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Monday, January 31, 2011

22 Months

Dear Asa,

Every time someone asks me how old you are it nearly slips out “Two,” and then I catch myself. “Well, almost two,” and then I must clarify “actually he’s just 22 months.” Just 22 months my love, and on the cusp of two.

It seems that the closer we are to that magic number, the more out of hand and unexplainable the tantrums become. They are nothing short of amazing these days – full on body contorting, screaming, kicking, flailing tantrums. Sometimes I expect it, I see it coming and I prepare. You’ve found the box of cookies and you’re sneaking to your room to consume them in private. But I caught you, and I can’t let you do that babe. So I tell you first how it’s going to happen. “Asa, you can’t have all those cookies. Please give the box to mama and I’ll share one with you.” “No” you shake your head. “Sorry buddy, that’s the way it goes” and I nab the box of contraband. First comes the yell, then your legs seem to lose all their strength and you collapse under the weight of your sorrow. You crumple to the floor, kicking and crying and the tantrum is in full swing. But other times its not so obvious. Other times it comes out of nowhere and sends us both flying. Like when I’m cleaning up the living room and come across a scrap of the newspaper that’s been torn off a page and nearly lost halfway under the couch. I grab it, crumple it up and head for the recycle bin. And just as I’m about to toss it in I see you out of the corner of my eye, body in flight as you throw yourself onto the floor in utter despair over….over what exactly I’m not sure. The moving of the scrap of paper? Was it perfectly placed? Or perhaps the throwing away? It’s always a mystery, because by the time I offer it back to you it’s too late. Way too late. Or when I peel you a banana and offer it to you. “No” you say, and shake your head. “No, thank you” I remind you and take a bite of the refused banana. And that’s when the world starts to come apart at the seems. That’s when you fall down in anguish and commence tantruming. There’s also the ‘take the shoes on or off tantrum’, the ‘moved the toy tantrum’, the ‘you closed the refrigerator door tantrum’ and, my personal favorite, the ‘I enjoyed that 15 seconds ago but now it is the worst thing in the world tantrum’.

New words tumble out of your mouth daily, though not always so clearly. So far finding and pronouncing the final consonant in a word – like the “k” in rock or the “d” in bed – is proving difficult. But put two together at the beginning of a word – like the “cl” in clock and the “tr” in truck – and you rock the heck outta those letters! You’ve also started to string a few words together, but usually backwards. It always makes me think that you’re speaking in a foreign language. Like when you pass my Steve’s littler box and have to remind us “Poo-poo yucky Steve”. Or when we’re driving down the freeway, “truck big!” I’m not sure whey you switch them around, but the point still gets across.

As much as you work on your words though, you are still more physical than verbal, preferring to work on your body and it’s ability. It’s really quite amazing my love. You’re this tiny thing, a small human with muscles and bones still growing and stretching and learning. And yet you can zoom through the obstacle course of a living room in mere seconds. You come screaming through the kitchen, dodge the stools, jump the yoga mat, avoid Steve and grab a dinosaur as you, literally, fly through the air in one leaping bound onto the couch. Where did you find the coordination for that?! And how about all these other physical capabilities – like slipping your shoes on and off, taking stairs with alternating feet, stacking blocks as tall as you, climbing ladders, kicking balls, throwing overhand, standing on one foot, spinning, somersaulting and jumping with both feet off the ground. How did you figure these things out already? It kind of blows me away. Asa, big as you may be for your age, you’re still only three feet tall and to see such athleticism from a miniature person, well, it’s almost startling. And I think it does frighten other people every now and then. They just don’t expect it, don’t see it coming. We’re just used to your acrobatics. Like when we’re playing with friends, running around someone else’s living room, playing with their toys and jumping on their furniture. And then you climb to the very back of the couch, the highest point in sight, and jump, with a tumbling roll, onto the carpet. Several parents leap to catch you, to help you recover, only to find you grinning from ear to ear. Or at the park when you eye the slide, tuck your head down and run right for it. You shimmy up the end and climb the whole way up the slide before you do a quick about face and throw yourself back down. It all happens so quick, you’re usually back on the ground and on to the next before there’s time to consider anything else.

