Monday, November 15, 2010

Newsletter: 14 months AND 37.5 months

Dear ML and JB,

Let me start by saying, I love you both way more than it may appear (having missed writing you newsletters on the occasion(s) of your first and third birthdays, respectively.)

ML- today you are 14 months and one day old:

JB- today you are 37 months and 13 days old:

Today, for most of the day, I felt 2,352 months old. But after spending a few hours with you this evening, you brought me back closer to my actual age (448 some-odd months).

We set our clocks back 2 weeks ago and now at 5pm it is dark, darkie, dark-dark... Like the lining of a wool, dress coat that is wrapped around your face in a basement closet when you are starting to worry that the other kids moved on to another game without yelling, "come out, come out where ever you are"...)

I hate it.

I am not one of these people to complain about the weather and usually, there is nothing i like more than a change of season, but the darkness has hit me hard this year.

I hate picking you up from day care in the dark. I hate waking you up and rushing you out of the house in the (mostly dark) morning so that Mama and I can get to work on time. I hate these two things so much I've started to contemplate what you would miss out on if I quit my job and stayed home to take care of you. Aside from the obvious (food, heat, and new underwear when you grow out of your current size) there is quite a bit at school, I'm not sure I could replicate for you at home all day.

It makes me a little heart sick to imagine you without the groups of boys and girls your age to play with; learning to negotiate and socialize with peer groups. You have the older kids to look up to, and the younger kids to look out for. You have grown dependent on the many layers of structure: the schedule, the group activities, the various play stations; the rooms you are looking forward to moving into and the rooms you lovingly look back on; the assortment of teachers who are caring and loving, but who see you as precious members of precious groups and not the "answer to all of their prayers"... I mean, I could duplicate a curriculum, but I worry about the rest of it.

Together right now, you two (ML and JB) are so perfect: so much work, so demanding, downright exhausting, AND so loving, generous, full of joy, and forgiving all at the same time. You also really compliment one another's personalities and are remarkably tolerant of each other. At least once a day, one of you smooches or climbs on or swats at the other one, and no matter which of you is on the receiving end, there is no swat back, practically no protest... I know there is fighting in your future, but it is hard to believe to see you interact right now.

You might be the happiest baby I've ever seen. Not surface happy, but an attentive, clever, mischievous version of the happiest baby on the block. You are a beast and there is practically no end to the nicknames your mama and I have for you: We still call you Senor Destruction, but also Hoss, Biff, Chunks, and baby dragon. It's not really your stature (you have definitely slimmed down and dropped from the 95th percentile in height and wt to the 50th percentile.) It is more that you have no fear, but you are full of opinions. You are demanding, but laid back too. If you fall, your frustration is more apparent than your self-pity, fear, or physical discomfort.

You want nothing like you want electronics. You want the phone, you want the remote, you want the phone. You get really pissed off if you see a phone and we don't give it to you- you fall to the floor and cry like someone stomped on your hand. (Well, like another kid might if someone stomped his hand- I think if we stomped your hand, you would not cry the way you cry when we withhold an iphone from you. I think if we did one day stomp on your hand, you would look at us, you would look at your reddened, crushed hand, you would cock your head as if to say, "That seemed somewhat unnecessary," and then you would reach beseechingly for our mobile phone before deciding to cry.)

You are active. You will run right for the stairs, you will run away from us without looking back, you will head just to the place you know we don't want you to go. And some of the time you will look back briefly to send a giggle our way before forging on.

You have big hands and feet and maybe they aren't as big as they are oddly shaped - your pinkies are nearly as long as your pointer, and not only is your second toe longer than your first, but your 3rd is longer than your second. I inspect these hands and feet every night and it still makes me laugh, but because they suit you: strong, goofy, undeniably unique, and somehow not baby-like.

You have been walking for months. You are smart and curious, and climbing - into cabinets and on stools and furniture. You learn really quickly. If we show you how to do something, you try to do it. Even if we don't show you, you usually watch us and then try to do something. You have started climbing into the refrigerator. You follow instructions like, "Go put this book on the shelf." There were about 12 weeks there when you never had less than 3-5 bruises on your forehead. They were all in various stages and colors- something green, something browning, something bright blue. Just as one went away, you nailed a door or chair with your noggin' and earned another one. But that seems to have slowed down..

My favorite part of the day is in the evening around 7pm, when we say to you, "ML, Are you ready for your bath?" Whatever you are doing, you drop it and turn and head up the stairs. You go into the linen closet, you grab a wash cloth that we keep on the low shelf for you to reach, you shut the door, you walk into the bathroom and throw the washcloth into the tub. Then you wiggle until I take your clothes off. Your Mama and I giggle at this charade. Every day.

You say practically nothing, but you have learned lots of signs: more, all done, please, thank you, bath, milk, diaper, brother, drink, eat. You make a lot of noise and can use a Kazoo (for realz), but verbally, there still is only the occasional accidental "Mama". Once I put a bit of brownie in your mouth and the "MMmmmmm" sound was so precisely expressed and so lovingly drawn out, that I'd be lying if I didn't say I felt a little dissed. ["He KNOWS how to say it," I quipped to your mama, "He just doesn't want to say it to us..."]

You sing and shout, but you're indiscriminate in your noise-making. For sure you have "Da" which is your go to word. "Da" is used for everything and when pointing, as if to say, "That...that... what's that". You also have "Daw" (dog), "grrrrrrawww" (the answer to "What does a dragon say?"), and Gee (soft gee not hard G) which is what you call JB. You will look back and forth at your moms to answer the questions "Where's Mama? Where's Mommy?" Showing us that you know we have names, but no matter how many times we beg for you to say, "Ma" or "Mama", you proudly answer with "DA! Dada!!" so. funny.

You make us laugh every day! Usually just by grinning or laughing. You chortle and giggle and belly laugh. If your brother trains his eyes on you and lowers a brow or curls up one of his lips, you belly laugh in anticipatory encouragement. You offer the sweetest, welcoming smiles when we walk into the room. And for all your bluster - pretending you are comfortable walking right away from us in our home- I've seen you stand in a doorway for 10 minutes rather than walk in a place you don't know; only passing through the threshold when you put my forefinger in a vice-like grip.

You cry if the vacuum cleaner is standing silently in the living room, and fall apart (in apparent terror) when we turn it on. You don't mind wrestling with me and JB, but you whimper a little if a tower of cardboard blocks come tumbling down. And yesterday, you shit in the tub... just so it's out there on the internet... I don't want you reading this someday and coming back to me about how perfect you were.

Also, you do this odd thing where you will slap yourself and occasionally bite your hands and arms. It's very exuberant of you, but recently, the thing that you get reprimanded the most for is biting yourself. I know some would say, "Just leave him alone and he'll stop," but left to your own devices, you do draw blood.
Weird, right? I have no idea...

You are about 23 lbs, have 2 bottom teeth and 4 top teeth (and I've already described the fingers and toes). You have the greatest head of curly blond hair. You are very ticklish. All the normal tickle points work, and I can even get a belly laugh by rubbing your cheeks the right way or gently scratching the palms of your hands. You are eating everything now. You get to eat things that we never allowed JB...candy, fried food, chocolate. With him, he just didn't know it existed, but you have a brother who likes treats, and a brother that doesn't mind sharing that much either.

When I look back on these times, I will think of you in the tub- cherub like and soft- splish splashing happily and grabbing at your tiny junk making sure we end our day with sweetness.

We love you more than we can express!!!
Mommy and Mama


...To be continued

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