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Two

2014 August 15
by Jennifer

Travel back in time with me for a moment to May–when my baby (my BABY) turned two…

I never thought I’d be one of those mothers getting weepy because tear, tear, I have a two-year-old and tear, tear, the time is going by way too fast. But here we are. I am apparently that kind of mother. I get teary just thinking about how much I love her and love this age and want the whole thing to just slow the heck down.

I am also the kind of mother that felt the need to seriously celebrate the occasion of my little one turning two. Her first birthday went by without any fanfare but two was thoroughly celebrated. She is old enough to sing happy birthday to you and she is most certainly a birthday cake enthusiast.

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It wasn’t a grand affair, but I would venture to say that two-year-olds and their mothers have never dined better on a Thursday afternoon at Beaverbrook Park. It was a low bar, but I think we crossed it.

The menu for the little kids included a turkey or PB&J sandwich, string cheese, an applesauce pouch, cheddar bunnies and grapes.

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Harper decorated the lunch bags while I did some cooking and crafting of my own.

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Oh haaaaay, Pinterest.

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The menu for those over the age of five was roasted vegetable orzo, fruit salad, seedy crackers and chocolate chip cookies.  I portioned everything out into takeout containers and  assembled bagged lunches for each of the ladies which made serving everything at the park a breeze.

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Many a mother has asked me for the orzo recipe, and I have to credit the Barefoot Contessa with that one. I followed this recipe for Roasted Vegetable Orzo virtually to the letter except for a few minor modifications: I used half as much oil as Ina calls for (because whoa she can be heavy-handed with the good olive oil), omitted the eggplant (couldn’t find it) and the pine nuts (too expensive), and squeezed an extra generous dose of lemon juice on top before serving. The whole thing can be made in advance and served at room temperature which makes it ideal for picnicking. So so SO good.

Harper was totally the hostess with the mostess, and by the time she left the park she was sweaty and watermelon stained, bruised and scraped. When we got home she took a cold shower and passed out on the floor. College.

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But it’s not all Pinterest butterflies and cupcakes around here. I now have a two-year-old, and studies have shown that two-year-olds are a particularly challenging kind of child.  At two, she has OPINIONS and in a single minute she can demonstrate the entire spectrum of human emotions.  Don’t believe me? Then you be the one to tell her that we don’t eat cookies for breakfast or that she can’t wear her pearly white church shoes to the muddy park. Now be her total hero by blowing bubbles while singing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”  Her ability to create real tears then immediately turn them off is truly Oscar-worthy.

I definitely caught a little glimpse of the terrible twos, so  figured it best to tighten the reigns before they came to stay.  That meant that Harper’s summer included some time spent in obedience boot camp…at our house with me serving as head counselor.  Until recently, Harper thought “come here” meant to laugh and run in the opposite direction. It is a work in progress, but she is beginning to catch on to the fact that I am the boss.  Progress! Now I only have to ask six times and threaten time-outs and corporal punishment to get her to do as I ask . Kidding. Sorta.

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Harper is always testing the limits and learning what will fly. Thankfully, she got over the desire to stick her fingers in electrical outlets months ago. But recently she hasn’t been touching the outlets with her own fingers, but holding out her baby doll’s little hand to touch them. Then she looks up at me innocently, as a bit of a challenge to see what I will do. I am afraid that she inherited my penchant to creatively interpret the rules.

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Harper is totally her own little person these days and I adore her spunky little independent spirit. She speaks in sassy little complete sentences and I really never know what she is going to say. (Hashtag no filter.) If she isn’t talking, she is singing.  Most days she is an absolute delight, though some days certainly require more wine patience. But every day she makes me laugh and every day I am beyond grateful for my joyful little bunny.

On the horizon for Harper: moving out of the crib into a big girl bed and potty training—and at the rate I update this blog, drivers-ed and senior prom.  Stay tuned.

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