Saturday, April 6, 2013

A letter to LG at 27 [and a half] months

Well, LG, it’s been five months since my last letter to you. And a busy five months it has been.

At the writing of my last letter, your Nana and I were busy working on your Halloween costume, which is probably the last costume for which you have no input
. Since the first animal noise you could consistently make was a growl and I had a good idea for a DIY costume, you were a lion (tutorial coming later this summer for all you blog readers). You went around the cul-de-sac and across the street; we probably hit about ten houses, and you were starting to the hang of trick-or-treating. 

Sometime during the fall, owls became your favorite animal, which inspired the theme for your 2nd birthday celebration. Currently, the animal you’re most interested in is a “durtle.”

Luckily, your father’s one week of vacation (airline pilots bid their vacation, and it is awarded based on seniority) fell during the week before Christmas, so we were able to spend your birthday with Daddy’s side of the family in Maryland. For our owl theme, we had the Dubs next door make you a personalized birthday shirt; the front had an owl on it, and said “Look Whooo’s Two!” and the back had your name and birth date. W
e also had the Dubs make shirts for your cousins on Mommy’s side of the family for Gami brunch, as shown below with your Birthday Buddy CD:

Mommy made owl ornaments, which served as a decoration and favor for the cousins:

And your father and I made owl cupcakes for dessert. You liked the “cookas” on top more than the cupcake or frosting. 

Your birthday gift from Mommy & Daddy was a camping set, which you and your cousins all crammed into:

Besides celebrating your birthday and spending time with family, I would say the other highlight of our trip was a visit to the village firehouse to see their annual train garden display, along with a glimpse of the fire trucks. 

I’m always surprised that the book of Genesis doesn’t explain why God created little boys to be crazy about anything with wheels (or why all children love Elmo), but it’s certainly the case with you, and “dooh-dooh”s are by far your favorite. You were thrilled that Nona and Pop Pop sent home the wooden train table that has now replaced (two times over in size) the coffee table in our family room. I’m not going to lie, your father hates it and is already trying to get rid of it.  

Maybe because we were with you 24/7 that week, or maybe because you were away from home and out of your routine, but it seemed like your "terrible two" symptoms kicked into high gear while we were in Maryland. Evidence: 

-         Your grandparents keep juice boxes, cheese, and other little snacks in the lower part of their refrigerator for your older cousins to help themselves to while they're over. We don't really give you juice at home, and when we do, it's watered down and definitely not in a colorful box with a straw; however, we thought it would be fine if you had one of these little boxes per day while we were at Nona and Pop Pop's. Well, after you got your fix on the day we arrived, any time someone would open the refrigerator, you'd have a meltdown, crying "my joo, my joo."

-         Your grandparents have put together an adorable room that can sleep all four of your cousins; it has a twin bunk, two toddler beds, and a pack 'n play. Since the pack ‘n play was set up for your little cousin CZ, we pulled one of the toddler mattresses onto the floor for you to sleep on. Getting you down for the night wasn’t too bad, but we struggled with your naps; the biggest contributing factor, I think, is that you’re used to room-darkening shades at home, and the kids’ room at Nona and Pop Pop’s only have shutters across the bottom third of the windows.  So naps were very difficult, and some days they didn't happen at all.

Because your sleeping arrangement in Maryland was different than it had been at home, we were able to switch up your bedtime routine when we returned home. Prior to the trip, we were reading several books before bed, and I was rocking you to sleep and then placing you in your bed. When we returned from Maryland, we whittled it down to just two books each night, and the same books every night (Thomas's ABC Book and Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site). After the books, I rock you for precisely four minutes, and then put you in your bed and tuck you in. Since you have made no attempts to escape, you’re still sleeping in your crib, and will continue to do so until a) you try climb out, b) you’re too heavy to be lifting in and out, or c) someone else needs it.  

So that was our trip to Maryland. The next week, we celebrated Christmas at home in the Mitten with Nana and Grandpa and Uncle BZ (Daddy was working), and the week after that, we hosted Gami brunch for Grandpa's side of the family. The holidays were busy, but not overdone. They were meaningful, but relaxed. Mommy closed out the year feeling very happy and very blessed.

