My dear, sweet boy,
I know you’ll hate me one day for starting my letter this way, but you just pooped in the potty! Yaaaaaaaaay!!
Such are the milestones that parents pine for. I longingly imagine the day when there are no more diapers in this house. Just think of how much money I’ll have to buy episodes of “Dinosaur Train” off the internet!
As you can see, we’re making some progress on the bathroom front. You almost always use the potty if we keep you naked (wooooo!!). But, this happens rarely when wearing your diaper. We’d like to transition to “big boy” underwear, but you’re not ready to consider it. However, you’re spending several days at Grandma Z’s next month and she says her mission is to get you there. #goodluckgrandma
Right now, you and Dad are riding bikes to the park. One thing I love about you is your willingness to do things, even simple errands. Charlie fought to stay home from the moment he learned “no,” so it’s refreshing to go places without resorting to screams and threats.
You and Charlie. Oil and water. Trump and sane people. Some things just don’t mix.
There is too much fighting in this house. Charlie can be a hellion and you screech bloody murder at any hint of conflict. I lost my shit last Saturday, a sign I was in major need of a Mommy Time Out. Dad had recently returned from a four-day business trip and was away again at his monthly guys’ disc golf game (no irritation about that, just setting the stage). You screamed at each other all morning. Calm Jess had tried conflict resolution, setting timers for toys, and even separating you in different parts of the house.
But at some point, I had to pee. The second I sat down on the toilet — with high hopes of playing just one game of Candy Crush — chaos erupted. Calm Jess turned into Pantsless Jess, standing over you in the living room and yelling my face off.
When dad came home, I left the house with the intention of running until exhaustion and pain outweighed my desire to be as far from the screaming as possible. Several miles later, I walked in the door, not because I was ready to be done, but because I started to feel guilty about being gone so long (shout-out to other slow runners).
The change in me for the rest of the weekend was profound, a reminder to parents about the importance of exercising so that you don’t kill your children.
Aside from your blossoming friendship with your brother, you are muddling through serious Toddler Brain. This is especially heightened for a kid like you, who’s always wanted things just so. You get mad if I don’t wear pants. When we play with cars, I have to “rescue” your car from a fire or from falling off a cliff — over and over and over again. Or you tell me there’s a lion (“Mommy! There’s a why-on!”) and our stuffed animals have to run away.
Sometimes, your brain is just mush. At breakfast the other day, you asked for a fork for your yogurt instead the spoon I gave you. When I exchanged the utensils, you wailed for the spoon because WHY WOULD I EVER WANT A FORK CRAZY WOMAN.
I tried to take you to the beach while Dad and Charlie went camping. Packed everything up, drove 20 minutes to the water, and paid $15 for all-day parking. At first, you loved splashing around as the waves came up to our feet. But the seaweed kept sticking to your legs as the waves washed out, which you were NOT OK with. And every time I tried to brush it away, another fucking wave would come (curse you moon!).
Sandcastles, I thought. We could play sandcastles. As soon as you sat down and got (gasp!) sand on your hands, you were over that, too. “Go home,” you said, with finality. “Go home now.”
You began walking toward the parking lot. I gathered you back and you started to struggle. I tried to distract you with a walk along the beach, but that didn’t work either. “Mommy, go home now,” you wept. “I don’t want to beach.”
So, 17 minutes after we set foot on the sand, we were back at the car.
This letter is starting to sound whiney, so I will list off some awesome moments from the past few months:
- Charlie came up with a great game called “Tickle or Pass,” where you run in a circle around Dad or me, and we decide whether to tickle you as you run past, or let you go. This has led to explosive shrieks of laughter in our home.
- We’ve had a great time swimming lately. Charlie is getting more confident in the water, and you’re finally comfortable with bobbing solo in your floaties. Our trip to the local water park was one of my favorite days of the summer.
- You can put on your shoes and pull up your pants. You finally figured out how to rinse and spit when brushing your teeth.
- I love your expressions, which seem to become more exaggerated and funny as you age.
- The “Alphabet Song” is most requested at bedtime. I hear you sing it to yourself over the monitor as you fall asleep.
- You always ask to watch “Me-wana.”
- One morning you were so giving of hugs and kisses that you made Dad cry.
- We had friends over for dinner and you brought to the table a book for their 2-year-old daughter to read, just like you.
- When we play “sleep,” you pretend to be a rooster and love to yell “COCK-A-DOODLE” as loud as you can.
- During an arduously long car ride, we stopped for a snack at a sandwich shop across from a construction site — which was next to train tracks. I don’t think you’ve ever been so excited.
You just returned home from the park with Dad. Skin warm, smelling like fresh air. You sought me out immediately and climbed onto the bed.
“Why you need write letter?,” you asked, laying your head on my chest and poking at my keyboard with your tiny fingers.
For these moments, my sweet son. The ones so commonplace as to be easily forgotten. For the day-to-day delights that too often get overshadowed by the day-to-day frustrations.
When I look back on my experience raising you boys, I want to remember the subtle joys of being your mother — from quick kisses to silly jokes to finally getting that poop in the potty.