The rollercoaster toddler years continue. One day you are the sweetest, kindest, smartest, funniest, cleverist little dude. The next, some kind of rabid animal.
When I’m not frustrated and exasperated by it all, it’s actually fascinating to watch. Your brain is growing rapidly, though not evenly. Looking in your eyes, there are times I watch the epic battle unfold between irrational emotion and logic. It’s still 50-50 who wins.
Take a recent drive of ours, for example. I remarked to you that it was raining (a rarity itself in SoCal), and we watched as the windshield wipers tic-tocked across the glass. A few minutes later, I mentioned that it had stoppe—
“NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” you screamed. “IT’S NOT STOPPED RAINING!!!”
“Look, Charlie, yes it has. There are no more water drops on the window. It’s stopped raining.”
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. YES, RAINING. YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!
Wow. Being a kid is hard. Don’t think I don’t appreciate what you’re going through. Your father understands, too, though he may have equated your recent behavior to an adult trying to pick a fight. (“He’s breaking my shit; he hit my wife!”)
Since my last letter, you’ve experienced another Thanksgiving & Christmas. Once again, a lot of people who love you a lot bought you a lot of gifts. Most of them are stashed in a dark trash bag on Daddy’s work bench so we can offer them up over time.
Your favorite Christmas gifts so far are the Play-Doh truck from Ashleigh/Savannah (who you now call S’nana), the train set from Grandma Z, and the tape measure from Grandma B & Papa that is shaped like a bird. You’re enjoying measuring everything around the house and even took it with you into the potty. You’re damned sure I whipped out my camera phone when you exclaimed, “Let’s measure my penis!”, though I’m not going to post the picture here. YOU’RE WELCOME. (I’ll save it for your wife)
We’re working hard on peeing in the potty, although no luck so far. We bribe you with one episode of “Blues Clues” to get you even to sit on the thing. The promise of TWO episodes awaits actually peeing or pooping in the toilet. We’ll get there one day.
We’ve discovered a new favorite book: Dragons Love Tacos, a super clever story about what happens when taco-loving dragons accidentally eat hot sauce. We’ll hear you over the monitor reciting your favorite parts (“Hey dragons, why do you guys love tacos so much?!”). Your sweet father changes to word “hate” to “dislike” because, “I don’t want him to know that word exists yet.” I love that man.
Speaking of the monitor, you’ve figured out what it’s for: attracting parents. At 1 a.m. last night, I heard you calling, “Maaaaahhhhmmmeeeee…..come sleep on the floor, please…… You’re welcome……. Maaaahhhhhmeeeee.” Though I appreciate the politeness, I tried my best to block you out and hoped you’d go back to sleep. The calling escalated to whimpers and cries and, not wanting to wake up your Dad, I tip-toed into your room.
Well, there you were, standing up, leaning over your crib toward the monitor, and shouting into it. See what I mean by smart?
(On a side note, while petting Baron the cat after putting you back to bed, I discovered there was a giant turd stuck to his butt. On my way into the kitchen for a paper towel, I stepped barefoot into a pile of poop that hadn’t stuck so well. Ain’t life grand?)
Your language acquisition is still stellar, though “NOOOOOO” remains your most-used word. You’ve begun playing with language and having fun with gibberish. Words like “success” are difficult to pronounce (sounds a lot like “sex”), which makes me snicker when you ask Daddy to play the matching card game and make “success piles.” Heehee.
Still, it’s fascinating to be at the point where we have full conversations. When I ask where your toy trains are traveling, you always answer, “at Starbucks.” Atta boy!
You tried to write your name—unprompted—at school the other day. I think Grandma B. nearly called up Mensa on the spot. We were all pretty stunned at how well you did.
We’ve taught you how to play Hide-and-Seek, though you kinda suck at it. Seriously, when Dad and I finish counting and say, “Hmmm….where’s Charlie???”, you’re not supposed to jump up and shout, “HERE! BEHIND THE COUCH!”
Since birth, you’ve been very guarded about giving affection. I had to learn that constant hugs, cuddles and kisses just weren’t your thing. You often squirm out of my grasp, shrug off my embraces, and even yell “Not dooooo DAT!” when I try to touch you.
This just makes the times you want to be close all the more special. A few weeks ago, you asked to listen to my heart. I dropped whatever I was doing (probably literally) and lied on the couch. You rested your head on my chest for at least 30 seconds. We didn’t move; just breathed in silence, together. I’m not sure you could hear my heart because it had probably melted by then.
Then on Christmas morning, while sitting together on the couch, you reached over and held my hand. I somehow got over the shock long enough to snap a picture with my phone. Much later, when I tried to take it back, you said, “Give me your hand, mama. Don’t take it away.”
My dear, sweet boy: don’t you know? You have my hand—and my heart—forever.