Happy 21 Month Birthday

Twenty-one months: gone like that in the blink of an eye. I was flipping through some old pictures this week, wondering what in the world I did with my time when the girls were still crawling and couldn’t destroy the house yet, laughing my head off at all the mischief they still managed to get into on their bellies. 
Looking back, I always miss particular ages and milestones. 
BUT, I absolutely adore this age and all the craziness that comes with it. 
I’ve gotten a lot better over the past twenty-one months of embracing the chaos and repeating to myself that one day, the girls will no longer want their boo boos kissed or their tears wiped away. That keeps me going through the good times, the bad times, the mundane times, and the downright terrible times. 
I have a picture in our living room that reads, “Enjoy the little things in life…for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” Whether the girls and I are having a fantastic day, or I’m just trying to make it until bedtime, I try to remember this and savor all of it. I will never get Samantha and Amelia at 21 Months back. And what a month it was!
Our little sunshine. 
You do very well playing by yourself independently and are frequently asked if you would like to be the example to all the other kids at gym class when we are trying something new. You relish every bit of it! 
Independent by day, but by night, you turn into the cuddliest little bug. You alternate between getting upset if I’m not the one to put you to bed to being grief-stricken if Dada is not the one to put you to bed. In your perfect little world, both of us would cuddle with you until you fell asleep– and sometimes we can’t help but acquiesce. 
You are a light sleeper and want to be picked up out of your crib/cuddled in the middle of the night at least once a week.  When morning comes, you throw off the covers and wake up with the biggest smile on your face– no one is as much of a morning person as you. Anytime you don’t awake in your crib, you will scoot off the bed and run down the hall to Samantha to see what she is up to– she isn’t usually too happy to be awoken by you!
Silly little clown you are. You love to mimic mommy and daddy, and will then fall over in hysterics laughing at yourself. You think you are the funniest creature in the world. My favorite is when you grab my phone, your play phone, the remote, or anything resembling a phone and gab away on it…I have no idea where you get this from as the only way I can get a phone call in during the day is by giving you a graham cracker to keep your mouth shut for two seconds so I can hear. You, on the other hand, have some very detailed conversations with your imaginary friends. 
You still carry your dollies around– sometimes stuffing two dollies in your single stroller or shopping cart– and bring them with you everywhere you go. You were obviously born to be a twin mama and are quite good at multitasking– holding a baby in one arm (no matter her hair is usually dragging on the floor) and cooking up some eggs on your play stove with the other. You love to go to the pantry in the garage when you think I’m not looking and find read food to store in your pretend fridge and oven– you get bored with the fake stuff.
As you have demonstrated from Day 1, you are full of energy and adept at climbing. You run circles around most two, three and four year olds at the park, and usually scare us half to death with how fast you climb furniture before we can get to you. After falling off a chair earlier this month, we were both convinced you had sprained or broken your little arm, as after falling, you would cry anytime we touched it and whimpered when you had to put any weight on it. As soon as you saw the doctor, you were all smiles and reached, pulled, pushed, grasped and put weight on that little arm. You win the academy award for faking it!
You, little bit, are the pickiest of picky eaters and we have to watch you closely– if the meal isn’t up to your standards, you’ll often toss it in protest. ALL food on your plate MUST be separated, or watch out for the tantrum of the century. Your once beloved lasagna is a thing of the past; you despise any sauce on your noodles or any mystery veggies hidden in your casseroles. You prefer it all simple and separated– plain noodles for you! 
After a little coaxing, you will eat your veggies only after we ask you if we can have a bite of your green beans/broccoli/peas. You shake your head, giggling, and then daddy or I will say, “Fine, Amelia. You get to keep your veggies, then. You always win!” You then happily take a bite as we act hurt that you wouldn’t share. Works like a charm!
Green smoothies–you down them in two seconds. Sweet potatoes and carrots? Yes, please. Chicken, cheese, berries, bananas, oranges, quesadillas, and toast? Your fave. 
