Monday, April 02, 2007

Nineteen Months: My Letter to Little Man

It used to be that when I did these newsletters for you, I'd have trouble picking just a few pictures of the past month to include. The reason would be that you've been my photographic muse for the past 19 months. I have probably taken more pictures since you were born than I have the rest of my life. What would be the point of taking a picture before you came along? There was nothing I felt I needed to remember this vividly before you.

But now, I'm challenged to find pictures to include for a whole new reason. And that is, I just don't have that many new pictures of you. This is partly because I'm working full-time and therefore we don't spend as much time as we used to. But the biggest reason I think is that you won't sit still. EVER. Unless you're reading a book. And how many pictures of you reading can I possibly have? This hasn't been a problem just this past month, mind you, it's really been ever since you figured out that if you move your legs really fast, you can get out of the frame before my slow camera has taken the shot. So I have thousands of deleted pictures of the back of your head. And of the couch where you were standing with a cute expression only 0.75 seconds earlier.

So if I'd have one request for you, it would be can you slow down? Please? Just long enough that I can take another 10,000 pictures of you and bore your future girlfriends to death with a 49 hour slide show.

Years from now, I'll look back on this month as the one where I officially became the mother of a toddler. Before the month of March 2007, I have to say that I had it pretty easy. You'd eat whatever I'd give you to eat. You'd ask me to go to bed. You'd happily wave bye bye at whatever I took away from you, whether it be the fur you ripped off the dog's head, scissors, or a steak knife.

But sometime this past month, you must have gotten a hold of the popular book "How to Become a Toddler and Let Your Parents Look at Each Other as They Wonder Where Their Sweet Baby Went."

Don't get me wrong. It's not that you're not sweet anymore. You still have the best smiles. You heartily laugh at anything we do until you get the hiccups. And you still give the kind of hugs that could bring peace on Earth if only we'd take you on a tour around the Middle East, which won't happen since I'm the only parent of yours that likes couscous.

But your qualities aside, there's the fact that you now answer everything with a stern "no." Your father says that you sound like an adult when you say the word, since you've had so much practice at it. Your intonation is perfect when you say "no" and your voice doesn't sound like a baby's. How often do you say no? It'd be easier for me to count the few instances when you say anything else. If you're eating chips and you look at me and go "MMMMMMM!" and I dare ask "Is it good?", you'll promptly catch yourself, shake your head and say "no." If we ask you if you'd like to stay up all night for the rest of your life and live off of chocolate and sugar, you'll also answer "no." We have yet to find a question that will prompt any other answer.

And then there's the wrath of your temper tantrums. Where your whole body will go rigid, almost like you've been shot, and then you'll throw yourself down hard enough to crack the foundation, while your wails peel the paint off the walls. I caused such a breakdown yesterday by politely asking you to please stop punching the dog in the nose. Other causes of meltdowns have included the sun shining, the sun not shining, Play With Me Sesame freezing on the television, me not allowing you to drink my coffee, me not allowing you to put your dirty hand in my coffee, me not letting you tear up the magazine that I was reading, your father deciding to go to work, and be assured that this is only a partial list.

When you're not throwing one of these tantrums though, you are actually funny, sweet and so dang adorable that before I left for my business trip last week, I watched you sleep for 20 minutes, and inhaled the scent of your little feet multiple times, so that I would have the strength to leave you for three days.

You are such a sponge these days, that I constantly have to remind myself that you're in the back seat when I'm on the phone whining to a girlfriend, dropping bad words out of habit. I know the day will come that we'll be at church with your paternal grandparents, and you'll drop an F-bomb in the middle of the service just to prove to them that their son married a terrible, terrible person.

You obsess over books and make me read the same ones to you over and over again. One of your favorites is called "Pots and Pans," and I've read it to you so much, that you can recite it word for word, to my rythm in your toddler language. It goes like this "Pots and Pans, Pots and Pans, Baby's in the kitchen with the pots and pans."

The other day, you brought the book downstairs, sat yourself on the couch and read to yourself outloud just like I would. And wouldn't you know it, out of your mouth came "Pa an pa, pa an pa, an na nana baba i da pa and pa." Exactly like I would have read it.

It freaked me out! And it made me realize that all of that time I spend with you reading page after page, my face buried in your blond hair, murmuring the words against your head are helping you develop. I knew that it did, I've read all the parenting books, but to actually see it in you, it was like seeing you for the first time in that hospital room and thinking "holy crap! I made that!" Watching you read that book to yourself made me think that all over again.

You're going through another bout of stranger anxiety. Although you've finally more or less adapted to your new class and now call one of your teachers by name, you just don't like to be around people you don't really know. This should not be a shock to anyone, when your father was voted runner up for most anti-social person, losing only to Saddam Hussein and Bill O'Reilly last year. I still hold hope for the fact that you'll get over your shyness, like I did and become one of those people who'll talk to anyone and who people complain about your loudness and enthusiasm when they share a cubicle wall with you.

Your father and I have noticed lately how much you've been learning at daycare. It's nice to know that the fact we're spending more money on the tuition than the monthly payment on a BMW convertible isn't so you can bang your head on a wall all day. You've learned the color yellow this past month and your vocabulary keeps growing by leaps and bounds at a rate that makes me think that it would be hard to keep track of every word you say at this point. And you've learned a new song at school that you sing to us all the time. Luckily, I'd happened to pick you up once when one of your teachers was singing the song, so when you performed it for us days later, I was able to recognize your babbling as your karaoke version of that song.

If I may say so myself, you freaking rock kid! I'm so proud to be your mother. Every day, when I show up at your daycare and peek in at you through the glass, I feel like the luckiest person alive, because the cutest, smartest, sweetest, funniest kid in that class belongs to me. How the universe ever decided that I'd be lucky enough for you to call Mama, I'll never know. But I want you to know that I am grateful every single day that I wake up to your free-me-from-my-cage wails.

I love you my Little Man,



random_mommy said...

the look on his face in the picture with the flower... is priceless!! it defines "ooh, ahh" better than anything i've ever seen!!!

Julie said...

He is so adorable You know, my Emily will be 18 months next month and she likes older men : )

Jesse said...

I love the pictures you took of him, especially the one where he is sleeping. They grow up so fast it makes you wonder where the time went.

Emma in Canada said...

19 months you say? Welcome to the terrible twos. It does get better and then they hit 2 1/2. And then it gets worse. Did you know the final 6 months of a year are the worst until they hit 6? When they go through the terrible stage from 5 1/2- 6 1/2. Does that make any sense?

My friend's daughter's first word was fuck. Said in front of her great grandparents.

Rachel said...

What a sweet sweet post! Made me cry! I hate that they have to grow up!

The pics are very cute!