Thursday, September 6, 2012

To LBK: Toddler-hood

Dear Quinn,

Daddy and I decided not to find out if we were having a boy or a girl when I was pregnant for you. We loved the anticipation, the wondering, the surprise. So we called you LBK (for Little Baby Kirtley) while we awaited your arrival.

Now, eighteen months after your birth, LBK has taken on a new meaning. You, my little toddler, are all boy. You, my little boy, are all toddler. You’ll always be my baby in my heart, but you’re really Momma’s little boy now. You’re now Little Boy Kirtley.

When you take a bath, I can’t tell where the dirt ends and the bruises begin. You’re adventurous and all rough and tumble. You fall, and you get bruised and scraped. Sometimes you cry about it. Sometimes I cry about it. But after the boo-boos are kissed and the tears are wiped away, you’re ready for action once again.

I also get dirty and bruised as I follow your lead. We explore new territories together, like the sand pit at the park, the area under the trees where the pine cones fall, and our own backyard. I wash away the dirt on my own arms and legs each night before bed, but the small bumps and bruises remain and serve as tender mementoes from the day’s adventures.  

Now that you’re a toddler, being a SAHM is becoming more like what I thought it was going to be. We spend our days playing with toys, chasing each other, crashing big trucks together, kicking the soccer ball, swinging on swings, sliding down slides, visiting the zoo, having play dates, doing yoga, reading books, singing songs, dancing around the kitchen, and always making each other laugh.

Our conversations are my favorite, though. That’s right – conversations. I can’t get over how many words you say! I thought about making a list of all your words, but that would be a very long list. It’s like I’m talking to a little grown-up sometimes. You’re starting to put two or three words together, and you even say a few short sentences. You ask “What is that?” about a zillion times a day, and I answer you every time.

Your favorite word right now is “bus.” You go bananas when you see a picture of a bus in a book or see one rumble down the road, and you will holler BUS! clear as day. I quickly learned that my reaction to your announcement had better match your level of excitement. Tied for a close-second place behind buses are trains and trucks. Episodes of Thomas and Friends fill our DVR, and you bring your picture book of trucks along wherever you go. I’ve been prepping for life as a boy mom, so I’m learning the differences between front-end loaders and excavators, pavers and scrapers, farm trucks and tractors. I think I could pass a pop quiz at this point.

What really blows me away is that you count to two. If you see two dogs during our walk, you point and say two. If you have two stuffed animals in your hands, you hold them up and say two. When you see Mommy and Daddy’s matching Diet Pepsi cans sitting on the table, you point and say two. When you saw our friends’ twin babies, you pointed and said two. Even though I could list a hundred examples, it amazes me every time.

I feel silly when I remember how worried I was about you walking. You run everywhere now, and I hustle to keep up with you. I ask you, “What do you want to do now, Quinn?” and you reply simply, “Play.” Then you dart past me in a blur of dirt and giggles, and I’m on my feet again.

You’re growing tall, just like Daddy. You stand almost three feet already! You no longer rest comfortably on my chest like you did so many nights when you were a baby. Now, you toss and turn and twist in my arms trying to find places for your long arms and legs to go. I’m so proud of my growing boy, yet more than a little sad that you’re already growing too big to sleep on my shoulder.

Daddy and I are excited to take you on vacation soon! This Saturday, the day you will turn eighteen months old, the three of us will be on a plane to Kauai. Not a bad way to celebrate your half-birthday, huh, kiddo? It’s going to be different from the vacations we took before you were born (and even from our Kauai trip last year). There will be a lot less sunbathing and sipping daiquiris and more chasing you around the beach while my daiquiri melts in the sun. But that’s okay. We’re just excited to spend a whole week together as a family and see the joy on your face.

It’s your joy that fuels me, Q-man. As soon as I start to doubt myself (which is often), as soon as I get worried and anxious (which is often), I see your big smile and I am comforted knowing what a happy child you are.

I share your joy, sweetheart.

I love you,