September 13th, 2011 — by dad
It’s nearly impossible to believe. You’re a pretty awesome little kid, and we hang out all the time, watching Adventure Time, playing LEGOs, dancing and laughing and learning.
I am building you a playground. Your castle. Tiny king!
I gave you my old Nintendo DS (the so-called “phat” edition) with a copy of New Super Mario Bros. inside. You boot it up and squiggle the pads and buttons, calling it your computer, but you can now identify Mario and his related paraphernalia. I’m so proud of you, little man, tiny king of mine.
I take you to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. SCHOOL. So old, so wise! I’m told you do well. As far as I can tell, doing well is some combination of not crying all day and successfully using the toilet 90% of the time. A+++s for you, no doubt! Shine bright there, it’s a very nice school, and we will do everything we can, make every sacrifice, to make sure you and your sister have every educational opportunity available.
May 31st, 2011 — by mom
I left you at your first day of preschool summer camp. You barely noticed me leave and only because I lingered and pathetically said, “bye, Jho!” When I came to pick you up, you ran in strange figure eights around the classroom tables. You didn’t want to leave! You are independent, confident, outgoing, and sweet and those qualities serve you well in group situations. You really love going to school.
You are currently about 38 pounds and are about 37 inches tall. You are often thought to be 4 years old instead of 2. You are very attentive to books and movies. You still love monster trucks, dinosaurs, playgrounds, and animals. You hold long conversations and use wild, gesticulations as you speak. I love it.
You know your letters, colors, and shapes pretty well, but have trouble with numbers. You’re playing simple board games, building (and knocking down) block towers. You don’t have much patience for coloring/drawing/painting and prefer play doh and finger-painting. You love to travel and had an amazing time on our trip to Chicago. You loved hotel rooms, walks in the stroller, and going to new places. You are my little adventurer and I love watching it.
Soon you’re going to be my super helper. Last night you felt Margot jump for the first time. It’s fun to watch you getting excited about your sister’s arrival. I’m getting excited, too.
February 23rd, 2011 — by mom
We’ve had so much fun lately. You make me laugh constantly these days. I can’t believe I haven’t written since your birthday. There’s no way I can remember all the amazing and hysterical things you’ve done since then, so I’ll just recount a couple of the best. This morning when you woke up we were laying on a pillow on the floor in the playroom and you said, “I want lunch.” I asked you what you wanted for lunch and you said, “I want water.” I asked, “Anything else?” You said, “I want a water and an apple.” I said ok and you started telling a story to yourself that went something like this, “I want water and an apple…mumble mumble mumble…and it was happily ever after. The end.”
You also discovered you can talk in a robot voice and that is really funny. You have learned to jump and you show off that skill often. You’re great at kicking the ball around the backyard and can throw the basketball in the hoop now. You love the movie, Cars, and have collected most of the cars from the movie. You are constantly asking to go to the Disney Store so you can get a new car to add to your collection. You make weird and sometimes gross food combinations that you enjoy a whole lot. We had a great New Years at Sea World with Bubby and you watched the walrus forever and never wanted to leave that walrus tank. You have the best facial expressions, too. Today you were pretending to talk on the phone and you said, “Hello? Who is it? Okay. I want to go to Animal Kingdom.” Then you hung up the phone. You really liked our recent trip to Animal Kingdom and our trip to Green Meadows Petting Zoo.
I am about four months into my second pregnancy and it’s fun to try to explain to you that you are getting a brother or sister. Part of me feels nervous about bringing another child into your life. Nervous that you two won’t become friends. Nervous that my attention will be too divided. Nervous that you might think I love you less or spend less time with you. Nervous that I won’t treat my second with as much personalized attention as you received. So many Mommy anxieties. I suppose they are normal. I see you with other kids….waiting patiently to go down the slide (most of the time), sharing your toys, being very concerned whenever you hear another kid crying, “uh oh, that baby’s sad.” I just know you are going to be such a nurturing, sweet, and loving big brother and a tremendous help to me. I only hope I can be the best possible mom I can be to the two of you.
