The past few months haven't been easy with you. You've hit a developmental period of disequalibrium and whoa, tantrums galore! I'd forgotten how impossible it is to reason with a two-year-old. Then I take into consideration all the changes you've experienced in the last few months, and I cut you some slack for being a toddler. Being two is tough sometimes.
Here's what new with you:
Although I don't have official stats, I would estimate you weigh about 28 pounds and are 34 inches tall. You wear 2T clothing, size 7 shoes and are very opinionated about what you wear these days. Specifically, you're obsessed with shoes and refuse to take them off your body. "My shoes! No take off!" you scream whenever I try to remove them at the door. You even sleep in your shoes sometimes. I've stopped fighting you on the matter because it isn't worth the temper tantrum. So what if you track in dirt from the outdoors. Let them be little.
At the cabin, you love to wear your life jacket ... which is great when we're on the boat or playing down by the lake. But, you also insist on wearing it indoors -- even over your pajamas.
You're wearing size 5 diapers and aren't anywhere close to potty-training (not that I've attempted to introduce it to you). Sometimes, you tell me when you've pooped ("Mommy, change you!") or will sit on the toilet before bath time without any success. No biggie; I'm not in any rush to toilet-train you until you're ready yourself.
You are a dependent little thing, Aden; you are deeply attached to your pacifier and favorite blue blanket. You'd have the pacifier in your mouth 24/7 if we let you, and I was beginning to worry it'd stunt your language development. So, Daddy and I decided to take the pacifier away during daytime hours and allow you to have it only during naps and bedtime. The first few days of transition were tough, but eventually you learned to carry on without it (not that you don't try to sneak it if possible) -- and I learned not to use it as a crutch whenever you fussed! I'm amazed how quickly your vocabulary expanded once you didn't have a pacifier in your mouth all day long. These days, you are quite conversational in your short sentence toddler-speak. You've even started to introduce yourself to others ("I Aden") when friendly people we meet ask your name.
We've dealt with a strong case of separation anxiety the past few months. If anyone other than Grandma stops over to visit, you start to cry because you think I'm leaving. You cry when Daddy leaves for work in the mornings and cry when I drop you off at "school" on Tuesdays for a few hours. It's tough to see you so upset, though the caregivers reassure me you're content a few minutes later. I remember Tory having a pretty severe case of separation anxiety at this age, too, so I know it'll get better with time. Other mothers have warned me that eventually baby boys prefer their dads, so I try to remind myself to soak up your attention while I have it.
Lately, I'm beginning to see glimpses of your humorous side. You try to be funny by calling Grandpa Jim "Grandma," for example. Grandma Janie laughed the first few times you did this, and now it's a game between the two of you. "No, that's Grand-pa!" she'll say and you'll laugh and respond, "Grand-ma" with a sly smile. You're starting to do things purposefully to generate a chuckle (like fake sneezing), and are always trying to make Tory and I smile. It makes me happy.
Shortly after your second birthday, you started climbing out of the crib. It only happened a few times until one week in March when we went to visit family in Nebraska. You slept in a pack-n-play there and quickly realized it was easy to hop over the side of it. One night, Nana found you stark naked in the living room pushing around a doll stroller. Apparently, you'd climbed out of the pack-n-play while I was sleeping soundly nearby, removed all of your clothes and thought it best to play into the wee morning hours.
We moved you to a "big boy bed" at the cabin shortly thereafter because you'd been sleeping in a pack-n-play there as well. The transition was surprisingly easy. "I sleep big boy bed!" you'd chant over and over at bedtime; you were so proud of yourself. At home in the Twin Cities, we lowered your crib mattress to the ground which bought us a few weeks until we moved into our new home. Now that we're here, you're sleeping in a twin-size bed with a side rail and have done so well with it all. I'm proud of you, too!
Last wake-up in a crib-
Next stop, big boy bed-
When we moved to our new condo this month (which, hey, is a milestone in itself!), we gave away the baby highchair. That chair had been a fixture in our dining room for past four years, and suddenly it's no more. I suppose it was all for the best because you no longer cared to sit there anyway. These days you'd rather sit at the table next to Tory, or more likely, wander around the house with food if we'd allow it.
Our family also traveled to Costa Rica in January, which was your first time visiting that country. You loved every minute of our travels -- from jumping in puddles in the heart of the rainforest to splashing in the deep blue ocean.
You're all boy, Aden. You love throwing rocks in the lake and digging in the dirt. You are also very musical, and can often be heard singing the tune to your favorite songs (ABC's, Row Row Row Your Boat, Wheels on the Bus, Baa Baa Black Sheep and London Bridge at the moment). You're starting to show interest in trucks, tractors and trains, thanks in large part to the construction site we live in at our new condo. Even daily errands are an adventure as we identify vehicles from the car window. I need to up my game and learn the names of all those machines - STAT!
THINGS TO DO
Thankfully, the temperature is finally warming up because you love to play outdoors. You're a monkey at parks and playgrounds -- climbing up the highest bars and ladders, sliding down the tallest slides and running until you're completely out of gas. This past fall and winter, I enrolled you and Tory in gymnastics classes which were a great opportunity to develop physical muscle development, balance and coordination. You loved playing on the equipment at gymnastics, but weren't the best at following direction. Now we've started swimming lessons for the spring and summer months and you're really enjoying the pool time. If you had it your way, you'd put on a pair of goggles and dive for rings the entire 30-minute class period.
Two words: "More meat!" It's not uncommon for you to utter those words at the dining room table because you love absolutely love it. Specifically: breakfast sausage links, chicken sausage, ham, bacon, steak, pork chops, hot dogs, turkey and chicken. You don't like ground beef, pulled pork or deli meat which seems to be a texture thing. You love fruits (mangoes, pears, peaches, apples and oranges are favorites), some vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, green beans, corn, edamame) and peanut butter. Oh, you love peanut butter! There's one food group you won't touch with a 10-foot pole: bread. You've never liked bread, and refuse any form of it (except for homemade banana chocolate chip muffins on occasion).
You've eaten ice cream a few times without issue which leads me to believe you're growing out of your dairy sensitivity. Using butter or milk as a cooking ingredient doesn't seem to bother you either, but you still don't eat cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt or drink milk. Interestingly, you specifically prefer the Kirkland's brand vanilla soy milk from COSTCO and that's your primary source of calcium.
PLAYMATES, FRIENDS + FAMILY
It goes without saying, your very best friend is Tory. You two play so well together and are happiest when you're in each other's company. In fact, the first thing you say every morning is "Where's Tory? Oh, Tory! Where are you?"
Outside our family, your other friends are Elia and Dominic. Elia is the son of one of my friends, and the two of you seem to get along well. I wouldn't say you specifically play together (which isn't typical of two-year-olds anyway), but you'll share toys or play side-by-side. Your other friend is Dominic, the boy who lives in our condo building. You ask about Dominic a lot, but I think it's because he's so close to our own living space (seeing his car in the garage, passing by his toys, etc.) It is wonderful having another boy so close in age living in our building, and I look forward to seeing your friendship grow over the years.
You are strong-willed, witty, adventurous, curious, messy, fun... and certainly keep me on my toes, Aden Boy. And, you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.