Lately one of your favorite things to do it to stand on your dad’s back while he does yoga and balance there. I don’t know what made you think of it, but it’s just tops in your book. You stand up there as long as you can while your dad moves about. Sometimes you purposefully bail out, kicking your feet forward and thumping down onto your butt right on your dad’s shoulders. Sometimes you try to stand on one foot up there (with little success thus far) and sometimes you just leap off all together. You love it up there though and often proclaim that you are “Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiig” while you stand up tall.

You love your shoes these days. Any of them really. And you often refuse to take them off when we get home. Or you insist on having them on while running around the house. You still like your hats too, especially trying on different ones and checking them out individually in the full length mirror.

My favorite time of the day is first thing in the morning. I hear you call from your room “Mama! Dada! Maaaamaaaaa!” and I heave my ever-rounding self out of bed. I heat up your morning baba and bring it with me as I open the door to your room. As soon as the crack of lights breaks in I see you grin. You’re standing up, hands on the rail or your crib. The smile spreads and you jump with excitement. We open your curtains to determine if its light or dark (usually dark) and switch your nighttime music off (Deep Breakfast by Ray Lynch). I carry you down the hall and plop you onto our bed. Then the three of us tuck in and snuggle while you finish your morning baba. We talk about the day and ask you what your dreams were. We hide under blankets and laugh in the semi-darkness. Its warm and cozy, sleepy and lovey and an absolutely perfect start to the day.



Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"it's Asa!"

(Please try to ignore the messy bedroom behind the ridiculously cute kid.)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

21 months

Dear Asa,

Two days after your second Christmas you turned twenty-one months old. Wow, that’s a mouthful. It's a little awkward telling people your age now. It just doesn't roll off the tongue. But 21 months you are and every bit of it, it seems.

We've been going to dance class pretty regularly now and it's been amazing to watch your progress. The first few classes you had fun, but were certainly not interested in following directions and doing what everyone else was doing. It made the class a bit challenging for me, but I'm so glad we stuck with it. Now you've got the routine down (though sometimes you decide not to follow it anyway). When we get to class you help Miss Cassie get the mats out and we all do our stretches together. You're working really hard at standing on one foot these days, and your concentration is adorable. You love the dances that involve jumping and running and you manage to incorporate them in the dances that don't. You're still not a big fan of the holding hands part, where all the parents and kids hold hands in a circle and dance together. Usually at this point you break from the circle, stand a few feet away and do your own little solo dance. It works out fine, and really is pretty cute. It's always so shocking to watch you, a boy, in sharp contrast to the little girls that are in class with you. Before having kids I would have called such a statement sexist. At least a little bit. But my goodness Asa, you are a boy if ever there was one! And nowhere is it illustrated better than in dance calss. You jump and stomp and growl loudly through each dance, you sprint from side to side, throwing yourself onto the floor dramatically for the finale. There is nothing delicate or soft there at dance, no slow twirling or fluttering of scarves. You grunt and whip around the room, laughing and yelling the whole way. Now, of course there are girls of this nature too, and boys that are contrary. I don't mean to pigeonhole you already babe. But there are other times too where the boy just shines through, with traits and attributes that you seem to have learned innately. Like crashing noises. Who taught you that? Who taught you to take your dump truck and ram it into another truck over and over again while saying "boom! Bang! Boom!"? It must be born into boys. At least, this boy.

The biggest development this month is a huge one babe - HUGE! We are the very proud parents of a little boy who pees on the dunny! Amazing. I never in my life thought that I would be so excited, so enthused by bodily functions. Pee in the potty is glorious and, at least at these early stages, very exciting for everyone involved. We shout and clap and dance for joy when you flush and we wave bye-bye to the peepee. We talk about it all the time and you are quite proud. In fact, you are really quite keen to show anyone willing to watch that you can pee in the dunny. And I have no problem inviting whomever happens to be over to the bathroom with us to help in our pee adventures. Don’t worry, there won’t be any (much) more bathroom talk in your letters, but it’s such a milestone, I had to mention it.

