35 months

dearest gus,

i just cannot wrap my head around the fact that in less than just one month. not even 31 days. you will be three. THREE. 3! this is it — the point in your life where you start knowing birthdays are coming, practicing saying what age you will be, and then, you know, growing up. i know, 3 is still very small and snuggly, but getting big has to start somewhere. and even though really it starts from the very early moment that your papa and i see those two lines, it really doesn’t sink in the way it’s sinking in RIGHT NOW about HOW BIG YOU ARE and HOW MUCH BIGGER YOU ARE ABOUT TO BECOME.

we’re so proud of you. we’re so proud of us for somehow hanging in there for three years and not totally screwing you up yet. we’re so lucky to have you in our lives. we love you so fiercely that you will never really be able to understand until if and when you have a little bubba of your own someday. and then you still will never be able to wrap your mind around it. we still talk every day about how freaking adorable you are. how much we want to snuggle you all up in our laps. about everything cute and adorable and hilarious and silly and clever you did and said all day. we still have a pretty huge crush on you.

it was your 3rd christmas this year and the first time we really celebrated solstice with you. we lit a candle and read a poem (the shortest day by susan cooper) every night from dec 3rd (okay we got started a little late) until solstice. and then on solstice, we had 19 candles lit to light up the darkest night. it was really nice. the next day papa had off, so we celebrated by eating some cookies and opening some packages. it was a nice way to celebrate the winter holidays with just our little family before we went and did christmas in pennsylvania with grandma and pappy and auntie m and uncle t and uncle birdlegs and auntie diver (and then more cousins and relatives, and aunt cheley, uncle trooper, and evelyn a few days later) and then back here in boston with nana, grandpa, and uncle adam. it’s not easy to figure out how to spend the holidays with everyone, and it’s nice to feel like we have a new holiday tradition that is just ours. like the last two years, you really enjoyed seeing everyone and you enjoyed helping to open packages very much.

the worst part about the holidays this year was that we all caught your cousin evelyn’s terrible cold! the worst one you’ve had yet (and the worst one papa and i have had for awhile) — with a fever of almost 103 F and coughing and LOTS of congestion. we really need to figure out a way for you to blow your nose, boy! that would have helped a lot i bet. thankfully, you at least didn’t get sick until after nana, grandpa, and uncle adam left, so you got to enjoy their visit very much before you crashed pretty hard for a few days. the cold was tough on all of us for a lot of reasons — you woke up to cough and because you were stuffed A LOT, so none of us really got much sleep at all for about three days; your fever would come and go a lot, so you’d go through periods of feeling great and then feeling miserable. this made you pretty cranky (us too); and finally, this was the first time you’d really been sick that we didn’t nurse. that was tough for you AND for me. there was nothing i wanted more than to give you some nursings to help you feel better — both immune-wise and snuggle-wise – and you felt the same. but at the same time, we’ve come such a long way without night nursing that i just didn’t want to go back to it. we made it through, of course, but it wasn’t easy for either one of us. you did, however, very much like the infants ibuprofen (that you were, like, 16 months too old for, oops), so that helped a bit. you did NOT like the buckwheat honey i bought for your cough, though. oh well. but now you are cold-free again, and it’s been a nice break. thank goodness we only have 3 more months of cold season to go. sigh.

despite getting a cold, you’re getting to be quite a big kid these days! it will be time to break out the 3T tees this spring for sure. almost everything that was long on you this past fall is getting too short. your pants are still all crazy — either too baggy and too long (so too short when we roll them) or perfectly snug and too short. we’re not buying new pants any time soon, though. you’re gaining weight in addition to getting a little taller, but you’re still a ways off from being the right size for pants — the only “negative” to your being potty learned so “early”.

speaking of — you’ve peed all by yourself a handful of times this month! this is so exciting! you’re finally figuring out how to negotiate your pants system — what with the pulling down and pulling back up and all, it’s been tricky for you to work your pants and underpants out. your papa and i don’t mind at all helping you out with this, but it’s pretty neat to see you starting to figure this business out.

