Monday, August 07, 2006

Happy 2nd Birthday Holland and Eden!

Well, Holland and Eden are officially two year olds. In many ways, their second year was easier than their first, and in many ways it was much harder. I can say for sure that one year ago I had a whole different picture of how life would be at this point.

Last year at this time Eden had not had her MRI, and we had no idea about PVL and CP. We were blissfully unaware of what life had in store for Eden, and for us as her parents. I imagined my two little girls running around playing together on their second birthday. I imagined them splashing together in the pool and running through the sprinkler. I miss those days when I was unaware, and I miss that picture of how I thought life would be. I continue to grieve for that loss.

At the same time, I am trying valiantly to revise the picture that I had for my life and theirs. I am struggling to find the good in it and to appreciate what I have been given, rather than focusing on what I have lost. I have faith in myself that I will get there. Just give me some time.

Wow, this is really depressing for a birthday post. Let me change directions and focus on the girls and what they are like as two-year-olds.

We'll start with Holland, as she was the first born. Holland is a little firecracker. She is energetic and funny, but also strong willed and stubborn. She has a mind of her own, and a penchant for tantrums when things don't go her way. Everyone will say that she is just like me, and it is probably a little true. At the same time that she can drive John and I crazy with her attitude, we secretly love it and frequently look at each other with a combination of exasperation and amusement when she is being a brat. I use the word "brat" in the most loving way possible.

Holland is pushing 20 pounds. She easily cruises along furniture and walls, walks holding one hand, and pushes her carts around. She can stand up in the middle of the floor, and has good balance when standing. She can even stand and dance. One time she took 5 steps during physical therapy, but since then won't even try to walk.

Holland is Mommy's girl, especially since I started staying home for the summer. She wants to be with me all the time and has trouble playing independently. She would rather me carry her around all day or sit on the floor and play with her constantly. She gets jealous when I am focused on Eden.

Holland is a great sleeper. She goes to bed easily around 9pm and gets up between 8 and 9. She is ready for a nap around noon, no matter what time she wakes up in the morning. She will often sleep over three hours at nap time.

Holland is talking more and more all the time. She has a extensive vocabulary, not sure exactly how many words, and she has recently began putting two words together. The first I noticed was "mama take bite." She also often says "papa, hi, more more" (or nana, kimi, dada, etc), when she is missing someone.

One really funny/quirky thing that Holland really likes is to carry small objects around clenched in her fist. She especially likes small tube-like objects like sticks, crayons, or lipstick. She will studiously place the tip of the object in the center of her palm and carry it around all day. If it moves out of place when she is crawling, she will stop to readjust it. Just lately she has moved more toward small bits of paper that she will tear out of a coloring book. Often I will unclench her fist before bed and find a tiny piece of paper or food that she has been carrying around. Strange but cute.

Other cute things Holland is doing now... She loves Elmo, I mean LOVES. She knows the names of all the Sesame Street Characters including Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover, Zoe, The Count, Bert, and Ernie. She loves babies and does the sign when she sees one. The sign is always accompanied by a funny grunting sound that is supposed to be Awwwww, but sounds more like she needs to poop. She claps when anyone takes a bite and dances while we cheer..."Yay, Mama took a bite, Mama, Mama, Mama." She puts things on her head and says "hat", then dances while we sing "A silly hat, a silly hat, I wear it on my head because that's where it's at." She loves music, dancing, and drumming. She loves blankies and pillows and will cuddle up with them and play the go to sleep/wake up game. She wants to kiss everything that she knows the name of. She will look at a book and say "frog!", then kiss the frog, "toothbrush!", then kiss the toothbrush, "potty!", then kiss the potty. She names body parts and wants to kiss them too. The other day she said "hair!", then pulled a piece of her hair down to kiss it. She will often say "belly!", then wants to kiss mommy or daddy's belly.