September 10th, 2010 — by dad
That’s you these days! Here you are at almost two years old peering through a magnifying glass at anything and everything. You’re so tall and little boyish in this picture and it’s amazing to think you were ever a baby. You’ve even got on light-up shoes!
You sit and make up stories for your hard rubber toys that you like so much. Your favorite game is “Monster!’ where you point and yell “Monster!” and we have to act scared and, if possible, run and hide with you while the monster (usually Leela) chases you. Sometimes, strangely, you do the same thing while saying “Goat!” (Your Dad thinks you mean ghost, but I think you actually mean goat. I took you to see goats and you didn’t seem thrilled by them.
You ask to hear music, especially the Yo Gabba Gabba soundtrack. You love to play the wiggle song and then FREEZE. You do a funny little run-in-place-and-waggle-your-wrists dance during the wiggle part. You also like the run in a circle song. You like to run…at the moment running away from me is your favorite and my least favorite. You’re so tall and fast and your hair is so long and curly. You like to watch Sesame Street and you played your first Nintendo Wii game, the Nihao Kai Lan game. You love to go see the manatee at the Deltona Public Library. It’s your favorite place. You push every button in the interactive nature museum and point out every animal. You are really enamored with all animals at the moment. You like to act out animals, especially elephant, cat, lion, and sometimes you throw in monster. That’s my favorite.
Today is the day before your second birthday party. As usual, I went overboard. Your Dad is probably frustrated with me. I tend to set overly high party expectations that are impossible to meet. Hopefully your birthday cake turns out ok. The first attempt was a disaster that crumbled into a billion pieces. I know you won’t remember the cake, but you’ll have pictures and I think, in some way, you’ll know that I wanted to make it special for you. You are excited about your birthday and have seemed to learn what a birthday means. You didn’t want to go to bed tonight because you knew a birthday party (whatever that means to you, exactly) was imminent.
You were running around in the backyard this afternoon, sort of caught up in your own little world and I just stood there and watched you, amazed. I admit I started crying…not because I was sad, really, though time’s quickness is a little painful. Mostly I was overwhelmed with pride. You looked so confident and carefree running around, kicking at the grass, hiding behind a tree and yelling out peek-a-boo. I was just so suddenly struck by your you-ness, as stupid as that sounds. You’re just your own little person, curious and fascinated and filled with joy by the world around you and that makes me so crazily proud of you. Looking back on that statement in twenty years when you’re worried about money or school or your future career and what you have or haven’t accomplished, you might think that moment extremely trivial, but maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s the best sort of pride. Unconditional. Astounding. Simple. True.
Happy Birthday number two, Jho.
July 22nd, 2010 — by dad
It has been shamefully long since I’ve written and I could write a novel about the past couple months, but instead I’ll just write some quick highlights.
Talking! You are talking so much and now integrating awesome little phrases into your vocabulary like “I’m coming!” and “That’s awesome!” and “Where are you?” I love it.
Interests! I now understand the parental need to support a child’s interests. It is so terribly exciting to witness you starting to like things. I mean, you’ve always liked things a little bit. You had pigeon and Yo Gabba Gabba before. But now you have little obsessions and you can vocalize your feelings and you get really excited about things! You do a fist pump type “yessss” that makes my life complete because, more than anything else, I just really want you to be excited by life and passionate about your interests. Right now you are obsessed with Finding Nemo. You want to watch the movie every day and you carry around the DVD pamphlet inserts, studying the pictures and showing me all the characters. “Look, Nemo.” “Dori.” “Shark.” It is the summer of aquariums, so this new Nemo adoration is timely…and maybe even why you like it so much. We went to the Atlanta Aquarium with Bubby (amazing!) and to Sea World with Alex (So fun!) and we’re going to the Florida Aquarium with Mike this weekend. I can’t wait to see your face when we go there now that you know all about fish. You even point to lion fish and say “lion fish.” The other day at Amaya Papaya you said your equivalent of triceratops “a-tops” and another mother was very impressed.
