All I Want for Christmas is a Two-Year-Old

December 23rd, 2015

My three children are stair-stepped – ages seven, five, and not-quite-three. This distribution has recently caused several well-meaning but delusional acquaintances to suggest that it might be “time for the next one.” By the time I’ve stopped laughing, these gentle souls have edged carefully away from the crazy lady cackling in the street, so I don’t always have the chance to explain myself.

There are an abundance of practical reasons that three is the magic number for our family, including but not limited to: the astronomical cost of childcare, the unpleasant realization that my morning sickness seems to progressively worse with each child, and the fact that my sanity is precious to me and the addition of one more small person accompanying me into the bathroom might push me over the edge.

But perhaps the biggest reason that I’m in no hurry to add to our family isn’t rational at all. The truth is, I’m madly in love with my two-year-old.

Fish Face

The other day, I was watching her solicitously feed a handful of playdough to her favorite baby doll and I wondered aloud – were my other children this cute when they were two?  And then it hit me. Every other time I’ve had a two-year-old in the house, I also had an infant in the house. My older children didn’t suffer from an absence of love (and presents) when their siblings came along, but I will freely admit that a large portion of my attention and emotional energy were focused elsewhere.

But this year, I am basking in the unfiltered joy of a toddler at Christmas.

My youngest daughter loves everything about the holidays with the unbridled joy that only exists in young children. Every inflatable snowman, every Santa sighting, every decorated tree spied through a window is cause for over-the-top celebration. And silly Christmas carols. Oh, the silly Christmas carols. The longest word in her vocabulary right now is “hippopotamus.” As in, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” Then there’s the recording in which dogs bark Jingle Bells – an instant holiday classic.

Pink Tree

She has also formed an unshakeable attachment to the plastic baby Jesus from our Fisher Price nativity set. She absconded with the tiny savior the moment she laid eyes on him and all attempts to return him to the manger are met with enraged screams of “MY BABY JESUS!!!” (Side note: this utter disregard for holiday decorating protocol drives my methodical and rule-loving firstborn utterly bonkers.)

The holidays aren’t complete with appropriate seasonal apparel and my youngest has a pair of footie reindeer pajamas that she adores, although for some reason she believes them to be monkeys. She’s fiercely independent and insists on donning her jammies by herself, a process that can take upwards of ten minutes and makes me cross-eyed from resisting the urge to help. Once dressed, she parades through the house clutching baby Jesus in one hand and a stuffed penguin in the other, barking jingle bells.

So, no. I’m not in any hurry to expand our family. Check back next year when I no longer have a two-year-old to enjoy. But if my other kids are any indication, I suspect she’s going to be pretty fun as she gets older, too.

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