Harley is now a two-year-old. I honestly can’t even wrap my head around it. I mean, I can, but I can’t. On the one hand, I look at old pictures of my little monkey and I hardly even recognize that squishy face. She has lengthened and grown and become a real little girl, capable of so much more than I ever thought a two-year-old could do. On the other hand, she is still my baby, my tiny human who seems to take up a huge amount of space in my heart and my home compared to her size.
Harley turned two a couple weeks back, and I kept promising myself that I would write about it. There isn’t much to write about the day itself because we don’t know many people here and decided against trying to do any kind of big shindig. Instead, her school had a small celebration for her with cupcakes I sent in, we gave her a whole bunch of presents from us and her South African grandparents (more on that soon) and saw my mom the next day to celebrate together (and give her even MORE presents) over sushi and soup thanks to the plague Harley gave all of us from starting a new school.
Instead of trying to remember the day itself, I realize that I desperately need to record this age. It is incredible what Harley is doing, and in some ways, it feels so sudden. Sure, I know it’s been a process and she has been steadily growing, but it also feels like some of these things have come out of the blue.
Harley now speaks. Her vocabulary has been growing rapidly since we arrived in the States. I think in some ways, the words were germinating in her head, going from about a 30-word vocabulary when we left SA to a huge range of language within a few weeks of being here. Of course, it helps that she and my mom sang nursery rhymes pretty much non-stop while we were living there. But I see an even bigger change in her now.
She doesn’t just parrot words we tell her (although she does that, too) or ask for cookies or water (although she does that, as well). Now, she will tell me what’s going on or ask questions or voice her opinion. She will tell me that we have to go find shoes so she can go outside and play in a sentence of “Mommy! Shoes Harley outside play!” or she will ask where Dean is and then answer herself to say he’s smoking in the garage (we still call his vaping is smoke). Her comprehension is out of this world and she’s able to help me unload the dishwasher (yes, I have a dishwasher now and it has made me a happier human), bring food to the table and repeatedly asks to help when we need to carry things or clean up. She can do all of that with her words and understands what I have to say to her in a way that blows my mind.
Speaking of the helpfulness, it’s amazing to see how her personality is really coming out now. Harley loves to help and is incredibly kind. She kisses us if we hurt ourselves and has great compassion for people around her. She likes to share, often giving us crayons to join in when she’s drawing, and I’ve seen her share toys at her preschool as well. She also has a great sense of humor. She loves to laugh and play, often playing peekaboo (where she now says “I see you, mommy!” when she peeks out from a cupboard while I’m cooking). She even does occasional pranks, calling for Dean from our stairs, only to say “I got you, Daddy” when he picks her up.
For the most part, we’ve been fairly lucky on tantrums, but I think that’s also because we can understand what she wants. She still has meltdowns when she’s frustrated, most often when we don’t know what she wants or needs, or when we can’t or won’t give in to what she wants. Grocery shopping with her has become less fun as she now oscillates between wanting to drive the awesome shopping trolley at the store, to then wanting to push the trolley, to then wanting to be held.
She is so quick to pick up new things, it’s wonderful to watch. One of her incredible gifts from her granny and grandpa in SA was a tablet that I had picked out on Amazon. I want to write more about that process and how awesome it’s been for all of us, but right now let’s just focus on Harley with the tablet. How has a two-year-old already figured out how to use a tablet? She knows which games she likes, the songs she enjoys and she’s even figured out how to fast forward and rewind through videos. It’s incredible! Sure, she still needs our help with some of the games, and I like to use the tablet with her sometimes to try and make sure she gets something out of it, but it has been an incredible device and so much better than giving her my phone or tablet and being terrified that she will break it.
The main thing is that whether she’s playing with her tool bench or her tablet, she is engaged and busy with a longer and longer attention span. She will now easily sit for half an hour to an hour playing with something, making up her own games and projects and keeping herself entertained. Of course, eventually she still gets bored and yells at me to bring cheese or cookies, but it’s a huge leap in her independence and development to watch how she can feed herself, play with her toys and books and generally just be autonomous. Plus, she can go down the slide at the playground herself, so obviously she’s ready for college at this point in my eyes.
It has been such a thrilling journey so far with her, and I’m loving this age so much. It’s so fun, and I think it will just keep getting better. I just don’t know where two years went. The time is moving far too fast.
Full Disclosure: Yes, I’ve started using affiliate links. Maybe that’s a sign I’m a real American blogger now. When I talk about products on Amazon, I will use a link and if you click on it, I could get money. But I’ll never talk about products I wouldn’t have mentioned otherwise, and you can always just not click on the links if they offend you. Or, click on them and help me keep a roof over our heads.