But even if I do lament a year that takes her closer to independence, I only do it because I love being around her. And so I take the chance to remember Claire at two:
- My children are not early talkers. I might even call them late. But at 22 months, Claire's little speech alarm in her brain informed her that it was time to talk, and her vocabulary exploded. Suddenly she can say half of anything. She generally cuts off the first several sounds. Or the last several sounds. Or she changes them. And she mostly avoids consonants. Where Grace added them, Claire deletes them. Thank you becomes "Tah oo," Signing Time becomes "i ee ime," Daddy becomes "Da eee," Grace becomes "Athe." Which brings me to another point.
- She has a darling lisp.
- She is a tease. She pretends to sleep so she can wake up and laugh when she sees she has successfully startled you.
- Her hair is strawberry blond, feathery and soft, and she will sit still while I (or "Gama Bet-thee") comb it into pigtails or descending ponytails.
- She is a self-entertainer. She enjoys a variety of self-motivated activities. Like shoveling spoonfuls from the sugar bin into her mouth. Or coating the hardwood floor in a nice thick layer of Head and Shoulders. Or brushing the carpet with half a tube of toothpaste. She has no trouble staying busy.
- She loves her daddy. And misses him since he's been gone. Every night we gather each other for family prayer, and every night just as I'm beginning, she shakes my shoulder and forcefully cries, "Daddy! Daddy prayer!" as if we forgot to get him.
- She loves counting. She counts to three alone. When led by a grown-up, her counting goes like this: "[Claire, say, one], un, [two], doo, [three], thee, [four], foa, [five], bithe, [six], nine, [seven], nine, [eight], nine, [nine], nine... You could say she has a favorite number.
Two came so fast. I hope this next year is longer.