Becoming a mother for the first time was life altering. Not just that, it was painful, excruciating at times, completely overwhelming, isolating, and the hardest thing I’ve ever done without question. My experience mothering an infant was difficult, albeit dotted with positive moments and overshadowed in my memory with immense love. Avery was colicky and had numerous food sensitivities, she didn’t sleep well, neither her nor I did well leaving the house, and we were both met with unrelenting social pressures that we were totally unprepared for.
But when she turned 18 months old, life started getting easier (for both of us). She could walk, she could talk, she could digest her food, and she was HAPPY. Like, 99% of the time she was happy, compared to what felt like 5% of the time when she was a baby. And that happy streak has just continued in a linear fashion, and at two and a half years old (today), she is the most wonderful human being I have ever met. Please excuse me while I talk about what an amazing little person my two-and-a-half year old is for the rest of this post.
Avery is kind. So kind. Kinder than anyone I’ve ever met. She compliments people over the slightest things – I have heard, “mommy your hair is so beautiful,” or “mmm, delicious! You’re a good cook, mommy!” and other kind compliments every day for months now. It’s going to start going to my head. She is also very concerned for the wellbeing of others. If she sees someone she loves hurt themselves, she kisses it better and pats their back. She tells us she wants to make us feel better. She tells us she loves us out of the blue. She has mastered the apology, and either she’s going to win an Oscar one day for best actress, or she feels empathy, big time. Her apologies are mostly unprovoked and sincere.
Avery is helpful. I’m sure most toddlers go through an “I help you!” phase, and Avery is no exception. Whether I’m washing the floors or chopping vegetables, or her Mo is fixing something with her tools, Avery bellies up and offers whatever she can to help in the process. She will walk away from Paw Patrol or whatever toys she’s immersed in to help me wash dishes or cook dinner, and she is actually a good helper. There was a learning curve with most tasks, obviously, where it took me a lot longer to get everything done, but it paid off. She can literally wash [non-glass] dishes to an acceptable degree all on her own. I post pictures of her helping out around the house on TinyBeans (a private photo sharing app) and my family crack jokes about it being child labour; but she loves every minute of being helpful. I hope I always remember the sound of her tiny voice saying, “Avery help you, mommy.”
Avery is freaking smart. Smart to the point where onlookers (including her daycare provider) ask us what we’re going to do to challenge her academically when she starts school. She knows all letters and numbers up to 20 inside out and backwards, she can write a few letters with a pencil and can spell a few words on the computer. She can do basic addition and subtraction (and I catch her sometimes adding and subtracting with her fingers as a game). She loves colours – identifying them and mixing them to make new colours. She likes to tell me what colour backpacks all the daycare kids have, by memory, and goes into detail like, “Raya has a dark pink backpack with aqua polka dots, Carter has a light blue, dark blue, and white back pack, etc.” She impresses me to the point where my jaw drops on a daily basis.
Avery is emotionally intelligent. She has a grasp on her emotions that I never had as a kid, and am only just starting to develop. When she’s upset, she takes deep breaths and tries to calm down. If that doesn’t work and she still needs to cry, she tells me she’s sad and needs to cry. She tells me why. At daycare when she gets upset she tells her provider that she misses her mommy and it makes her feel like crying. On the flip side, she uses a lot of super positive words to describe things around her, like “that’s awesome!” or “my drawing is beautiful” and it makes me smile. She also RARELY has tantrums anymore, since she turned 2. She can get upset about not being allowed to wear sneakers in the snow or about having to go to bed when she really doesn’t want to, but she can somehow cry and have a discussion with us about what she’s feeling at the same time. We can always work it out without too much drama. The terrible twos never materialized for us. It has been more like the tremendous twos.
So the punchline of this Avery update is that all the early struggles were SO SO SO worth it. I wish I could spend every waking moment with her, soaking it all in as she grows, learns, and loves. 2.5 is an AWESOME age.
I love you with my whole heart, Avery May. My heart is bursting with pride in who you are, and I hope you’ll let me bask in your glory for the rest of my life.