Monday, April 07, 2008

Letter to Swee'pea: 26 months

Dear Swee'pea:

Today you are 26 months old. Your favourite phrase this month is "My did it!" which can mean either, "I did it!" if delivered with a huge smile and preceded by "Yay!" or "I do it!" if delivered petulantly with a deeply wounded look. If I don't heed your wishes to do something yourself, you protest loudly, "No, MY!" You insist on doing almost everything yourself these days, even things you can't actually do yet. It's exciting to watch you master new skills, like putting your clothes and pyjamas on yourself, and to see your pleasure in them, but it's also excruciatingly slow.

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Mostly, I've been pretty good about relaxing and letting you do these things yourself, if I do say so myself (it helps that we're all sleeping better, although we still have some pretty annoyingly sleepless nights). But we've had a few standoffs when you weren't able to do what you wanted to, but as soon as I tried to lend an unotrusive hand, you'd start screaming and slapping my hand away. Last week when I picked you up from daycare, you insisted on strapping yourself into your carseat. This is something that your dad and I can barely do, and you most certainly do not have the dexterity or strength to push those clasps together. So you grabbed onto one of the clasps and held it uselessly for a minute until I tried to gently guide your hand to put it into the clippy thing. You were having precisely none of that. You screamed and arched and wept over my help. I tried to take advantage and strap you in when you weren't looking but you busted me and just fought harder. Finally, you settled down and grabbed a clasp again, and again I got sick of standing in the cold parking lot and tried to help you get the job done, and again you screamed. And screamed.

A few other parents arrived, went into the building, got their children dressed, came back out and put them (quietly) into their cars and left, and you were still screaming, and not strapped in. I realized I had to be the parent. I had no choice but to force the straps over you and into their clasps. I mean you were screaming nonstop by this point anyways. So I wrestled your loud and squirmy body and got those straps done up.

When we got home, you were ok until we got to the front door. You insisted on opening the door yourself. Now you'd been opening the inside door for a while (with a small helpful nudge from my finger), which pushes inward. But you hadn't before attempted the outside door, which opens out towards us. You were adamant though. So you reached up on your tippy-toes to grab the handle, and just managed to wrap your hand around it. Then you pulled, but you'd had to stand so close to the door to reach the handle that your boot was preventing it from moving even an inch. You pulled harder in your frustration, to no avail. When I pulled you a little away from the door, you screamed and wept: "No, Mama!" You tried again and again and again, all with the same unsuccessful result. That door would not budge with your boot in the way. Eventually I managed to convince you to let me open the outside door if you could open the inside door, and you agreed to that. (We make a lot of deals these days.)

Since then, you've figured out how to open the outside door and you seem to have agreed to let me take care of the carseat straps. As long as I let you climb up and down into the seat AND close the car door when you get out. Every time you close a door, you always pull on the handle and declare it locked: "Dot."

Despite the tantrums (and there have been a fair number - last week, two of your daycare reports said you had to be reminded to use your words when you're angry and frustrated instead of just screaming), you remain a lovely boy. When I bring your juice or put food down in front of you, you always say thank you (doodoo, Mama). You say excuse me (me me) when I'm in your way. You bring me imaginary tea and snacks. You're not so big on please, in fact you're prone to bellowing your demands requests for food so loudly (of which there are many -- you have a very hearty appetite) that I wonder if I'm living with an ogre. But then you'll run full tilt to me and give me a big hug and I see that you're all sweet, two-year-old boy.

I've been so sick in the last month that I've discovered you quite enjoy watching cooking shows with me when I'm too tired to cook supper and your dad's not home yet. I also quite enjoy the cuddle and opportunity just to chill. When the commercials come on, you call out for the other cooking show (nana deedee do). You love it when the chefs use blenders or mixers.

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We went to Grandma and Grandpa's for Easter, and you were slow to warm up to the easter egg hunt. It was so cold and snowy that the village had to move its hunt, which is usually on the library lawn, into the church basement. Because there weren't really any hiding places in the gymnasium they just kept chucking the little foiled eggs across the floor. The other kids were crazy for chocolate, running everywhere. Every time you went near an egg, an older kid would swoop in and take it away without even a backwards glance. It was quite frenetic, but once we started sheltering the odd egg here and there from the other kids, you got into picking it up and putting it into your toque (we forgot to bring a basket for you - can you tell we're newbies?).

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The Easter Bunny came in for a bit but you didn't want anything to do with him. We also had a slower easter egg hunt at Grandma and Grandpa's home the next morning and you liked that better, I think. You especially loved that the Easter Bunny brought you your very own stuffed Big Bird (you're still addicted to Big Bird Goes to China). He's now replaced your leopard as number one sleeping companion.

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All in all it was an exciting weekend that you capped off by vomiting on the floor during dinner, right before we left. Poor little tyke. You'd had a stomach bug the week before, and we thought you were finally recovered, but I guess all the excitement got to you.

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I'm loving this age you're at. I love that everything is big to you. You say bye bye to the big school (bee doo) and we get into the big car. If we're lucky we'll see a big garbage truck (bee bobo da), big tractor (bee dada), or - if you're really lucky - a big fire truck (bee doda). Anything not big is yours. Your cousin is My Zoe (MA dee), I'm your mama (MA mama), your dad's your dada (MA dada). Today when I picked you up from school, you even declared a little girl my Lindsay (MA Deedee).

Last night I got a little lump in my throat when I folded your little clothes (which are nearly too small now), thinking about how much I enjoy having you in my life, seeing the sun glint off your eyelashes and illuminate your blue eyes, watching you lumber around in your boots that are a little too big, triumphant at having put them on all by yourself, even if they are on the wrong feet. Your dad and I exchange many significant looks over you, looks that say it is so good, so right, to be here in this moment, in this family.

I've become one of those annoying parents who beams at their child's shenanigans, the antics that probably annoy everyone else, the kind who thinks the sun shines from their child's posterior. But I figure, if your parents don't think you're the most special person on the planet, who will?

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Love always and forever,
Mum

7 comments:

Aliki2006 said...

Oh, gorgeous as ever. I know what you mean about that lump in the throat! And don't apologize for being the kind of doting parent who revels in their child's very being--that's parenthood, isn't it, and how could we do anything else?

Beck said...

He is SUCH a beautiful boy.
I love that age of child too - and the good news is that they really do go on getting more and more fun.

Julie Pippert said...

Your letters are so beautiful, and your photos too. What I love about how you photograph (in general) is the obvious emotional connection. You talked about that on your other blog, too, right? Well it REALLY shines through in photos of your son. The photos are simply Love. Gorgeous.

Bon said...

i think it's good to have parents who believe you are amazing and fascinating. and Swee'pea clearly does...plus a whole readership who dote on him. i love these letters, Sin.

Mimi said...

Exactly what I've been feeling: contented, because it's so good, so right, even if 'me do it' and even if tantrum. Sunlight on eyelashes, and hugs: that's where it's at.

niobe said...

Is it okay if I say that he looks (at least to me) impossibly grown up for 26 months -- almost more like a little boy than a toddler.

nomotherearth said...

What beautiful, beautiful photos of Swee'pee.