A little over 730 days ago, our little family changed in a big way with the arrival of Daphne Helen.
Sometimes I feel like I don't write about Daphne enough, so here's a little update on our 2-year-old bundle of joy.
Daphne is now known as both Daphne and Squeakers (or Squeaks or Squeaky). When Daphne was a couple months old, instead of crying or fussing or grunting, she would squeak.
As with all of our children, her nickname is used mostly by Glen, who also happens to be wrapped around Daphne's little finger. With Dan and Monika at school now, Daphne gets a lot of Glen's undivided attention. She loves to ride in the skidloader and tractor with Glen or snuggle up on the couch in the basement for a nap. But what she really loves is when Glen unlocks the baking cupboard and treats them both to chocolate chips right out of the bag.
Most of the time, Daphne doesn't need any extra sweetening. She's a happy girl with a big smile and a carefree attitude.
I often find myself wondering how much maternal attitude during pregnancy affects children. When I was pregnant with Dan, I was extremely excited about becoming a mom. Dan is a kid who has intense emotions, including excitement.
With Monika, I spent most of the nine months feeling anxious about her birth and worrying about how I was going to care for two young children and manage all my chores. Monika is definitely more of a worrier.
When I was carrying Daphne, I was carefree and relaxed; I knew, one way or another, that we'd figure out how to manage with three kids, so I didn't worry about it. Is that where Daphne's carefree attitude comes from?
Or is her attitude a reflection of the fact that Glen and I are a lot more relaxed about parenting, in general, with our third child? I didn't spend her infancy, like Dan's, stressing out about whether she was eating enough or pooping enough or sleeping enough.
And I wasn't stressed out, like I was when Monika was a baby, by the needs of two small children in diapers. By the time Daphne was born, Dan and Monika were pretty independent and capable of looking after themselves long enough for me to take a short nap.
Maybe it's some of both.
Daphne's carefree attitude might be her own, but she is a little bit like her brother and sister, in different ways. Like Monika, she's a daddy's girl and a lover of little brown Jersey calves. And she's got a head of bright blonde curls like her big sister. Like Dan, she's independent, loud and a little bossy. And she loves carrying the farm cats around like her big brother.
And, like Dan and Monika, Daphne brings a wealth of joy to our lives. She has reminded us how amazing it is to watch a young child discover the world around her, to find her voice, and become an independent small person. The changes a child goes through in the first two years are incredible.
When Monika started school this fall, the house was a quieter place - for awhile. More than once I asked Glen, "What would we do if we didn't have Daphne here?"
And now he's already thinking ahead. "What are we going to do when you go to school?" he asked Daphne the other day.
I'm sure we'll figure that out, too.
I do know that I'm going to do my best to slow these next couple years down. These early childhood years seem to go too fast - or maybe it just seems that way because we parents are still trying to catch up on sleep.
Here's to a slower year with more time for naps, snuggles and 2-year-old giggles. And more chocolate chips.