Sunday, January 31, 2016

Letters to Aden: 2 1/4 Years

Hello Aden Boy,

A love letter to you is long overdue!

You're two years old now (+ three months, ahem) and changing rapidly with each passing day. You're the perfect mix of sweet and smart; outgoing and curious. Oh my, are you all boy!

Unofficially, you weight about 28 pounds and are 34 inches tall. You're wearing 2T clothing, and something about those adorable little boy shirts and jeans make you seem so old! It's surprises me that you have a preference in what you wear. "No pants!" you say when I get you dressed in the mornings, or "No! Blue one!" in preference to wearing your blue coat over the camo-colored one. You've had three haircuts and now most of your baby curls are long gone. You've have very coarse hair texture like Nana and your Uncle Adam, and I'd suspect your hair would turn wavy in humid air.  

You're constantly testing limits, like running in my opposite direction when we're out in public. "I walk!" you shout, but I can't trust you an inch. I see that "you can't catch me" twinkle in your eyes! I've resorted to wearing you in the Beco carrier during grocery trips because you climb out of the shopping cart at first chance. You have a true sense of adventure, and nothing seems to give you pause ...

Well, except for the snow. You're not a big fan of playing outside in the cold this winter. It's difficult for your little body to maneuver the heavy white powder under all those layers of clothing (I sometimes forget you've been walking for less than a year!), and your hands aren't coordinated enough to function inside mittens. You cry until your hands are bare so you're able to play with toys in the snow, and then cry when your hands get too cold. Really, you cry the entire time we're playing outdoors. Next year will be better, I think, when you're a little bigger.

The beach, on the other hand, is your happy place. Our family traveled to Costa Rica in early January, and you had a blast playing in the sun and the sand. You loved running along the beach, digging and scooping in the sand and letting the shallow waves wash over you. If I could live at the beach, I would, and I suspect you'd be right there with me.

Your vocabulary has exploded in the last few months, and you're now speaking in multiple-word sentences. Some of the more common phrases you say are: "Where'd Daddy go?" as you stand by the back door waiting for him to return home from work; "Lookit! What's that?" to just about everything you see in the world around you, "I don't like that!" as you become more independent in voicing your own opinion and "Hold my paci" about a hundred times a day. I always want to remember the way you say "How 'bout...books?" Or cereal. Or whatever else you're suggesting. I love how conversational you're becoming!

I'm probably biased, but I think you're super smart for your age. You love to sing ABC's and Jingle Bells (well after the Christmas holiday has passed). You can count to 12 and backwards from 5-1, and recognize some basic shapes (circle and triangle). Colors are still a challenge for you, no matter how many times we practice them. Eventually you'll learn them, I know, but in the meantime I find it so interesting how some things come naturally and others (like colors) refuse to click in your toddler brain. It took me by complete surprise the other day when we were reading the book Skippy John Jones: Up and Down together and you recited the entire context from memory. You also like Moo Baa La La La and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Sleep is hit or miss, which I suppose is fairly normal for a toddler. You are more than capable of sleeping through the night, and do just that sometimes. There are other nights where you cry out around 3:00am for no specific reason. Sometimes, I think you've lost your pacifier and can't locate it in the dark. Other times, you ask for milk and slam an entire sippy cup in the night. On the nights you do sleep soundly, you're usually to bed around 8:00pm and up at 5:30am. After asking me a dozen times, "Where's Tory?!" first thing in the morning, you're content to lay in our bed and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse until the sun comes up.

Naps are still your bread and butter, and you practically beg for one by 12:30pm everyday. You'd sleep all afternoon (4+ hours) if I let you. Of course I don't let you or you'd never sleep at night, so most days you sleep from 1:00pm - 3:30pm.

One milestone we weren't very excited for was the "climbing out of the crib" discovery. One weekend evening at the cabin, Dad and I were sitting in the outdoor sauna when we heard a loud THUD. We rushed inside to find you sitting on the floor of your room. We put you back to bed, and you popped right over the rail like it was no big deal. A few days later, you did the same thing in your crib at home. You started sleeping in a Sleep Sack again (like a baby sleeping bag), and that seemed to solve the problem ... for now. I'm not ready for you to be in a big-kid bed yet, that's for sure!

You're fairly coordinated with a spoon at meal time, and can walk up and down stairs by yourself by hanging on to the railing. You gained another stamp in your passport when we traveled out of the country to Costa Rica. You also rode on a snowmobile with Daddy for the first time this winter and loved it. You never made a peep!

You have such a great spirit, Aden, and are always singing and dancing around the house. Toward the end of an especially stressful drive into the Costa Rican rain forest, you belted the ABC's out of nowhere which made the entire car burst in laughter. You adore Mickey Mouse and love playing with these little Mickey Mouse + Friends figurines we have. You still love balls and are pretty decent at kicking and dribbling. Future sports star in the making? You also enjoy coloring with markers and painting with Dot Art. I think you're going to be left-handed; it seems to be your dominant hand when you hold a writing utensil.

I enrolled you in a children's music class last fall, and I loved watching you blossom in that environment. You enjoyed being the center of attention as you sang and danced with the other kids, and I enjoyed doing something one-on-one with you. Music class has since ended, but you continue to sing the songs you learned ... "Hello, everybody. So glad to see you!"

Currently, we're taking a toddler Mommy + Me gymnastics class and I'll be honest, it's tough for you to sit quietly, listen to instruction and then follow directions through the activity circuit. You'd rather run off and play in the open gym by yourself. I think it's a reflection of your age more than anything, and I'd probably wait on enrolling you again except that Tory is in her own class at the same time so it makes sense for you to do something while we wait. I try to remind myself that it's good exercise for you ... even if your attention span is short.

Breakfast is your favorite meal of the day and you can eat a serious amount of food first thing in the morning (for example, at one sitting: two sausage links, a waffle, a bowl of oatmeal and fruit). You like oranges, mangoes, peaches, pears, pineapple, and despise bananas and blueberries. You like buttered noodles, hot dogs and vegetables (asparagus, green beans, peas, edamame, stir fry peppers and mushrooms) and soy sauce, of all things! Meat is mostly a miss; you don't like the texture of anything ground or shredded.

Tory remains your very best friend. You can't stand being apart from her, and cry every Thursday morning when we drop her off at school. "Where Tory go?" you ask in a panic as we walk away from her classroom. When the two of you are reunited again, you embrace each other in the warmest hug. It also melts my heart the way you two lay in bed and hold each other's hands while watching cartoons. She is good at sharing with you, and you're happiest alongside her playing dolls, Barbies, dress-up, etc.

Grandma Janie is another favorite, and one of the only people you're comfortable being with when I'm not around. (You're still very attached to mama, little boy!)

Your little kid best friend is Elia, a boy we met at the park earlier this spring. He's one of the only people you talk about consistently, "Elia, where are you?" You'll shout as you wander down our hallway. We get together with Elia and his mom, Mirjam, often to play. The two of you are so cute together!


This year is going to be a wild ride with you, Aden Boy! Can't wait to see what it has in store for us.


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