Happy Birthday!

Dear Mama,

Happy Birthday! We know it’s crazy with two of us but we love you and hope it was fun anyway. Get some sleep tonight!

Love,
The Little Ones + Dada

Missing You This Week

Dear BabyBird,

I’ve been out of town for a whole week, through the weekend, and even over Father’s Day. I miss my buddy!

I’ve only been away for a couple nights at a time since you were born, but this month chained together a boating trip, Apple’s developer conference, and then a few extra nights in San Francisco with Mama to have a weekend together before your baby sister arrives this fall.

FaceTime with Daddy

FaceTime with Daddy

As fun as it’s been taking in the week and a break away from butt wiping, any time I see parents and kids together I wish I had you along. You’re a pretty chill little guy to hang out with most of the time, and whenever I see something new or cool my first thought is always “C would love this!”. I was surprised how much this got to me especially on Father’s Day seeing all the dads and their boys having fun in the city.

I hope you’ve been having a blast with Papa and Grandmama back home. Even though I feel bad not being able to spend Father’s Day with you, I’m really glad you got to have a special day with Papa in its place. We checked in a couple of times and heard all about your adventures looking for surprises by the creek with your new backpack and map, going to the park, and lots of tasty meals. It sounds like you’re being such a big boy with them, and we’re so proud of you.

When we called you on FaceTime yesterday I could tell your little heart was really starting to miss us. Instead of the usual distracted running around, showing off, and ready to “push the button” (end the call) as soon you could move onto something else fun, you kind of stood there gazing at us, not wanting to move. When Grandmama tried to have you push the button you were like, “nope”, and “no push the button either”. We finally did break away against your sobbing protests but it left us with some heavy hearts for the rest of the morning.

We’re packing up our things now, heading out for a last day of fun, and then will home to be with you tonight. We found all sorts of surprises you’ll love and are planning to soak up the whole day with you tomorrow. Thanks for being such a brave little man spending the weekend without us! I know you never want us to be away for too long, but I hope a little bit of practice will make it easier when we have to once in awhile when baby sister comes along.

Miss you tons and we’ll see you tonight!

Love,
Dada

Soaking Up the Summer

Dear BabyBird,

I’m doing everything I can to soak up this last summer with you having us all to yourself. I know it’s crazy to put it that way since you’re only two years old, but it’s really starting to sink in just how much busier and different things are going to be when your little sister arrives in the fall. I absolutely love how much fun you are at this age, now potty trained, still sleeping and napping like a pro, and so full of energy for all our family adventures. Whether we’re doing things with Mama or you’re just buddied up with me for a quick run or time at the piano it’s always my favorite part of the day. Don’t get me wrong; I’m super excited to have another little one and do this all over again (yes, really!), but there’s a little part of me constantly hoping we have squeezed in every moment we possibly can with an only child because, well, you’re pretty awesome.

daddy3

We can tell that you’re excited to meet our new family member when she arrives, even if you don’t know quite what to expect. We’ve been building up the fact that Mama has a baby in her belly for quite awhile, and since we learned it’s a girl you’ve been proudly telling anyone who asks that not only is there a baby in Mama’s belly, but it’s “my baby sister”. You’ve even been practicing taking great care of your doll who now gets your favorite blankie and a lego toy tucked in on the rocking chair in the nursery before you go to sleep each night, and snacks of milk or juice during the day.

Even beyond our growing family and all that we’re doing to prepare for it, your curiosity and understanding of the world around you has really been blossoming. Ever since you feel in love with reading Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site we’ve been driving and running past construction sites near our neighborhood, stopping to watch the progress, and spot what Bulldozer or Excavator are up to. One day we went by and the piles of dirt were flat and a neighborhood had finally started to go up, and you pointed with amazement, telling me “Excavator built a house!”

You’re also starting to really have preferences for favorite activities and not only ask for them, but want to play or do them a certain way based on what you’ve learned at school or in one of your weekly classes. We started playing hide and seek sometime last year and you’ve quickly gone from running around following me as I hide to counting patiently with your eyes closed and then making a methodical search of the premises (so I’m having to really put some effort into hiding!), and when hide I’m amazed how quiet and still you can stay just knowing it’s part of the game (especially considering you’re otherwise bouncing off the walls most of the time!).