You have done extraordinarily well this month with all the traveling over Thanksgiving and then all the Christmas activities we’ve taken you to so far. Wake up in a relative’s house that you’ve never been to before? No problem. Go to three Christmas events in one day? No sweat. You take it in stride. 
You were frightened of Santa at first, but now that we’ve walked around the neighborhood, pointing out all the snowmen, Santas, and reindeer, you treat them like your BFF’s.  When we took Christmas pictures, after getting over your initial fright at the photographer, you were the perfect subject– sitting on the sled, hugging the teddy, hugging sister. You just love making us all melt.
Reading is a favorite activity and you will request to read every book in our house multiple times a day. You are happiest taking your place of honor in one of our laps as we read you a story, Baby Beluga being your current favorite. I have no idea what your narration is about when you point to all the pictures in the book, but it sounds like a best-seller. 
Your other favorite lap activities include Pat-a-Cake and The Grand Old Duke of York; you learned that last one in music class, and man, does it give mama’s legs a workout. You laugh every time as you bump up and down and to the ground. 
You are a model sharer and if sister is upset, you’ll search the house for a stuffed animal, Wub, book, random knick knack, ANYTHING to soother her. You love hugs and kisses and often bestow them on Samantha whether or not she likes it. 
Earlier in the month, a new play lawn mower arrived for you two to push around the neighborhood. Although you really wanted a turn, you patiently waited and watched Samantha try it out. When I had to pull it away from your screaming sister, you pushed the toy around and when my timer went off, you got up and gave it to sister yourself, with no coaxing at all from me! 
You are so sweet that you often use this to your advantage and catch us off guard when you get into trouble. You know you are not supposed to taste the chalk that goes to your chalkboard, and yet you’ll put the chalk right up to your mouth, wait for my reaction, and then giggle and put it down, as if you hadn’t done anything wrong. Ditto for Bandit’s dog food, sand, and other non-edibles. 
Where did your fashion consciousness come from? You love changing your clothes multiple times a day and will notice if there is even the tiniest little speck of lint or stain on your outfit. The other day, I came in your room after drying my hair, and there you were (having climbed out of your crib, of course), on the floor, wearing a perfectly-positioned headband. You then proceeded to dress up Bandit with several more headbands and were pretty upset when he escaped. Poor Bandit– I see many more torture sessions in his future. 
You’ve added a few more words (snowman, Frosty, Santa, turkey, pie), but for the most part, you are content to point, jabber in your own language, and speak in single words instead of stringing them together. And how could we forget your animal noises? It’s not uncommon for me to stop and wonder how monkeys, cows, roosters, chickens, and pigs got into the house. 
We love you, our fun-loving, full of life, independent, cuddly, playful, mischievous little girl!

Our Sammy girl! Every time I see the quote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce” pop up on Pinterest, you always come to mind. Shakespeare was obviously talking about you when he wrote it. With a personality bigger than your body, you take the world by storm from the minute you pop up like a piece of toast from your crib. 
A champion sleeper, you rarely wake at night, although you definitely prefer to cuddle with mama and dada in the big bed. You love the fact that you have a built-in sleepover buddy, and many times in the morning I will find you have climbed into Amelia’s crib– at what point in the night or morning, I have no clue. 
Despite your sometimes vehement protests when sister cuddles or kisses you, you love her back just as much and can’t stand when she sleeps in or naps longer than you. “Where is my playmate?” you whine until we finally go wake her. 
You typically get more alone time with me than sister as you tend to wake up from your nap 15-20 minutes earlier. You relish that alone time and bring me every single toy in your room, narrating exactly how you want to play with them. 
When it comes to reading stories, you and sis are fierce competitors for my lap, so you use any alone time with me to get your lap time in. You love your Christmas pop-out book (of which you’ve destroyed two of the pop-outs so far) as well as the No Biting and A Potty for Me lift-the-flap books. Interesting how you love the book all about not biting, hitting, throwing, or yelling…
Fiercely independent on your home turf or at the playground, yet shy in your classes and around most other people continues to be a trend. You have come a long way in your gymnastics class and will now tolerate the other teachers helping you do a somersault, pushing you on the swing, or helping you with the balance beam. 
