Letters to Jack: Month 18

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My boy,

You are saying words!

It began suddenly, maybe only a few weeks ago, but you can definitely say at least a dozen words now, and you’re constantly trying new ones. You point to everything, wanting to hear the word aloud. Hooray for cognitive development!

My favorite, not surprisingly, is “mama.” For months, I wondered what this would sound like, and now it’s my favorite thing in the universe. This morning I was in laundry room and heard “mama!…mama!…MAMA!…” echo through the house as you made your way to me.

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If you’re ever diagnosed with some kind of compulsive disorder, I can point to this month as when it began. You can’t stand to have a mess on your hands. Doors must be closed when you leave a room (sorry to the cats, who keep getting locked in). You pick up anything on the floor that seems out of place.

On the bright side, my house is cleaner.

Routine is becoming a big deal, too. You need to sit in your special chair before you’ll take your toothbrush. When you’re done with dinner, you point to the ground because you know you can’t get down until we clean the floor. You put on your shoes just for fun. Going to bed is so much easier, too, as long as we follow the correct order of steps getting there.

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This month we transitioned to sippy cups, and WOE was our household. The bottle had become a comfort item for you, one you’d let hang from your mouth for hours as you played with toys, climbed on furniture. You shrieked when we took it away, shrieked when we tried to give you any other kind of cup. The last straw came when the babysitter sent me a photo of you lounging on the couch drinking milk. All we needed was to replace the bottle with a beer and you’d be Al Bundy (early ‘90s reference).

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We decided to go cold turkey, which meant you screamed for a week. You threw yourself down on the kitchen floor, usually in the early morning when your father and brother were trying to sleep, and just wailed. The good news is now you’ve forgotten bottles ever existed, so hooray for short-term memory!

My cuddle monkey is back, too. One early morning while snuggled on my lap, you rubbed my leg back and forth while you drank your milk. At our St. Patrick’s Day party, you asked to be picked up by Daddy’s friend, Josh, (who you’ve met twice?) and immediately burrowed into his neck. One afternoon at Grandma B’s, you ran straight to Charlie and threw your arms around him. (We were all blown away, as you typically just screech at him to leave you the eff alone.)

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You learned to say “wee-ooh, wee-ooh” from a book about fire trucks, so that’s now your word for every vehicle –– buses, Jeeps, bulldozers. Dad and I realized you probably haven’t seen many fire trucks, unlike Charlie at your age, who “grew up” in the city. You also haven’t seen many non-white people (:::insert long reflection about income inequality in America, white suburbanization, and guilt:::), which I discovered when you tried to claw your way out of my arms, panic-stricken, when I was talking to the elliptical repair guy.

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We love to rub your belly, and you pull up your shirt for us (and strangers) to look at it. You learned how to roar like a lion and now that’s your sound for most animals, including frogs. You say “buh-bye” and wave when we flush the toilet. After dinner, I chase you and Charlie around the kitchen counter island and you laugh and laugh and laugh.

Things just keep getting better, don’t they? My dear Jack, hooray for you.

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