Dear, Dear Nate,
This has been a very long month, and I'm full to bursting with things to tell you about yourself. I know we're enormously lucky to be able to say this, but so far your two-year-old self is a ton of fun to be around.
You've started to get a sense of humor, and have developed a funny little deep voice that you use to point out anything BIG. "The big peach" you growl as you take a bite, and you point to the "big giraffe" toy. We've enjoyed it so much that we use it now, pointing out the "big big poop" you had. We take our fun where we can find it, I guess!
You're becoming the master of your domain, ordering us around all day. "Play, Mama!" and "Help me, Mama!" are big ones, and the new one is "Get! Up!" when you want us to go somewhere with you. You were spending time with Grandma and Grandpa at their house last week, and Daddy drove to pick you up. He was chatting with Grandma while you were trying to get him to see the magnetic letters on the fridge that you'd been playing with. Evidentially he didn't pay the kind of attention that the letters on the fridge deserved. You demanded Daddy's hat, then his gloves, and then his jacket. You then took him by the hand, led him to the fridge, pulled him to the floor, and said "Play!" I assume he obeyed.
We stopped letting you have milk in your crib because it's just nasty. "Juice" only now (mostly water with a drop or two of apple juice, you don't seem to know the difference). The other night after your TV show, I was getting your things ready to go upstairs and went into the kitchen to make your juice. You asked me, very hopefully, "mukabuh?" We went back and forth a few times, me trying to figure out what the hell you were talking about and you repeating, very earnestly, "Mukabuh? MUKABUH?" I just couldn't get it. You finally stopped, looked at me, and very slowly said "MUK. BED." Ah, milk in bed. Got it. Answer is still no, but very good try.
We do spend a lot of time trying to figure out what you're saying these days, and we usually get it at some point. Sometimes I have to ask you to show me what you mean, and we wend our way to the right answer. When we finally do get what you're saying, you always respond with "Ohhh!" like you've figured something out. Really, it's us that figured something out, and you're just being polite. We appreciate it.
You've gotten a little bit shy, and you're sometimes overwhelmed when you walk into a room with other people in it. You've taken to putting your forearm across your eyes and just hanging out like that for a minute until you've adjusted. You adjust very quickly, but I'm glad that you feel comfortable being "by yourself" until you're ready to meet and greet.
You love helping and doing things with us, and you can really stick with a task until it's done. You help me sort the silverware and put it away after it comes out of the dishwasher, and you can peel a hard-boiled egg like nobody's business. Every last little flake of shell comes off of that thing! Last week you helped Grandma make applesauce, and you really put your whole self into spinning the foley mill:
The things you love the most these days:
* The ABC song (I hear you singing it to yourself from your crib at night sometimes)
* Blocks, building towers, and knocking them down
* Your choo-choo train
* Jumping off of the couch
* Flash cards - you like to identify colors (you know red, blue, green, yellow, pink, black, white, purple, and sometimes brown) and animals
* The new kitchen that Grandma and Grandpa got your for Chanukah
Most of all, you love baby Jack. Oh yes, baby Jack! You are responding to him exactly the way that I thought and hoped that you would. It's amazing. You are completely enamored of him, and you were from the start. You love to touch him softly and have him put in your lap to hold. The best part is that you're not obsessed with him, and I don't have to spend all day making sure you don't squish him with love - you're off doing your own thing. You haven't yet minded if I have to nurse Jack, or tend to him - even when it keeps me from being with you. The very first day we were home from the hospital you fell and hurt yourself, and wanted to snuggle next to me on the couch, which we did. A few minutes later, Jack was crying and needed a feed. I said "Nate, I need to hold Jack now" and you very happily just moved down the sofa to make room for Jack. No issue at all. I couldn't ask for anything more, truly. You've made this transition very easy and joyful.
You are, altogether, an absolutely sweet kid. You always want to share whatever you have with everyone around you. Frankly, you insist on it. I'll give you your snack and then sit down next to you, and you'll look at me with a sly grin and ask "Want to?" and push your plate towards me. You handle a "no thank you!" very well, but you're back asking again moments later. If anyone else is over, you "Want to?" them, also, over and over. You seem truly happy if we take whatever it is you're offering. I'm just waiting for the day when you realize that you now have less of whatever it is because you've shared it!
You've also become very concerned with people being okay. If I cough, or make any weird noise, you ask "Mama K?" When Jack's crying, you'll ask "Baby K?" A few weeks ago, you were running around the house and fell down. I heard you ask yourself "Nate K?" and then answer "yeah..." and get right back to running around.
I feel like we're really in a wonderful place right now. We have so much fun together, but there's a lot of teaching and discipline, too. You seem to love me anyway, which makes me feel like I must be doing okay at this parenting thing. I try really hard to make sure to get on the floor and play with you every day, to do crafts with you, to keep the TV off when it'd be easier to turn it on, and to look you in the eyes and answer you when you talk to me. My friend Bess told me, years ago, that when your teenage child wants to talk to you, you talk. No matter what time of day it is, no matter how boring the conversation is - if they want to talk to you about peanuts, you talk. It really hit home for me. I'll be trying to get something done, and you'll be trying to get my attention, and my instinct will be to placate you so I can get back to doing whatever it is I'm doing. And then I hear Bess, and I realize that I can unload the dishwasher later, and I stop and spend time with you. I also try so hard to be consistent with discipline, to make sure you're growing up WELL and obedient and polite, into a boy and man that I can be proud of. So far, so very good.
A few days before Jack came, I took you out for one last outing together and treated you to a morning at Chuck E Cheeses. We ran around and played games, ate some pizza, and enjoyed a rainy morning together. I took this photo of us on our way out, and it makes me feel good every time I see your happy face.
I hope you always have such a sweet, caring, fun, and slightly sassy heart. We just can't get over you, and we wouldn't change a thing.