I’ve had several conversations with friends about “when you stop listing your baby’s age in months”, and I think we’ve determined it’s 2 years. I’ve mostly stopped counting, but I still have a tendency to specify “he turned 2 in September” when people ask. If you don’t have kids, I’m sure this is all a weird concept, but for those who do, why does it sound appropriate to rattle off that your kid is 20 months old, but now I would kind of feel like an asshole to say “He’s 29 months”? We’ll call it 2 and a half, k?
Since you turned the big “2”, Henry, man are you such a little person all of a sudden. Your vocabulary has exploded in the past couple of months. You went from saying only single syllable words that didn’t all come out quite right:
e.g. “Du-tt” (Truck), “Ma”, “Da”, “Hat”, “Hot” and “Heart”
to speaking in near sentences, enunciating multiple syllables, repeating and REMEMBERING everything we say.
Conversation from a recent morning:
Me: Henry, keep eating your yogurt, we need to get ready to go.
Henry: “Mommy, Daddy all done cook coffee?”
Me: Yes, Dad’s done cooking coffee.
Henry: “Oh! Mine horse ober der, oner table.”
Me: Yes it is, are you done eating yogurt?
Henry: “Ooooohhhh. Snowman!”
You can sing most of “Twinkle twinkle”, the Itsy Bitsy Spider, Baby Shark and about half of the ABCs. You can count to 10, but you often get excited and skip 6 and 7. You sometimes point to the speakers in the living room and request that we have a “dance party” or demand “HEY GOOGLE. Sing Rudolf!” – still, long after Christmas has past. You can build what we call a lunch box with your magnet builder toys, and you’ll pick it up, say “bye, mom. I go work” and march off to the kitchen where I can’t see you before returning and exclaiming “HI MOM!” after what was apparently a productive day at the office. You like to “cook water” in a jar with measuring spoons, “make cake” with your magnets, and serve us your concoctions when they’re done “bakin” and it’s “time eat”, eager to know what we think.
You are pretty good about warning me of the every day dangers around us.
As I’m getting you out of the car in the icy parking lot at daycare: “Cayful mommy. Ice swip-wee”.
After I mentioned the cold wind, you advised me to “Put ‘or hood up, keep ‘or head warm.”
While I’m standing in front of the pellet stove at home: “Mom, dat fire HOT. Don’t touch it.”
I’ve had multiple people comment recently about how clearly you speak, and I hate to brag but it’s true. You’re probably the smartest 2 and a half year old I know. It’s fairly rare that you are saying something to me that I can’t understand, and then there are those few words that you adorably mispronounce. You call the kitchen the “chicken” which I LOVE, and for some reason you stutter over breakfast items (e.g. I want “pan-ca-cakes”, or “oat-meh-meal”).
Your favorite questions currently, and used on repeat whether you’re pointing to items in a book, or to people in a public restroom (no shame) are “What dis?”, “What’s dat?”, and “What YOU DOIN’??”
Speaking of restrooms, we tried the 3 Day Potty Training method with you over Thanksgiving weekend, and it was SO HARD. We packed up the diapers, rolled up the rugs, watched you like a hawk, and spent so many hours sitting in the bathroom while you were on the potty watching songs on our cell phones, subconsciously learning to hold it and do anything BUT release on the toilet. Minutes (or seconds) after we would give up and let you step off, you’d inevitably pee all over everything. Your dad and I would collapse on the couch with a glass of wine when 7:30 rolled around and we had put you to bed in a pull-up FINALLY and told each other we were doing a good job and it might get better tomorrow.
It did get better, not in 3 days, but about 2 weeks in something clicked and you figured out how to let it go when you need to. You are pretty much completely potty trained at this point, except we often have to make you go to the bathroom because you’d rather not, you whine and cry and try to convince us “I just went” when we know full well that it’s been a couple hours. We also still have to help you point it down while you sit, because it WILL shoot straight up out of the toilet and all over the wall if we’re not prepared. You have only insisted on standing up to pee once or twice at home, and I thought it was going pretty well one Saturday morning. I helped make sure you leaned forward and you were actually hitting the inside of the toilet bowl. Unfortunately, I was so focused on your front-aim that didn’t realize that you were also pooping on the stool and in your pants since they were down around your ankles. I don’t know how men do it.