you’re really into imaginary play these days. you like writing pretend grocery lists — we used that trick a few times with nana and grandpa and uncle adam when we were out to eat while they were here. you get so excited about talking about and writing down all the things we could get at the grocery story. and it’s so crazy and interesting the foods that you come up with, particularly since you won’t eat most of what you suggest we buy. you’re pretty sharp, though, and clearly pay a lot of attention to what we normally bring home. pretty cool. you like singing songs and have loved the holiday songs i played a lot of this month, particularly ones about santa and frosty. you’re really into your cats, especially silver cat and bella (one who is fluffy and orange and looks a little bit like foucault). you like them to watch and do a lot of things with you. we got you a dollhouse from freecycle, and you like to pretend that some of your animals live there. you like to pretend you and we are characters from any of your current favorite books or stories, and we MUST use the proper names we’ve been assigned at all times we’re playing the game. also, we must be prepared to switch characters all together at a moment’s notice. it’s all very silly, although serious too. you love reading books very much, so often we will all be characters from whatever you recent favorite book happens to be at the moment.

you’re going through a maddening phase at the moment where you no longer agree to pee first thing when you get up anymore. when you finally DO pee, you pee forever, so we know that you NEED to pee but that you just don’t want to do so. sometimes it’s no big deal, sometimes it’s a big fight, sometimes we just let you wait until you really have to go. really, your learning to pee in the potty has been so much more complicated than i ever had imagined it would be. still, it’s much more fun than when you were in diapers, even when these crazy situations come up. it’s *almost* enough to make me consider elimination communication for little chilly. almost.

a silly thing you’ve started to do this past month is to open up your peanut butter sandwich crackers and only eat the “bottoms” with the peanut butter. but not the plain “lids”. we finally agreed that you don’t throw them on the floor when you are finished, but what exactly you decide to do with them usually depends on where you are when you are eating them. when we are in the living room, you usually line the up in a great long line on the coffee table. when we are in the kitchen and you are eating at the picnic table, you usually slip them through the slats in the tabletop to the floor (not my favorite). when we are on the subway and you are in the wrap, we work out an exchange system where you deposit a lid into my hand and i give you a full sandwich in return. at first i threw all the lids away, since most of them ended up on the floor before i got to them. but then i started to make new sandwiches with them. and then i wasn’t sure how many times it was a good idea to do that — when does it start getting gross? we are out of those crackers right now, so i guess we’ll see what happens the next time we get them.

you slept very well at grandma and pappy’s — through the night several times in pennsylvania and several times this month in general until you got sick. you’re finished with naps unless you fall asleep in the car or in the wrap — or when you are sick. it means that occasionally you have a tough afternoon or evening, but mostly it just means you fall asleep relatively quickly at bedtime and that part is nice. it’s been making this cold winter days a little bit tougher to fill with activities, but i think we are getting the hang of it. and now that you are feeling better, it means we are able to be a little bit more creative and flexible with our plans, too.

your attention span has greatly expanded this month too. grandma and pappy got you the goodnight moon board game for christmas, and we’ve played it for hour long sessions together. it’s so much fun to get to start playing board games with you! we’ve also started reading chapter books together — big kid ones i mean! lots of your picture books (e.g., mr putter and tabby, cowgirl kate and cocoa, frog and toad, houndsely and catina) have mini-chapters in them, and you’ve been sitting still for those for quite some time now, which is also very fun. but no, i mean that this month you’ve been starting to ask for, talk about, pretend about, and enjoy long books *without* pictures! your papa and i have been reading you a few chapters here and there from the classic winnie the pooh books and you love them. we’ve purposely stayed away from the disney versions, so it’s not like you transferred a liking from those bright colors to just a longer version — you in fact just enjoy these stories enough that you are patient enough to sit through pages of type with only a picture here and there. your papa and i are already excited thinking about all the fun books we will get to read you next!

i can’t believe it’s your last month as a toddler (ha, as if you have been a toddler for months and months at all!). what a good one it has been. we are already talking about what you want to do for your birthday, so exciting!

love, as always,

mama

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