Two years ago tomorrow, on February 13, 2018, my sweet Gabriella Lynn entered this world. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to give birth to a tiny version of yourself, well this post is for you. Because my Gabi is not just my namesake, sharing my middle name, but is an exact copy of my two year old self in looks and more similar to everything anyone has ever told me about myself than I even thought was possible in a child.
Beyond her sharing of my name and my two year old looks, I see so much of myself in this girl. It is no doubt that she is my mini. If this girl doesn’t become a lawyer I will absolutely be shocked, because she already interrogates as good as I did two years into practice and she looks for a loophole in everything. But as much as this girl is like her mama, she also is very distinctively Gabriella, and I want to share some of what makes this girl so special with all of you today.
A Simple and Smooth Entrance into the World
I shared Gabriella’s birth story in one of my first posts last year, but I wanted to highlight a few memorable things about that time again for you today: my labor with Gabi was mostly at home in my big jetted bathtub. It was about eight hours of active labor, and I was completely comfortable the entire time with the warm water, my TENS unit, Celine Dion music, and candles. She was born about 45 minutes after arriving in the lobby of Jefferson Hospital, and I felt in control and in touch with body throughout the experience. My midwives respected my requests – although when you arrive at the hospital at 9cm with bulging waters, there’s not many other options for them if you exert your influence. She was born with the assistance of gravity as I was leaning forward over the back of the bed on my knees via fetal ejection reflex. Unlike hours of pushing with my first, there was pleasantly no pushing with this girl. She made it easy on her mama.
Her first year
As an infant, her personality reflected exactly as my labor and delivery of her presented. She was calm, quiet, and slept through the night at six weeks of age with literally TWO NIGHTS exception during the rest of her first year. What a kid! She seemed to sit back and observe everything; I remember thinking that she was always watching me and Nico and one day would have her say about what was going on (spoiler alert: I wasn’t wrong!). She was so enthralled by Nico, who dotted lovingly over her and couldn’t wait for her to crawl and walk and talk so he could play with her.
A Strong Will
I might not be an early childhood expert, but I can tell you this from having three kids- Gabriella makes up her mind early and often and doesn’t go back from it. Her personality is exactly the same as it was when she was born. She’s easy, almost effortless- she’s one of those kids that you can get away with not parenting because they take care of themselves. I was one of those kids, so I am making every effort to consciously still parent her even when she tells me she doesn’t need me.
Gabriella said her first word (another kid that went for “dada” first) at 6.5 months and started crawling in the exact same week of life that Nico did (9 months, 2 weeks). She was toothless until 10 months of age, when her first two bottom teeth came in; the rest didn’t pop out until right after she was one.
She started walking at 15 months, and in true form to her style this girl went from taking zero steps to twenty steps overnight. Unbelievably, less than one month later and without ANY assistance from me, the girl self-potty trained. She was just done with diapers and decided she wanted to use the toilet and went without diapers at naps and overnight from the very beginning. The girl just blows me away.
I’d like to take credit for her potty training success, especially after having Nico potty trained by 20 months, but this was 100% Gabriella. I can’t wait to see what other things she does like this all on her own.
She hit the magical 200 spoken words a solid year early than suggested; her vocabulary is beyond impressive to this day. She definitely has somewhere between 500-1000 words now comprised of both individual words and a healthy amount of 3-4 word phrases. Some of her favorites: “Is something wrong?” “I don’t like it” “Don’t worry, it happens” and “I’m sorry Nico!”
Gabriella loves physical activity- she can climb anything, much to my chagrin. She’s as physically strong as mentally, and I decided to take advantage of her advanced abilities in this area and enrolled her in dance class at 18 months.
I had signed Nico up for a dance class and Gabriella just kept going in each week so they said she could enroll despite being a year early for the program. Fast forward to almost-two and she’s in an hourlong ballet and creative movement class each week and thriving! She really loves it and does well! It will be fun to see where this takes her, if anywhere. It might be something we do for now or it might be sometime we do forever- we’ll see.
A Word to My Girl…
I have a few things that I’d like to offer to my mini me…
Gabriella, you are a force. I’ve spent very few moments since you’ve been born worrying whether you’d be okay. I know you will be. More on that in a minute.
The first thing I can offer to you is an apologyNot only are you a middle child, but you are a middle child that can do and wants to do everything for herself. Independence runs through your blood; sometimes I forget you’re only one!
I apologize to you that anytime that I allow you to go at it alone instead of making the extra effort because it’s easier on me. I will do better, and please don’t stop reminding me. I promise to parent YOU and not the 2020 version of two year old Krista. You are your own person, and I promise to always do my best to remember that.
I’m actively working to make sure that I parent you as YOU are, not as I was. I want to give you the very best of me for you. I have absolutely loved watching you be little sister to Nico. As much as I love to watch him take care of you, as he’s such a natural caretaker, I love watching you as he tries to take care of you. For every time Nico would want to smother you in kisses, you’d want to push him away.
For every time that he’d want to change your diaper or wipe your high chair tray or hug you before bed, you’d shy back. The only time that you’d regularly allow him to show affection was right before the school day would start. I have more moments of times like the photo above than I want to admit because I just relished when you’d show him love or allow him to show it to you. You just wanted to do your own thing!
I’ve also really loved watching you grow into your role as big sister to Mila. I won’t lie, you struggled a little as she challenged your place in our house at first. But you quickly realized that one more child to love didn’t mean any less love for you, and we adjusted quickly.
I am going to do my very best to inspire you, to motivate you, to challenge you. I am going to provide opportunities for you to grow into the incredible woman I know you will become. I am going to make an extraordinary effort to encourage your strength, your will power, and your energy into good.
Gabriella, in so many ways you are me. I see so much of me in you that I worry I treat you differently than Nico or Mila because of it. That because I’m so hard on myself and expect so much from myself that I’m harder on you. That I’m less empathetic to you. That I’m less understanding. Please check me if that is ever true.
My sweet girl, you’re not me- you are so much more than me. You are smarter than me, faster than me, more everything than me. I wonder if you know how much stronger you are than I am? Is that why you test my will power at every turn? 😉
You are going to do incredible things in this world, and I can’t wait to watch you.
I love you, Gabriella.
Happy second birthday!!!