Your second Christmas has come and gone and it certainly was a lot different from the first. You loved opening gifts, though you were much more fastidious about the whole affair than I thought you'd be. Given your general energy and exuberance, I thought you'd tear mercilessly into those packages, ripping and shredding to your heart's content. But it was quite the opposite. When we handed you the first package of Christmas morning, you held it in your hands a while, turning it over and over to examine it. I started a small tear at the back and you took over from there. Ever so delicately, using only thumb and index fingers, you gently tore one, long strip of colored paper from the package. When that strip went all the way around and came off, you started another. And then another and another until you had unraveled enough of it for the sweater to fall out. You were eager to start the next one, so we plopped another in your lap. Surely this time you'd just rip it to pieces I thought. But no. It was the same slow and meticulous process with each and every present that morning, even when you helped us with our own gifts. It was a nice, leisurely morning of present unraveling and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Your favorite show these days is The Busy World of Richard Scarry and I love this because the books were favorites of both your dad and I when we were little. And as much as you love your shows, books are still first place and I really like this. You often walk through the house, looking for your dad or I saying "Bok, bok, weeeeed, weeeed!” Because you’d like someone to read you the book in your hand. You'll take one of us (or often both) by the hand and pull us to the ground, wherever we may be standing. You hand us the book, instructing us to "weed, weed!" and we do just that. Your favorite book right now is one you got for Christmas called "I'm a Big Brother" and you like to point to the older boy in the pictures saying "bud-der, bud-der" declaring that he is the big brother. Sometimes you point to him and call him Asa too. I love that this connection is taking place, and I often wonder just how much of it makes sense to you. You are very curious about all things baby these days, though you still think anyone under 3 feet tall is a baby. I’m glad there’s still months to work up to the real thing.

Your vocabulary grows daily, but what astounds me more is your understanding of what is said to you. Of course we talk to you all the time, explaining what we're doing or what we'd like you to do. It's just a sort of habit now, something we do without thinking. And recently it has become very obvious that you hear every word of it and understand most of it. Like just a few days ago with the stickers. You had a sheet with 20 or so different brightly colored stickers and you loved them. I showed you that they came off the page and stuck to things. Excitement bloomed on your face - these super cool things just got cooler! You delicately picked one off and tried to stick it to the floor. Only the sticky side was affixed to your finger, so no matter how much pushing you did, the sticker remained on your finger. Frustration was quick to follow. You managed to free yourself of that sticker and started another. This one you tried to stick to the wall instead, but with the same miserable outcome. A tantrum was near, I could feel it coming like a storm (a storm that hits 86 times a day and is best avoided, if possible). So I just explained it to you. It's worth a shot, right? "Asa, you have to take the sticker off your finger and turn it over so the sticky side is down, then it will stay where you put it." It was just automatic, explaining another new discovery and trying to avoid catastrophe. You tilted your head up at me, examined your finger, sticker still sticking and gently plucked it off with the other hand. You grabbed the edges, managed to flip it over and stuck that sucker right on the hallway mirror. Success! The look you gave me won't quickly be forgotten. Your whole body seemed to say "Mama I did it! I did it!" The pride that bloomed in your eyes was utterly touching and I teared right up. It was a tiny micro moment to be remembered.

Beets seem to be your new favorite food these days and I’m happy to feed them to you as often as you like. There's also a lot of dried fruit being consumed these days and little Mandarin oranges too. You love to look at yourself in pictures and declare "It's Asa!" and point to your self with a great, big smile. The syllables of ‘it's Asa’ sliding into one another sound more like "it Zah-Zah" which only makes it all the better. You love to have a sip of my tea once it's cool enough, but can't say "hooooot hoooooot" enough, as if both checking to see and letting me know that this is indeed hot. Farts make you laugh now (thanks solely to your father) and your puzzles have suddenly become your very favorite toy. You say please (when prompted) and thank you (also when prompted) and there are few things that will get you further in this house. To see your amazing little face looking up at mine, eyes begging, and hear those magical words come out is all but irresistible. For now anyway…





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