Month 24

Dear ToddlerA,

So, I suppose I dropped the ball a couple of months ago on the monthly letters. It’s because we gradually love you less each month. Your worst fears are realized. Sorry.

The truth is that we continue to find ourselves unable to resist you, even when it’s midnight and you really should be sleeping. We keep cheating, going in to rescue you from baby jail, thinking like true insane people when we say, “maybe tonight she’ll lay with us! Maybe tonight she’ll fall asleep in our bed! It’ll be different THIS TIME” Except you don’t, you never will, and the whole point of being in bed with us is all about jumping because damn this bed is bouncy and huge! Last night we switched things up-instead of taking you to bed and then having to get you later, we took you into our room first and endured the jumping, and prying our eyes open (that’s really, really not funny, even though each of us laughs when you’re doing it to the other parent) and the constant screeching for sips of my tea. When I finally did take you into your bedroom it was well after 11. When I finally put my head down to go to sleep it was well after 12:30, and you were still in there talking to Nemo. I should have known I would produce another nocturnal child, and most days I can’t find anything wrong with it, especially when it’s 10 a.m. and you’re just waking up. But every once in a while I remember what it was like when you were little and we’d put you to bed and then eat dinner and watch a movie without having to share every.single.piece of popcorn, or sandwich, or cracker, or soda or glass of tea.

One weekend your Asheville grandparents came to visit, and they brought you –guess what? A giant NEMO! Soon I hope to have the video, because I think the whole Internet should see you scream and kiss Nemo over and over again while mugging for the video camera. So now every time I go anywhere, I scour the aisles for nemo themed anything, because its so freaking cool to see you make the connection and then get so excited when you realize that I brought you a nemo cup! Or spoon! Or squishy bath toy! Yay! Every orange fish you see is Nemo. Every night when you go to bed you must have both the giant Nemo and your sister’s pillow. You’ve become quite attached to lots of your things lately, which is a relief to me because seriously, I was wondering if it was time to throw away your whole toy chest. But it’s not, you’re just fickle, and that’s OK. Today, you arranged all your stuffed animals in the toddler-sized easy chair that you never sit in, and read books to them. I’m not sure how you choose your favorites for the day, but there’s certainly a preference.

Of course, as is your genetic lot in life, you are forever in love with Legos. Legos never get old.

Each month you become more-you. You move lightning fast into childhood and out of babyhood while I blink, while I nap, while I turn my head to check the time. One weekend Mike taught you to say “yummy” and “grandma” and “hula”. Today you casually called “Bye, Daisy!” to the cat as we walked out the door. Sometimes I look at you and I just don’t know where the time has gone-how did you go from this :

to this:

As you know I’ve worried on and off about you and your sister and whether you would bond, and whether you would know she is your sister and not just another grownup, since after all she is taller than your mother. But yesterday when you buckled yourself into your carseat and screamed her name for 20 minutes because you wanted to go find her, all my fears melted away, and I got a glimpse of what our future has in store. Just know this: if she gets you drunk, SHE has to hold your hair back and nurse you through your first hangover. I do not do hangover duty.

Remember when you would eat vegetables? Remember the butternut squash, the black beans, and the broccoli? Dude. I hope, I really do, that some of those nutrients still exist in your tiny, starch infused body. Tonight, every food you ingested was yellow. At least one thing was a banana. And a scrambled egg. I can always fall back on the scrambled egg. Well, and you do eat the dehydrated fruit snacks that cost about a thousand dollars a box. As soon as I get back from selling my kidney we’ll buy you a whole bunch of those, because that crunchy mango sometimes saves both our lives. I swore I wouldn’t allow my freaky relationship with food to taint my relationship with you and food, but it’s hard. I find it more and more difficult to back off and just let you be.

I’ve got a new Life Plan in action now, and as a result of some of the steps I’m taking, you and I spend more face time together during the day. At breakfast, we sit at the table together and talk. We hang out on the porch while I stretch, we read books and snuggle on the couch. There’s usually a point the mid morning when you’ve had enough face time and you point to Hannah’s room and say something like “ picklesnarkefigy movie?” which of course means “it’s time for a movie, you’d better hope you figure out which one in on my agenda today” and then it’s just like the old days except now when you request a movie in Hannah’s room you also request for me to watch with you. Sometimes I do. Sometimes, though, since the dishwasher is broken, I have to refuse so that I can be a Housewife. “Oh, honey”, I’ll say. “I can’t watch with you, I have to work for a while”

“O-Kay….blanket?” And then you’ll ask me to help you pull the blanket up to your chin.

I think one of my favorite new tricks you have, is how you’re (occasionally) able to handle it when we say No. You’re two, so of course it’s not always like this. But wow. I love that you don’t always get what you want, and that sometimes when you don’t, you just smile and move on. Other times, you lay on the floor and scream, but those memories are the ones burned into my brain and therefore not necessary in the written record.

This month was when you discovered band-aids, and also when we discovered your allergy to latex. . I didn’t think I’d be that Mom, the one with the kid who wears a band-aid on every limb. Um. But the thing is-whatever. We pick our battles. You did have a genuine injury involving concrete, your knees, a toe, and some menthol spray. So the first round of band-aids was legit. But now? You go into the bathroom and find the box, and even if it’s empty you bring it to me and hold your knee up. “Knee? Knee! KNEEEEEE!” What can I do? Yesterday I said no. Well, I halfway said no. I put a band-aid on one knee and then told you “only one!” when you held up the other knee. I hope this house is soundproof.

You turned 2 last weekend. To prep you for the “Happy Birthday” song at your party, I started singing it to you Friday morning and sang it all weekend. I wish I could show the Internet how you danced and clapped and shook your head to the chorus! But then when it was time for the party and 20 people were singing, you were very confused and it seemed like the end came as a relief to you.

Two. I want to write that I can’t believe it’s going so fast, and that I can’t stand it and you’re too big, and all those things that are sometimes true. But right now all I can think of is how every day with you is so incredibly fun. And I am so excited and feel so lucky that I get to be here with you tomorrow, and the next day and the next. I get to watch you learn to ride your new trike and play with other kids and drink out of a regular cup instead of a sippy cup and put on your own shirt and climb into your own high chair and before I know it you’ll be going off with your grandfather to learn to drive. And I get to see everything in between. Sometimes I really think my heart might explode, looking at you, and your sister, and your dad and knowing that all of this is my life. It’s all just so much, so much good, that I catch myself flashing tragedy in my head once in a while, paralyzed with the fear of losing one, or all of you, or losing myself. I hope you never know me the way I used to be, when those fears would take over my whole day or week or month or year, and always in the back of my mind I’d be ready for the next terrible thing. Finally, now that flash of fear jolts me back into the moment, reminds me that I am here, we are here, and we are all OK. We are all so much better than OK. We are together and happy and (mostly) content.


2 thoughts on “Month 24

  1. That was so beautifully written Summer. Happy belated birthday to Avery. She is so cute and so grown up since the last time I saw her! What a nice, sweet letter.


  2. A lovely blog, came across this while googling up “giant nemo.” A very cool and unique method of documenting your daughter’s growth. Keep it up, and one day she’ll appreciate it.


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