Monday, December 19, 2011

The "Halfs"

She's 2 1/2

In our house, half-birthdays are always noted. It is a subtle noting but a noting nonetheless.We've found that in the case of our kids, the halfs tend to arrive like an exclamation point. 

Our girls morph dramatically during the back half of each year. These developmental surges are remarkable - and remarkably flabbergasting to parent through at moments. 

There's an insightful collection of books by author Louise Bates Ames, Ph.D. I first came across this series out of sheer desperation. Hannah was three and a half and I was in tears more days than not trying to figure out what on earth had happened to my sweet daughter. 

Her personality and behavior had shifted so dramatically (for the worse) I was nearly convinced that I'd managed to mess the whole parenting thing up in less time than it takes to get a Bachelors degree. 

Then I found Ames' book titled Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy. Relieved by what I read, I was finally able to exhale. Her words assured me that I wasn't a complete failure after all. She spoke to the surges that occur on the halfs in particular and gave tremendous perspective as to how to manage these changes effectively.

There's a title for each of the younger years. I grab a used copy around their birthdays. Of course, they don't paint the entire picture. There are plenty of other factors to include in the mix. Still, my parental palette would be lacking without these colorful reads.

So, now when our girls start doing things like: 

randomly stuttering, 
standing on their heads for hours on end, 
sticking their entire hands in their mouths as if their grimy fists are a delicacy, 
picking their noses, 
becoming unusually clingy and emotionally tender, 
sleeping more, 
sleeping less,
 having headaches, tummy aches or severe aches in their second toe on the left,
 eating everything in sight and then asking for additional snacks,
 eating nothing and insisting that those two Cheerios really were enough

...I take a deep breathe, check my calendar and more often than not realize that we're making our way through the back half of their year. Of course this doesn't explain away every bad or weird behavior. It simply offers an added dimension of understanding and insight to this incredibly complicated job we call parenting. 

As for the two and a half year-old of the hour - what a gift. She'd like you to think that she's shy. She'll even declare before we head out somewhere or invite guests in whether or not she's planning on being shy for that particular encounter. 

She's got a great sense of humor. She's funny. She makes me laugh - not because I'm her mom and that's part of my job description, but because she really is funny.

From the day she was born, she's longed to be close to her Mama. She's cozy and snugly and this makes me melt daily. 

She thinks the world of her big sister. She also consistently displays that she's entirely capable of holding her own (think ear-piercing screams of frustration at least ten times a day).

Littlest is giving Hannah the daily "gift" of learning what it means to relate to the more passionate, less predictable members of society. Most two year-old's are well equipped in this department.

She loves her Daddy (how could she not). He sniffs her often and she likes it. He puts her to work most days too. She helps him sweep, bake bread, set the dinner table and pick up all her high heels. She has definite sheep dog tendencies - the girl needs a job!

This one is naughty in the quietest most unexpected of ways. She thinks nothing of pulling on her tutu and high heels, throwing her purse over her shoulder and literally walking out the front door (we've since changed the locks). She loves to pick things off the ground and eat them. She's a magnet for all things dangerously off limits (knives, shattered glass, garage door openers). 

She loves nursery rhymes, worship songs, drawing on herself, twirling, pretending to be baby Jesus, licking any available measuring cup, reading, pretzels and turning any and all objects into swaddled babies (sippy cups, forks, stuffed animals, pencils and hairbrushes). 

What a blessed addition the littlest has been. She has captured (and exhausted) my heart. 

Happy half birthday Hailey Elizabeth. 

Many thanks to Raya Carlisle for taking these fabulous photos


  1. Thanks for the heads up about the "halfs." I can't believe she's 2 1/2 already!!

  2. I have a 3 1/2 at home and what you write is so very true! I'm grabbing a copy of the book you mention just this minute, thanks for the recommendation!

  3. 3 1/2 in particular was a tough one in our household. Hang in there. I hope you find the book as helpful as I did.