That was not how I planned to start out a post about Fiona's birthday. But there some things about Fiona's birthday I can almost plan on, such as having to cancel her party. Snowstorms and illness have conspired for three years in a row to cancel this poor girl's party. In fact, on her due date three years ago, I was nervously watching as 6 inches of snow fell.
Fiona represents some firsts for us. She was our first girl and our first home birth. She was also the first child to puke on me and the only one who slept through the night for at least a few of her early months, which kind of makes up for the whole puking on mommy incident. She was my earliest walker and is becoming my most talkative child.
However, Fiona came into the world silently. She uttered not a peep for at least 30 seconds while we cradled her and coaxed her to cry. Eyes wide open, she just stared at us. In the months to come, I would get a lot of those stares from her, most often at 3 a.m. That was her favorite time to stare at me, when the rest of the house was quiet and she had my undivided attention. My mother called her the cloud of silence, a distinction that's laughable now.
For three years, she's watched us closely. Today, she folds kitchen towels as neatly as an adult, puts away silverware correctly every time, uses the dustpan with precision and spills not a speck on the floor. It's stunning, really.
In the past year, though, she's gone from the curious onlooker:
To her brother's best partner in crime:
Now, I'm watching her closely. I spent much of the past year studying her -- her expressions, her moods, her habits and her personality. She alternately terrifies and delights me. She's physically strong, flexible and tough as nails. She rarely cries when she falls. However, she's a drama queen who cries hysterically if her brother takes something from her or if she wants a piece of toast. One day this week, I watched as she hurled herself on the floor repeatedly because she couldn't get her boots on. She calmly refused help and returned to flailing about the floor.
A year ago, I didn't really like her much. I know that sound harsh, but two year olds are about as lovable as porcupines with diarrhea. What was she like a year ago? Screaming. Crying. Throwing toys and food. Pooping and peeing on the floor. Jumping on the sofa. Hitting people. Breaking things.
Today, she's fully potty trained, she talks more than she cries, she eats more food than she drops and she rarely hits anyone. In fact, these days she's a magpie with a squeaky, high pitched tone that I swear only the dog can hear sometimes.
On her birthday, the weather was gorgeous. She wore a sundress with blue jeans and we made chocolate cupcakes. I let her lick the spoon and when I picked her up, at her request, she pulled me in for a hug.
Now that was a first.