You are two and a half years old. My goodness. You sleep in a regular bed, you have conversations, and you throw tantrums.
Just kidding. Sort of.
You really are blossoming into a big boy. You put your own shirts and pants on, and can take your shoes off and put them away. You help bring me things around the house, carry bags from the car, and put Jack's pacifier back in. When you're in the mood, of course. The rest of the time you're selfish and needy and demanding. The perfect two year-old.
You are very into dinosaurs now, and love to read books about them and to pretend to be them, roaring around the house. You name them (this morning one was "Rubber Duckie" and the other was "Roar") and love to watch any TV show with a dinosaur in it.
Your imagination is going crazy. You tell me "You Nate! I Mama!" You dub yourself a princess, or Jack a princess, though I don't think you really understand Princesses yet. Grandma got you a magnetic board with a bunch of dinosaur magnets, and you'll lay on the floor by yourself, moving them around and talking about them. When you play in the sink you'll suddenly tell me "Don't touch, Mama - very hot" or "Not done yet!"
You've gotten much more social, and much less social, all at the same time.
Less social: You've gotten terribly shy and borderline rude in new situations. You don't want to go with new people, you don't want to play with new kids. You tuck your chin into your shoulder, and glare sideways at the offending parties. You are all about Mama these days, and want me with you constantly. You throw massive tantrums if I need you to leave somewhere you'd rather stay. When we left the Natural History Museum yesterday, I had to hold you down to strap you into the stroller. You then put your hands on the sides of the stroller, pushed your butt up into the air as far as it could go with the straps on, and cried "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy" for 22 straight minutes while we walked home. Good times.
Your new favorite phrase is "Don't DO that, Mommy!" I must hear it 15 times a day. Don't take your pajamas off. Don't put your clothes on. Don't take your clothes off. Don't change your diaper. Don't put your lunch out. Don't put your lunch away. You're also an aficionado of "Don't SAY that" and "Don't change me!" Everything you don't like, or want, gets labeled YUCKY. It's a lovely phase you're going through. I'll cherish it always.
More social: You actually talk to other kids now, and have little conversations with them. It's precious. You still delight in Sophia's company, and think everything she does is fabulous and funny - you'd follow her right off a cliff. You make drawings, and then hand them to me saying "It's for you, Mommy!" The other night Daddy told you that he liked to eat chicken, and you exclaimed "I like chicken too, Daddy!"
When you go to try something new / different, you glance over at me to see if I'm going to allow it. The remarkable thing is that if I tell you "no", you generally just stop and do something different. You seem to have a sense of when you're pushing your luck; if you've already had a fruit snack, you'll slyly ask "Another fruit snack?" and just grin when I say "no."
But by far, the most fabulous social thing you do is when you talk to Jack. We decided to go to the park yesterday, and you turned to him and said "We going to the park, Jack!" and when we went to Sophia's house you squealed "Going to Fia's house, Jack!" I could just die of the cuteness.
You are massively in love with Jack. You love to help take care of him, and always get a big grin when he comes into the room. Whenever he's on the floor or the couch, you cuddle up with him and lay your arm over and around him. When Jack holds your hand back, you are over the moon. This morning Jack held your hand so hard it hurt you, and all you did was gently remove it from his grip. You give him kisses on top of his head and then turn around to make sure everyone saw your sweetness. You are gentle and happy with him, and a total ham to boot.
You love animals, and can identify a shocking array of them. I just got a membership to the National Zoo; I anticipate spending a lot of time there this summer. Your favorites are elephants - the big ones!
You had a wonderful time in Aruba, and swam and beached every day. You started off timid of the pool and the ocean, and by the third day were flinging yourself happily into both. We spent most mornings at the pool, and most afternoons at the beach after it had cooled off. Your favorite thing to do in both places was to wade in and out, in and out. I think you were proud of your bravery in going so deep, and wanted to experience it over and over. It was pure joy watching you enjoy yourself.
The big-boy Nate is far more demanding than the baby Nate. I have to come up with answers to your endless questions ("Who that guy, Mommy?") and handle your tantrums. The stakes are higher; you notice and understand so much more than you did before. The challenges are much harder, but the rewards are bigger. When I pick you up at school, you squeal "Mommy!" and run into my arms. I put you to bed at night, tuck bumper on one side, hippo on the other, and Dino in top. I pull up the covers, and kiss you good-night. It makes it all worthwhile.
I love you.