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Blue and Brown

Dear Carter,

You are two and a half now. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m trying here.

Mr. Magoo

First things first. I am really, really sick of looking at your pee. I know “Mommy! I went POTTY!” is the sound of heaven’s bells to some, but I really just… I can’t. All day long, I am cleaning out your little toilet — or helping you get situated on the big one. A couple weeks ago, the whole process magically clicked for you, and we’ve been 99% accident clear since then, including #2s, which you are particularly happy about. At any rate, my quota of urine-viewing has been filled several times over, and anytime you’d like to lose the novelty, I will fully support you there.

Next topic: you slowing your role a little bit, short stack. Hit the brakes some, half pint. Ease up on the growing up, small fry. You told me yesterday that you wanted to go to kindergarten. When I told you you weren’t old enough yet, you were ready with, “How ’bout preschool?”. How about you’re two, and, as pictured, you are still tempted to eat paint. Still, there’s no hiding the fact that you are more and more kid and less and less baby. Your voice has been getting very little-boy. You smell like little boy lately. You didn’t cry during Fourth of July fireworks or during your last hair cut. It was weird. Nice, but weird.

Not so sure about this…
Great success.

You and I are having quite the summer. We stay busy with play dates and movies and church and copious pool time and our doses of “culture” (namely the library and discounted museum tickets). You are making so many friends. By making friends, I mean that you allow others to play in your general vicinity, occasionally offer them some of your snacks, but typically orbit solo.

Jolie and Skye
Cooper
Kissing (2nd) Cousins

Bird, you continue to eat me out of house and home. You love food, so much. You’re up for any adventure if it includes snacks. You and me, we understand each other there. But sometimes, you gross me out. Like when you want scrambled eggs and a side of peanut butter for lunch. Or today, when you dipped your pecans in blueberry yogurt. Oh well. You do you, son.

You are tall and skinny. Brows and knees. Eye lashes and long legs. Round cheeks and square teeth. You get nine second winds a day, at bare minimum. You are exhausting. Handsome. Funny. Smart. Holy smart. Like the kind of smart where you are still under three feet and can count over fifteen, identify obscure shapes (trapezoids, semi-circles, crescents, parallelograms), and memorize books. It’s disarming. You also have this way of slowing the pace and raising the volume of your speech while simultaneously nodding up and down when talking to people. To be honest, Carter, it’s a bit condescending and you should probably knock it off. We all know what you think of us.

Opened my camera roll to a bunch of selfies. Well played, kid.

Science Center with Erin and Kami Rose

You love your family and your cousins and your second cousins. Every night, you pray for Baby Sean, Landry, Miley, Kami, and Cooper and “new baby” Emery Grace. After that, you tell me you “forgot something”, and we go through all your friends’ names, too. You are very concerned with the habits of the sun and the moon and how they “change places”. You love Team Umizoomi and the Little Einsteins, the colors of the “rainbows” dancing through the windows, your blankie/significant other, popsicles, and shooting hoops with your new “Carter-Size” basketball (not to be confused with “Exer-Size” balls). You talk. You talk nonstop. You dance every day. We draw and play blocks and read and shoot hoops and cuddle a lot. You hate time outs with a fiery passion.

You are my pride and my joy and my wonder. You are blue eyes and summer-brown skin and all the best things, and because you are you, I am me.

It’s you and me, Carter Patrick, and we make the best team.

Love you, always.

Mom

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I’ll eat you up, I love you so.

Dear Carter Patrick,

“I love you, Mawm,” you half-giggled when you sat on my knees tonight grabbing my face. “Triiick urr Treeeat.”

On our drive home, an hour past your bedtime, you listed off the items you’d like to eat. “Chickin nuggits. Chickin nuggggits. Pea Nut But Ter. ‘Nems (M&Ms). Yullow ‘Nems.” Nevermind that you’d had a rather impressive stack of green beans and steak for dinner. “Drink. Finch Fies. Juice. Anana. Chickin nugggits.”

Twinkling holiday lights hanging in the mall. Soup steaming on the stove. I watch your eyes as you observe the smallest of minutia — what’s it like to be Carter and see the neighbor walking his dog? What does Carter think of the rain droplets on the windshield? To be honest, I don’t think I’d be half as mindful of my surroundings if I wasn’t constantly trying to see life from your fresh eyes.

You are pretty pleased with yourself when you are let to have your way. Today you had a snack in the bath tub, and as I stood in the doorway, I heard Jesse tell you, “Carter, get your cheese stick out of the water.” Fabulously entertaining, the things that I hear escape adult mouths, mine most included, these days. Can’t thank you enough for that.

You (still) love footballs, baseballs, orange-yellow-green-red-or-purple balls, “bass-kit-balls”, and all sporting equipment in general. You also like anything with wheels, anything that beeps, and anything that glows, but above all, you like anything that has to be figured out. You still love Mickey Mouse. You like reading and have started saying the words off the page before I get there. You’re smart that way. You put your toys back in the baskets and have an affinity for putting garbage in the trash can — you’re mimicking “hoops”. This week I found three sippy cups at the bottom of your hamper and a bottle of shampoo inside a drinking cup. Well played.

You are so very awake to the world these days. You’ve started to ask questions, your little voice pitching higher at the end of words and phrases. “Mawmmay, whereaaaaaaaa you?” You point and investigate and hunch down to get a closer look. “Wutts tat?”

Who I was before you, I can live without. Waking up and falling asleep, I think about you down the hall, and I know just what you look like and just how you’re breathing. I think about these past two years, and how I’ve known your sweet soul since you were the size of a blueberry, a kumquat, and and an orange. I knew you’d have blue-blue eyes and smell like summer laundry on the clothesline. I thought you’d be just like you are, charming and sensitive and and rough and tumble.

We have a lot in common, you know. Your indignance and sass, that’s me, and it’ll get you in trouble. Your dancing rhythm, or lack thereof, and the way your legs are ever so slightly bowed. Sorry about those two. Hopefully they’ll be endearing to others. The way your brow furrows when you’re thinking, and how you are compelled to laugh before the punchline. Your awe and love of nature and learning — how your eyes whisper at the moon, and the way you sigh when we finish books. I find myself wonderstruck, looking at a little boy-sized mirror.

But we’re also notedly different. You’re never shy. You’re coordinated. You’re dynamic. That’s all you, Carter Patrick. Watching you is exciting and heavy and light and breathtaking.

I can’t avoid that you’re going to have to turn two, my little walking clock. But in trying to keep up, I’m having the time of my life. I’ll eat you up, I love you so.

Mom.

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Pumpkin Patch

To celebrate October, we headed up north in search of pumpkins and cooler weather. At least we found the pumpkins.

This annual trip means an awful lot to me. The first time, I was 8 months pregnant. Last year, Bird was all too quickly approaching his first birthday. And now, at almost two, I watched my stomping toddler go exploring.

Amidst a couple of long car rides, pickled okra, merry-go-round spins, hayrides, too much food, and not enough room for pie, I felt the summer melt into fall — my favorite season. A certain Jesse was able to capture a handful of priceless memories.