My sweet son,
The wind is gusting, the clouds are gathering, and there’s a chill in the air (for SoCal, that’s a wintery 59 degrees). I am typing on the couch next to our Christmas tree with a purring cat on my lap. The house is quiet — Charlie is at a friend’s house, you are napping and Dad is out getting last-minute groceries for Christmas.
In short, things are pretty perfect.
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, and Christmas with you and your brother is just the best. This year, you are totally into the lights, which is my favorite part of the season. You recognize Santa. You love to say “Ho, Ho, Ho.” And you rearrange your favorite ornaments on the tree every night.
Your gifts tomorrow will include your favorites — books, puzzles, trucks. So many trucks. I still don’t understand how toddlers learn to differentiate construction vehicles. I have no idea how to tell a backhoe and an excavator apart, but you sure do.
You’re becoming much more imaginative with your truck play. You have them say hi to one another (“Hello, garbage truck. Hello, fire truck.”), then we drive them around the living room side by side. Sometimes you make the trucks “read” books to you. This morning, you gave one of your diggers a bath in your cereal bowl.
I’m still loving your cuddles. It’s the one reason I don’t get angry when, like today, you wake up before 5:30 a.m. This morning it was still dark, so I wrapped us up in a blanket next to the twinkling Christmas tree. You drank a cup of milk and I listened to the wind and rain.
I so cherish your chill. It’s such a different experience from Charlie’s toddler years. This struck me recently during a trip to the Wild Animal Park with some of your schoolmates and their mamas. Their kiddos were pretty rambunctious. There was lots of crying. I think at one point they tore a palm frond off a tree. You climbed into one of the strollers, leaned back, and just watched the chaos unfold. Wow, I thought. I’m the one who has it easy!
One of your new demands is that I rub your back during dinner. For the most part, this is adorbs, but sometimes I need two hands to eat dinner, or turn the page on a book, or take that well-deserved sip of wine. This is NOT OK with you. “MOMMY, RUB BACK!…..RUB BAAAAAACK.”
You’ve also begun putting your hand down my shirt when I pick you up. And not just under the collar — waaaay down. I forgot to warn Grandma Z about this, and you sure surprised her during a recent trip to the mall!
The other day you burped and said, “Farted. Mouth.”
Since your birthday, we’ve celebrated Halloween and Thanksgiving. For Halloween, I continued the theme of dressing you in costumes that include the word “jack.” You were Jack, and Dad was your beanstalk. I was a cow. (Last year, you were the cutest lumberjack ever).
This year we let you ring doorbells and collect candy with Charlie. You were confused at first, but quickly discovered the thrill of holding a bag open and having something dropped into it. You refused to let anyone else hold it, even when the bag was practically dragging on the ground.
I’ve mentioned before, but you really like order and routine. Sometimes you decide a thing has to be a certain way and woe to anyone who thinks otherwise. While trick-or-treating, you decided you had to hold one of your grandmas’ hands. We could not walk from one house to another before you had a firm grip on the grandma of your choice — which changed several times during the evening.
The other day while reading a book on the couch, you noticed our hallway closet was slightly ajar. “DOOR OPEN!!!” you shrieked, then sprung off the couch to close it. Once that was done — and the world was once again in order — you came back and settled in for the rest of the story.
My favorite moment from the past few months happened the night Charlie asked if he could sleep in your room. I told Charlie I wasn’t sure how you’d react, as this was during a phase when you cried every time we left your room at night. But, we set up Charlie’s bed, read books together, tucked everyone in and turned off the light.
Through the monitor, I heard you and Charlie talking softly in the dark. The thought of you sleeping next to one another, keeping each other company, filled my soul with such joy. Just when I thought I couldn’t feel any more love, I heard Charlie say, “If you want to cry, Jack, just remember that I’m right next to your bed. You can hold my hand.”
Merry Christmas, my two beautiful boys. You have my heart forever.