This was the first month that I almost didn't get your newsletter out on time, but I knew if I let myself slide just this once, the future of all precious monthly newsletters would be at risk. So it's 9:45 p.m. and I'm determined to stay awake to document your perfectness.
It's another hot DC summer, and you're bearing up well. We spend a lot of time at Westminster Park, playing in the fountains. You love the water most of the time, but your favorite part is the other kids - you just love to be around them. You made "friends" with a little 2.5 year old boy last week, and you literally followed him around - running behind him from end to end of the park. You are such a funny little man; you are often exuberant, independent, and outgoing. But around other kids you turn very quiet, somewhat timid, and are a definite "follower". I worry a bit about your future social skills, since your Mama was such a dud in that department. But I have faith in you; whatever and whoever you are, you just keep on doing it.
The love-affair with Bumper continues, with some minor changes. I got very tired of lugging the darn thing from place to place, watching it drag in the dirt behind you. So I took one of the two bumpers and cut the "tassles" off of the corners - you're allowed full access to Bumper inside the house, and are allowed to bring "little bumper" out of the house. I thought it would be a fight, but it's gone very smoothly. Here's a weird Nate note: when we're leaving the house you often try to bring Bumper. If I tell you "We're not bringing Bumper" you throw a holy fit. But if I just tell you "Can you put Bumper on your little seat?" you happily run across the room, lay it on your chair, and cheerfully leave the house without it.
You love to do little tasks around the house. You gleefully run into the kitchen to throw away anything I ask you to. When it's time to eat, I ask you to turn off the TV and get in your seat, and you [mostly] comply. You love to help us with projects, and tools, and tasks. Everyone thinks you have a really mechanical mind, and the word "engineer" comes up a lot when they watch you work. You are so far ahead on the physical milestones for your age - you run without falling, throw balls overhand, climb stairs...you really rock the milestone charts. Other than the talking stuff.
You are definitely talking more, but not a crazy amount. You just started putting two words together occasionally, so it's mostly one-word utterances. One big change: in the good old days, you were happy to call out "water" when we passed a fountain, or "airplane" when you saw one out of the car window. You called out "milk" when you wanted some, and "snack" when you were hungry. But now you have to get my attention before speaking a single word, and it goes like this:
Nate: Mama! Mama! Mama? Mama!
Mama: Yes, baby?
(32 seconds later)
Nate: Mama! Mama? Mama? Mama? Mama?
Mama: Yes, baby?
(17 seconds later)
Nate: Mama? Mama? Mama? Mama! Mama!
Mama: Really? You think so?
And so on. And on. And on. And on. And on and on and on. You have also stopped sleeping in the car on long trips, and were awake all the way to Charlottesville, and all the way back. Talking all the way. And 94% of everything you said started with Mama? Mama? Mama? By the end of each trip, your Daddy and I were giddy with exhaustion. Remember when you used to sleep in the car? You should start doing that again.
You are growing up so much, Natey. You went to your first proper birthday party last week for your friend Alita. It was also your first trip to Chuck E Cheese, and your Daddy's, too. You loved it all, but were a little wary of the huge dancing Chuck E. Or, as your Daddy put it, "I think he's a little freaked out by the big rat." After a few minutes of cuddling, you were off and running.
We spent the Fourth of July in Charlottesville with your Peepa and the Richmond crew. Your Daddy was so excited to take you on the big bike ride to Scottsville, and you did really well. You lasted over 12 miles on the bike, and then were ferried by Sag Wagon down to Scottsville.
Mama took this photo while she was following behind in the car:
Once we were down in Scottsville, we spent a few days there just the three of us. You ate your weight in watermelon, cantaloupe, and tomatoes. You swam and ran around naked a lot. You are still very worried about the chickens, and will hardly walk past their little house. You're normally pretty close to fearless, so we're not pushing you on this one - whenever you decide to be their friend, you''ll go ahead and do it. It was so nice for everyone to spend time together with no computers and no to-do lists.
You also got to drive for the first time.
We both love you so much, Natey.