My little heart,
You are a year and a half old now. Actually you’re more like a year and a half going on five, because there’s not much your brother does that you don’t try. You sneak into his classroom when we pick him up from school. You wear his clothes (you especially like to put his underwear on your head). You mess with his computer and his toys. You rough-house with him just as hard as he rough-houses with you, maybe even harder. A couple of times lately when we’ve approached his school, you said, “Bubby hug.” When I told him you’d made that request, he was happy to squeeze you. I thought he might be squeezing a little too hard, but you were smiling so big I didn’t stop him.
The most exciting event of the last month was our vacation, a Disney cruise. It was our first cruise and your first time out of the country, and it was exactly what we hoped it would be: easy, fun, relaxing, and thrilling for you kids. I knew you were going to love the ocean, and oh, how you did. You played in the sand and the surf until your exhausted little body couldn’t take it anymore, and then you slept in my arms in a beach chair. My love, there is really nothing better than lying in the shade of a palm tree with a view of the Caribbean, holding a sleeping little boy who smells like ocean water and sunscreen.
One pleasant surprise was how much you enjoyed the theatrical productions on the ship. I was afraid your dad and I would have to tag team walking around with you outside the theater, but we had no need to do anything like that. You were absolutely fascinated by the singing and dancing, bouncing and laughing in your dad’s lap. When Mickey Mouse came out at the end, you pointed and yelled, “MOUSE!”
I could never have imagined myself going on a Disney cruise. Seriously, the fifteen-years-ago version of myself would have laughed in my face. But kids change things. I still maintain my dream of sailing around the Turkish coast, visiting archeological ruins and drinking wine and eating local cuisine, and we may well do that when there are no more little kids in our house. One thing I wasn’t prepared for in parenthood was the absolute vicarious joy of it all. Mickey Mouse holds no interest for me, personally, but watching your eyebrows go up so high they’d disappear if you had hair when you saw him is very interesting.
You love playing outside in the snow these days. Over the last week or so, we’ve had a good bit of snow, but the temperature has stayed around the 30F range. That makes it perfect for outside play, so you and your dad and Miles have spent a lot of time throwing snowballs and sledding down the tiny hill next to our house. The only bad part is that you hate coming in so much it’s almost not worth taking you outside at all, considering the screaming you do when we force you to come in. You’re a persistent little fellow, too. Just when I think I have you distracted with a nice, quiet, pre-bedtime book or activity, you’ll run back to the door and say, “Opie! Opie! Out-ide!” I’m not much of a cold weather person myself, but once we get some true spring going on around here, I promise to take you outside more. I miss our walks down the trail.
You’re still a little chatterbox. I’ve long since stopped keeping track of all your words, but I bet you consistently say over 200 by now. You’re putting words together more, too. Just this morning you demonstrated an understanding of possessives. I usually eat a Lara Bar for breakfast, which you like, but I don’t often share with you because they’re expensive. Normally you’re happy to have a regular granola bar (which you call just “bar”). Today at breakfast I asked if you wanted a bar. You replied, “Yeah. Mommy’s.”
I think I distracted you and ate my Lara Bar in the bathroom. The things we do.
You like all kinds of foods. You’re more of a savory guy than a sweet tooth, overall. Today you chose couscous for lunch instead of pancakes. You really liked the fairly spicy chili we had a while ago. I didn’t even offer you any, since I didn’t think you’d like it, but you kept looking at it in your dad’s bowl and saying, “Poop.” We figured out after a while you were trying to say soup, so your dad gave you some, and you dug it. I hope you get that pronunciation sorted out before you start telling people you eat poop for dinner.
Reading books is still one of your favorite things to do, and you and your dad spend time every evening rocking in the recliner together reading. Your top choices right now are The Monster at the End of This Book, Barnyard Dance, Science Verse, and Let’s Dance, Little Pookie. You like to go to Hy-Vee with me and ride in a race car cart (“car-cart”). You get so excited when we find that one is available. Usually one is. Every now and then we have to use a regular cart. Those are not the best shopping trips.
We’ve been in the process of trying to find a new car for a while now, and your favorite part of the test-driving experience is scrambling around in the front seat. That’s pretty novel for a kid whose biggest upgrade so far as been moving from a rear-facing infant seat to a barely-less-confining five-point-harnessed toddler seat. I have the feeling you’re going to be pretty disappointed when we actually buy one of those cars and you find out your car seat ends up in there, too.
Sorry, dude. I love you too much to let you get squished.
I even love you too much to shove you off me right now. You’re lying next to me and sort of pinning my right arm to my body, which is not the easiest position for typing. But sleep is a precious, precious thing, and I’m not going to risk waking you up for something as trivial as blood circulation. Besides, part of being a mom is being able to do just about anything with one hand.
Have a good month, my sweet, snoring, naughty, funny, adventurous little boy.