You turned 19-months-old today. Just in the past few weeks it seems like that magic little switch has been flipped inside of you – that one where you suddenly become kind of a functioning and coherent member of the family. It’s almost like you’re communicating with deliberation and some kind of intent. This is awesome because it affords us all countless new opportunities to interact with you.
Most notably in your newfound communication style is the drawing out of syllables, specifically in the word “more.” When you first learned this word, it was easy enough as you would say “mo” as you tapped your fingers together to give us the universal sign for more, which invariably meant more food. Now, it might be because you’re experimenting in your vocabulary, or it’s just the southern coming out in you, but the word has become three very distinct syllables: “MOOOO EEEEE YAAAH!” And “moo-eee-yaah” generally applies to most everything. You like to walk up to the closed refrigerator, point to the door and say, “moo-eee-yaah,” and the same goes for the pantry. Just this past week you learned that you really like dried prunes and apricots, so you get a kick out of retrieving the bags of dried fruit from the pantry, bringing them to your mom or me and saying “moo-eee-yaah” until we concede. This is also the case with the Halloween candy. We used to hide the Halloween candy in the lower kitchen cabinets and, while we have toddler-proof cabinet locks, you were able to open the cabinet door enough to look inside, see the trough of candy and say, “MOO-EEE-YAAH!!!” And as if saying it isn’t cute enough, you also look us dead in the eyes with your little orange eyebrows raised as if to imply, “hey, why not?! Give me one good reason why this isn’t the most awesome idea ever!”
One of my favorite things is that you seem to have figured out that I’m Daddy. You know “mama” for mom, and “mia” for Maly, and “meow” for the cats, and I used to be “mama” as well. But just recently you said, “hi Daddy,” so I think you’re finally putting two-and-two together and realizing who’s the one who’ll actually give you moo-eee-yaah Halloween candy.
You still have an undying fascination with airplanes. I’m more conscious of their overhead existence, but you catch each and every one that passes over. And I know exactly what you’re talking about when you say “ah-pane.” I envy this fascination, and I hope it, or something equally fascinating and something that adults otherwise take for granted, sticks with you. And airplanes are a pretty cool thing in which to take an interest.
Watching television is “hup-bah?” This is after a couple Saturdays past that I’ve excitedly asked you, “do you want to watch Texas football?!” So, “hup-bah?” is “football,” which equates to turning on the picture machine in the living room. Either way, it’s cute. You’ll sit down next to me on the love seat and look at the television set. You have no idea what’s going on, but I’m sure the scattered motion is interesting enough to watch. Invariably you’ll get bored however, and you’ll let yourself down off of the couch and find something to play with on the floor.
It still baffles me a bit, but you’re totally okay with going to bed. If your mom and I ask if it’s time for you to go night-night, you’ll nod your head and say, “night night.” And putting you to bed involves a bit of a ritual. For me, I’ll lay you down in your crib, lean over the railing and give you a kiss. Of course you’ll already have your Ghost Bear, and then we’ll have to put on your socks (you lift your feet into the air for this part), and then we turn off the lights and say “whoa!” at the glow in the dark stars on your ceiling. And when we get you up and out of your crib in the morning or after a nap, you’ll turn, point at your crib and tell us, “night night,” so we know where night night is.
You get so excited and serious about the words and ability to communicate with us now, and I’m excited to see you grow, learn and develop the ability to communicate even more. And while it’s exciting, it’s scary and a bit saddening because it means you’re growing up too damn fast. Slow down, squirt!
I love you, Mars.
We have birthday parties to attend this weekend. And they’re not our birthday parties, nor our friends’ birthdays. This weekend we have a series of birthday parties for little kids. I was reflecting this morning on when we were those parents, subjecting our friends and acquaintances to our child’s birthday party. Two weeks before our oldest’s first birthday, we’d sent out the invitations, we have the decorations and theme all coordinated, we had matching plates, plastic silverware, cups, napkins, streamers, balloons, pinwheels, and even flowers, planted in pots that we’d painted to match the party’s theme. It was ridiculous and time consuming. The night before the party, we had guests and family at our house from out of town. My wife was up until 3 a.m., working feverishly on our daughter’s first birthday cake. While I didn’t stay up quite as late, I was charged with making sure that camera batteries were charged and ready to record every riveting second of the festivities.
I think we put on a good first birthday party for our daughter. Our guests feigned enthusiasm. They ate pizza and cake. Our daughter ate pizza and cake. We sang the Happy Birthday song and told everyone about how quickly a year goes by when you have a child, like we were the only man and woman team on earth to experience and endure raising a child through its first year.
And for our second child’s first birthday, which occured this past April, the four of us sat at our kitchen table, and clapped as we watched her eat spaghetti noodles and a single piece of cake that we bought for her that afternoon at the grocery store.
