Thursday, February 07, 2008

Letter to Swee'pea: Two Years!

Dear Swee'pea:

Today you are TWO years old! Or, as your daddy pointed out this morning, twice as old as you were last year, and that only happens once in your life.

This month you have been an utter treat. You have been much more agreeable, and, not incidentally, so have I. I'm not sure which of us is the chicken and the egg here. You've also been sleeping better, since we moved the Big Bed into your room. You've become suddenly more attached to your stuffed animals, where before the Big Bed it was really only your "baby" leopard who comforted you. Now you have your teddy bear (Dada Bo) and the other teddy bear (Nana Dada Bo) and your elephant (dteedtee) and a new armadillo (deedeedodo) that your daddy brought back from Texas last night. You fall asleep in the Big Bed, often by yourself after a cuddle with me or your dad, and sleep at least until 3 a.m. Then, when you call for me in the middle of the night, I tell you to come to my bed and you pitter patter your bare feet across the pine floor, and come bustling importantly up to my side of the bed, your arms full of whatever stuffed animals you could fit into them (usually your leopard and your big teddy bear). It is the most adorable night waking we've yet had the pleasure to witness.


I have a feeling that your trips into our bed will continue for a long time. I remember when I was a kid, any time I woke up in the middle of the night I also sought company. First it was in my brother's bed, then, maybe when I was four or five, I started going into my parents' bed until I was 12 or so. We don't mind your joining us, and even if I did, I could hardly refuse you knowing that I never liked being alone in the middle of the night either.

Sometime in the last month my Christmas-slash-birthday gift arrived for you, a photobook I made of the story of your trip to South Africa last year and the celebration of your first birthday over there. When it arrived I showed it to you right away and you were interested until I turned the first page and you saw yourself in the pictures and heard your name in the story. You got so upset you didn't even want to look at the book, and you got even more upset when I tried to look at it by myself. I was fascinated by the intensity of your reaction. I think you just couldn't handle seeing yourself in the storybook. After a couple of hours, you started asking to look at the book, which you call the other book (nana bo) or the Ezra book (dada bo). Now you love it, especially the part about riding the big airplane and seeing the lion.

I don't think I'm imagining a burgeoning interest in the visual representation of things. You love to draw and have filled up two big pads of paper since Christmas. I know I'm biased but you seriously know how to hold a crayon and you have far more control than I would expect. You can draw single lines and circles and make dots. You love to get daddy and I to draw for you and your favourite subject matter are Christmas trees and snowmen. You also like it when we draw flowers and butterflies. Your daddy's a much better artist than I am and he can draw elephants and dogs and cats. I can draw stick people and Christmas trees. You know all your colours now, with 100 percent accuracy, and your marked preference for blue socks continues more passionately than ever.

Apparently your artist's eye also turns to sculpture. The other night you were eating lasagne and a piece of bread and you were sort of playing with your large-ish pieces of bread. You started to laugh, and when I asked what you were laughing at, you pointed at the bread you'd laid on your tray and said Christmas tree (mama dee)! like it was the most hilarious thing in the world. Followed by more howling laughter from you. It really did bear a resemblance to a Christmas tree, although I thought it looked more like a mushroom, personally. But you don't like mushrooms, you even pick them out of lasagne looking mildly insulted that they would dare sully your plate and you won't eat any more until I remove the offending item from your tray, so I'm not surprised you didn't see a mushroom.

Hey look! Your hair is getting long enough to curl a bit.

Last weekend the three of us built a sort of a snowman. Your daddy was all keen (as were you) but when we got into the backyard we discovered that I was the only one with experience. Because your daddy grew up in a place with no snow, he's more than a little handicapped in these endeavours. He made up for his lack of expertise with pure enthusiasm, however as did you, and now you have to say hello to the snowman every morning and bye bye every night and every time we get ready to leave the house you say, "bye bye snowman" (ba ba mama). You were very upset the other night because he melted quite a lot in the day and one of his stick arms fell out and he'd shrunken considerably, and you kept lamenting, "Uh oh! Uh oh!" all night. Luckily, though, it snowed again that night and all the next day so now he's bigger, if rather softly defined.


You have learned so much in the last month or so. You can open the fridge and take out whatever you want (which is actually not such a good thing if you see pasta and I'm trying to get you to eat something else). Last night, I told your daddy that I was thinking we'd just have tortellini because it was easy and you went straight into the fridge and pulled out the package of tortellini (dohhhhhh nini) and handed it to me. You love to help feed the cat, retrieving her empty bowl from the floor for filling and the catfood can from the fridge for emptying.

Right now you are playing with your 'big blender' (bee nono), which is not a blender at all but the kind of toy that you drop balls into and it makes a funny sound, a toy you stopped using in its intended way months ago. You are stirring in the 'blender' with the stick that accompanied the xylophone you got from your Great Granny in South Africa, the one that, upon hearing it was a xylophone when you first opened it, you put up to your ear and queried "hello?" (wowo?). This morning, every once in a while you bellow proudly, "Tortellini!!!" (Nnnnooo nnnnnooooo nnnnooooo nini!) from in front of your big blender, even though you didn't actually eat much tortellini last night. Maybe you just like the sound of the word.

