Dear little man,
So … monthly letters? I’ve kind of fallen off the wagon in terms of keeping up with those. But I have a good excuse: you.
Kid, you are busy. You don’t sit still. You like moving. You laugh loudly and then run off while simultaneously escaping from your shirt and shoes (how do you do that?). And you’ve been brought into a pretty busy household (“pretty busy” is code for “self-employed parents” which is code for “no work/life balance” which is thinly-veiled code for “we tired”), so there’s quite a bit going on at all times.
But you. YOU. Are happy. You’re a happy little biscuit. You have a big ol’ mouth with big ol’ lips and you smile all the damn time. Dancing is your favorite activity and you’ll throw down any snack or toy in order to stomp your feet, shimmy your shoulders, and pump your arms. You have impressive moves, little Guy, and your musical preferences range from The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song (calling Mickey “Bop Bop!” because that’s how the song starts) to anything by Elbow.
(And no apple is safe in your presence – even if you’re holding and eating your own apple, if someone has the audacity to start eating an apple in front of you, you lay claim to it by yelling “APPLE?!” and holding out your already-appled hands. I don’t think your dad has eaten a whole apple uninterrupted since you earned teeth.)
You took your time getting to talking (why bother when your big sister is happy to talk on your behalf?), but now that your words are spilling out at a rapid rate, there’s no stopping the commentary. Nouns are your favorite and they always come with their own exclamation points. (Hat! Cookie! Elmo! Cat! Downstairs! Outside! Shoes! Socks! Pump! Tubby! Apple! Pasta!)
The first time you said ‘mommy’ unzipped my heart and nestled into the very center of me.
(The first time you grabbed the contents of your diaper and distributed them to the wall was less heart-unzippy and more omg-no but not every moment is going to be turned into a commemorative coin.)
When you don’t like something? Everyone knows. Because you go boneless, collapsing on yourself and acting as though someone stole your teddy bear (known as “Bear”) from your arms and ate it in front of you. A hug and some redirection usually sets you right, but there have been plenty of times when you remain in a huddled, heap-y mess on the kitchen floor until the cat walks by and you forget that you’re upset, popping up to accurately accuse the cat of being a “caaaaaaaaaaaat cat cat cat!”
The things that you love outnumber your frustrations, though. You love, love other kids. We have a lot of little kids in our neighborhood and you love playing with all of them, dunking basketballs with the ones your age and hero-worshipping the ones that are a little bit older.
Your favorite person? Your big sister. She’s eight now, and you two are obsessed with each other. Despite an age difference that worried me at first, I’ve learned to appreciate the space between because it seems to make her appreciate you on a level that benefits from the age gap. She is patient when you “borrow” her crayons. She helps you up the ladder and down the slide. And when she begs to “go in first and wake him up!” in the morning, that same part of my heart aches from feeling so full. You two are best friends. It’s ridiculously awesome.
Soon, you’ll be two. And then you’ll be three. And then you’ll start telling me not to bother you and preferring to be with your friends.
But for now? You still rest your little head on my shoulder at night before you go to sleep. I tell you the story of the Little Blue Truck from memory, and then we sing “You are my sunshine” until your eyelids become heavy. But you still whisper “again?” when the song is over, and I’ll sing it ten times just so I can hold you, and snuggle you, and pretend for a minute that time will let me keep you small forever.
I love you, my tiny tomato.