Bumps and Bruises

Dear Love Bug,

This morning you were playing in the living room when you let out one of those wails that only half comes out because you start suffocating on your own cry. It means it’s bad, whatever it is. I rushed up from downstairs where I was doing laundry and scooped you up, but you were barely able to breathe you were crying so hard. I held you tight and asked what hurt and waited till you could get it out, but by then we’d already spotted the blood, and it was a gusher. 

Somehow you’d fallen into your box of Duplos and had scraped right through the ring finger cuticle on your right hand. I rushed you upstairs to the bathroom, where Daddy tried to clean it out with peroxide, but you kept letting out these bizarrely non-human yelps and wouldn’t let us get near your finger. So instead I dunked your whole arm under running water from the sink and let the water flow down your arm. You were highly unhappy about this but at least we were able to flush out the cut. 

Then we managed to get you dried off and somehow got a Band-Aid around your finger even though you kept screaming and insisting it should go on your foot. 

Eventually you calmed down enough to choke out, through sobs, that you wanted to watch Paw Patrol and of course that did the trick. 

When I looked down, my nightshirt was stained with splotches of blood as were your PJs. As far as I can remember, this is the first bloody trauma you’ve lived through (except, of course, The First Bloody Trauma, to which nothing will ever compare). 

Once we’d got you cleaned up and dressed, we headed out to a local community fair at which there were a couple of moon bounces. Once we’d encouraged you past the severe disappointment of not being able to partake in the one designated for children five and up, you happily bounced for a bit in the other one. When you decided you were ready to come out, I was directing you down the blow-up ramp to help you down to the pavement. You sat down hard and bounced, of course, right off and landed hard on your back. More wailing tears. Thankfully you’d managed to keep your head up so we avoided head trauma, but you banged up your elbow pretty decently. (And not even your balloon toy laser gun made the tears stop.)

At Lincoln’s second birthday party (happy birthday, Link!) this afternoon, you were perhaps the only kid that didn’t bite it on a protruding stone or a tree root–those state parks’ll git ya every time–but you did manage to spill an entire bottle of bubbles solution down your front and you got your first big ol’ mean splinter. Right in your palm. And oh the tears at getting it out! That one merited an M&M! 

So you’re a bit worse for wear today, but you survived–and you got a corn dog for your troubles at Famous Dave’s, which happens to be the first restaurant you ever went to. “Who’s Dave?” you asked. And we didn’t have an answer for you. 

Love you like crazy, kiddo,

Mamma

Z’s

Dear Love Bug,

This is my favorite exchange from today:
Me, as I was getting you ready for your bath: Let’s take off your shoesies. 

You: They’re sandalsies. 

Despite the fact that I was appalled, in retrospect, at having called them “shoesies,” your response is pretty brilliant. Well played. 

Love you like crazy, kiddo,

Mamma

Who’s that kid?

Dear Love Bug,

Tonight you got an Oreo for dessert because you ate all your pizza and your fruit. (High five!) You twisted it apart and licked the cream out of the middle before eating each chocolate cookie. It made me wonder if doing so is some sort of innate human trait. How did you know to twist it apart and lick out the cream? Why didn’t you just take a bite? And Daddy and I aren’t obsessive Oreo eaters so it’s not like you see this behavior frequently modeled or anything. 

Anyway, I started humming the Oreo jingle I grew up hearing on TV. You know, it starts “Oh oh oh, who’s that kid with the Oreo cookie? …” and ends “Nabisco! Ding!” When you were in the bath, you demanded “Sing the Oreo song!” So I did and then when you were dried off and in your room, I looked up those “vintage” ’80s Oreo commercials on YouTube, and you are now obsessed. (To your credit, they’re soooo good. Dina Shore eating Oreos! And what ever happened to TV commercial jingles?) “Play it again! Play it again!” you pleaded. So we watched five or six before I yanked the phone away. 

The Oreo might have had an effect on your tummy. While you were brushing your teeth, you burped and said, “Excuse me! My tummy was saying thank you!”

Haha! You crack me up. 

Love you like crazy, kiddo,

Mamma

P.S. Happy birthday, Daddy!

Big Boy

Dear Love Bug,

We sold your last (other) Pack N Play yesterday. That feels like a big step forward, and a part of me is sobbing over the piece of your infancy that was just given away. The woman who bought it sent us a photo of her tiny 9-week-old sleeping in the bassinet, and oh, how my heart twinged. This particular Pack N Play has been at Nonna and Opa’s, welcoming you for naps and an occasional overnight, for two and a half years. You’ve cuddled up in it with your Heehee and your friends for endless hours. 

Thank goodness you’re still in your crib and I can pretend you’re a baby (“No, I’m a big boy!” you say.) just a little bit longer. 

Maybe we’ll leave you in there until you’re 18. With the video monitor–ha!

