You’re two and a half years old now, little one! I haven’t written for a while and for the most part, you are to blame for that. You definitely know how to keep me on my toes! When I’m not actively on my toes I’m usually sacked out on the bed, a snoring, drooling heap of flesh, completely exhausted from having been on my toes all day long. It sounds like I’m complaining but really I’m not, because as tiring as it can be to keep up with you, I can always, always count on you to keep life interesting. It’s a fair trade off in my opinion.
The past few months have been (much like all the other months with you) fun and exhausting and crazy and busy and frustrating… and wonderful. The past few weeks especially have been nothing but an endless river of words coming out of your mouth. There have been a few times that I’ve stood there, listening to you jabber on and on about something and I’ve found myself seriously wondering if your mouth was ever going to close again. You’ve recently begun telling elaborate stories and singing songs with real lyrics… well, almost. Though you get the gist of most songs, sometimes the exact words are a little bit off like, “hush little baby, don’t say that” or “rocking baby, falling treetops”.
Something we should discuss perhaps is the concept that all these words you’re saying – they actually have meaning! For instance, when you ask for some juice and then, upon seeing the cup of juice I’ve set in front of you, immediately throw your body on the floor and scream, “No, I want MILK!” you are denying both of us the experience of effective communication. When you ask for juice, you get juice. Not milk, or water, or vodka (which is what Mommy sometimes wants in these moments). That’s basically how this whole communication thing works. Until you’re married and tell your husband, “it’s fine. Go ahead.” That one certainly does not mean what it sounds like it means, but that’s an exception to an otherwise pretty steadfast rule.
We’ve spent a lot of time indoors this winter and I can tell that it’s really starting to get to you. Most of the time when we’re home, you’re running around the house like a caged animal who has just tasted freedom for the first time. There is a well worn path in the middle of the staircase that runs from the tippy-top step to the very bottom one from you sliding down the stairs backwards on your tummy. You recently asked to go swimming and when I explained that it was too cold to go swimming anywhere outside you asked excitedly, “swim in baff tub?” I have to be honest, I didn’t believe that putting a bathing suit and water shoes on you would make taking a bath any more exciting, but boy was I wrong! You had so much fun that now “bathtub swimming” is a regular occurrence in our house.
Lately right before bedtime, you’ve been getting one heck of a second wind. You like to run around in circles all over the living room until it’s time to brush your teeth, and often when you’re finished with that you say, “Let me run around just one more time, okay Mom.” And then you proceed to run around the living room another sixteen times. Surprisingly, this does not tire you out nor make you any more inclined to actually stay in your bed. Without fail, a few minutes after you’ve been put to bed you come wandering out of your bedroom and that’s when the excuses start. Usually they’re pretty run-of-the-mill: Mommy, I need a drink. I need to go potty. I need to run around just ooone more time. But sometimes they’re pretty darn clever! In fact just last night you insisted that a turtle had climbed into your crib and you needed to sleep with me so that it wouldn’t “get” you. When all else fails you resort to something simple like I need a hug, Mama, and though you haven’t figured it out yet, that one buys you an extra two or three minutes every single time.
I see so much of myself in you, but at the same time you are your father’s daughter. You like his food, but my music. You have his love for the outdoors and my love for animals. You are social and enjoy being around people as much as I do, and you can’t stand to sit still for more than five minutes like your daddy. And then there are things about you that are all you. You’re definitely your own little person, and I love that about you. Though I love to see pieces of us in you, it’s even more fun to catch the little glimpses of the strong individual you are becoming.
Something that never, ever ceases to amaze me is the wonderment with which you see the world. Everything is exciting to you, every experience an opportunity for fun. Recently we went grocery shopping and as soon as we walked into the store you saw that they had a shopping cart made especially for kids in the shape of a car. You immediately climbed behind the steering wheel and squealed with delight, even before we started moving. When I began pushing the cart forward your laughter was so loud that it echoed throughout the entire store.
Later, after we had purchased our groceries and were on our way out to the car, I gave the cart an extra push and hopped on the back so were quickly coasting through the parking lot. I looked down at you — the cool air blowing your hair back, a gigantic smile on your face, this genuine and unbridled laughter seemingly resonating through mout your entire body — and I couldn’t help but laugh right along with you. You enjoyed that cart ride more than most people enjoy life, I think, and it was a humbling reminder that I need to make a better effort to enjoy the little things in my own life. Even if it’s something as ordinary as pushing a shopping cart through the parking lot.
Promise me you’ll hold on to that sense of wonder as long as you possibly can.