Our second child’s first birthday festivities lasted eight minutes. Maybe. And we’re yet to watch the three hours of video footage from our oldest daughter’s first birthday party.No comments
You turned 18-months-old today. You’re now a year and a half old. It’s amazing and scary how quickly a year and a half can go by. And it’s even more amazing how much you’re capable of growing, changing and learning in only a month. Your vocabulary continues to grow and evolve. You know most of the vowels now. You know all of the parts of the face, head, hands, fingers, toes and that the cat is not a cat but a “meeeew.” You’re very polite and know when and how to say “thank you.” When you’re eating, you’re very good about letting us know when you want “more” and when you’re “all done.” You’re still very fascinated by airplanes. Every one else in the family is trying to do a better job of being cognizant of when a plane is overhead. You’re doing a great job of saying, “ah-pay!” whenever you hear that subtle roar in the sky. I went to the toy store a couple weeks ago and bought you a toy airplane. It’s somewhat of a babyish airplane, and it’s not the one I was wanting to get for you. I want to get a die-cast scale model commercial airliner airplane for you. I think that’s what you’re looking for. We’re going to be flying to Boppa and Gran’s for Christmas this year. I wonder if you’ll understand and appreciate that you’ll be on an “ah-pay” this time.
I think your biggest milestone this month is your ability to run. It’s not very graceful, or straight, but your ability to get from point A to B faster is being honed. I think this is because you’re trying to keep up with your sister, or maybe the cat. Another cute thing is the “fast feet” thing you’ve started to do in the evenings when your mom or I are putting on your pajamas. You like to stand on our bed and kind of jog in place. If you’re doing it to me, I’ll laugh, move my head in closer to you while you’re doing “fast feet,” and then, invariably, I’ll gently push your belly so you lose your footing and fall backward. And then you get up and we start all over again. You like this game because you keep laughing. I like this game because I keep thinking that you’re training to be a running back.
And I’d say the most awesome quality that is continuing to grow with you is your sense of affection. I’ll find myself standing in the kitchen when all of the sudden, out of nowhere, I’ll look down to find you bear hugging my leg. Or we’ll be sitting on the floor or couch and you’ll randomly throw your arm around my neck and give me a big hug. Or when I’m carrying you, you’ll sometimes just put your head down on my shoulder. And what makes these random acts of loviness so awesome is that they are so random yet so perfectly timed.
Please don’t ever let go of that loving side. The opposite of love is fear, and life’s too short to live in fear. And especially don’t let go of that loving side with me. One day, whenever you’re a parent, you’ll understand how much it means for your child(ren) to love and care for you.
Just do me a favor and never stop being you. You’re adorable in every sense of the word and if you stayed this small, innocent, lovable and were only able to maintain your current 14% English language proficiency level, well, I’d be totally fine with that.
I love you, Mars.
You turned 17-months old today. I’m afraid to blink or turn around for fear that I’ll turn back and you’ll be 17-YEARS old. You’re my reminder that life happens very fast, moments are fleeting, childhood is precious, and that cooked rice is much, much better tucked inside furniture crevices.
This month has brought with it your new ability to string two words together in something that almost resonates as conversational English. You’re starting to say things like: “All gone!” and “Thank you!”
One of the huge highlights for not only you, but the rest of your immediate family is that you’re finally sleeping through the night. And in your own room! For the first 16-months of your life you slept with your mom and me. Your mom transitioned you to a bed in your own room last week. I think for the first few nights you would wake up, cry out, and your mom would spend the rest of the night in your room with you. And now, ever since then, you sleep through the night in your very own room. It wasn’t until a couple days ago that I really took notice of this new and welcome change in our house.
used to keep us awake every night for over a year?”
“Yes, dear. That was our second child. She’s been sleeping in her own room for two weeks now.”
“Oh. How nice.”
Part of our evening ritual before putting you to bed is to take you into your sister’s room to say goodnight. Many years ago I covered your sister’s ceiling with little glow in the dark stars. While I’m usually reading a Harry Potter book to your sister at the time, we’ll turn out the lights momentarily so you can see the stars on her ceiling. And with this you indulge us all in a “WHOA!” You apparently get a kick out of glow in the dark stars. I promise you I will get you your own stars for your room.
And when you wake up in the morning, you’re programmed to usually be in a good mood, and to be very observant of your surroundings. You like to look and point at everything for which you have a name – BOOK - BIRD – FAN – BABY! You’ve also become quite astute at standard animal noises. You know “meow,” “woof,” ”moo,” and little noises like a chirp for a bird, hiss for a snake and a smacking sound for a fish.