You act like a social butterfly, talking and playing with the other kids in the neighborhood, but as soon as an adult stops by to chat, it’s run behind mommy and cling to her legs as fast as you can!
You continue to make mommy happy by hardly ever refusing any food I’ve cooked you. Like Amelia, you prefer your pasta sauceless, but you will tolerate a little tomato sauce or olive oil here or there. Chili, any kind of soup, tacos, quesadillas, chicken, cheese, rice, pasta, all veggies, all fruits, eggs, and fish are guaranteed to please you. The mustaches you get after your green smoothie in the morning are epic!
They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease and that definitely applies to you. If you don’t like the route of our morning walk, the temperature of your soup, choice of hat, or what the weather is like that day, you will let us know. We are working on waiting our turn, saying please and thank you, and moving on quickly when you don’t get your way. 
I wouldn’t say you like sharing, but you are getting much better. Every day, we practice sharing toys with sister, and for the most part, you are getting the hang of it and understand the phrases, “Amelia’s turn. Then, Samantha’s turn.” If the toy in question is something highly coveted–your toy lawn mower, for example–then the gloves are off. 
You are busy, busy, busy and always have something more important than whatever it is I want you to do. For some reason, whenever you see the car, you beg to jump in, but if our ride is more than ten minutes long, you change your mind and whine to be let out. A round of “The Wheels on the Bus” with the windows going up and down and the wipers going back and forth or the longest version of Old Macdonald you could possibly imagine usually does the trick. You love washing your hands by yourself, brushing your own teeth, and bathing yourself– and sister!
You’ve had a hard time parting with daddy this month; if he happens to leave while you are awake, you get so upset that it’s almost impossible for him to leave you in such a hysterical state. “Dada” is usually your first word after waking from a nap, and you’ll repeat it throughout the day, frustrated when you bring me his clothes and shoes and I still don’t get it! Your favorite part of the day is when daddy walks through that door and swings you around to your heart’s content. 
I can’t believe we were ever worried that Amelia was far surpassing you in language abilities. All those months sister was adding words, you were soaking it all in, getting ready to surprise us. You pick up a few new words a day, in addition to all the chatting with Bandit and Amelia. Our dinner conversation is never dull as you are always telling us about your day and pointing to various objects in the room. 
Your new favorite word is “gummy,” after Daddy bribed you with some gummies at a photo shoot with baby Noah and Great Grandpa. It seems as though you don’t waste your time with words you don’t care about– you get to the good stuff! You’ll repeat “gummy,” randomly throughout the day, encouraged by our laughing. Sorry, don’t have any in the house– for photo shoots only. You never give up, though!
Your favorite activities this month have included drawing with chalk, painting on your easel (and in sister’s hair), pushing your stroller/lawn mower/shopping cart around the neighborhood and pushing mommy’s buttons. You know exactly what the limits are, but insist on testing them– multiple times a day. You know you are not supposed to step off the sidewalk into the street, but you’ll take one leg, dangle it off the edge, look straight at me with a sly smile and then put it back on the sidewalk when I tell you no. At the table, you’ll take a bite of food, stand up in your chair until notice you, and then quickly sit down again with a grin once you see the warning look on my face.  
That innocent look doesn’t fool us. You know exactly what you are doing.
We love you, our fierce, tough, sensitive, highly-spirited, talkative, curious, hilarious Samantha!

A big thanks to Christina Kennedy for the photos and to her twin daughters for entertaining S and A enough to get them to smile a few times!
Just in case you are confused, we took these photos on two separate days and accidentally switched the girls’ outfits. In the fall leaves pictures, Samantha is wearing the white sweater, while in the lake pictures, Amelia is wearing it. Just keeping you on your toes. 
Lots of love, 

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