Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy 23 Month Birthday!

Dear Connor,

Today, you turned 23 months old, which means in only one short month you will be two. Now that will be a milestone to celebrate – and we will definitely par-tay with your cousins! I’m breaking out the cotton candy machine for this event – a machine you’ve never before witnessed in action. I have hidden this machine from your cousins only because I didn’t want your Aunt and Uncle to have a heart attack when I pulled it out. But now I have an actual reason to bust out the machine, and it’s going to be great.

This month, you spent a lot of time showing your dad and me that you know all about opposites. You started out the month telling us “no” just as a matter of course, to whatever we asked. Unless we tried to get clever and reverse the sentence, as in “Do you want to stay up late?” and then you would happily reply “Connor wan’ to stay up late”. By the end of the month, you had reintroduced the word “yes” into your vocabulary and were using it quite often, but decided that you would say the opposite of everything else we said. For example, if I say “Connor, please get in the car” you will repeat back “Connor, please get out of the car” without missing a beat.

You are now officially in your “new, big room”, which was formerly the playroom. Your dad and you installed shelves in the closet (you got to run the cordless drill!) so we were able to stash many of your toys in there. We even put the whole bed together so now rather than camping out on a mattress on the floor as if you are a refugee in your own home, you look as if you’re actually planning to stay a while. You can’t quite climb up on the bed unassisted, so we pushed your toybox close enough to the bed that you don’t have to be a performer in Cirque du Soleil to climb up on it and jump to your bed. Getting off your bed poses no troubles, and on Saturday morning you tested that by going to the kitchen and calling downstairs for your daddy at 5:20 AM. The words “Daddy, Daddy” have never sounded so sweet, as it made your dad feel completely obligated to go fetch you and allowed me to stay in bed guilt-free. Normally, you come straight into my room and look me in the eye demanding a bottle, but apparently you knew you were up in the middle of the night and you figured your daddy was still down in the basement partying like he does every night after you go to bed. Your dad wisely got out of bed and took you back to your bed and tried to sleep with you until the wake-up light turned on. You hung out with him for a bit, and then came and hung out with me – and you snuggled up and really did give going back to sleep the old college try (though ultimately failed), but you didn’t get up for good until AFTER the magical light came on at 6:00, so you get points for that. Sunday, you made it in your room until after 6:00.

You took it easy on us this past weekend. Normally, naps are just a complete disaster around us. You complain about having to take one, you insist your dad or I sleep with you, and sometimes you just flat out refuse to sleep, even though you are exhausted. The only sure way to get you to sleep is to go on a car ride, but then the nap only lasts about 45 minutes, and if we try to move you from the car to your bed, you wake up and refuse to go back to sleep, on top of seeming angry that someone woke you. Two weekends ago, you took a short car nap but by 4:00 in the afternoon, it was clear you needed more sleep. But, naturally, you refused, so we decided to go swimming and cross our fingers that we could get you into bed earlier than usual. I started to drive to the swimming pool and within two blocks you were completely asleep. Two blocks, Connor. It takes most people two blocks to get comfortable in the car and you acted as if someone had just landed the final punch in a heavyweight boxing match. It was very difficult for your dad and me not to scream when this happened. But this past weekend, Connor, was totally different. On both Saturday and Sunday, you simply told us “Connor wan’ a bottle in da big, tall bed” and you promptly got in bed and fell asleep. That rocked. It allowed us to actually catch up on work around the house while you slept so we could play even more with you when you were awake. I think it was a win-win for everyone, except I did sort of miss having an excuse to take a nap.