You’ve also become even more particular (if such a thing is possible) about where your things are put and are quick to correct us if anything is out of place. The other night I left a book on the piano, we walked upstairs to bed, got ready, and as you were about to lay down started waving your hands saying something about “book… piano… AWAY”. Yep, you remembered, and we had to go down and put it away properly before you’d go to sleep. This actually does work in our favor most of the time as you’re great at putting things away (once you focus on it) and like to keep your stuff organized. Just like Mama. And me.

daddy

You even named your beloved toy dinosaurs that you got for your birthday to make sure we could address them separately without any confusion. They are: Big One (the appointed leader who often gets a special home on the piano bench rather than put away on the shelf), ‘Ceratops (your special pal based on our many visits to the giant triceratops at the Boulder Museum of Natural History, who now sometimes accompanies you to nap or elsewhere around the house), T-Rex (yep), Green Teeth (self explanatory), Aah Meh (I don’t know, don’t ask), Dinosaur (in your defense, he does look like a pretty stereotypical dinosaur), and we just recently added Stegosaurus.

We’re also starting to see more assertions of power, and they are pretty hilarious. For some reason most of these seem to center around meals; one night I’d taken your plate away after too much playing but naively left your milk behind, and as I was about to dump the plate in the sink you grabbed that milk with lightning speed and held it silently at arm’s length in front of you, over the exposed floor, not saying a word but looking straight at me with a grin – daring me to dump that plate and see what happens – and I admit, causing me to slowly step back towards you and defuse the situation. Well played, son. Even better is when I’ll accidentally make the tiniest sound with my fork on a plate – you know, the kind you make when you’re eating like an adult – and you’ll assert loudly “No banging, Dada. I’ll take it away.” Mama thinks it’s great.

But she doesn’t escape it either; since she does nearly all the cooking you love to play games with what you like and don’t like, even though you honestly love and eat pretty much anything she cooks. One night after she made some super tasty calzones with all kinds of wonderful filling, and some pasta sauce for dipping on the side, you simply took your spoon and proclaimed “I love tomato soup!”, scarfing the sauce down bite by bite while the calzone sat untouched. You also have a favorite phrase, “phone minute cooks?”, which is shorthand for Mama should let you do something on an iPhone for a minute while she cooks for you. But if it’s not clear you’re also happy to just command “Mama cook my breakfast” when she hasn’t even said good morning yet, or as we’re leaving for a run, “Mama cook my dinner” so she doesn’t forget.

And whatever you’re doing, it still has to be “BY SELF”, and we’ve restarted many a task from going up the stairs from the bottom to re-putting on shoes or a jacket to re-sitting on the potty because we helped you too much and you had to do it completely unaided. Other than occasionally making things take twice as long as they need to though, this is actually pretty great. It means you’re also fearless and will try anything, from the hardest climbs at the playground to showing off by yourself at the piano.

You’ve just recently started actually sitting at the piano with me again on a regular basis again (as opposed to running around singing and dancing while I play, which is also fine!), and I’ve started doing some really basic music games as part of our daily fun. I’ll play notes quietly, loudly, or medium and you’ll repeat them, or we’ll echo different rhythms with counting, or do some really basic tunes like Twinkle Twinkle, Mary Had a Little Lamb, or Chopsticks together. I’m just glad you’re still so engaged with it and happy to go at whatever pace you’d like to keep it fun. The other day while I was at work, Mama said you sat down by yourself and were playing the same games with Big One the dinosaur so he could learn them too.

piano

I think you’re starting to really share in our sense of humor a bit too, and it’s made for some great unexpected laughs at the phrases you manage to put together for us. When we told you over and over that you were getting a surprise and we finally gave it to you (wrapped), asked what you thought it was, you rolled your eyes and said, very slowly, “… a surprise?”. Or when we gave you a new flavor of ice cream and were like “oh wow, this is so good, what do you think it tastes like?” your reply was just “… ice cream?”. Some of it is getting mirrored back from us though; one phrase you’ve heard around the house (usually when you do something completely nuts) is “oh my god!”, and you’ve blurted out a couple great “OH MY GOD, MAMA!” when something takes you by surprise. I guess there are worse things to pick up! Knock on wood, you don’t seem to have intentionally picked up any really bad words from anyone yet (though you’ve said quite a few things that sure sounded like they might be until we asked for clarification!). You’re able to pick up on the things we say to each other and use them against us, too. Mama always lets either of us know when she thinks we need a haircut, and you’ve figured it out. When I had to run some errands the other day and told you I’d be back soon, you looked up above my face and with a slight cringe added “haircut too, Dada?” Thanks for the heads-up.