Love you like crazy, kiddo,

Mamma

Duck

Dear Love Bug,

Yesterday you encountered your first “piñatya,” as you call it, at Anthony’s fourth (!) birthday party. In typical you fashion, you jostled to be at the front of the line, walked right up to the papier-mâché dinosaur, and with one hand whacked it hard with a little wooden bat. No fear. Some of the other kids hung back or couldn’t quite figure out what to do. Not you. Whack whack whack. And as soon as your turn was up, you wanted to go again. On your second turn, we convinced you to put down your goodie bag and use two hands on the bat. You have some swing. 

When the piñata broke open, you were immediately down on all fours, scurrying to collect candy you don’t even eat. But you were so happy to be in the midst of the hubbub, scrambling about with the other kids and watching them to figure out what you should be doing. 

Back at home, after pizza and snacks and the most giant piece of birthday cake ever (you were the only kid still sitting at the table, carefully shoveling forkfuls into your mouth and licking the plate clean), you were in the bathtub having a conversation with Das Quack. DQ is a rubber duckie dressed in lederhosen and other traditional Bavarian accessories that we’d picked up during our layover in Germany when we went to Italy. He’s since been a constant companion. You play with him in the tub and have recently started conversing with him. 

Yesterday, you felt the need to debrief him on your entire day, which is adorable. He responds to you in a German accent, and you just babble on, sparing no detail. You talked about all you did at the Science Center that morning and then regaled him with stories about the party, especially its highlight: when A opened a remote control truck, one of his birthday gifts, and let you play with it. You also pronounced that you, too, would like a piñatya at your birthday party, as long as it’s a Paw Patrol one. 

Today, Nonna and Opa came to play and to celebrate Daddy’s birthday. It turned out to be a nice day, so we all spent a lot of time outside, working with you on your trike-riding skills (you’re not yet a whiz at this) and trying to explain the concept of gliding on a scooter. You’re too distracted by the mechanics of the vehicles to focus very long on your technique for making them go. After a while, you were done with the trikes, and Nonna pulled out the little wooden handmade crossbow and arrows she and Opa had bought for you in Transylvania. This keeps you occupied. 

You quickly learned how to slide the little rubber-tipped arrows into the groove and pull the trigger, although you still need help priming the string on the bow. You love watching those arrows soar over the open area next door and over the tree stump to drop into the grass. Then you go retrieve them and start all over. 

And while seeing a 2-year-old with a crossbow may be a little unnerving, I feel very well protected!

Love you like crazy, Kiddo,

Mamma

Catch

Dear Love Bug,

Please don’t ever stop closing your eyes and scrunching up your face when attempting to catch a ball. It’s the sweetest thing ever. As is your excitement when you “catch” it, which is to say it bounces off of your hands and you run after it. 

But please don’t chase it into the poison ivy. 

Can’t wait for more evenings in the backyard doing nothing but playing catch and giggling until we’re called in for dinner. These are the days I’ll remember. 

Love you like crazy, kiddo,

Mamma 

Then and Now

Dear Love Bug,

I have a bit of a Timehop obsession (for future you: that’s an iPhone app), and it’s not just about keeping up my 145-day streak of checking it. I love seeing pictures of you from one and two years ago, from the very beginning of our adventure together. 

Today’s Timehop from two years ago was one of my most favorite shots of you ever. You were almost seven months old, sitting up on your own and playing with your Zany Zoo cube (which I just last week passed on to someone who won’t let it collect dust in a corner, and now I’m a little bit sad about it). You had delightfully chubby elbows and thighs, and your hair was starting to grow back in after your tragic Bald Phase. You had a slightly longer and thicker tuft on top that came straight through the center, giving you a somewhat punk-rock vibe. Anyway, you’d turned around and given me a smile that will forever melt my heart, and I caught it in just that instant. Oh boy were you a beautiful baby!

I took a picture of you yesterday, standing on the porch with your newest Paw Patrol shirt and your turtle backpack on. And your ubiquitous red Chucks. And you look so much like a big boy ready for school that I kind of want to cry. (Where did that baby go and so very quickly?) You’re in need of a haircut, and you have So. Much. Hair. But what’s funny is that your cheeks are bigger now, I think, than they were at seven months. And what’s strange is you don’t really look anything like that baby anymore. Your features have changed completely. You’re no longer elvin and more munchkin. But you are still absolutely strikingly beautiful. 

And you’ll always be my baby. 

Love you like crazy, kiddo,

Mamma

Blister

Dear Love Bug,

It pushed 90 degrees yesterday (on Easter!) so I broke out your new, snazzy green-and-blue Osh Kosh sandals that I’d bought for you to wear this summer. You were instantly smitten, even though they’re a size 8T and about an inch too big still. Nevertheless, you managed to navigate the Big Playground just fine in them (admittedly with socks). 
In the afternoon, you played in the front yard for a good, long time, still wearing your sandals but this time without socks. Then we loaded you up in your wagon and walked all the way down to Grace Cafe and back for our sushi and tempura dinner. When we got back to the house, you sat on the bottom step, pulled off your sandals, and settled in to play. 

