So, this may be a long update since I managed to miss your 22 month post in a perfect storm of housework, traveling, writers block and, perhaps, just perhaps, sheer laziness. But fall is here and with it a new school year, which always feels like the real beginning of the year to me so I am feeling more energetic as the mornings are cooler and crisper and fall slides into town. I saw a few yellow leaves on the ground the other day so it must be fall. And we went to the State Fair where you mooed at the cows and oinked at the pigs and gobbled french fries so it must be fall. And we took a picture of you on your “first day” of school again this year and I marveled at the change from your first day picture from a year ago. I long for the day that I can buy school supplies for you and hope that you like freshly sharpened pencils and college ruled (none of that wide ruled stuff) notepaper as much as I do.
You started off your 21st month with a massive growth spurt that left all of us in a very bad mood due to your lack of sleep and general crankiness but added inches to your legs. Your face is still as round as ever but you are tall enough now to really look like a little boy. When your dad cut your hair the other week I exclaimed that you looked like you had aged another six months, which is not much in the grand scheme of things but you are definitely not a baby anymore. You have a mind of your own and it is becoming more and more apparent that you have a will of your own too and everything, I repeat, everything, must be on your terms. I finally got a book that I had seen many times at the library and in bookstores that I didn’t think applied to you: Raising Your Spirited Child. I had long poo-pooed the notion that you were doing anything that wasn’t age appropriate. Total freak outs when needing to transition from one thing to the next? Don’t all children do that? Insisting on trying to do something new while simultaneously getting so frustrated that you throw said toy across the room? Um, I throw things. Maybe it’s genetic. Massive aversion to new things until you have had the time to get accustomed to it about a dozen times over? OK, so you don’t like new things. Anyway, I sat down and started reading and woah, maybe you are just a little more intense than the next kid. And maybe if I take the time to work with you on things maybe our days will get just a little bit better. And they have. And it’s been good. There are certainly plenty of days when I feel like screaming but the other day someone complimented me on having a polite child and I nearly died of pride.
The two year old birthdays, which trickled in over the past few months, kicked off with real gusto as we attended your friend Claire’s party in August. Her birthday was the first of your friends’ parties last year and looking around the backyard I couldn’t believe the change. Here were all these kids that a year ago could barely speak, let alone walk, running around demanding things of their parents, talking to each other, blowing bubbles, sliding down slides and feeding themselves. Here were all the parents, some of whom have become my closest friends, who a year ago I was just getting to know. It was a little bit mind blowing and as we sang happy birthday I got somewhat weepy. As these milestones slide by I feel like I can feel the years telescoping out in front of us and I can envision you and your friends at seven, at ten, at fifteen and I want things to slow down a little. This is rare for me.
You can now sing your own version of the alphabet song and join in when I sing, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” which you refer to as the Twain Song, not to be confused with the Aipane Song, the Goonight Song, the Car Song or the Babee Song (I still don’t know what that last song is although you ask for it quite a bit.) One of your favorite things to do is grab a piece of chalk or a crayon and come to your father and me demanding that we draw a sun. What you really want is a happy face but the sun rays are an added bonus. We draw one sun and then you point to another part of the pavement or paper and say, “one sun. one sun.” You refuse to call any ball anything but a soccer ball. I say, “basketball?” and you respond firmly, ” soccarball.” You are very single minded in your wants and you are very pleased with your accomplishments. For a few weeks you shouted “I di it!” whenever you accomplished anything – or thought you had at any rate. This segued into “There you go,” which is so utterly charming that I laugh every time you say it. I realized I have been saying it to you for almost two years. Amazingly, you also really like your bike now and willingly put on your helmet. You go up and down the driveway and refuse to let us help you when you need to turn around.
Your newest trick is to come over to me as I am sitting relaxing in a chair and ask for my hand, “han? han?” I give you my hand, you pull me out my chair and then scramble up to sit in it yourself. Very crafty. Like so many other things that I wish for – sitting, crawling, walking, talking – once you start mastering these new developments, you start using them to your advantage. I used to wish for the day you could tell me what you want but now that you say no to most things and can insist on others, this whole verbal thing seems a little overrated. We taught you how to say Roll Tide (which sounds like “boooow tie!” when you say it) and Go Utes in preparation for the football season and every once in awhile you’ll randomly yell it out. You had a marvelous time at the Utah football game a few weeks ago cheering and pointing out that the band was playing music. You were not thrilled when Utah scored a touchdown because everyone, including your very excitable mother, was cheering and screaming. You wept but a trip to the slushy stand quickly cleared away your tears and you turned out to be a quick study on using the straw/spoon to shovel the bright red ice into your mouth.
You are head over heels in love with trains and airplanes and cars, but mostly trains. Most of your obsession focuses on Thomas the Tank Engine, whom you refer to as, “Tasses,” as in every morning the first word out of your mouth is, “Tasses? Tasses?” I usually insist on Sesame Street because that insipid Thomas theme music is more than I can stand at 7.00 in the morning. We have your birthday present of a train table, tracks and cars tucked away in the garage and I can hardly stand that we have to wait another month to give it to you because I am certain you are going to love it so much. I have started to dread going anywhere with a train track because the resulting temper tantrum when we have to leave is unbearable.
Two months away from this blog and there is so much more I could write about and so many things I know I am still forgetting. Funny things that you have said that I share with your father and friends but neglect to write down. Adorable moments that rise out of the frustrating ones – like the way you refuse to let me button your shirt but when I ask you if your dad can do it you reply with your breathy, “tay” (short for okay) and then stand proudly in front of your dad while he buttons and tells you that you look sharp. I feel sure that I remember everything about your little life but how could I remember every single moment of the last almost-two years? I came across an email I wrote to my sister the day after you were born telling her that you are perfect except for a tiny cut on your arm from the c-section. What? A cut on your arm from the c-section? I told your father about it and he had also no memory of the cut. I suppose this is what parenthood is – all of the tiny events that seem momentous at the time and quickly fade as presumably more important things take over. Maybe this is what this blog is then, remembering the big things but hopefully capturing a few of those small details I would never otherwise remember. But will I recall in thirty years – without this help of this blog – how much I love going in to check on you at night now? How I love smelling your warm head, straightening the blanket around you as you tuck your hands underneath your chest and smiling when sometimes you wake up just enough to sleepily say, “night” as I shut the door? I hope so.