Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Happy 2nd Birthday

Dear Joey,
On Sunday, September 25th, 2005, you turned TWO YEARS OLD! What a day! Of course, we celebrated a day early so that your Mema could be there. How could I deny you your great-grandmother on your birthday weekend? The answer is, I couldn’t. So we celebrated with a birthday party on Saturday and a private one on Sunday with just Mommy, Daddy, You, Bubba, and Talia. You received tons of toys for turning two. I mean TONS! How could one child need so much to play with? I ask you? Your new train set rivals the set up at Barnes and Noble. You have more Hot Wheels than a toy store. And I’m not sure why we continually buy you DVDs as your main focus has been on “How do I put the DVD into the DVD player and make the whole system jam?”

You have an uncanny way of finding JUST THE RIGHT WAY to destroy electronic equipment as well. Who knew that teddy grahams, train tracks, missiles from your GI Joe plane, AND cereal bars would all fit into the VCR? Until you came along, I just took it for granted that they would go in there. Now I have actual empirical proof! Thank you!

The past two years have been full of surprises and agony. Yes. BOTH. Both surprises and agony, little one. That’s okay… The pleasant surprises far outweigh any of the unexpected items. To say that I wasn’t prepared to bring you into the world would be an understatement. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when your Daddy and I unexpectedly decided to conceive. I loved you from the instant I knew you were in my tummy, but I was not prepared to be a Mommy. Luckily we both learned fast. For example, it only took a month of you not sleeping for more than 30 minutes at a time to realize that you might just have a career in heavy metal music. Your lung capacity is a continuing cause of amazement to me to this very day. You used those lungs quite effectively in the first month to tell us that, BY GOD ABOVE, I AM NOT HAPPY AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!!! CHANGE ME, FEED ME, BURP ME, HOLD ME, I DON’T CARE, I’M STILL GOING TO TORTURE YOU!!! When someone suggested a book about scheduling, I was desperate enough to read it. That was a milestone for me as well as you, actually… That was the first self-help book I’d read cover-to-cover and actually used. It worked, thank goodness! And we finally settled into a sense of normalcy, punctuated by frequent visits by friends and family.

A red letter day in your first two months was November 1, 2003. On this day, you made your grand debut to the tailgating world. You handled it like a pro, and your formerly “hardcore” tailgater of a mother was incredibly proud. Of course, we decided that you might not be all that enthused about actually sitting in the stands and watching The University of Texas beat Nebraska. I don’t know what tipped us off. Perhaps it was the look on your face that told us all that you were going to start screaming at any moment. Your Nana and Grandad hightailed you right out of there before anyone could begin to think you weren’t perfect. WE knew that you were perfect, but the screaming might have made a bad impression.

Then, just as now, your almost daily changes were amazing. Every single day, you did something new and special. From the first time you smiled and said “Mama” to the first time you rolled over, to the first time you slept all the way through the night, to the sheer volume of formula and cereal you could consume in one sitting. By the way, “Mama” was your first word. Thanks for that. You earned yourself a slave for life on that one. You also proved just about every single developmental doctor/writer wrong with that one word. After all, the “mmmaaa” sound is more complex and difficult to say than the “baa or daa” sounds. You, my son, are a freaking genius!

You started crawling shortly after you started sleeping through the night. Goodness! You couldn’t give your poor old mama a break, could you? I went from being exhausted from not sleeping for more than three hours at a time, but grateful that I could put you on a blanket with some toys and you would be entertained for hours, to more well-rested, but still exhausted from chasing after you all day long. You had mobility baby, and you were loving every minute of it! Freedom! I could see your mind at work as you crawled with lightening fast speed from one place to the next. It was a cross between, “Hey! Look at me! I can get to the room where my food is all BY MYSELF!” and “Heh heh heh! You just TRY to stop me now!” The baby gates went up around the house, and we purchased you a very large containment pen for those times when I really needed to take a shower or go to the bathroom in private. Since we had it filled with toys, you didn’t seem to mind it too much. That pen later helped you with your ability to stand and pull yourself up. It also flexed your climbing muscles, but we won’t get into that. I just thanked the Lord that we had purchased the super stable variety of pen.

Then, one day, you were walking around the coffee table. Holding onto it of course. But there you were… Walking! We were so excited! After all, you weren’t even 10 months old when it happened. Your Daddy and I helped you and pretty soon (almost instantly) you were standing without any assistance from us. Then… after much cajoling and encouragement, you took your first two unassisted steps in a row! You were 10 months and 1 week old! Bless you! We were so excited and we called literally EVERYONE we knew to brag about it. Ohhhhhh boy! Our baby’s walking! We are the freaking king and queen of parents! Our baby’s going to be an athletic star! Just look at that coordination, baby! You had achieved the ULTIMATE baby mobility milestone before you were ONE!!! All right, we were stupid. If I thought chasing you while you were crawling was exhausting, I was in for a whole new level of worry and running around after you with this walking thing.

The week after Labor Day in 2004, you began Mother’s Day Out at First Baptist Church of Round Rock. What a dream come true! You made friends, played, learned songs, ate snacks, had your diaper changed by someone other than me, and most importantly, GAVE MOMMY FIVE HOURS A DAY, TWO DAYS A WEEK ALL TO HERSELF! Bless you for that!

And oh boy! Were you ever talking! I stopped counting the words you could speak when you hit the 40th one. That happened just after your first birthday. We could tell you were starting to try to repeat words back to us and we encouraged it, deriving an insane amount of pleasure in your efforts. You could differentiate between football and baseball and could even say the names (foo-ball, ba-ball). You and your Daddy could sit for long periods of time, watching the action go by on TV. And now you were able to articulate your demands on a regular, okay constant basis. Milk! Bread! Elmo! Car! Drive Car! Go Home! Wanna Eat! Momeeeee! Daddydaddydaddydaddy!!! You started speaking in sentences. Then you started counting. “One, two, three, GO!” And saying your colors. Honey you were and still are academically brilliant! You may only speak one language (sorry for not teaching you Spanish or Sign Language), but by golly, you speak it better than just about anybody!

Of course, we have come to regret the whole parroting thing, since now we don’t need to encourage it. It just happens. Like the other day when you asked me to stop at the store and get beer (heard from Daddy), or when you walked around the house screaming, “Oh! My! God!” (heard from Mommy), or just last night when you finished chewing up a piece of ravioli, let out a huge sigh, and said, “Fucking cat.” (That would be Daddy’s fault!). Mommy and Daddy MUST work on our potty mouths!

As the two years passed us by in a whirl of activity and constant change, one thing has remained unchanged. Mommy and Daddy love you more than the world and everything on it.


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