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Carter Bird at 18 Months

Dear Bird,

Not a day goes by that you don’t bring me the greatest joy — you are my easy-going busy body, my eyes-ears-mouth-nose, my first and last smile of the day.

I blinked and you were halfway to two. You are so quickly less-baby, more little boy. You call things by their names. You understand long directions. “Go get a book from your room,” I say, and you’re off running down the hall. “Let’s go outside,” I say, and you’re by the backdoor chanting “Bye-bye-bye. Car. Car.” At the mention of a “bath” or a “walk” you’re stationed for action. Your humor has a sense of purpose — you  play jokes on us. Today, you thought you were so clever when you pretended to blow bubbles (like you do at swim lessons and in the bath tub) on pictures of water in books. Then you’d laugh and laugh and look at me to check if I got it.

There’s nothing you like more than reading. You have favorite books, but in general you prefer stories that feature ducks or trucks or the moon, or really anything in sing-song, rhyming iambic pentameter. I don’t doubt that you know what that means. You’ll sit and read ten tales at a time. You fold yourself into my lap and lean back  and I smell your little hairs and you rub your own belly until you get goosebumps. If it’s at night, chances are you’re taking your night-cap and wearing a too-big tee shirt.

You’re so stinking smart. Lately you’ve been especially determined with figuring things out — which buttons to push to turn appliances on and off, how to open different doors, memorizing which shapes fit into which holes. We’ve got a pretty high success rate when I ask for objects by color, though you do have a preference for all things green (geen!) and blue. All letters written anywhere are “A”, and you’ll stop what you’re doing to listen to a rendition of the ABC song. You know where your eyes, ears, mouth and nose are, as well as mine, plus our bellies and toes, too. You know what a horse and a cow and a dog and a cat say, and all bugs are “bees”.

Sometimes you’re naughty, and I have the awful task of being stern with you. You’re trying your best to learn how to share with your cousins and friends, and you get so mad when you can’t tell me exactly what you want to say. But you’re sweet and loving always, and when I tell you you’ve done something bad, you burst into tears and throw your arms around my neck.

You love anything electronic. You’re always trying to be on the phone, and last week I found you in Patrick’s ‘Man Cave’ all by yourself — only you were propped up on his couch, his Xbox headset set crookedly atop your head, pointing the remote at the TV.

You’re also into cleaning these days. You help me put the bath toys away and the animals back on your shelves. If I give you a paper towel, you’ll wipe up your highchair tray or any nearby countertop , and you also like to haul the vacuum attachments around and mimic cleaning the carpets.

You are always busy. You’re swimming, going to church and playdates, drawing with chalk, chasing bubbles (bobbles!) and dog tails, brushing your teeth (teef!), destroying block towers (bawks!), going to the park, dancing whenever you hear music (you’re quite the little booty shaker — I credit Miley for the lessons), playing catch, hiding and seeking, I’m-gonna-get-you-ing, and ball-kicking (kick-kick!). And yes, most everything is said in exclaimed command form.  

You’ve got weird taste in snacks (NACKS!) these days. You always love milk (mulk), and these days you like kefir, too, which the pediatrician recommended. Some days you love apples. Some days you love blueberries. Some days you love carrots. Other days, not so much. Some days, you’ll only eat something if you can stab it with Mom’s fork or dip-dip-dip it in some makeshift sauce. Right now we’re on a green beans (beenz), Goldfish (fiss), and grapes (gapes) kick. Raisins, craisins, dried blueberries? Constant favorites. Cereal with milk — always a hit.

I love you to that same moon that you search for in the sky and back. And you love me back — and that’s the best part. In the middle of games or playing independently, you’ll stop to check in on me and give me free hugs or kisses; you make my heart soar. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better boy. You and me are forever and ever, Bird.

Love Always,

Mawm (Mawm! Mawm. Mawm. Mama. Ma. Mawm! Mawm. Mawmawmawm.)

P.S. We’re stealing one of these campaign signs.

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