We have crossed a great river. It is an obstacle I didn’t even know we had reached until we were sopping wet on the shore looking at where we had been, but oh the joy at realizing where we are now versus before. Parenting ebbs and flows in terms of difficulty and frustration and I-can’t-do-this-for-one-more-day moments, but then there are the bursts of elation that serve as memory wipes. You go from the child who unrolls an entire roll of toilet paper while I’m making dinner and takes off his poopy diaper in the middle of the night (smearing it all over your bed like a Pollock in embryo) to the delightful creature who runs into a room just to say hello in a squeaky excited voice and plays Angry Birds while dancing awkwardly around the room with pointer fingers stuck in the air. These darling moments make my heart sing. It swells and strains within my breast and I understand why people would want to do this one, two, three, four, five times.
There are so many days where I have scooped you up to smother you with kisses, telling you “I just love you so much” over and over again. Because I do.
This letter is a mix of random observations I’ve made over the past few months. The things that made me laugh, a few that made me clench my teeth and take deep breaths, snippets of the moments we’ve shared that make you who you are at two years old. The pictures throughout are from a morning when we went out to play with your best friends, Jude and Brooklyn. You adore them.
You love water. Whether it’s being in the bath or washing your hands, you would happily splash for hours if we’d let you. Sometimes instead of putting you into the bath we bring you into the shower with us, and you’ll stay in there longer then I will. You like standing with your back to the water, letting the warm water stream over you for as long as I’ll allow. You ask for soap 10x in a row so you can wash yourself over and over again.
You want to be up on the counter, right in the middle of the action, as much as possible. When you want us to pick you up you say “all done”, I think because when you are done on the counter we always ask you if you’re all done. Thus the counter becomes synonymous with the phrase all done.
Sometimes when I go out of the room, you yelled mama excitedly. Just to check and make sure I’m still there. You’re sometimes like a little mini-me, putting on shoes when I put on shoes, asking me to paint your nails when I’m panting mine. You watch everything we do so closely and mirror it as close as you can.
You are the best little eater I’ve ever encountered (and those who babysit you consistently say the same thing). In the mornings you love to eat Pâté and sardines and tuna for breakfast (because that’s a meal you often share with your ta-ta). Recently you started pretending to eat play fruit, which means your imagination is starting to develop. Soon I’ll be able to make up silly stories that make you laugh while we snuggle in bed together.
Overall you’re a good sleeper (albeit with a strange schedule, sleeping from 9-8 at night and 3-6 in the afternoon) and we hope your siblings take after you in this area. When you wake up I never know if I’m going to get grumpy T1 or delightful T1. When we take you out of your bed you let us know what you want by pointing around the room and ordering us around. A few times you have taken your diaper off while sleeping and messed your bed, which makes me a very unhappy mommy. Putting you in multiple layers and a onesie is no match for your manual dexterity. Out of nowhere you fell in love with a blankie. It goes everywhere with you and is perpetually filthy (washing it is traumatic for you). It’s adorable.
You love your Ta-ta (dad) more than anything in the world, and greatly prefer him to me (I think this is because I’m both stricter than he is, and more available to you). Whenever we are coming home from being out and about you ask me if Ta-ta is inside as we come up to the door. When you hear his keys jingling you scream in excitement. When he is eating, you want to eat whatever he is eating. He has to sneak out the door in the mornings to keep you from crying.
You are a whiz with electronics, plugging cords into my iphone and navigating the ipad better than most adults. When you get dad’s phone in your hot little hands you can navigate to the phone book, find my picture, and call me. If I let you we’ll carry on a 20 minute conversation while standing right next to each other.
There are a few games you request over and over again. A silly one your dad made up that we call “I was I”. You stand on our bed with your hands on the words I was I that we have as vinyl letters on the wall. We yell out I WAS I, and you fall down, laughing hysterically at the whole thing. You also can’t get enough of Ring around the Rosie and climbing on us when we get down on the floor to do ab work. Recently you invented a new game where you say “boo boo” in a scary voice and then wait for me to laugh at how silly you are. You like to laugh with your hand over your mouth.
I am very firm with you, because I believe it’s important for you to understand that when I tell you something I mean it. When you disapprove of what I’m saying, you look down and off to the side. It’s your version of puppy dog eyes, and I’ve started mirroring it back to you to let you know when I’m unhappy with you. We use a time-out pad for discipline, and when the timer goes off you hop off like it’s on fire, attempting to store it under the couch as quickly as possible, letting me know you’d be happy to never see that thing again.
I’m constantly amazed by how much you can understand. The other day I said we were going out, and proceeded to get everything ready to go. I heard a crash in the hallway and was about to reprimand you for making a mess, when I realized that the crash was the stroller falling out of the closet. You knew we were going bye-bye and you wanted to help!
Your first big language development was saying shoe instead of choo. Since that time we’ve seen immense changes in your vocabulary. A few weeks ago the speech therapist informed me that you had met all of the goals she set for you for that particular session! So far I’ve heard you use: nana, banana (nana), papa, bye bye, tata, mama, moo, baa, lion, water (wawa), up (puh), down, milk/mleko (miah-mo), nigh-nigh, car, cat, that, window, Elmo, iPad (new-new), diaper, poop, potty (pobty), choo choo, shoe, hello, baby (behby), cool, keys, uh-oh, TV, more, all done, your name (pier-boh), hand, puzzle (buh-ble), duck, apple, no, bread, knife, out, hat, two, eight, nine, ten, open, door, shirt, help, yes, eat, cracker, icky, on, off, out, turtle, boo boo.
Your speech therapist says it’s time now to focus on trying to get you to say two words together. You are pretty stubborn though, and no matter times I say “help me” or milk please” you choose one and smile up at me expectantly (because you know I’ll give in eventually).
When you count, you say “two, two, two, two, two, two, two, eight, nine, ten”. You can identify the numbers 2, 8, 9, and 10 by sight. I’m convinced you are of above average intelligence because of this one thing.
I think one of my favorite things you do is chanting ”gotty gotty gotty gotty” “tickuh tickuh tickuh tickuh” while rubbing your fingers together at random intervals throughout the day. It’s your way of saying I LOVE MY LIFE AND I’M SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW.
As you can see, the good far outweighs the bad. There will be more rivers to cross. Wider, deeper, scarier.
We’ll do it together.