My sweet baby,
And now we begin year two. You’re ready. You’re so, so ready. You walk with great confidence, sometimes even throwing in a little jump. You want to be everywhere your brother is, and you’re sure you can climb anything he’s climbing, eat anything he’s eating, and play any computer game he’s playing. You’ve already managed to topple the kitchen garbage can over, which was gross. You can go up and down stairs (though down is a bit trickier).
Photo by Gary Clarke
Your budding language skills are really impressing me lately. You say “Opie!” whenever you’re faced with a closed door. Yesterday at the playground, you said “ing!” and gestured at the swings. These two especially excite me because we made no particular effort to teach you those words. I’ve spent a long time enunciating mama for you over and over, and you do pretty well at that one, but it’s even more exciting to hear evidence that you’re paying attention to words in context and putting them to use. You’re getting the hang of a few animal sounds, notably the bear cub (a low growl), the sheep, and the cow.
We went to cousin Joel’s wedding last weekend, and of course you charmed all the relatives and not a few strangers. You always have a smile or other funny face to make and a sound to go with it, and you’re so swift and curious. You would still prefer to play with real objects (e.g., Daddy’s car key or a spoon) than toys. You held a graham cracker up to your ear the other day and started chatting away. You really enjoy looking at books, and you’re doing much better at turning the pages gently. Sometimes you’ll sit and look at a book for consecutive minutes.
You’ve been reducing your naps lately, sometimes skipping the morning nap entirely. I like to exercise in the morning, and you’re pretty good about entertaining yourself with the toys in the basement while I run on the treadmill. I bought a child safety fence to put around it so you wouldn’t touch anything dangerous.
Three and a half minutes. It took you three and a half minutes to defeat the fence.
I hadn’t wanted to mount it to the wall, because you won’t be an incorrigible toddler forever and I hope one day I’ll be able to explain to you that you can’t touch the treadmill and you’ll understand and listen. After that three and a half minutes, though, I decided to just do it. The screws that came with the mounting hardware were kind of short, but I got it attached to the wall, and it felt pretty secure.
It took you only one minute to pull it out of the wall.
I don’t think I’d even broken a sweat in my workout yet. I stopped, found some longer screws, and reattached the fence in a slightly different part of the wall. I think I got it on a stud. I hope.
That configuration lasted a good ten minutes. I was getting confident. I was coming up on the two mile mark, thinking, “I think we’ve found a really workable solution here.” Then you squirmed through the legs of the piano and appeared right next to me.
I was so frustrated, but you were so cute and proud of yourself. It was one of those moments when I wondered whether it was a good idea to take all those IQ-boosting supplements when I was pregnant with you. I positioned a chair in front of the piano so you couldn’t get under it, and I finally managed to finish my workout. You spent the entire time standing at the fence yelling at me, but at least I knew you were safe.
The next day went much better, as has every day since. I think you’ve accepted your fate and are content to play like a normal child. Actually what you mostly do is unshelve your dad’s CDs, but now and then you’ll deign to play with a toy. You like the little riding tractor toy. I think I only had to stop the treadmill twice today to get you out of some weird situation.
Photo by Gary Clarke
You are such a little stinker, but you’re so cute and charming that you always get away with it. You love to flirt with the employees at Hy-Vee, and I think you understand it when I say we’re going there. At Miles’s school, they have a community board on which the students have posted their pictures, and you always go to it and point at Miles. You like to go to his school, and you always hover at the doorway to his classroom, wanting so much to go in, but glancing back at me because you know you’re not supposed to.
You spent some time with a care provider this month, my friend Amanda. I did a couple of substitute teaching days at Miles’s school, and I was more nervous about being away from you than I was about counting from uno to diez with a bunch of kids. You did pretty well, though, especially in the afternoon when Miles joined you. Still, I’m glad I usually stay home with you. What if you did something cute and I missed it? What then?
That’s why I wander around the house after you, I guess. There are too many cute moments I would miss otherwise. Also, the garbage would be everywhere.
Technically, you’re a toddler now and not a baby, but I’ve decided that as long as you’re bald, you’re still a baby.
I love you, baby.