You have learned how to pick out a dvd, remove it from its case, open the dvd player, put the disc in and close it, to watch it. We don't have many kids' dvds, especially not within your reach, but this month you have become enthralled with Baby Einstein's Baby Signs (bebe na) dvd. You repeat all the words back to the tv and even do some of the signs. We haven't been especially fond of the Baby Einstein phenomenon but since you have initiated this yourself, we'll go along.

Your peekaboo tactics have become more sophisticated. Sometimes you will hide spontaneously behind the stroller or a curtain and wait for me to start looking for you. You've also started using your hands. Sometimes you play old school with a towel or a blanket, and none of seems to tire of the game. My favourite moments are the ones when you give yourself away with giggles but you don't seem to realize it and when you appear and I exclaim, "Oh there you are!" you laugh the heartiest of laughs.


You have also just recently learned to say, "Yeah!" instead of saying uh huh and nodding. You've made us guffaw at least a few times, with this new word. Once in the bathtub, I triumphantly enticed a huge boogie out of your nose and you said, "Ohhhhh Yyyeeeeah!" Then last night I commented on the puffiness of your diaper as we undressed you for the bath. I said, "Wow, is your diaper really that puffy?" and you replied, "Ohhhhh Yyyyeeeeah!"

You made me laugh again the other night when I asked you a question, some kind of clarifying question like "Did you say truck? Where do you see a truck?" and you answered, "umm... ummm... ummm" just like I do when I've lost my train of thought.

You've had your first telephone conversations this month, and your very first one was with your grandpa (Baba!). Now you've become an expert, talking to Grandma (Mama) and dada when he was in Texas. I don't know what they say to you but you get a huge sheepish and pleased grin on your face and you say things like "Yeah!" and "Bye bye" and something that approximates I love you (dudu).

You have also started saying okay ("Otay!"). I had no idea such an unassuming and ubiquitous word could be such music to my ears. Now, when I ask you to put the pots back in the cupboard or your crayons in the box, you reply, "Otay!" and you actually make an effort to put them away. It's absolute heaven to save the big battles for mittens. Of course, I'm sure next month will see another flip-flop, but I think we really needed this agreeable and and fun and joyful month after the last one. We've had lots of giggles, just like I wished for when I was pregnant.

The last two years have gone by shockingly quickly. It's hard to believe you were ever small enough to fit in my belly, although we have the pictures on the wall to prove it was so. I love that you can tell me what you want and I don't have to fumble with endless rounds of trial error. Of course your language isn't perfect and neither is my comprehension but it's so much better than those fearful days of infant uncertainty.

Love Always and Forever,


Lisa b said...

Happy Birthday Swee'pea!

Mad Hatter said...

That peek-a-boo shot is great. Well, they're all great. I also love the way you spell the words he's pronouncing--and that he can say tortellini instead of just noodle.

Happy Birthday, Swee'pea!

nomotherearth said...

Oh how I love these!

I had such a hard time when the Boy was learning to speak and I had no idea what he was saying.

Aliki2006 said...

I think I will sink into a depression when T. gets too old to come into our bed--I so love it.

Beautiful photos, beautiful boy. Happy Birthday to Swee'Pea!

Beck said...

What gorgeous, gorgeous photos. He's a lovely guy. I hope his birthday today is WONDERFUL.

Andrea said...

Happy Birthday, swee'pea!

Christine said...

2 years is SO BIG! happy birthday little one.

Running on empty

flutter said...

He is a doll

ewe are here said...

Lovely letter, and those pictures! Wonderful!

Happy Birthday, Swee'pea. I think you're going to like being two.

Nancy said...

Wow -- two already?!

Happy Birthday to Swee'pea!

niobe said...

Just gorgeous. Swee'pea and the photos.

Janet said...

Those photos, those eyes! Ooomph. He's gorgeous.

Happy birthday, little big boy.

crazymumma said...

Happy Birthday little guy. I hope to see some of your art online soon! Beautiful shots of him....

Bon said...

oh, sniff. he's really two?

i love these letters, Sin. happy belated, l'il Swee'pea!

Julie Pippert said...

Awwww! Happy Birthday!

(And belated note of congrats for making top 4 but sorry it wasn't number 1.)

em said...

Happy 2nd birthday darling boy!

zoom said...

He's a sweetheart. I love his eyes.

Jennifer said...

Happy 2nd Birthday, Swee'pea! Hooray!

Contrary to popular belief, two is really so much fun. (It's three you have to watch out for...) Those pictures are fantastic - I hope you have that last shot framed and up somewhere!

Omaha Mama said...

What gorgeous photos. And a lovely tribute.

Is the snowman still there? Be forewarned, I remember the winter my little girl was 2, she was mortified and heart-broken when that snowman melted one day while we were gone. So, so sad.

mamatulip said...

Oh, happy belated, beautiful boy!