Okay, now let's talk about Eden! Eden is as sweet as sweet can be, with just the right amount of sassiness mixed in. She is really laid back and usually content to go with the flow, but at times she can be a little bit of a bully when she gets her mind set on something. Eden has great concentration and is very determined.

Eden is about 18 pounds. She is great at getting where she needs to go with a combination of rolling, military crawling, and pushing off of things with her legs. Her arms are strong and she uses her hands well. In fact she has quite a strong grip and easily grabs toys out of Holland's hands and makes her cry. Eden wants whatever Holland has. She will roll over and grab whatever part of Holland she can get, her shirt, hand, ankles, and pull her down, then take whatever it is that she has. I will often hear Holland fussing, grunting, and calling "help" when Eden has ahold of her.

Eden sleeps great during the night (except for this week because she is sick). She will go to bed around 9-9:30 and wake up after 9 in the morning. She doesn't really want to take naps any more, which is obviously a problem for mom. Fortunately Eden is happy and sweet even without a nap, she just kinda zones out when she is tired, unlike Holland who gets really irritable.

Eden has been hearing with her cochlear implant for 9 months now. Her language development has really taken off in the past two weeks. She says a few words, which only mom, dad, and nana can decipher, including mama, dada, baba, zippo, dog. She just recently started pointing at things she wants and saying something that sounds like "essa." Her other big word is "adoo." I interpret these as What's that?, and All Done. When she wants to tell you something she will reach up and turn your face to look at her. She is talking all the time now, often repeating the same sounds like she is really trying to tell us something. I wish I could understand what she is telling me more. She has a lot to say and seems so serious about it. We have heard varying opinions on how much the CP is going to affect Eden's ability to talk. My gut feeling is that she will talk just fine. We just need to be patient with her. She has a lot of obstacles to overcome.

My favorite thing that Eden is doing right now is giving great big squeezes around the neck. If you lean down near her she will grab onto you with her little monkey arms and pull herself up and give you a squeeze. It is the cutest thing ever. I also love that she is pointing to things she wants with her little pointer finger, and how she turns your head to look at her when she talks. Eden thinks everything her dad does is funny. She loves watching him jump around and act silly and will squeal out in excitement. She also loves to be scared. If you jump out from behind something and say boo, she just cracks up. Eden is VERY ticklish. Sometimes, when you get her just right, she does the silent belly laugh that we love. She gets tickled a LOT just so we can hear that laugh. Eden also loves playing catch, playing with her feet, and taking her socks off.

So, as Holland and Eden enter their third year of life, they are not running around getting into everything like other 2-year-olds, and they do not talk to and play with each other much yet. But they are cute, and sweet, and funny, and totally lovable just the way that they are. They are a lesson in patience, hope, commitment, faith, and perseverance everyday, and we are all learning a lot from them.


Kendra Lynn said...

What a beautiful post, Billie.
To me, they are are perfect little girls, evidence of God's love and power.
I love to read of their progress and see how they are growing and changing.
You are truly blessed, as are we, to have such gorgeous girls in your (our) lives.


hallegracesmama said...

My favorite post - EVER! They are so beautiful and have grown so much. I love hearing about their personality quirks. What a sight it must be to see Eden pulling Holland down to get something she wants from her! Sisters will be sisters, right? Love the birthday dresses and TWO pigtails!

Anonymous said...

So cute. I love little ones. They have come so far in two years and made so much progress. It is nice to see Eden crawling. I bet a few years from now you'll have two little girls ambling about the house, playing in the sprinkler just as you dreamed of. I read that the majority of kids with developemtal delays who crawl in the first few years later learn to walk. We did a project on CP for ed psyc and I think the average age for them walking was around age 7. It may take them longer to do things and Eden will likely always have some difficulty but they will grow and they will learn. Be optimistic and start saving for two college educations :)

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, I loved reading how Eden pulls Holland down to get the toy she wants! I got such a clear visual of it in my head and started cracking up. Sisterly love! From your descriptions, they certainly seem to be their own little ladies, with shining personalities.