You are incredibly close to being able to jump, and I do believe you accomplished the feat twice on Sunday while imitating the golden tamarinds at the z-o-o. (A couple of weeks ago, our friend Scott thought he was talking in code to your dad when he asked if you would be up for a trip to the z-o-o and your dad had to inform him that you can already spell zoo, so he wasn’t tricking anyone.) And that wasn’t the only exciting thing that happened in the small mammal house. We went up to the shrew cage – excuse me – the elephant shrew as you were so quick to correct me when I had called it a boring old “shrew” – and the elephant shrew charged at the glass, and this startled you, and you were not going to take any chances so you quickly put me between you and the dangerous elephant shrew. Your dad and I both told you that the elephant shrew couldn’t get you (well, actually, your dad tried to trick you into putting extra sunscreen on by saying that it kept the animals away from you, but I rolled my eyes and busted your dad for that lie and told you it only kept the sun from hurting your skin because frankly, I don’t want to relive the great elephant shrew near attack every time I pull out the sunblock, plus I don’t even think this passed the two year old laugh test for reasonable). For the remainder of your time in the small mammal house, you would walk up to an animal and then repeat “animals can’t get Connor” over and over as if you were trying to convince yourself it was true. You were definitely skeptical and kept your eyes peeled for any strange movements. But really, that excitement was nothing like last week when we met Teo at the zoo. In the large mammal house, two gorillas were having sex or “wrestling” as all the other parents kept telling their innocent children, and watching that kept your attention for quite a while.

You taught your dad and me that saying something even once is enough to imbed it into your vocabulary. When you use the potty chair, you are instructed to tuck your penis in because I do not want to be cleaning up pee all over. One night, your dad flippantly told you to tuck your wiener in, and this was terribly funny to you – so funny that you now refer to your penis as your wiener dog. Thanks, Dad. Always one to see the bright side, Daddy is looking forward to the next time he sees a wiener dog with you around and you refer to it as a penis dog.

You’re coming to realize that maybe your dad and I aren’t as funny as we think we are, but we love the laughs. On one car trip this month, you spent the whole ride in the backseat practicing your laugh. Later that day, when your dad was home, you used your new laugh. Next month, I suspect you’ll practice your belching and farting because what man can get by without those skills?

In this house, we play to our strengths, and that means your dad does the grocery shopping. You used to go with him, but ever since you realized that you can take stuff off the shelf and put it in the cart, the trip has required a bit more supervision. Sometimes, we go to a store that has a shopping cart with a two-seater car on the front – with two steering wheels, two doors that open and close, and two horns. Driving this thing is akin to driving an 18-wheeler down a bike path. Your dad gives us a limited number of items to acquire, while he runs around and does the majority of the shopping, checking in with us and filling up the cart. At each item on our list, you wait for me to stop the cart, you open the door, exit, close the door, acquire the item (and anything nearby that looks particularly good), toss it in the cart, open the door, sit down, and close the door. This is not the fastest way to get through a grocery store, but it’s the most fun! Of course, sometimes you take it a bit too far. For example, the milk and eggs are within arm’s reach of each other, but you insisted on getting back in the cart and driving to the milk rather than taking the energy to walk there – all of two steps – after we had gotten the eggs. You’re a very precious little guy, Connor, but this was a bit ridiculous for even me.

You’ve also decided that sitting in the backseat of the car is for the birds. One day, you promptly climbed right into the passenger seat and I said “dude, you need to sit in the back” and you looked up and me and said with all seriousness “dude, Connor need to sit in da front”, which at least allowed you to sit there until your dad and I stopped laughing. You buckle your own car seat belt and stroller belt, you climb up to your booster seat on your own for meals, and you try to comb your hair on your own – because, after all, you are almost two. You’re either getting taller, or stretchier, or both, because you can now acquire many items off the kitchen countertops that were previously out of reach. You also taught yourself how to unlatch the dishwasher so your dad had to explain about the lights and the hot water inside. Sometimes, you pick out your own clothes and the combinations are groovy!

You started swimming lessons and “Mama J” is actually trying to teach you some skills. So far, you have mastered safe entry and safe exit, will tolerate floating on your front with a parent’s arms supporting you but you are not about to relax on your back with a parent’s arms supporting you for very long – unless your very clever daddy puts Elmo on your tummy. I forced your dad to make a pact with me that he would never, no matter what, do that thing where the parent stands 10 feet away from the kid and asks the kid to swim to him, and then when the kid is almost there, keeps backing up and then acts all proud when the kid makes it the length of the pool. I know we’re a few years away from that, but that is my singular worst swimming memory ever and if a teacher ever tells me to do that I’m going to tell that teacher to stick it up his/her rear and I had to make sure your dad would do the same.

Your energy level constantly amazes your dad and me. It doesn’t seem possible that one person could find so many things so much fun. We both love it when you look up and run screaming around with excitement for no apparent reason except – you can! We’re looking forward to many more fun adventures and can’t wait to whoop it up with you next month!


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