Friday, March 02, 2007

Eighteen Months: My Letter to Little Man

You're 18!!!! In Canada (except for Ontario), this would mean that you'd get to drink your first beer to celebrate. At least that's how I seem to remember it.

I know I say this every month, but this time, this is really the greatest age. Watching you grow during the past month has left me completely breathless and my heart has doubled in size between the pride I feel about the person you've become and the amount of love it contains.

You're smart. You're hysterical. You're sensitive. You're snuggly. You're fiercely independent. You're absolutely gorgeous. If I may say so myself, I've created the perfect man. I'm guessing that in about six years, the line of girls will be around the block and the cops will need to be called in.

Your project this month has been to learn the names of every Sesame Street and Winnie-the-Pooh character. You have studied your books like you were a pre-med student obsessed with being top of his anatomy class.

You'll practice for hours with me or your dad. And if you had it your way, you'd stay up all night and practice some more. There's no time for sliding down toddler slides or pushing your frog in your Little Tikes truck. Those things are for irresponsible toddlers who don't intend to pass the big toddler test.

You sit on our lap and point at the pages.

- Yes, Little Man, that's Ernie.
- Gwoh-vuh?
- You're right, that's Grover.
- Big Buhd?
- Actually, that's Bert."

You sigh. You're not pleased. How could you get this wrong, you think to yourself. Your brow furrows and you start all over again. You don't stop until you get them all right.

And your identification of things doesn't stop at muppets. You like to point out your father to me all the time, just in case I might forget. We'll be chilling on the couch and I'll look at you and you point to your father and you tell me "Daddy."

I'm glad that you realize that I have trouble grasping basic concepts like who the father of my children is. This makes me think that I no longer need to retain any information whatsoever, since you're my walking Palm Pilot.

You've also worked hard to learn all the names of the kids in your class. When I pick you up, you always feel the need to tell me who everyone is after you give me a hug. You'll walk up to a toddler, point at his head and tell me "Noah," and then you'll move on and point to another and say "Gabby." And then we always come to some kid whose name is inpronouncable and so you'll call them "Amatagaba." Or something along those lines. I'm not sure who would name their kid Amatagaba, but I believe that you must be right and that has to be their name.

You also love to help. Your favorite thing to do is to unload the dishwasher with us. Your role is to unload the cutlery, minus the sharp knives. And you know this, so you wait until we've taken them away and then you grab the remainder, one teaspoon or fork at a time, hand it to me, I thank you, put it in the drawer and then you hand me another.

My average time for emptying the dishwasher has dropped so much that I no longer qualify for the housekeeping Olympics, but I wouldn't trade your help for any gold medal. And the look of pride on your face makes those forks and spoons shine just a little more somehow.

You do, however, get mad when you don't get your way. I have to tell you, I understand because I hate not getting my way. But I get to be the mom here, and so I always get my way. It's really fun, I've got to tell you. But I'm learning the fine art of making you think that things are your idea, like when I convince you that putting your shoes on to go to school will be the funnest thing ever, and that pulling the cat's tail is so boring.

This morning, you got irritated with me because I put jeans on you and you saw your navy blue cargo pants and apparently you wanted to wear those instead. Even though you'd worn them yesterday. And they had a big stain on them. You grabbed them, gave them to me and lifted your leg up so I could put them on you.

"Uhm, you're already wearing pants dude," I tried to explain.

You didn't like this explanation one bit. I was given the look and it was followed by a warning that if I didn't get those pants on you asap, the world was going to melt into its hot lava core.

But I was able to talk you down from the ledge, and as I write this, you're happily playing at school in your clean jeans.

This week, you've been in the process of transitioning classes. You're moving on to the 18-24 months class. Overall, it's gone well, even though you love one of your old teachers almost as much as you love me, your dad, your frog and Ernie. Apparently, when she dropped you off at your new class yesterday, you cried when she left. You were devastated. How could she leave you with these strangers and these humongous kids?

And yesterday, I realized that your frog was still in your new class, so we had to walk down the hall to go retrieve it. When I opened the door, you shook your head very violently. I pushed you in as gently as I could, and you lost it. You went hysterical. The last time I saw you like this was when we started daycare. And my heart broke. I know you can't spend the next 18 years with your daycare teacher. For one thing, your spelling would suck, because your daily reports are often full of errors, but it seems so cruel to take you away from her when you love her so much.

But I know that you'll learn to love your new teachers just as much. And then in six months, you'll move up again. And before I know it, you'll be in highschool asking me to drop you off five blocks away so that you don't have to be seen with me.

This process has already started. I've been spending a few minutes with you in the mornings at school, feeding you your breakfast and chatting with some of the other moms and your teacher. Last week, you took one bite of your pancakes and then you picked up my sunglasses from the table and handed them to me. Then you picked up my car keys and handed those to me. You were telling me to get out.

I thought it was very funny, but I've got to tell you, my feelings were a little hurt. I love your independence, Little Man, but I've got to tell you, I miss you like crazy already.

I love you, my Little Man,



Julie said...

Very sweet!

Rachel said...

That made me laugh and cry at the same time! How incredibly sweet! They really grow up so fast and each stage is better than the last!

He is a doll!

Emma in Canada said...

He is the only toddler I know with an actual hairstyle.

How do you keep your carpets so clean with a child running around?

Catwoman said...

I'm not sure Emma... Little Man spills milk all the time on the carpet, but luckily I have two dogs to clean up after him. I get them professionally cleaned twice a year, but I still feel like they're disgusting, I hate carpet...

Alpha Dude 1.5 said...


They grow up so very fast.
I applaud you for taking the time to make sure you don't miss a minute of it.

So he's 18 months American. What's that in Canadian? 16 months?

rookiemom said...

That is adorable.
Looks like you have a very smart little guy on your hands!

Gerbil said...

That was an absolutely gorgeous, fabulous, wondrous essay. It made me think of when the older son was that age.

Kellie said...

What a great post to your beautiful little man!! It is awesome to watch them grow and become their own person each day. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us :)

M said...

Oh dear cod here come the waterworks. The obscene quantity of gorgeous pictures, the lovely descriptions of your (clearly brilliant!) son, and the love bursting through were too much for my hormonal heart. What a sweet, sweet post! Happy 1.5 to you both!

The Keeper of Cheerios said...

that was so sweet! :)