|My 23 month old naked baby playing at our beach in freezing water|
I don't want to forget. It is going by so fast. Slow down already!!
You are a month shy of turning 2. Two! Can you believe it!?! (you say that phrase... it is so cute... I am learning a lot about certain things I say because I hear them coming straight out of your mouth). Where were you before you were here? What was I doing? I can't seem to remember. It feels like ages ago and in a different world. Oh how my heart soars with so many things you do and say. I feel as though I could bust open at the seams and all that would pour out would be millions and trillions of tiny sparkly pieces that make up joyful mommy me.
Your list of words is no longer possible to keep. You are full up to the brim with language. You even say full sentences! Almost every other phrase is, "name that Mommy" meaning you want to know what something is called. Oh how I was never aware that there were so many things that had names before you toddled into my world. And I am perplexed and embarrassed at how there are so many things which I have no idea what the proper name is. You are not satisfied knowing that it is a plane, you want to know what all of the pieces of the plane are called. Not only do you want to know the name of foods but you want to know the names of different parts of foods. You are not satisfied that the shopping cart is just a shopping cart. You have this need to know the name of the handle bar and seat and wheels and the material from which it is made. In addition, you want to then know all of the names in Spanish... Chinese, French and don't forget German! But we are not done yet. You want to know every person's name - teachers, friends, family and people in the Starbucks and even in cars that pass us on the street, "Man name car Mommy?". Once you learn their name you want to know their last name. After all, you know your first, middle, and last name. You know your family member's whole names. Why not the barista at our coffee house?
You still demand and request and plead that we sing to you all the time. You especially need songs for when you get an owey or when you are about to go to sleep. But you also like to be sung to when you are on the potty, when you are about to eat, and for just about any activity. And now you sing. Oh man it is delicious and beyond adorable how cute it is when you sing! And mostly you know the words but occasionally you get stuck and man do you say, "no mommy sing!" with an air of authority if I jump in to "save you". Some of your favorite songs to sing are, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Ball Game, Rock uh bye baby, and your ABCs (below video Hartly is 22 months old).
One of Papi's and my favorite thing that happened recently is you created your 1st imaginary friend.
We were in your playroom (the one Mommy just converted from a guestroom to a PAHM room) and there are vehicle decals all over the walls. You particularly like the red school bus sticker by your desk. You point it out a lot. Well, one day, you were pointing to it and just staring for a bit when you turned to me and said, "bus driver mommy?". Through many back and forths it became clear that you were wondering where the bus driver was. You wanted to see him. After all, in order for the bus to work, it needs a driver. And you wanted your precious red bus on the wall to work. I told you that I couldn't see him. You said, "hiding?", and I smiled and agreed he must be hiding since we couldn't see him. Then, before you knew it, you said, "Jose see him Mommy!" in an excited voice. I said, "you see him?" and you excitedly shouted with glee, "YYYAHHH!!". You then reached your plump little toddler hand out and touched the red bus making a scooping motion with your hand and said, "got him!" as you grabbed gently at "nothing" on the wall. You brought him over in your little cupped hand and showed him to me. You then looked up into my eyes and said, "name? name bus driver mommy?" I told you that I didn't know his name. I asked you what you thought. This is a hard one. But you then said, "Captain". And for the rest of the evening you carefully carried Captain, the red school bus driver, everywhere with you.
And what so amazed me was that you made him almost come alive in your hand for me. You didn't forget about him. When you put him down on the ground, you walked around him. When you placed him to the side to get a toy or turn the page of a book, you would return to the exact spot you put him down. In fact, once you put him in the book to get a closer look at a picture and then you turned the page but remembered right away, turned back, scooped him up and then continued forward in the book. You even put him back in his school bus when it was dinnertime. Half way out the door I told you Captain could come to dinner with you if you wanted and instead of just having him materialize in your hand, you stopped, went back into the room and scooped him out of the bus you had put him away in moments before. When you went to climb onto your chair you had trouble because your hand was curled up in a half fist holding Captain. I had to tell you to put him down so that you had two hands to climb. It was so sweet and so real.
It has been a few days since this all occurred. You have played with Captain a number of times since then. He does not go everywhere with you and he can be forgotten for many hours. But when you do decide to play with him, you continue to have that same careful and very real care of him. It is incredible to behold.