My favorite favorite moment that you’ve put into words yet is one you managed to learn from Mama, yet still totally caught me by surprise with. We were having breakfast before work and school, and I’d made you one of your favorite smoothies – after letting you pick all the ingredients (and preferred final color), of course – and I was just smiling at you sitting there, slurping it down, nodding “yes” to if it was good because you didn’t want to stop for air. When you finally did take a break, you looked right at me, smiled, and said “Break my heart, Dada.” I loved it so much not just because I could tell exactly what you were feeling, but because it’s something I never say; you’d only heard it from Mama to you so many times, and all by yourself connected that feeling from her to something I always do for you that felt worthy of it. It sounds like a little thing, but it made me happy all day.

Let’s make sure the summer doesn’t go by too fast!

Love,
Daddy

 

Toddler Power

toddler

Dear BabyBird,

We’re starting to see some really strong-willed (and still mostly adorable) attitude out of you! Right on the heels of so much speech you’re now eager to tell us exactly what to do, stand your ground on things that really matter (everything?), and even make some really creative jokes.

One of the first commands we started getting is SELF. This comes out when you’re doing anything from climbing the stairs to sitting down for lunch to putting something away. If we start to help you, you’ll quickly say “Self” and if we accidentally – or intentionally – do it for you anyway, you’ll wave your arms frantically bleating “Self! Self! Self!”, go all the way back (or take the thing back) to exactly where you started, and do it all by yourself from there. But at least you’re getting tons of practice doing things all by yourself!

You’re also getting pretty determined to get up in the morning – or end your nap – whenever you see fit. You’ll stand up and yell “Mama, c’mere!” or just “ALL DONE NAPPING!”, and when we finally drag ourselves into the room follow up with “No more napping either. Downstairs.” Speaking of which, you’re entirely too obsessed with the word either. You add it on to the end of every random thing for emphasis, and it doesn’t even make any sense!

crib

Which brings us to yet another topic: humor. When I tell you something doesn’t make any sense, you smirk and say “Two cents”. Like I really need your two cents! You also intentionally swap the wrong words into songs or sentences and will laugh uncontrollably when we do it in return. And when you’ve done something silly or outright naughty you’ll call it out with “Hee hee…”, so very aware of – and delighted by – the mischief you’re making.

The only time this gets incredibly tiring is during meals when we just can’t get you to focus and eat, but it’s usually only at home, when both of us or there, or if you’re not very hungry. For some reason when it’s just you and me you’re actually very well behaved at meals, just sitting and eating and imitating me, but the presence of two parents seems to turn it into one big circus. We’re working on that.

You’ve also started pulling off some great surprises on us. One night at dinner I said I was going to take your plate away and you babbled what sounded like “Adios!”, which made Mama do a double take and ask “What?!”. So with a grin you immediately belted out the entire Itsy Bitsy Spider in Spanish (complete with the usual hand motions), which we’ve never done with you or seen before. Apparently you did it at school and just wanted to show it off all perfect and polished. You were so proud and we mostly stared, speechless, happy and mind-blown, for a few seconds before offering a huge high-five for an awesome job!

You also figured out how to go into Contacts on an iPhone, swipe through people to find Daddy, Grandmama, or Papa, find the FaceTime button, and call them… which was hilarious when I got a call upstairs in the bathroom from you ready for me to come down for breakfast, and randomly saying hi to grandparents in the middle of the day. While we don’t spend a lot of time on electronic devices yet, you’ve still managed to picked up how they work wicked fast and love showing it off.

face

One other thing you’ve just started doing – which couldn’t have arrived more appropriately – is apologizing unprompted. When you hit, kick, bite, or anything else far beyond the rules we usually ask you to apologize, and the other day you did it all by yourself. You’d hit me out of frustration – not hard, but definitely not playing – and I said that really hurt and that I was sad. As I was walking away I was about to ask you to apologize and you came right up to me and said “Sorry for hitting, Dada” and offered up a hug. It’s wonderful to see you picking up on these things and being such a little gentleman!

You’ve also been great at handling other kids doing these things in public – like when someone hits or pushes on the playground – usually yelling a stern “NO HITTING!” and maybe fussing a little, but not doing it back to them! You even went so far as to give your Cuddly Bear a timeout when he did something wrong (what, I’m not sure), which was creepy but also made us glad you were handling his behavior with such patience!

Finally, you’re trying so hard to be like me it almost hurts. You love following me around, repeating anything I say, mimicking the exact same gestures I make, and walking around in my shoes – literally. You stop my heart on a daily basis with just how much you look up to and adore me at this age, and I’m trying really hard to be worthy of it. You’ve even started asking for chai to drink after we play outside or go for a run, and will happily drink one made with decaf Bhakti (super gingery strong stuff made fresh in Boulder) “just like Daddy”. I love seeing little bits of my personality keep coming out in you and I think it just about kills Mama how much we look and act alike sometimes. Don’t grow up too fast!

Love,
Daddy