When I sat down to play with you, you said, “My toe hurts.” I took a look at where you pointed, and sure enough, there was a little blister just beneath and to the side of your right pinky toe. There was a tiny flap of skin from where it had opened. “Oh,” I said. “You have a blister.” I looked up, and the horror on your face was comically intense. “It’s ok,” I rushed to console you. “It’s just a blister. Mamma and Daddy get them all the time!” You burst into tears and wailed for approximately an hour straight. No attempt to mitigate your crying was at all effective. We tried applying Boo Boo Kitty, offering you a Paw Patrol Band-Aid, attempting to clean it with water, asking to kiss it. Nothing worked. You cried and cried and cried. Through tears and snot, you sniffled, “It hurts so much!”

And I believe it hurt. But boy does the melodrama start early. 

You refused to come to the dinner table, so we let you eat your PB&J (also a consolation) at your little table in the living room. We even let you have ice cream for dessert; you stopped crying just long enough to lick your bowl. 

After your bath, you finally allowed us to apply a Chase Band-Aid, but your gimp foot was the first thing you talked about this morning when you woke up. I pulled you out of your crib and went to set you down on the ground, but you retracted your feet and said you couldn’t walk because it hurt so much. When I started getting irritated and threatening, you capitulated and hobbled around on your heel. 

When I dropped you off at daycare and stared in horror at Graham’s split-open bloody knee, he told us about how he fell off his new bike. In response, you whipped off your shoes and socks and offered to show everyone your boo-boo. 

All this for a blister. 

Back at home this evening, you requested a change of dressing to a Marshall Band-Aid. You were so pleased that you showed it off to Marshall (your new best friend) himself.

Love you like crazy, kiddo,

Mamma

 

Two Lips

Dear Love Bug,

We fulfilled what’s become an annual tradition today: visiting Sherwood Gardens, a blissful, green enclave in the heart of the city surrounded by mini-mansions, at the height of tulip season. It lived up to all expectations, and we were all drawn to a patch of nearly neon orange blooms. 

We met Aunt Danielle, Anthony, and Elisa there, and Daddy and I were looking forward to you and Anthony running around and tiring each other out. We brought a couple of balls and a frisbee with us to ensure this would happen. And at first, it seemed our plan would pan out spectacularly. Until you and A started fighting over the toys. A wanted you to chase him, so he’d grab a ball and run. You, instead, wanted to hover over your treasure trove of outdoor athletic equipment. So it turned into a morning of tears, hurt feelings, tattling and whining. Delightful. 

We were a little disappointed and a little concerned, since you’ll be starting preschool (for all intents and purposes) in about six weeks, and sharing toys to make new friends is going to be a big, important part of that experience. And you won’t make friends if you claim all the toys for your own. 

And honestly, you’re usually relatively good about sharing. You share willingly with Daddy and me. I’m not sure what was going on with you this morning, but it wasn’t an overly positive experience. I did enjoy seeing Elisa trying to keep up with the big boys, though. She’s a pistol, that one, and adorable in every way. Maybe some day you’ll pay attention to her. 

It took some cajoling to get you to sit down for me to take some photos with the flowers. In the end, what worked is promising to allow you to take pictures of your own on the big camera, in which you’ve never shown any interest. “I want to learn,” you said. So I showed you how to hold the camera (with assistance), how to put your eye up to the viewfinder and how to extend your little index finger to the shutter button. You took a bunch of photos and they’re not half bad. You may just have a Stieglitz gene in you yet!

Love you like crazy, kiddo,

Mamma

Mouse Proficient

Dear Love Bug,

Today you requested to go to the library after daycare, and when we got there, you made a beeline for the computers in the kids’ area. We spent 25 minutes there, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so focused. You chose a matching (colors, shapes) game, one we’ve never played before, and you really wanted to use the mouse. So we trained. 

For each move of a game piece, I’d ask you where it needed to be placed. And then, with my hand on top of yours on top of the pint-sized mouse, your little still-chubby index finger extended over the left button, we chanted, “Click, Hold, Drag.” Over and over and over. And you know what? After four rounds of the game, you had pretty much gotten the hang of it. Look at you! Two and a half and already mouse proficient. I was 16 or something. 
My favorite moment of the evening: lying in our big bed with you while you watched TV before bedtime, and you rolled into me for cuddles, then slung both legs over my thigh. And there we stayed. You’re not always the most cuddly kid at this point (although you’re getting cuddlier, seeking out hugs and kisses), so cuddly moments are never under appreciated. 

Love you like crazy, kiddo,

Mamma