Scott Levine.jpg

Scott Levine

Associated Press

At this time last year, I wrote about a year gone by too fast.

I discussed all the changes that happened in the first year of my daughter’s life, and marked most of the milestones that occurred. This year, with her second birthday celebration on Tuesday, I’m having a harder time remembering everything that happened this last year.

It’s not that she hasn’t tackled many obstacles along the way. She’s conquered potty training, expanded her vocabulary by leaps and bounds, and doesn’t mind climbing to the top of the playground equipment before heading down the slide in a flash.

It seems that during her second year of life, milestones crept up on me, instead of the loud, massive celebrations that accompanied each new achievement during year one. Everything is so new during the first year that nothing snuck on my wife or me.

We practiced with our daughter on crawling, walking, eating and everything else that happened during year one. But in the past 12 months, I hardly noticed that I was being bossed around even more than usual, since my daughter‘s vocabulary and knowledge increased enough that it became apparent that I had no chance, especially since I am outnumbered 2 to 1 by females.

I have a feeling this won’t get better any time soon.

It’s crazy how much a difference a year makes in a child’s life. For me, the only thing I’ve gained is a few more pounds, and possibly lost a little hair since last April.

But for my daughter, life is much different.

Right before her first birthday, my daughter started walking. Now, she doesn’t walk anymore. She runs. If she isn’t doing laps around the living room, she’s running around the yard or driveway, making my nerves rattle every time she inches closer to the road.

I now know why boundaries and fences are a parent’s best friend.

Eating has become another major change. No more bottles, baby food or cutting up every morsel of food into little bites. She eats what we eat and doesn’t mind making a mess every now and then (although sometimes she can’t stand to have a mess on her hands while she eats).

And after she devoured two hot dogs, vegetables, fruit, potato and milk this week, I’ve become aware why parents complain about never having enough food stocked in the refrigerator.

But the biggest difference in the last year is by far vocabulary. We regularly sing along with tunes on the radio and practice the alphabet. Last year, she was just beginning to let us know what was going on in her head.

Her increased knowledge helps her imagination, which runs wild during the day when she takes her dolls on walks in her stroller, and practices her roars with the stuffed bears and lions.

During a recent outing at a restaurant, we saw firsthand just how far our family has come in the last year.

Our daughter was able to let us know what she wanted by pointing and explaining to us her wants and needs. When she wanted a drink or a bite of our food, she let us know. We didn’t think much of it until a couple next to us, who had a much younger child with them, talked to us about how they couldn’t wait until their child could communicate with them.

Like all young children, their child could only cry when he needed something. I’m not saying my daughter doesn’t cry, because as many know, the terrible 2’s are starting soon in my household, but she’s able to tell us exactly what she wants by talking, which eliminates a lot of guess work.

I know the next year will bring plenty of changes, but these past 12 months have been rewarding and enjoyable. It’s amazing how much of a personality my daughter has developed and my wife and I can’t wait to see what the next 365 days will bring.

Scott Levine is the Clinton Herald’s associate editor. He can be reached at scottlevine@clintonherald.com.

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