You’ve taken a keen interest in dogs these days. When I get home from work, I like to take you outside and we’ll just hang out and play or talk in the front yard. There are always folks out walking their dogs, so when you see one, you like to rush over to the sidewalk or to the edge of the driveway and excitedly point, wave, look back at me and say “WOOF! WOOF!” And I’ll acknowledge you and say, “yeah, that’s a woof!” And you’ll maintain your genuine enthusiasm until the woof has passed by with his owner. And then you’ll either blow a kiss or say, “bye bye” while waving.
And something that I’ve taken for granted and am guilty of not noticing are the airplanes. You apparently have a thing for airplanes. You notice them. You hear them before anyone else. And you can look up and excitedly spot an airplane 4 miles up in the sky and say, “whoa!” and “plane!” It’s really cute and bewildering at the same time. Like I said, I guess I’ve just taken airplanes for granted. And maybe they’re just a novel concept for you – but maybe they’re not. Maybe you have a natural affinity for planes and flight.
And shoes. You definitely have a natural affinity for shoes. It’s ridiculous. Cute, but ridiculous.
I love you more that you can imagine. I love every fleeting moment and am blessed to have you in my life to remind me that life is so precious and short. Now Please stop growing up so fast.
I love you, Sugar.
First day of school today:
First day of 1st Grade last year:
First day of Kindergarten 2 years ago:
First day of school 3 years ago:
First day of school 4 years ago:
First day of school 5 years ago:
You turned 15-months-old today. This month was chock-full of milestones, the most significant being that it was your first time to California and DISNEYLAND! And, of course, you’re not going to remember anything from Disneyland, so you’re probably going to want to go back at some point. Well, tough. We’ve already been there and done that. Sorry you were born when you were. We have some photos that you can look at later in life. I jest. Of course we’ll go back at some point. While you’re too young to remember most of what we did while in California, I think you had a good time. But you also have a good time eating bugs and pooping in the bathtub.
So this month we went to southern California. You were able to spend lots of time with your Aunt Lisa and Uncle Ron and Aunt Terri and Uncle Craig. We all went to Legoland, the San Diego Zoo, Disneyland, California Adventure and the beach. While the adults and big kids were able to ride the big rides, you had fun in the toddler and little kid sections of the parks, the merry-go-round at Disneyland and the Little Mermaid ride at California Adventure. And of course the zoo was a great experience for you, and you were able to tell us all how every animal in the zoo says, “moooooo!”
Your new favorite word is “WOW!” It’s amazingly adorable when you say ‘wow’ because you do it with such genuine excitement and enthusiasm. You raise your eyebrows and truly enunciate the “W-O-W!”
This month you also got your 7th tooth. So you now have four on top and three on the bottom. These extra teeth help to accentuate your already adorable crooked smile.
This month you learned a handful of new words. You can now imitate the sound of a bear, dinosaur, dog, cat. You also can proudly say “hippo,” “turtle,” “baby,” and “cheese.” You love to carry around and take care of whatever baby doll you happen upon in the house. You’ll carry said baby around and let us all know that you have a baby. And you’ll usually carry your baby around affectionately while saying, “baby baby baby baby baby” until you get bored or distraction, which will cause you to just drop the baby and leave her where she fell.
Whatever you do and whenever you reach a new milestone in life, it’s just so stinking cute because you do it your little dainty and precious ways. You’ve carved out your own little niche in the family. You have your own little personality, voice and idiosyncrasies. Usually I wait until 18 months, but I’ll go ahead and say that we’re going to keep you. Welcome to the team, squirt. We all love you around here and we’re in it for the long haul with you!
I love you, Sug.
You turned 14-months-old today. At 14-months I think you’re finally figuring out the benefits of communicating. While you’re insistent on letting us know that every animal, human and inanimate objects says “moo,” you’ve also learned the sign for “more.”
You have also grow to appreciate and understand the value of kisses. You are now officially proficient and have excelled in the art of giving smooches and blowing kisses. When one of us can convince you to grace us with a kiss, you loudly do the whole “mwwwwah!” sound. And you’re very giving with blowing kisses to friends, family, strangers and moos alike, especially when ways are being parted.
There’s something that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned here: Ghost Bear. I don’t recall who gave him to you, but he is your security and comfort toy. Ghost Bear is a white teddy bear head on top of a soft, napkin-sized blanket which makes him look like a ghost bear, hence the name. You seek Ghost Bear whenever you’re tired, scared or sad and you always sleep with him. Yesterday I noticed how filthy he’d become. You usually snuggly closely with him. You’ll often gnaw on one of his ears. When he’s not needed, he’s on the floor, getting kicked around and stepped on. Your mom washed him yesterday and he went from a dingy grayish-brown to bright white again. I’m hoping you enjoy a cleaned Ghost Bear. As I’m typing this, you’re asleep in your crib with him. I wonder if he’ll be one of those things that’s hard to part with, or if he’ll be thrown out and forgotten in days soon ahead. It’s kind of sad to think of how a tangible thing that provides you with safety and comfort today might be lost and forgotten tomorrow. I might hang on to him forever for you.
