We sang. We celebrated. And we ate cake. So much cake. My run through the birthday gauntlet is now complete and I have approximately a month to recuperate before I have to start Christmas shopping, decorating, and Pinning mischievous and elaborate set-ups for the Elf on the Shelf that I so stupidly brought into our lives.
Last year I somehow found the time to write these heartfelt love letters to each child here and here and plan and make homemade decorations for a wonderful donut themed party of my Pinterest dreams. Perhaps it was the euphoria over surviving the first year with two children and becoming a stay at home mom that kicked my adrenaline into overdrive. Either that or the fact that Olivia was still napping twice a day and AJR was napping too.
I re-read those letters and wasn’t surprised that so much has changed. I totally expected them to grow so much in that way that makes your heart wince. Instead, I was shocked and a little crestfallen to realize that there were so many little things I wrote about that now I don’t even remember now. At the time, these things felt like hilarious nuances of their personalities that I would weave into cute stories for their boyfriends and girlfriends one day. There was no way I would forget that Olivia did that or AJR had the most adorable pronunciation of hummus.
There is truly so much that makes me delight in them each and every single day. It’s these things that keep me going and allow me to summon the inner strength and patience to mom on. But now I’m starting to see that in my sleep-deprived, pregnancy-brain-even-though-I’m-not-pregnant, mind that there is a lot about them that I’m naturally going to forget. Pictures are wonderful and since I’m essentially Edward iPhoneHand, I capture a lot. But those photos don’t document the cute things they say, the funny games they play, and the hilarious anecdotes I share with people whether they’ve asked to hear them or not. There is clearly so much that I’m neglecting to document and remember. How can you perfectly capture and record every facet of their lives? You can’t. It’s impossible. I’ve come pretty close (iPhone photo count up to 7,059. True story.) But that doesn’t mean I’m not a little sad about it.
I hadn’t planned on writing each child a letter. I thought this blog post was going to be focused on how I naively thought that year two with two would be so much easier. To be honest, that may still become a blog post at some point because it’s incredible just how wrong I was. Then I read those letters and felt sad. Not so sad that I’m going to write them each an individual letter because 1. Ain’t nobody got time or energy for that and 2. I feel like this entire blog is sort of a growing, evolving love letter to them. To our life together. For better or worse.
So, no, I’m not going to do either of those things. I am however, going to try and succinctly summarize the little tidbits of their personalities that fascinate me but will probably cause everyone else to stop reading because let’s face it, “cool story, bro. But let me tell you about my kid.”
I am looking forward to yet another year with this wild crew. Of trying to live in the moment and enjoy all of the little things about these kiddos that will probably be forgotten, yet only make me love them more. Here’s a few for the hit list but I know there are so many that I’ve forgotten.
AJR, Year 3 to 4
In this past year you have grown so much but done it in such a sneakily slow way that I truly didn’t notice until I did the photo comparison above.
More often than not, you look like a little boy than the toddler I always imagine you to be. We have full-on conversations, which is great because I was tired of always hearing “I don’t know!” when I asked you a question. You’re starting to understand that the things you say and do have the power to make people laugh. And, like your mother, you ham it up accordingly until the joke is beaten into the ground.
You have gotten much easier. Potty training is a hell of a convenience. I often say if it was just you and I then I would have no problem traveling often and frequently with you. You love to be on the move and as long as I am packing snacks, you roll with it. You’ve adjusted to your new life as big brother and gotten used to having Olivia around. The guilt I have as mom is still there though when we sneak off somewhere just the two of us and you utter “Hey mom! It’s just you and me!” in an excited voice.
Despite the fact that you are asserting your independence, it’s comforting to know that you are still my little boy. Last night you woke up twice, and while I was annoyed making the 4am trek to your room, the fact that you only wanted a hug melted my heart and made me forgive my latest REM cycle interruption. I’ve noticed lately that you’re getting harder to carry since you’re all skinny, gangly limbs. But oh how you still need my cuddles. And how much I need them…
-No longer take a nap unless I force it upon you resulting in a 30 minute battle that leaves us so exhausted that we both fall asleep in your bed
-Became obsessed with The Proclaimers song “I Wanna Be (500 Miles)” and have contributed significantly to its YouTube hits
-Six months ago you started pronouncing your sister’s name the right way “Oh – live – vee – ah” instead of “Lee-Vah” (can’t lie, that one stung a bit)
-Yellow is still your favorite color
-You have hilarious “drunk white uncle” dance moves performed with zero shame or embarrassment. Please please always be like this.
-Memorized the logos for every single Major League Baseball Team and delighted your dad by asking to check the scores every morning
-Possess an insatiable desire to stay on the move and ask me every morning “What’s the plan for the day?” (Me: I have no idea where he got this from! Husband *eyes roll back into head*)
-Have no concept of an inside voice. You’re like Will Ferrell in the “voice modulation” SNL skit. Yet another trait I have zero clue where you picked it up from
-Are a fierce and loyal friend that probably needs to work on some personal space issues. Seriously, you are redefining the term “Stage 5 Clinger”.
-Are obsessed with Disney’s Cars franchise.
-Wow me with your athleticism. You climb higher, jump farther, and can swing a baseball bat like a kid much older than you.
-Also like math (thanks to your Dad) and doing jigsaw puzzles so quickly you blow my mind
-Have a memory like no other. You can recall things in vivid detail from months ago and say “Remember that, mom?” No, no I don’t actually, but I’m sure glad that you did
OLIVIA, Year 1 to Year 2
I had braced myself for the obvious physical differences that would happen in a year. I knew your hair would get longer, you would run instead of taking tentative steps, and would be less baby and more toddler. I had prepared myself for that.
I had not prepared for the drastic shift in your personality. Year one you were my sleep bandit, but you dripped sweetness during the day and were so pleasant to be around that I forgave you. Usually. But this past year your personality has erupted in the best and worst ways. You are wild. Clothing is optional for you. Shoes are meant to be stripped off and thrown as soon as you’re strapped into the car seat. You play in the dirt like a pig rolls in mud. You have no problem telling us what you like and what you don’t like. Strong-willed is an understatement with you.
At times I think your sole purpose in life is to be as destructive and messy as possible. Last week you dumped out an entire bag of Goldfish while we were at the grocery store and showed zero remorse for it. You are smart and already learning how to work us over. Particularly at bedtime with your calls for cold water – it has to be cold – specific stuffed animals, and socks, then no socks. And so on.
– laugh when you’re given a timeout. You have a stubborn streak that is particularly terrifying and makes me dread your teenage years
-have become more independent. Unless it’s school drop off, but that’s another story. There was a time when other people couldn’t look your way without you burying your face into my leg saying “nooooo”. Now you confidently run around the playground wreaking havoc, only coming back to me for snacks
-nicked named one of your pacifiers “Hee Hee” because it used to have a smiley face on it that made you giggle. That face has long worn off because you are a paci addict, but Hee Hee he remains. And God Forbid if we can’t find Hee Hee before nap
-recently perfected the art of giving kisses and always plant one on my shoulder when I pick you up out the crib after nap
-Are in love with your baby dolls and delight in taking care of them. You ask me to swaddle your babies and gently give bottles while you hold little conversations with them
-Made me to take you to Urgent Care twice for a dislocated elbow. Both times happened at 6pm when I was in the homestretch to bedtime
-Never sit still, unless your Mimi is painting your toenails with polish and ” ‘parkles ”
-find my phone no matter where I leave it and run away with it and deftly navigate to the YouTube kids app