When people ask me how you are, I tell them, "he's two." You throw tantrums, whine, and disobey on a daily basis, and I am frustrated with you on a daily basis. Some days I wonder if every single component of our day together (which is not that much, considering--and this is sad, but true--we probably spend forty-five minutes together in the morning and two and a half hours together in the evening during the week) has to be filled with drama and hassle and tension. It wears on me differently some days than it does others. I try not to take your behavior personally, but sometimes it's hard not to. I think your father and I have done a good job at balancing the routine and structure we provide for you with compassion and flexibility. Your time with us is pretty predictable, but if you show interest in doing something outside our routine, we'll usually oblige. We'll usually let you do things yourself, time and safety permitting. So why do you fight me so?

The biggest thing I've noticed over the past few months is that you have a hard time making and sticking to your decisions. We usually try to limit you to two options; you'll pick option A, then want option B, but when option B replaces option A, you want B again, and then nothing can make you happy. A few examples:

-         Everyone seems to be finished with dinner. We go to take your food away, and you holler and cry for it back. So we put your plate back in front of you, and you push it away. So we take it away again, you want it back again, but you don't really want it.

-         We come upstairs for the evening and go into the bathroom. I ask you if you if you want to try and sit on the potty, and start pulling your britches down. You throw a fit, so I pull them back up and tell you we'll go to your room to get in your jammies and read books, and start heading that way. You do not follow, because you are still in the bathroom, trying to pull down your pants. You will fight me whether I go back in the bathroom and help you with your pants, or take you to your bedroom and try to change your diaper.

I've learned to simply avoid these situations if I can predict them, to be firm, and to ignore your behavior if I've given it fair attention. But some mornings, after I've had to hold you down to get you dressed, pin you down to get you buckled into your carseat, pick you up and carry you all the way to your classroom at daycare because you've refused to leave the the side of the car in 20-something degree weather/leave the sofa or fish tank in the lobby/go through the security doors/run down the wrong hallway/leave your hood in my hand when I try to grab you/kick off one of your shoes as I'm carrying you, and then you throw a fit when I try to leave, I can't help but be riled up. And that's all before 7:30am! Or some afternoons, when you've run back into at least two of the already-tidied toddler classrooms and gotten into stuff, sat on each of the seats on all three baby buggies outside of the infant room, crawled down the hallway, bust into the administrator's office or copy room, and then collapse into a heap of spaghetti when I finally try to carry you to and get you in the car, I yell at you. Stop it! You're hurting Mommy! Other times, there are two swift hand slappings.

I am not trying to say that you're the worst toddler ever; in fact, I'm pretty sure you're a rather typical specimen. I'm not trying to say that I'm the worst parent; I know that's not true. I'm just trying to put out here what out everyday interactions can be like. 

This letter is getting long. You'll probably be in high school before you have the reading skills and attention span to read this, so I'll close out this post with a list:

- Any aircraft you see--whether it's Jeremy the Jet on Thomas & Friends, the Hess helicopter Mom Mom sent you for 
  Christmas, or an airliner cruising at 8,000 feet you see out the car window--is "Daddy's nee." Likewise, any pick-up truck is 
  "Daddy's truck."
- Any phone (or calculator, or remote) is a "lo" (as in hel-lo).
- If we tell you something is like "MacCheese," you're much more likely to try it. If you won't eat something one night, there is 
  a good possibility you'll eat it the next night if we make it into a quesadilla.
- You love "cookas" (cookies), and have applied it to any type of baked good or dessert. Crackers, breakfast bars, muffins, 
  popsicles--all cookas in your book.
- You have the hands splayed/puzzled face expression down to a T.
- While you can't put two fingers up to show you're two, you can cross those two fingers, and are very proud of it.
- You can walk sideways, and sometimes require that I do too (or that I walk backwards) on our afternoon walks.
- Your favorite toys are your play kitchen and parking garage. You do not really like to color :(
- We recently created you a hangout nook in your closet, which you love, and are excited to show visitors.
- You have a crush on a little girl named Abby at your daycare. She sometimes refuses to ride in the buggy at pickup time (she 
  is lovably sassy), which gives you an opportunity to giver her a hug (and sometimes make smooching noises) on our way out. 
  If we mention school at home, you'll immediately start saying her name.


  1. hee hee... novel... totally right on, in a great way! he is so stinking adorable, and the lion costume picture where you are holding him ~ super duper adorable! love the new header, great job!!

  2. Thanks on both accounts, I worked very hard at making him, and late into the night working on that header!


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