Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Happy 22 month birthday!

Dear Connor,

Today, you turned 22 months old. A couple of days ago, your dad remarked that you would be lucky to make it to your second birthday, but that evening, he lamented the fact that someday you will totally ignore us when you have folks your age to play with, rather than thinking we’re really cool and entertaining. Just in case you’re curious, we are really cool and entertaining, so there’s no need for you to think about ditching us. Plus, we don’t take your toys and run off with them or refuse to share ours – unlike kids your own age.

You’ve taken over a few household tasks, and for that I am grateful. You’re happy to water the tomatoes each evening, give the outdoor birds fresh water in their bath, and just tonight you reminded me “Connor need to water Daddy’s hops”. How many almost two year olds know that hops grow on vines and are used to make beer I wonder? See, Connor, we’re cool – well, at least your dad is cool. You also watered the “hostas” and the “Dr. Seuss plant” – two of your favorites in my garden.

You’ve become more fascinated with my growing belly, often telling folks “Mommy has a BABY! in her tummy” followed by “Megan has TWO BABIES! in her tummy”. (Megan, who you have met exactly once in your life – but she is the proud owner of Pedro, the ball popping dog who has his own doggy door, which I guess is why she made such an impression on you.) You are still convinced that this baby will burst forth from my belly button, and Connor, I have to tell you, I’m very worried you’re predicting a c-section for me. That’s not good, my friend, because I plan to have this baby at home – same as you.

Your grandma on dad’s side doesn’t often offer up parenting comments, but when she does, she’s usually dead on. And something she said has me worried. A few weeks ago, your dad and she were talking and she wondered how he thought you would do with the arrival of a sibling. Your dad figured that you’d end up being pretty cool with it, just as Alisa (your cousin who had no less than 5 pairs of fawning eyes on her from the moment of her birth until her sister arrived) had been. But Grandma said something about how Alisa was never quite the center of her mom’s world that you are, and when your dad told me this, it really hit home. Connor – pretty soon there’s going to be another human trying to see how big my heart can stretch and this little world we’ve developed is going to be totally rocked. So now I’m constantly talking about the baby and things of yours that you can give to her, and trying really hard to get you ready – even though I’m not even sure your dad and I are ready. Please Connor, take it easy on us. I promise in the end it’s going to work out for everyone. After all, when your dad and I send down draconian punishments, you’ll need someone who really understands how horrible we are to commiserate with. Plus, eventually we won’t be around, and she’ll be the only person who holds both your past and your present, and will get to see your future. And you, of course, will have that role with her as well.

You and your sister have already started playing or fighting (depending on your perspective). You’ll come up and “push baby” and almost always, she’ll kick right back. If you lay your head on my belly, she starts thumping away in there. You don’t seem to mind, or notice, for that matter.

Tonight, your dad thought it would be a good idea to pull the single bed down from the attic and wow – was that exciting. After a couple of days of rejecting just about any idea we’ve had, you tumbled and jumped and smiled about that bed for quite a while. You are not, however, sleeping in that bed – as it was just too darn exciting. After I had lain down with or near you for about an hour, I told you I was going to bed and you requested I put you in your crib. Then, you took what was perhaps the third dump of your life after hours, and you were so exhausted your dad and I changed your diaper without you waking.

You appeared to observe an entire inning of baseball this month, and this meant your dad and I were able to watch the same inning of a baseball game. Usually, we each watch about half the game while the other one makes sure you don’t plummet out of the upper deck. We hope this is a milestone we can build on in the future. We went into the lower deck to visit a friend, and you promptly took a bag of popcorn approximately half your size, walked several seats away so you could be on the aisle (or get away from us – not sure which one) and then sat contentedly staring at the field and shoving popcorn in your mouth – for a long time. Several people noticed you and looked around as if to say “does this kid have parents?” at which point I would wave and assure them I planned to purchase you a beer in the next inning or so to wash all that popcorn down.

We went on an incredibly long trip, and though other family members might not think so, you were a champ. First, we had to WAKE YOU UP to catch our plane. It was hard to decide just how the deed should be done. Should I scream at you from another room, jarring you from your sleep? Should I run into your room saying “say hi to Connor” and jump on you like your traditional weekend greeting to me when your dad turns his back? Or should I be mature and try and gently ease you into the car? It was quite a decision. When we touched down in MO, we promptly began our tri-state Midwest tour and headed up to Iowa.

We stopped at a playground following lunch, and you were loving that. Then we got back in the car and you put up with it. We attended my family reunion and then went over to my Aunt’s house. At the hotel that night, you went completely insane, and nearly got stuck in the car by yourself. Eventually you allowed me to catch a couple of consecutive hours of sleep. Sheer exhaustion will beat even the most strong-willed baby.


The next day, we drove to the Lake of the Ozarks where we spent time with my immediate family and you were kind enough to play a little drum solo one morning. Despite his claimed love for music, your uncle was clearly not impressed – though I did manage to move you and your cousins outside after not too long. You’d been having such a tough morning that I really felt like you should be allowed to explore your creative talents without being bothered. But then, I’d been awake for a couple of hours with you already.

You drove us around on a big boat – and except for the fact that folks your age were required to wear life jackets while on the deck, it was a pretty perfect cruise. You pretty much stayed indoors to avoid the oversized, orange monstrosity.

We went to the zoo, and I assure you it did not disappoint. I was worried they wouldn’t have cool animals like meerkats, but they did. Properly equipped with binoculars from your cousin, you took it all in.

You even got to feed birds!

Your vocabulary continues to increase, and you seem to have the hang of verb tenses. On occasion, your dad and I have no idea what you're talking about, but usually we can figure it out. You were truly a grump for a few days, but I'm cutting you some slack because as it turns out, four teeth popped in during this period. You have become a milk machine, consuming a gallon over the course of three days. But, I'm chalking this up to teeth as well.

I learned that you truly are a city kid because when we went to your Aunt Linda's house, you jumped with glee when you saw she had a "parking garage" at her house! It occurred to me that the only parking garage you know about is the one at the library - and it probably never crossed your mind that these could come in the small variety for only 1 or 2 cars. Speaking of that library parking garage, you have also decided it is a very dangerous place, and navigate it very delicately. I take you out of the car seat, you scramble down and immediately put your hand on the car square (gas tank) until I can take your hand and walk - or rather run - you to the elevator. If there is a moving car in sight, you freeze and tell me to wait for the car to pass. What a good little trooper you are!

As always, I look forward to whatever surprises you bring next month.

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