Here we are again – months passing by and so many grand intentions of documenting them. I took pictures on the days you hit both 21 and 22 months old, and yet you’ll reach 23 months by the end of the week. I haven’t written an update for you since you turned 19 months, and looking back through that post now I hardly recognize you.
I’m sorry I can’t stay on top of keeping track of these things. For some reason I find it so daunting to try to capture your current spirit and all that you are in this moment in just a few simple paragraphs. Although my words probably aren’t even needed, as the pictures tend to speak for themselves.
We sat down to chili and cornbread the other night, and I turned to your dad and said that I felt like we really did this summer right. We did everything I hoped we’d do, and much much more. You played in every sandbox, splashed in every fountain, ate your weight in blueberries, and left a ring of dirt in the bathtub each and every night.
And here we are on the cusp of a new season – one that will bring a big birthday, a little brother, and so many new adventures for us as family that is growing up and growing in size.
We still officially have another month to go, but you are already two in every sense of the age. Your language has developed into comprehensive thoughts and sentences, and I could never capture it in a simple list of words. You surprise me every day by knowing words that I swear I didn’t teach you, and by remembering things that happened weeks and months ago.
You are strong-willed and stubborn, and you are too charming for your own good. Your dad and I are trying to be tough with discipline and directions, but you are onto our game. I fall into bed every night totally exhausted by you both mentally and physically, and I can’t think of a better way I’d want to spend my days.
At 22-ish months, it’s not as important to me anymore to try to remember what your favorite toy is, or what foods are currently your favorite (the answer is none, you hate everything!).
Instead, I want to make sure I remember how yesterday before your nap, you looked straight into my eyes, grabbed my face with each of your tiny hands, and planted a huge kiss on me out of the blue.
And how last night you went over to your bookshelf and grabbed what we used to call “the balloon book” – but this time you brought it to me and called it the “baby brother” book. I am so excited for you to meet your new lifelong friend.
Last week we were at one of our favorite playgrounds, and you were standing in the area under the slide that you like to call your “house.” You were intently watching two older boys – probably three or four years old? – who kept running past, and at one point it looked like they might come into the “house” too. Your eyes lit up with excitement and longing, and just as soon as you took a brave step toward them they were off again.
You went back to sorting through mulch with no problem, but I felt my eyes well up with tears thinking about how there will eventually be a time when your feelings are truly hurt. You will want to play with someone, and they won’t want to play with you. Or perhaps they will even call you a name. I hope and I pray that in that moment – I can be strong for you. I hope I can be strong for both of us.
I am nervous about how I will contain your wild spirit during the upcoming cold and rainy season. So much of our last few months have been spent outside, expending energy in grassy spaces and tiring out in the sunshine. Luckily you are starting to get into arts and crafts and creative play, and I can’t wait to surprise you with a play kitchen – your favorite thing – for your upcoming birthday.
Despite your wild independence, you’ve also pulled back a bit lately and you are quick to cling to mom. You want to be held a lot, and as much as it hurts my arms and my back, I can’t help but give in knowing it won’t last much longer. You ask me to “rock” sometimes now before bed, and even though I see the sparkle in your eye and know it is your sneaky way of prolonging the inevitable, I still do it because I love to sit with you and hum your sleepy song and sniff your hair.
We played in your room after nap time yesterday, and I found myself staring at your profile as you stood at your window watching school buses drive by. I tried to take in every detail of your sweet face, and I wondered if perhaps today would be the last day that it is just you and me all day long. I am anxiously looking forward to the arrival of our newest team member, but I’m also acutely aware that we are reaching the end of what is such a unique and special time – something reserved only for moms and oldest children. We have certainly made the most of it, and there is so much more good just ahead.
I am looking forward to seeing you embrace the role of big brother, celebrate your upcoming birthday, trick or treat with excitement, and continue to grow into this amazing little person that I am so proud to call my own. Thank you for a wonderful (few) months!
And last but not least, some Cullen in action!