You are still an amazing sleeper. You go to bed at 8pm and, usually, wake up a little before 9am. An "early" day means you wake at 8am. When you are super lazy, like your mom and dad, you have been known to sleep till 10am (excluding the period of about 6-8 weeks after Puerto Rico from 18months-20 months when you were sleeping 8pm till noon the following day!!!). Your naps are spotty. Sometimes you crash out and sometimes you play nicely for a couple hours in your crib. Occasionally you complain and knock or do your fake cry calling my name (always my name). I go in and say, "What are you supposed to be doing?" You reply, "sleeping". I say, " you can play with toys or sleep but this is your time to be quiet by yourself in your room". You say, "play mommy?" or something of the sort. You try to get me to sing more. Most days you talk to your animals or play hiding or humpty dumpty with them if you are not sleeping.
Mommy has made up many different types of hugs and kisses to try and coerce more snuggles from you. We not only have regular pop kisses, eskimo kisses and butterfly kisses but we also have penguin kisses, fish kisses, choo-choo train kisses (you, much to my delight, made that one up recently) and doggy kisses. In addition to regular hugs we have hand hugs, forehead hugs and cheek hugs. I take all I can get.
You have not yet learned to jump, but that does not stop your desire or your continuing efforts. It used to be (around 16 months when you first took on this challenge) you would stand still and try to become as tall as you could with your neck stretched obscenely long and your shoulders pushed way down, which exaggerated the effect. You would strain, for many seconds, willing your head to pop right off... and that was your jump. It then progressed to the above combined with tippy toes. Now, at 23 months, you squat way low and then stand randomly and suddenly... all the while, your feet stay planted in the ground. Keep trying kid :) You will get it one of these days.
|23 months old|
"Buy it!" is another phrase you have learned. I suppose it occured because you always wanted to open things in the cart before we left the store. I had explained to you, a number of times, we had to finish shopping and buy it before we were allowed to open it. One day, in annoyance and frustration, after I said, "we can't open that yet", you said exasperatedly, "BUY IT!". Duh! :) Now when we try new foods at parties or see somebody else toy, you turn to me and request, "buy it mommy". Man how it starts young.
|You asked for this photo to be taken with Ba-Pa|
|wading in the cold April lake water with Jinky|
|One of your many outfits that you chose|
You are amazing at how you are so dependent and independent all at once. You want me close but you want to do it yourself. And you are a little climber. I have to remind myself, many times a day, to "spot" you but not interfere. You are extremely capable. Part of the reason why is because I try to step back and not rush to your side at every stumble, frustration or obstacle. I would never dream of putting you in harms way but I believe it can be just as dangerous to hover as it is for you to fall. I want you to trust yourself and your own judgement. I want these mistakes and steps taken now, when you are little and I am close by. How will you know how far to risk going if you don't, occasionally, go too far. I work very hard at not saying no often. When I do say no, there is a good reason for it. I find so many caretakers say no so often. It has almost become a knee-jerk reaction. All too often there is no good reason. People say no to certain things because that is what everybody does and always has. I try and stop and think of why I am about to say no before I say no. For instance, you may absolutely climb up the slide at the playground... as long as there is no child at the top. You want to be naked outside at the beach before there are lifeguards and clothing rules, yes you can. You are 23 months. Play in the lake and sand and get wet in your birthday suit. Absolutely. You want a braid in your hair like mommy, or a ponytail (contrary to earlier statements), yes you can. Who cares, when you are 23 months old, if people think you are a girl!? You want to take 2 baby dolls with you to the store, absolutely. Why not? You like to turn on light switches and push buttons and unlock doors - we bought you your own stepping stools to foster this. You are mostly diaper-free (you take long naps and sleep long nights so you will have sleeptime diapers for awhile) and if you have an accident, you have an accident...
I have lost my focus, and so I shall end, for now, here. If ever, when you are a teenager, and you wonder how we could possibly be your parents or feel that we don't love you or understand you, read this. If, when you are an adult, and you wonder how we treated you as a little toddler, read this. If you have kids of your own and are feeling nostalgic, read this. Know that you are a shining little soul that at, not even quite yet two years of age, bring magic into your mom and dad's hearts daily... hourly. You are a true wonder, miracle and delight. We love you. Noses Hartly. We can't wait to see what this next year of wonder with you will bring!!