Your interest in dolls has surfaced this month. When you’re not carrying around Ghost Bear, you’re usually lugging one of your sister’s dolls. You like to give your dolls kisses and tell us that your dolls say “moo!” You also like to try to carry two dolls at once, which is funny seeing how most of the dolls in our house are around the same height as you.
What else, what else. Ah, yes. You’ve also learned to sign for flower. To do this you wave your open palm in front of your nose and make a sniffing sound with your nose.
You’ve also learned to say “cat.” It actually comes out more like, “KAAAAAAAAA!!!” but you do acknowledge the existence of our cat. “Mara, where’s the kitty?”
This month has also brought you the ability to give fives, of the high and standard/low variety. We do high fives whenever you do something cool, like put mud in your ear or eat a bug.
And more recently you’ve taken to reciprocating my head nods. Usually while you’re sitting in your high chair or across the living room from me and we catch each others’ gaze, I’ll toss you a simple head nod where I’ll lift my chin in your general direction; you, in turn, raise your head high, and then drop your chin to your chest, and then up again. It’s very exaggerated, but cute nonetheless. And you don’t have to try hard to be cute.
I love you, Sug, more than you’ll ever know.
Ever since my dad died six years ago, Father’s Day has been pretty bittersweet. I never really liked Father’s Day when my dad was still alive. Nor did I like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. I’m not a big fan of the Greeting Card Company made up holidays. This is due mostly because I have healthy relationships with my family. But, you’re still supposed to show your appreciation for this special person on their special day in some way special.
I would usually get my dad a card, and then I would struggle to figure out some kind of present to get for him. My dad was such a practical man that frivolous gifts were just that, and I never wanted to clutter my dad’s life. So, that usually left me to buy him a bottle of scotch. I’d buy him a bottle of Dewars and a funny card that would cut the awkwardness that was me giving my dad a token of my love and appreciation.
I decided that this year I would’ve purchase a nice knife sharpening gadget for my dad. I don’t think I’ve ever considered a gift for my dad since he died. This year I thought it’d be nice if I provided him with a practical gift — something that I knew he’d use. I’d see a table-mounted, motor-powered, belt-sanding knife sharpener at the local world’s most foremost outfitter a few months ago and thought to myself, “man, dad would probably get a kick (and a lot of use) out of that thing.”
I probably would’ve bought that gadget for my dad. And he probably would’ve been sincerely appreciative of the thought. Hell, the thing might’ve actually worked alright in helping my dad to sharpen his knives. But it’d probably never sharpen a knife to a razor’s edge like my dad could do with an old wet stone and some elbow grease.
I don’t know why I’ve been thinking of all this, or why I’m compelled to write it here. I guess I’m just reminding myself of something that my dad might’ve told me. Something like, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing the right way.”
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you, and sure do miss you.2 comments
You turned 13-months-old today. You’re crowning achievement for this month has been that you have identified that all living and inanimate objects communicate by saying “moo.”
“Mara, what does the cow say?”
“What does Daddy say?”
“CAREFUL!! MOMMY’S COFFEE MUG IS HOT!!”
You have six teeth now. You put everything in your mouth. Your mom went to change your diaper last week and since you had a mouth full of something, she decided to investigate. You were storing a rock, an acorn and a roly poly. Everything goes in the mouth. Dirt, sticks, rocks, things of unknown origin and natural value, etc.
You walk fine now. In fact, you can walk at a fairly brisk pace now, especially if you’re after something that you’re going to stick in your mouth. You still walk with your elbows out at right angles from your body. I think this is still you just getting used to your balance.
You can now blow kisses. This is very exciting, especially after you call one of us a cow by saying, “moo.”
You love shoes. I think you’re the only person in this family who can love shoes as much as shoes can possibly be loved. The concept of walking is great in and of itself, but adding shoes to this experience only magnifies the greatness that is shoes.
I’d say the absolute greatest thing that you’ve managed to do this month is give hugs. You give the most awesome, deliberate and meaningful hugs. It’s so heartwarming and amazing to be a witness to uninhibited and genuine love. Please don’t ever lose touch with that part of yourself.
I love you, Sug.
“Having a 1-year-old is like living with a perpetually drunk person. She stumbles around everywhere, hugs random & inanimate objects, cries for no apparent reason, I can’t understand a damn thing she says, and when it’s time for the rest of us to go to bed, she wants to chat and laugh (at offensive volumes) about subjects that aren’t as compelling or important as she thinks they are, and then, invariably, she craps her pants.” –Josh Janicek, April 23, 2013