You’ve had a lot to say lately. Your interests are becoming more broad, and you’re getting better and better at verbally expressing yourself. You still say a lot of NO, but you also say funny things like “Mama, where are you?” and before I have a chance to answer (because I’m rarely more than twenty feet away from you), you reply to yourself, “Coming, just minute.” You know all kinds of things I didn’t realize you knew, too. Today I took you to Miles’s school to pick something up, and while we were there, you very clearly stated the name of the school. I don’t think I had mentioned it by name before we got there.
Now that you’re over two, we’ve gotten more relaxed about screen time. I still don’t let you sit for hours on end in front of a show, but I’ve let you have some stretches of Elmo or Wild Kratts here and there. Unfortunately, the magical power of YouTube suggested videos led you to Barney and Friends, which is about the most annoyingly insipid show ever created for children. You can somehow sense how much I hate it and therefore request it regularly.
I think you must be growing a lot physically, too. Earlier this week, two nights in a row you woke up crying in pain. The first time, you said your feet hurt, and that night was particularly bad because you woke up at 1, 2, and 3 a.m. The next night you said your back hurt. I’ve given you a dose of ibuprofen before bed the last couple of nights, which has either helped or at least not hurt, because you’ve been sleeping well again. Dr. Google says it might be growing pains. I remember getting those in my legs when I was young, but never my feet or back. Maybe you were just having a hard time communicating your specific issues.
You love reading stories before bed. Right now your favorites are a few you got from Mubby and Skitter for either your birthday or Christmas. You got a couple of Elmo books as well as one called I Want my Mommy. That one resonates, because you’re in the same mommy-centric stage both your brothers went through at this age. Mostly you only get clingy to me when you’re tired or otherwise crabby, though. Most of the time you’re pretty friendly and flexible. We’ve got a couple of events coming up that will require babysitters, and I’m not too concerned. You’ve always done a good job with sitters, and the fact that you’ll have your big brothers with you makes a big difference, too.
You’re in a very curious and adventurous stage, and those qualities combined with your increasing physical prowess can make for some tricky situations. A while ago I caught you standing in the three-inch space between the edge of your dad’s computer desk and the keyboard. I try to take pictures of the crazy things you do, but that time, I prioritized your safety over posterity. You’re welcome.
You love to play with grown-up things, like plungers (I didn’t even realize we owned two plungers until you squirmed into the back of the bathroom closet and dragged them out). You also currently love to play “coffee,” which means sitting on the kitchen counter and pouring water from my coffee pot into the coffee maker. It makes a big mess, but it’s an activity that really keeps you engaged and has a low chance of disaster (as long as I remember to unplug the coffee maker). It’s been a good way to keep you out of the scissors and glue lately while your brothers work on Valentines for their classmates.
You’ve been really excited about painting lately, which is also a huge mess, but I’m not too fussy about those things. I do wish you’d paint on paper, though. You seem to consider the paper I put out for you as more of a brush-rest than a medium. You’d rather rub your paint-covered hands on your hair and face than create anything your dad could hang on his cubicle wall.
You love baths, too, but I try not to do that too often because your skin gets so dry. Part of our bedtime ritual every night is a thorough lotioning of your back and legs. You would squirt the lotion everywhere if I let you, but usually I can appease you with a “leetle bit,” which you say in a very cute, high voice. That means just a tiny dab of lotion, which you smear on your shirt or somewhere else where it won’t do any good.
Your current favorites: chocolate hearts that were supposed to go in Valentines but mostly go in your mouth, fruit snacks, the “Oompa Loompa” and “I Want it Now” songs from the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie, grapes, bedtime stories (the previously mentioned ones as well as How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight and I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More), playing basketball, talking a lot about the potty but declining all suggestions to use it, and applying makeup from my stash of stuff I don’t care about. You have a knack for doing that when we’re running late to get somewhere.
We had a beautiful day last week and were finally able to get outside to play. It felt great to do that, and I know there are more days like that ahead of us. Especially now that your naps have gotten shorter (and sometimes you skip them entirely), it’s good to have opportunities to get out of the house in the afternoon. That will mean more mud in the short term, and probably more baths, and probably more lotion. You had a doctor appointment a couple of weeks ago, and I learned that you’re on the small side, just twentieth percentile for weight and fortieth for weight. You seem so big to me, running and talking and so clearly expressing humor and preferences and many of the things people with grown-up brains and bodies do. How can such a small boy make things so exciting and exhausting?
You might need to make me an extra pot of coffee.
That’s okay. I love coffee and I love you.