This post was written shortly after Gilbert’s second birthday. It took two weeks for me to publish it. Welcome to Mommy brain.
On your first birthday, you cried.
On your second birthday, you vomited in my hair.
I might skip out on your third birthday. Cool?
Poor little dude. Your birthday weekend was such a sad one, kicking off with a live reenactment of The Exorcist on the playground as we waited to pick up your sister from school. After baptizing me in vomit — fun fact: You owe me a new jacket — you buried your pukey little face between my legs. You didn’t cry. You just clung on.
The next morning, you seemed a little better, but you showed no interest in gifts or cake or birthday shenanigans. We canceled your party and let you chill out and watch cartoons. And then you vomited again. All over the living room. And I ended my day scrubbing the rug in my underwear — you drenched me again — while your dad scrubbed you in the tub against your will.
It’s been rough.
You weren’t exactly thrilled about your haircut last week either. But you look handsome. So you forgive us, right? (Please?)
Daycare is a relatively new development for us all. When your sister went off to junior kindergarten last month, you started three days a week at “your school” not far from her school. Daddy always drops you off because your tears make me too sad. As a general rule, you quickly adjust after your initial teary protest, then spend your day eating all the snacks and reading all the books — the kids often gather around to hear you recite “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” to them — and running around the centre’s yard with your new friends. You even nap well on your little cot. So much for crib life.
You’re still a picky eater, preferring a diet of massive breakfasts and minuscule dinners. You eat all the cereal, oats, yogurt, pancakes, scones and muffins we’ll allow, but you won’t touch cheese, meat, most cooked vegetables, or pasta. You like scrambled eggs, sweet potatoes and peas for dinner. So that’s often what you get. You’d eat an entire tub of sour cream if you could.
You won’t say “yes” or “thank you” or “I love you,” but you will say “I’m frustrated!” or “incredible!” or “jacket,” so we know you’re doing fine with speech, just particular about your vocabulary. In the same way, you won’t count from 1 to 5, but you will count from 3 to 10.
You do you, babe.
You LOVE True and the Rainbow Kingdom — if I can get my act together, you’re going to be Bartleby for Halloween — and Cookie Monster. (The cancelled party had a Cookie Monster theme. We still decorated for you. Because sick kids deserve balloons, too.)
You have a book with you at all times. In recent months, your introversion has become more apparent. When people come over, you’ll disappear upstairs. We’ll usually find you in your room with the door closed — you don’t know how to reopen it but that doesn’t seem to bother you — reading a book or playing with toys by yourself. At the coffee shop, you’ll often avoid the other kids and sit in a corner with a book or some pencil crayons. I get it. I often avoid strangers at coffee shops, too.
One day at Vintage, you were mad at me. So you marched over to a bench and sat on it. Beside a stranger. You really showed me, huh?
You and Ursula invented a game called “Snow” during which you empty your drawers and throw all your clothes in the air. I’m very glad to say you’ve been showing less interest in that one lately.
You have the best laugh.
When you’re bored at the dinner table — because, as mentioned earlier, you don’t really eat much dinner — you whisper “quiet” with a mischievous grin and then: “LOUD!” Your sister joins in and soon you’re both laughing hysterically and sabotaging whatever dinner conversation we were trying to have.
What also makes you laugh: “Get out of here, Gibby!” Or someone falling down or getting hurt in front of you. You have a sick sense of humour.
That cheeky grin and side-eye combo makes people love you. They feel like you’re letting them in on something.
You love going outside. To the park. To the green swing.
You have zero interest in potty training. (Um, your sister was fully potty-trained by now. Not that I’m comparing you two….)
You love listing all your family members, often while we change your diaper.
You were mad when we had to leave meet-the-teacher night at Ursula’s school. You might be 2, but you think you’re ready for the big-kid world.
We recently revamped the bedtime routine. After you read a couple stories with Daddy and Ursula, we all go into your room. With you in your crib, and the three of us sitting beside it, we all sing “Jesus Loves Me” and say our goodnight prayers. You just “mm-hm” along when it’s your turn. And then we tell you we love you and close the door behind us. You whine for about five seconds and then sleep until 6:30 or so. Sometimes 7. Sometimes 6. (I’d like more 7s, please. Thanks.)
You are the best cuddler. When I was pregnant with you, I told your daddy that I wanted a cuddly baby. I didn’t know that I’d luck out with a cuddly toddler, too. You often watch TV with your head in my lap, or continue a nap on my shoulder. When you’re sick — or when you went through a hellish two-week sleep regression last month — you prefer sleeping across my chest. When you’re sad or tired or under the weather, it takes no convincing for you to crawl onto my lap or ask for a hug. It’s the sweetest thing and I’m totally in denial about the fact that 16-year-old Gibby probably won’t want to nuzzle his face in my neck when he’s had a bad day. Don’t grow up too fast. Please.
You want markers, not crayons.
You want to set the table.
You prefer the wagon over the stroller. Your sister’s scooter over the tricycle.
You want whatever your sister has.
You won’t eat macaroni, but you will stick a bubble wand in your mouth.
You thought I said “sidewalk chocolate” and definitely took a bite of the sidewalk chalk. Sorry.
You are starting swimming lessons. You went with Daddy last week. You cried. And then you loved it…because there’s a waterslide.
You nap for two hours a day and this will continue until you go to school. Non-negotiable.
You love dogs. And birdies. And Ursula’s hand-me-down rainbow boots.
You want to do everything yourself. We now order you soft ice cream (sorbet) when we go out, because you had a meltdown when we ordered a flavour that was too hard. You couldn’t scoop it yourself, nor did you want our help.
You like being startled. I scream “Boo!” at you a lot.
You have great balance.
You’ll hold my hand if you can take the lead.
In wide open spaces, you can’t help but run.
You hate picnics at the park because it means we’re not playing at the park.
You love playing in the dirt but hate dirty hands.
You like stacking things and tearing things down.
You like jumping. Attempting somersaults. Clapping along to “If You’re Happy And You Know It.”
Ursula calls you “bud” and it’s the sweetest thing ever.
You love your sister and shout her name at pickup time, practically hyperventilating as if she were your favourite movie star.
Your favourite movie star is probably Tigger. “Tig-ga!”
The wonderful thing about Gibby, is that Gibby’s a wonderful thing…
We love you, buddy. All the time and all the way.
(Oh, and I was kidding about skipping out on your third birthday. It’ll be the best one yet.)