my lap at the dinner table and coughs all over my plate of food. And wipes his nose on my pants as he walks by.
Mealtimes: I dread basically every meal these days! Just because there are so few things Tru will eat. He refuses every dinner I cook and, since he’s not interested in eating most of the time, he’s also not interested in sitting at the table. Here’s a story that sums up basically every dinner: I put down a plate of spaghetti bolognese. Tru pushes it away with a firm “no!” I give him some garlic bread. Tru eats three bites and asks for milk. Chris gives him milk and Tru says “down, down!” I help him out of his booster seat and he goes off to play. One minute later, he returns to the table and grabs my hand to show me what he’s been up to. I tell him I’ll go with him after I finish my meal. He starts crying in frustration because he thinks I should be finished when he is…
Growing Independence: Tru is at a very difficult stage where he’s old enough to know what he wants, but not yet ready to do much of anything on his own. So that’s the main cause of daily meltdowns. I want Tru to hold my hand in a busy parking lot, but he wants to run free. Tru wants to play outside in the pouring rain, but I don’t want to go out in that type of weather. I want to get Tru into bed, but he’s not ready to get out of the bathtub. I empathize with how helpless he must feel at times. So I often find myself sacrificing my own comfort and my own plans to try to give Tru what he wants. It’s one of my greatest struggles as a mom. I’m always trying to find the balance between allowing him the opportunity to think for himself and make his own choices, while at the same time establishing my own boundaries. For example, I’m flexible with his nap and let him decide when he’s ready to go to his room (I’ve found he’s usually ready to go down by 2pm at the latest). But I’ve told him it’s a rule that he must hold my hand in parking lots in all circumstances – that’s a boundary for me. I’m slowly finding that if I’m not careful, I can lose sight of my needs completely in trying to give Tru everything he wants.
My Favorite Moments With Tru at Age Two:
I love that Tru is now old enough to share in activities that interest me! We’ve been to family yoga, which is fun for both of us. Tru balances on just his head and feet in downward dog, which makes me laugh and also really impresses me (I definitely can’t do that!) And Tru is now old enough to understand the concept of cooking. So, with Tru sitting on the countertop, we’ve baked muffins and made pudding together. (The clean-up is all on me though!) When I see him light up over an activity I also enjoy – it’s the best feeling!
My favorite of all: when I sit down on the floor of his bedroom at night and Tru curls up in my lap so we can read books together. The feeling of his warm, tiny little body in my arms. The scent of his soft hair that somehow always smells like honey and sugar. I wish I could hold onto that magic for the rest of my life!