Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Second Birthday, Nathaniel!

Dear Nate,
You were born two years ago today. The past two years have somehow managed to simultaneously be the slowest and the fastest years of my life. Slow, because being responsible for you every hour of every day can be exhausting. You are so precious and I don't want to mess up. And slow because you have been through so many stages and learned so many new things that it is almost impossible to wrap my brain around the fact that you have only been in our lives for two years. But fast because those stages whipped by and I barely had enough time to recognize each phase you were in, let alone appreciate them. I know for a fact I did not get enough time with chubby legged, rosy cheeked Natey. Part of me wants to complain about the time that went too fast, but in good faith I cannot. Each new month comes with so much excitement. So much joy. And if time stood still I wouldn't be able to enjoy watching you learn and develop and grow. It has been the most amazing experience of my life - being able to see the small steps and the big ones that are shaping you into you.
It's a boy!

Two years ago you entered the world and I instantly fell in deep, deep love. I couldn't possibly comprehend that I would be able to love you more each day.

zero - four months

Your first four months were spent mostly laying around. On me, on your daddy, in your bouncy chair and on your belly. Looking back now, it doesn't seem like you did a lot back then. But at the time, every little change was amazing. Every new expression, every laugh, seemed momentous. I spent a lot of time just looking at you.

five - eight months

Then all of a sudden you were sitting up. And eating baby food. And sprouting teeth. And not sleeping.

nine - twelve months

And then you were on the move - rolling, crawling, pulling your self up and cruising on furniture. You started to let us know what you were thinking. Communicating took off with your signing and pointing. It was fascinating to get a little window into that brain of yours. Who ever would have guessed that the washing machine had made such a big impression on you?

thirteen - sixteen months

And then things exploded. You started walking - then running. You were signing like a maniac (it is well documented that maniacs use a tremendous amount of sign language). And you started speaking too.

seventeen - twenty months

By seventeen months the old, simple games weren't cutting it. You had an imagination and you needed more to stimulate you. You started to really get into pretend play, arts & crafts and the park. I saw less and less baby, more and more boy.

twenty one - twenty four months
And now? Now you are full blown toddler. My little boy. You started using the potty (kinda, sorta semi-regularly), stopped breastfeeding and every day is a fight for more independence. I love seeing the person you are becoming. You have such an interest in your world and I love showing you what's out there. Even if that means I have to let you pet the hissing cockroach at the library's petting zoo. Shudder.
Some days, when we're just hanging around the house, you need a lot of entertaining from me. Other days you are content to read by yourself, color (although I still can't trust you alone with coloring instruments) or run around the living room in circles giggling and saying, "SILL-LEE BOY!!"

During these summer months we have spent less time on our ABCs and 123s and more time on social lessons, like patience and manners. Teaching you the concept of patience was one of the best things I've done. I thought it might be over your head, but I should have given you more credit. You're a smart little cookie and you caught on right away. It has been a lifesaver. Particularly in those grocery store life or death situations where you need a muffin. Immediately.

You are incredibly empathetic and I love that about you. Whether you hear a child crying or see a character hurt in a book, you show deep concern for the individual. I know there are things one can do to teach/promote empathy, but I think it's amazing that you naturally feel this way.

Nathaniel, I could go on forever. I just want you to know how proud of you I am. And that I love you more than tongue could tell. Happy, happy birthday sweet boy.

~ Mommy

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