I wonder whether I’d have done a better job chronicling your babyhood if you, like Nuala, had been born when I was in grad school, or if you’d still get short shrift as the second child of parents with too much to do all the time. I suppose we’ll never know; however, I can assure you that the lack of documentation means nothing about how much we treasure you every. single. day. There is simply too much goodness and delight to even begin to capture in words or photos or videos.
So I might as well begin anywhere.
The other day, I had gone upstairs when Daddy had fixed you a snack. I heard some things hit the floor, followed by a warning of a timeout, followed by more things hitting the floor, followed by a cry that was a bit too forced to be genuine upset. I came downstairs to find you on the bottom step (your timeout spot) trying to moan convincingly. I sat down beside you and asked what happened.
“Did you throw something?”
“No. Daddy.” [You looked at Daddy, whose face said, “I don’t think so.”]
“Did Daddy throw something?”
“Daddy threw something?”
“Weh.” [Pause] “Bebe.”
“Did you throw something?”
“You’re not supposed to throw things, are you?”
Satisfied that you’d reached the resolution phase of our conversation, I suppose, you got up from your step. I asked you to say you were sorry, and you went to hug his legs and lay your head on his knee, and we were done. It may not look like much until you get some experience with toddlers, but it’s pretty typical of how complex our conversations have become. You still use one word at a time, but you string them together in a sequence that makes sense logically and syntactically. “Wah. Go?” for “Where did Nuala go?” and “I dot!” (I got it!) when you’ve found something you’re looking for, and “In nyeh!” for “[Put X] in here,” like “There’s milk in my cup. Put juice in there instead, would you please?”
When you’ve communicated something clearly and get what you were asking for, you’re thrilled! You literally laugh out loud. And when you don’t get what you were asking for, you are apoplectic. It’s a very special age that involves not only new intellectual powers but also enhanced physical powers. You can curl your limbs around anything to prevent me from picking you up and transporting you to the bath, from the bath, onto the changing table, out of your seat, into your seat, and so on. There are bloodcurdling screams alternating with red-faced breathless sobbing. We do what we can to talk you through roadblocks without provoking these brief fits, but this is 2, man. It’s real.
You adore your sister and she adores you, most of the time. You want to play with–or at least near–her and the big kids next door, and she and those kids are more patient than anyone could hope for them to be, so it usually works out brilliantly. We run into snags from time to time, though, like when Nuala closes her door or someone has gone into the bathroom without your say-so and left you behind. That exchange usually sounds like this:
Me: “T, I have to use the bathroom”
Me: “Honey, I want to use the bathroom alone.”
Same goes for “I’m going to take out the trash,” or “I’m going to run to the store,” or “I need to go upstairs and get something.” “Meee!” You expect to come along everywhere, which is great most of the time, but sometimes a parent wants to use the bathroom without an audience.
All that said, I love that you and your sister are our regular companions, our buddies. I’m exhausted by it, and I hope I hope I hope you don’t remember me as The Mom Who Was Always Tired, but I really do love it, and I love it every day a little more because of all the new things you can do with me, with each other, and by yourself.
These past two years have been challenging in ways I wish they’d rather not been (we’ll tell you stories when you get older about bats and home projects and the effects of challenges placed on the relationships of full-time working parents), but you, and your sister for that matter, have been pretty constant sources of joy. Thanks for being awesome, and keep it up. (As though you could do anything else.)