I have no doubt Eden will be running around with her sister one day. She is making such progress and seems to be a very determined little thing!

Also wanted to add that I have a just turned two year old who was not a preemie and does not have hearing loss....yet he is NOT putting words together yet. He is starting speech therapy for this. He can, however, out run and out climb any two year old I've ever known. Each child has their own strengths and weaknesses. So, your Holland is ahead of my Tyler as far as speech is concerned!

Anonymous said...

Just delurking to say... I come here most days, even where there isnt a post, just to look at how beautiful your little girls are. I hope to have a child as beautiful as yours one day... And I hope to have your patience and compassion in raising them. You are doing such a great job, and remember, while you may have lost the dream of what you ultimately believed your girls would become, they will eventually get there with their parents love and support. You are doing such a wonderful job! Say happy birthday to your beautiful daughters for me, and God bless!

Michelle said...

The way you write about your girls just awes me! The unconditional love you have for them just pours out in every one of your posts. It is what inspired me to start my blog about my girls. The candidness that you share about your feelings/loss is so comforting in the sense that you definately are not alone. I don't know what the future holds for my girls, but I pray that if there are any obstacles of any kind, I can handle it with the same grace, and spirit you have. These past 2 years have been filled with so many ups & downs for your family. Here's to the next 2 years having more ups & fewer downs. Holland & Eden are beautiful, it seems like you and John are doing such an amazing job in raising 2 very unique little cuties. Thanks for sharing a bit of them with us!

Anonymous said...

Wow!! What two amazing girls. They draw you in every time you see them. You have been blessed with two very unique and adorable little people. I am so happy to be able to share in their lives with you and luv you all very much! Happy 2nd b-day girls, can't wait to celebrate each and every one with you! Luv Liz

Kate Giovinco Photography said...

Happy Birthday Holland and Eden!

Billie you and John are doing a fabulous job on raising the girls! They are beautiful in every way!

Anonymous said...

I am so looking forward to meeting Holland and Eden, and their fantastic mother who is able to see their strengths through her grief. There are so many of my own fears lurking around the corners, and I try to keep them there because I have no clue where life will lead during the next couple of years... I only hope that I will be able to focus on the positives as you have done in addition to the obstacles along the way!

M said...

Happy Birthday to your beautiful girls. They've come a long way!

Tertia said...

I dont have time right now, but there is so much I want to say.

Your children are beautiful, as are you. You are doing an excellent job, they are truly blessed to have you as their mother.

Lots of love and birthday wishes from me


Penny said...

Your girls are wonderful and a testament to the kind of parent you are.

Twins of any age are not easy and you seem to be handling the extra challenges with grace and patience.

You should be very proud of your girls and yourselves.


Viscouse said...

Hooray for the 2 two-year-olds! I love the stories you post about what they're doing! It's great to see all the things they can do & ways they can show their love for their parents.

Okay, that was a little corny, but the thought's there.

Anonymous said...

dear billie,
i also am a lurker,but frequent visitor. like the poster above, i come by to see your beautiful girls. they really are gorgeous, and they obviously have such loving parents. you are doing such a wonderful job parenting. i really admire your honesty, and also your courage.

Anonymous said...

Dear Billie:
We have watched your girls since shortly after our boys were born, and we have admired your strength and courage. Your family is always in our prayers. Your girls are absolutely miracles, and beautiful to boot! Thanks for your unwavering honesty and hope.

Sarah Furlough
(Logan and Cooper's mom)

Hechung said...

Happy Birthday Holland and Eden! It is so wonderful to read about their personalities and everything that they're doing. They grow more beautiful each day.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Holland and Eden. Thanks Billie, for putting so much time into writing this post. I love reading the details about Holland and Eden's personalities. They have come a long way!


Allison said...

Every post brings a tear to my eye. It is amazing to see what you have done with these kids. I gain so much zest for life and motherhood by reading your stories!