Letters to Jack: Month 28

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My dear boy,

I’m writing this letter on our last night at the cabin. Both you and your brother are in bed, but by no means asleep. Charlie is old enough to sleep in the loft, and I can hear him slowly turning the pages of his book in hopes that we don’t hear him trying to read by the light from downstairs. (I’m totally letting him get away with this.)

You, on the other head, are shouting from our bedroom:

MILK.
I WANT MIIIIIIIIIILK.
MIIIIIIILK.
MAY I HAVE SOME MILK….PLEEEEEEEEASE.

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As you can probably guess, we’ve entered the phase of your development when you demand things (although, as you can see from above, you’re polite about it). “Mom, look at me!” has become a familiar refrain, as well as, “I said nooooo!” when I’ve asked you more than once to do something. This morning you told me, “I’m busy,” when I said it was time to change your diaper.

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I mentioned in my last letter that you began asking me to rub your back during dinner and would yell if I stopped. Awww, he loves me so much, I thought. What a sweetie! Within weeks, this became a GIANT battle at the dinner table, one still not completely resolved. You wailed —louder and louder — each time I took my hand away. On several occasions, we moved you to the other side of the table because you kept lunging toward me, knocking over your dinner, peas everywhere.

I stopped altogether, and Dad and I explained to you that I needed my hands for dinner. You wouldn’t have any of it and went on a few hunger strikes.

Our current compromise is that either Dad or I will rub your back when we finish dinner. You watch our plates like a hawk, ready to shout RUB MY BAAAAACK the moment our last bite is gone. So, dinner is still a work in progress.

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We saw the advent of “time outs” these past few months. The pattern is usually the same: You do something deemed unacceptable (throwing food, kicking someone, hitting the cats, etc.). We explain the appropriate behavior. You do it again. We again explain the correct behavior and give a time-out warning if you continue incorrect behavior. You tilt your head, stare us down with a glint in your eye, and do the thing again while we’re watching.

But, with testing of limits also comes burgeoning curiosity. Wha happen?, you ask about everything. Or, Mommy, wha dis?

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We’re getting close to transitioning to a toddler bed. Earlier this week, when fighting bedtime (I said noooo!), you lunged over your crib and toppled out. Thankfully, I was there to catch you, but shouted out in surprise and fear so loudly that I made you cry.

Dad remarked this probably bought us a few more months, but as soon as you woke up the next morning, you asked to do it again. Sigh.

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You are getting so, so big. You’ve decided the high chair is no longer acceptable, so now you’re using a booster seat. As soon as I set up the Pack & Play in the cabin, I knew we might be in for a rough night. How could you have grown so much since the last time we used it?! I clearly remember you being able to stretch out in that thing. Now it’s like fitting you in a tiny cardboard box —knees and elbows everywhere.

You whined all night until I brought you into bed with Dad and me at 3 a.m. Then you spent the next two hours shoving me toward the bitter edge of the mattress. I had to pee like hell, but knew you’d start screaming if I moved.

Ugh. Co-sleeping has never been a thing for this family.

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This letter is getting long, so I’m going to quickly run down a few more happenings :

  • For a few months, we’ve been trying to teach you how to spit after brushing your teeth. You haven’t grasped the fact that you can’t swallow to make spitting successful. At some point, Dad began saying, “Pour one out for your homies,” when spilling out the leftover water. So now you say, “Pour out. Homies!” when we empty your cup.
  • You are your father’s son when it comes to spicy. At lunch today, I watched you pour a ton of hot pepper flakes on your pizza and eat it like it was no big deal. Such pride in your father’s eyes. Such pride.
  • You marched with us in the local Women’s March. Well, strollered. Anyway, I hope one day you are happy you were there.
  • You echo the last thing you’ve heard. If Dad asks Charlie to put on his jacket, you’ll say, “Jacket, Cha-wee,” several times until he does it. I realized the danger in this when listening to a snarky Bachelor podcast one day on the way home. “Marry whores!” you shouted from the back seat. “MARRY WHORES!”

(Note: I realize the poor juxtaposition of those last two bullets.)

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Since my last letter, we’ve celebrated Christmas and New Year’s. The big wins from Christmas include a wooden truck from Grandma B (“Mover”), a stuffed Elmo from Grandma Z, a series of Pete the Cat books from Ashleigh (groovy), and a counting train puzzle from your aunt and uncle.

The most unexpected gain was a giant tub of cars that Grandma B Santa initially gathered for Charlie. He proudly announced he was too old to play with toy cars, so the whole lot went to you.

Those cars are endless fun for you. One by one, you take them out of the box and place them into perfect rows. Or you have them talk to one another and give cuddles. They go everywhere with us — in the car, to restaurants, to Grandma B’s school (well, at least to the front door). A few times, I’ve let you sleep with one or two.
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Nothing can beat New Year’s, however. I took you and Charlie to Krystal’s house, and during the 9 p.m. East Coast countdown, you discovered the utter magic of counting from 10 to one (well, in your case, from one up to 10-ish) at New Year’s. So, you stood in front of everyone and did it again (cheer), and again (cheeeer) and again (cheeeeer!).


My dear, sweet boy. When I think of spending all of 2017 by your side, all I can do is cheer, too.

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