Happy birthday, my little Cal-Pal!
I knew it would happen, but I’m afraid the day has come: I’ve run out of babies. In fact, one of the reasons we decided to have a third child was to put off the inevitable babylessness. And now, here we are. A two-year-old really isn’t a baby anymore. You’re talking more and more, you’re pretty steady in your running and climbing, and you are becoming very interested in expressing your opinions.
Photo by Gary Clarke
You’re developing a good sense of humor, too. You’ll burst out laughing if someone in the family says something that tickles you. You love music, and you can fill in the blanks of so many songs that I sing to you. One of our favorites is “Bushel and a Peck,” and you especially like the verse with the chickens. It’s pretty cute to hear you say, “Chickens! Dickens!” You’ve also picked up the Oompa Loompa songs, and you toddle around the house singing “Loompa, loompa!” Another recent favorite is “Walk the Dinosaur” by Was (Not Was). You point at my phone and say “acka lacka boom” to request it.
You haven’t napped well the last couple of days, which is why this birthday letter is several days late. In a fit of desperation and exhaustion, I turned on Elmo’s World. Naturally, since Elmo’s last name is ToddlerCrack, you love it. Your favorite part is when he talks to babies.
Photo by Denny
Since you’re young yet, I wasn’t sure if you would grasp the concept of birthdays. We celebrated Miles’s the day before yours, as we’ll do for many years to come. I thought for sure that when we sang the birthday song to you, you’d say “Miles” in the name portion. You didn’t, though. When I look back at the video I made of your family birthday celebration, you’re clearly saying “Callum” and pointing to yourself as we sing. That represents a pretty big mental leap, yet more evidence that you’re becoming a regular person.
After a long hiatus, I finally got my treadmill fixed. I was afraid you wouldn’t respond well to having me lock myself behind the gate and watching me run, but you’ve been doing great. You play with your toys, mostly the food and the play kitchen, and just hang out nicely. That’s wonderful, because I really need exercise for my mental health, and it kind of negates the feel-good endorphins if there’s a crying baby rattling the bars of the cage.
It’s not all sunshine, of course. You’ve really embraced the word no, and you even like to make it more emphatic by yelling “NO WAY!” That was your opinion on the topic of whether we should put on your shoes and coat to go pick up Tobin this morning. I imagine it’s hard not be in charge of very much, so I can see why you’d want to express your opinions. You don’t often have much say in our family’s activities. I’m going to have to start letting you make more choices about things like clothes. I bet you might like an Elmo shirt.
You are a makeup enthusiast, and you’re getting strong enough to get the lids even off the things I think I’ve closed tightly. You’ll smear lipstick on your face and say, “Cute!” You still love to read, and your current favorite books are Curious George and the Pizza, Curious George Visits the Library, and No No, Yes Yes. No No, Yes Yes was a first-birthday gift to Miles from Grammy and Pop-Pop, so even though you never got to meet them, it makes me happy that their gift has become special to you. You’re on board with not pulling on cats’ tails, but you’re not so sure about the no-smearing-lipstick suggestion.
Your other current favorites: the fried eggs and toast your dad makes, swiping unfinished juice out of your brothers’ cups, climbing on tables, pilfering dangerous objects off counters (e.g., scissors, knives), singing, dancing, and lotion. You’re so much fun, even though you’re exhausting. I love having a lap full of little Callum in the morning, even though it’s sometimes hard to pack Miles’s lunch and get Tobin ready for school when you refuse to be anywhere but in my arms. I like the game we play at the table, where you lead us in different rhythms, tempos, and volumes of table-tapping, and we all try to copy you. You love to be in charge. Littlest brothers never think they’re in charge, but they pretty much always are.
Photo by Gary Clarke
You don’t like to wear pants very much. Maybe some Elmo pants would be a better idea.
Enjoy your toddler life, my little Callum. I’m so glad we’re together.