To my little man:
We made it! Your dad and I got you to your second birthday without any missing limbs or poisoning incidents! This is the point at which you become self-sufficient, right? Applesauce is on the bottom shelf in the pantry, and extra toilet paper is under the sink. Don’t forget to flush!
We had a rough start, you and I. Lots of people have it worse, I know, but hormones and tiredness and wearing a maxi pad the size of the Titanic around the clock make everything seem worse. When you came home from the hospital, you were still a little bit sick so I couldn’t cuddle and snuggle with you as much as I wanted to. And the whole “breastfeeding” thing didn’t work out for us, either; I think if we did the math and divided the rental cost of that hospital-grade breast pump I was attached to all the time by the few ounces I was able to squeeze out of my surgically altered chest, donor milk might have been more affordable after all. I don’t regret having that breast reduction before you came along, though; they really were awful, and we can find other ways to bond. Like playing pranks on your dad and getting matching tattoos somewhere discreet.
I wouldn’t trade any of our moments with you away, but year two really was way more fun for us as your parents than year one. You started moving and interacting with us, and this whole parent-child relationship became a lot less one-sided. I remember the first day we arrived at daycare to pick you up and you saw us across the playground with the other toddlers. Your face lit up and you started toddling toward us… I nearly wet my pants because the tears couldn’t come out of my eyes fast enough. You’ve become such a cool little dude, so chatty and personable and fun to be around. Our cats used to be the most entertaining thing we could watch on a Saturday night, but now we have you! We just have to be more careful about where we shine the laser pointer.
Things You Do
- Count. You like to “forget” the number three just to mess with us. But we count everything now. When you’re getting dressed, it’s “one arm, two arms, one leg, two legs.” Dad is tickled that you even use the correct plural forms of nouns.
- Climb stairs. We need to get better about locking the staircase gate.
- Brush your teeth. Mommy used to do this with the little fingertip brush, but we upgraded a couple weeks ago to a kid-sized regular toothbrush, and now you say “I want to do it” every night. Mommy still has to come through for a finishing brush, but you’re getting better. Now if you’d just drool less as you did it. We’ll work on it.
- Run. Just like mommy and daddy!
- Go down the playground slide headfirst. Mommy cringes, but the first time you face-planted in wood chips you jumped right up, yelled happily, and climbed up the ladder to do it again (with wood chips in your teeth).
- Dance. You’ve always loved music and been able to wiggle a little to the beat, but now you’ve got some new moves – a little twist, a little squat, getting your arms involved. You especially like dancing with mommy and daddy.
- Opening and closing doors. And, in the case of the pantry, closet, and downstairs bathroom, shutting yourself in small dark rooms.
- Pull your pants up and down. At the beginning of January you’ll move into the big toddlers classroom, where they start working more on potty training. In preparation, you’ve been practicing pulling your pants up and down yourself. It would be a lot easier if that diaper wasn’t in the way.
- Sort. You love to pick out the things of a common size and color and line them up. We’ve even been sent pictures of you doing it at daycare. This doesn’t guarantee you’re going to be a genius like your dad, but we can hope.
- Wave. When you were younger, you had the limp wrist wave. Then you started moving your fingers in what we call the “piano wave.” Now you hold your hand up, flat palm out, and move your arm from the shoulder. It’s very military, and very adorable.
Things You Like
- Dragons/Dinosaurs. These really are interchangeable to you, and they do tend to look pretty similar so I’ll let it slide. At bedtime, you ask for “dragon book” and choose between Dragons Love Tacos (you now try to count the tacos as your dad or I read) and Not Your Typical Dragon (how can you not love a main character named Crispin Blaze?!?). You also like RAWR, but sometimes mommy’s roaring is a little aggressive and you get scared.
- Trucks. All trucks. The bigger the better. There’s lots of construction happening on our street, and you love watching the big cranes and earth movers cruise by. You’ll shout out “truck!” or “big truck!” from your carseat when one passes us on the road. You love trucks.
- Broccoli. I can’t explain it. It makes me question whether you are indeed the child I gave birth to. But keep saying “more broccoli?” and we’ll keep giving it to you.
- Crackers. Mostly graham crackers, but you’ll eat them all.
- The cats. I’m not sure the feeling is mutual.
- Your bedtime routine. If we leave out even one step, you pitch a fit. Heading up stairs to find where Daddy is hiding, bathtime, pajamas, brushing teeth, reading a book, lights out, mommy hugs and kisses, daddy hugs and kisses, and then tuck in. Don’t worry, buddy; Mommy and Daddy love it too.
Things You Say
- “Goodnight, dumptruck, goodnight!” Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site is another favorite book, and you tend to get to the “goodnight” line on each page before your dad or I.
- “Walk away, guys.” A conflict resolution strategy you picked up at school. You’ve started applying it to everything. “Walk away, blocks. Walk away, shoes.” I don’t know what they were fighting about, but I’m sure it was epic.
- “Look at me. Sit down. Come with me.” Now that I think about it, you’re really bossy.
- “Dump out the water.” This is in reference to your cup, which usually has water in it. When you ask for milk, we have to dump out the water first, and you remind us if we forget.
- “Please. Thank you, mommy. You’re welcome.” Sometimes all in a row before I have a chance to do anything. But manners count!
- “Bye bye [insert thing here].” You’ve realized earlier than most that multi-tasking is a myth. When I tell you your snack is ready or it’s time for a bath, you violently chuck whatever toy you’re holding and say goodbye to it.
- “Ready, set, go.” And then you go. Fast.
We love you, little dude, and we’re so looking forward to year three. Keep being awesome, or we’ll have to send you back.