You do great while we’re out and about or visiting friends. In fact, I don’t think we’ve had any actual accidents in public other than dribbling some pee over the edge of the toilet seat onto your pants on occasion. We even made it through a trip to IKEA with no problems. On our drive down to Denver, you told us “I need go potty!”, so Dad pulled over at Johnson’s Corner and I suggested that you go with him. What I didn’t think about was the fact that this is not only a gas station/restaurant with world famous cinnamon rolls, but it’s also a huge truck stop. Jesse informed me that the men’s restroom is complete with full height urinals, which you would think would work out ok for you to stand up and pee. Except for the fact that there was also a line of truckers waiting to use one of the two stalls, which were occupied by large grunting men. Naturally, you had trouble focusing on the task in front of you and kept looking around at the guys and the sounds asking “Dad, WHAT DIS??”
You’ve recently developed a sense of fear, over fairly irrational things but I suppose to a toddler brain, they make sense.
Number One: trains. Which you also kind of love, but one night after hearing several long train whistle blasts while getting ready for bed, you apparently became paranoid that a train might come inside, and that would be “scawy”. You told me “I need hug!” and clung to my neck for awhile, which is the best (I will ALWAYS stop to give you hugs, buddy. Please don’t grow up). We now often have conversations while you’re laying in bed and we’re saying good night about the fact that “trains not come inside” because they’re “too big”, and also remind ourselves that “they nice”.
Number Two: smoke detectors. Because, obviously. One of them basically jumped off of the ceiling at you one day while you were minding your own business, laying in mom and dad’s bed. But luckily, a couple of days later you informed us that you “wike smoke tectors now”, and understand that they “keep us safe”.
You can be infuriatingly independent, refusing help and insisting “No, my turn, MY TURN.” if we try to assist with anything in order to get a simple task done in less than 10 minutes. We’re working on our patience, and you’re working on using more polite phrases like “Dad, I would wike do it pwease”, but sometimes it’s just too hard.
There are times when you’re mad at everything. One morning you lost your shit because you didn’t want to get up, didn’t want to go potty, and we held you down to brush your teeth while you screamed and cried. I let you run to your room to take a minute to yourself, but when I came in to check on you, you were sitting on your floor and had peed your pants and had tears streaming down your face. You got up and ran to me for a hug and it hurt my heart to see you so innocent and vulnerable and sad and I thought about it for several days. Toddler life is hard, but I don’t even know what I’m going to do when you’re older and actually dealing with physical or emotional hurt and I know that a hug from Mom won’t always make it better.
It’s kind of amazing how frustrating you can be, but I also have to remember that you are incredibly well-behaved and sweet and so quick to forgive. The other night you cried through half of bath time, upset because I didn’t give you the right sticker for peeing in the toilet (even though you picked it out) and that I made you get in the tub before you were ready. 20 minutes later, you were totally fine but totally ignoring your Dad and I while we tried to get you into pajamas and through your bedtime books. Exhausted, I was so relieved to lay you down in bed so we could relax, and you pulled up the blanket that I put over you and said in your sweet little voice “thank you, mommy. wuv you too.” AND I DIED.
While I was intending to finish this post (it always takes me a month or two longer than it should), we happened to add a new member to our family. His name is Harrison Bruce, and he’s your little brother. We talked about him a fair amount, trying to prepare you (and ourselves, honestly), for the potential world-rocking that was about to occur. But as much as you seemed to understand (“Dad has weiner, Henry has weiner, Baby Brudder has weiner, Mom don’t have weiner”), I was still worried about how you would feel and sad that we won’t be able to focus only on you any more. We’re only a few days in to this new adventure and will be adjusting for awhile for sure, but I’m happy to say that you went and put all of my initial fears to rest with your incredibly kind and accepting little heart. Your reaction to meeting your baby brother could not have been sweeter. You were so happy and proud and ready to pick him up and take care of him. You tell everyone his name is “Hew-son Bwuce”, which you remembered after hearing it only once, and you’ll kiss him on the head and tell him good night. I am so proud of the smart, sweet, funny and adaptable little boy you are becoming, and I can’t wait to see you grow into this new role. Love you more than you can imagine, Henry Boy.