Letters to Jack: Month 15

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Hey there, baby,

It’s 5:30 a.m. You just had your I’m-not-ready-to-be-awake-but-I’m-crying-anyway bottle of milk, so I have about an hour until you get up for reals. You woke me up from a nightmare about losing Charlie on Pirates of the Caribbean and simultaneously feeling desperate about getting teenagers to care about the devastating effects of climate change.

Welcome to my brain.

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Last week you were super sick. You woke up with a fever, then spent three hours fitfully sleeping on my chest. When I took your temperature midday, it read over 104 degrees F, and I FREAKED. THE. EFF. OUT. Cue me and your Dad rushing you to Urgent Care. You’re fine now, but it was scary, and I’ve never seen you look so sad and sickly in your life.

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I’ve been (slowly) working on your 1-Year-Old album, a hard copy of these letters. I loved this project with your brother and I love it with you because it reminds me of all we’ve experienced. Remember when you had severe acid reflux and had to chug a bottle of barium before an X-ray? That was terrible! Or that time we danced in the snow in Yosemite? Sweet. Sweet. Sweet.

I also marvel at how you’ve grown. Back then, you didn’t have any hair. Now, you have just enough to form the tiniest of Baby Mohawks. Progress!

I asked your brother what he would say if he wrote this letter. “Jack, don’t bite people when you’re sleepy,” he said. This is sage advice, and it reminds me to mention you’re definitely entering the toddler stage. You throw yourself on the floor when we thwart you from emptying our pantry. You scream and try wiggling from our grasp when we change your diaper. You toss food on the floor that you don’t want.

We’ve had to shout at you a few times for continuing to pull Baron’s tail. Poor cat can’t get away fast enough.

You’re still in the 99th percentile for head circumference and height. I’ve had to give away clothes that otherwise fit you because I couldn’t pull them over your noggin.

This makes you very top heavy. Earlier this month, Dad let you go down a slide on your own. Except you face-planted at the top, slid down on your face, then fell off at the bottom onto sand. Chicks dig scars, right?

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You know what they also dig? Kindness. Grandma B shared a story today of your empathy toward another child crying at school. You toddled over to the heating vent and began scratching the grate, something the boy enjoys doing. You kept looking back at him, as if inviting him to join you. It worked and he calmed down.

Your sweetness still abounds. You love to race across the room toward stuffed animals we hold out. You squeal, wrap your arms around the animal, bury your face in its fur, then collapse into our arms. Is there anything better in the universe?

In the last few days, you’ve begun patting us on the back when we hug you. “It’s OK,” you seem to be saying. “You’re going to be alright.” Aw, thanks, buddy.

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What you’re still not saying are words. I can definitely understand more of what you want –”uh” means up, “mah” means more, and you can sorta say Grandma B’s name – but that’s it. I even asked your pediatrician about it this week. “Charlie knew at least 10 words at this point!” I exasperated. “Should I be worried?!”

He said no. You’re the second child; it’s pretty common for Kid No. 2’s speech to be a bit delayed (who knew?!). Plus, it’s normal for babies your age to only know 3-5 words, which you sort of do. And, you’ve learned several more baby signs in the past month, so he’s not worried. I guess I shouldn’t be, too? (ha!)

You’ve probably decided to focus instead on your fine motor skills. You’re doing pretty well with a fork, and you’ve begun pulling zippers up and down. You’re an expert at getting puffs out of those fortressed baby snack cups.  Heck, this is a kid who was walking at nine months!

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Speaking of walking, one of our favorite things to do is a stroll together around the block. You stop to pat the top of each front-yard light and climb onto small garden retaining walls. You slap your leg (the sign for dog) each time you hear barking, sometimes so vigorously I think you’ll leave a mark. You adore being outside.

You also love turning light switches on and off (“What is this insane magic?!), putting on your shoes (“We’re going outside, right? RIGHT?”), and this Peek A Who? book (“Get it? Peek a Moo? Hahahahahaha.“).

Well, I hear you beginning to stir in your room. Chances are you’ll greet me with the biggest of smiles. You’ll make the sign for “Dad,” and we’ll go find him in bed. Then we’ll wake up Charlie and you’ll marvel at his high bunk bed. Before we leave for school/work, you’ll probably give us some cuddles, grab something off the counter you shouldn’t have, and pull the cat’s tail.

Good morning, beautiful.

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