I remembered my Mom immediately buying me a violin as a child when I mentioned an interest. My interest was shortlived and I always felt like Mom jumped the gun a bit buying me that violin. Now I understaqnd it. It is so exciting to see you expressing interests in things and, as a parent, I just want to jump in the car and get you an aquarium and Nemo toys and books. I see these parents of olympian teenagers and wonder how they can give up everything and move their children close to the best gyms and coaches. I’m beginning to understand how that’s possible.
Sense of humor! Sometimes I just stare at you and make a funny face and you crack up laughing. I can’t wait until you’re telling jokes and have serious silly times.
Imagination! I now watch you take a dinosaur and chase us around the house yelling “roar.” You will play with your train set by yourself and make Buzz ride on the train.
Singing! You are breaking into song and it is awesome. You mostly sing songs from Yo Gabba Gabba. “Naptime, naptime, go to sleep go to sleep.” “Run run run, it’s fun fun fun, now FREEZE!” “ABCs” You’re picking out letters you know and you were counting the fish in your bathtub unprovoked last night!
You are also entering a bit of a terrible two stage. You have a lot of temper tantrums, throwing yourself to the ground and fake crying when you don’t get what you want. We’ve had some all-out battles lately that are not fun. Generally, though, you are very happy-go-lucky and bravely face whatever new adventure comes your way! You’re spending a lot of time with family and friends. Pops comes over about once a week and takes you out for milkshakes and swimming. You h ave recently hung out with Melanie and Calina, Silvio, Jack, and Alex, Bubby and Uncle “Agam” and Grandma Pony riding ponies.
Helping! You are helping me now! Every day you help me unload the dishwasher and cook dinner. I’m amazed at how much you help me with dinner. You can go into the pantry and get me an onion or put cut up vegetables into a pot. You help me stir and yesterday you pointed to which mini muffin hole I should pour our popover batter into and then you poked gruyere cheese into each hole. It was fun!
You’ve been pretty healthy except for that dang eczema that won’t go away. You have a dermatology appointment next week. We’re hoping it’s not food allergy or asthma related.You’re about 35 inches tall and I’ll have to weigh you soon.
Yep, right now dinosaurs, trains, and all animals, especially alligators and sea creatures, rule in this house. I know these obsessions are brief, but it’s exciting to see you excited by the world and its many wonders.
I can’t believe it, but I have a two-year-old birthday party to plan!
May 1st, 2010 — by dad
This nineteenth month of yours was a roller coaster ride. You were the most difficult, but the very most fun you’ve ever been this month. The beginning of the month was a bit of a trial. You were sick with a perpetually runny nose, a high fever, and you refused to sleep. I paced the house for 45 minutes at a stretch with you on my back at 1am trying to coax you to sleep despite your every effort to get out of that backpack and watch more television. You would get an idea into your head and HAVE to have it or you would flip out. I normally just try and let your tantrums run their course and patiently try and figure out what you wanted. These times, however, I knew exactly what you wanted and you weren’t allowed to have them and that made you very, very angry which, in turn, made me very very exhausted and frustrated. After a few days of many tantrums at the grocery store, in the carseat, and before every single nap or bedtime, we made it through and you just stopped doing it. It was a phase that I’m glad has abated for the time being. I had to admire your persistence. You would punch into the air pointing at the thing you wanted shouting “this this this.” It would have been amusing if it hadn’t been past midnight.
Those few days taught me that patience is the ONLY way to get through the difficult times. Your Dad actually taught me that. He is extremely patient and level headed and that has helped me when I get frustrated. One trying evening he just came into the playroom where I was pacing and turned on the Yo Gabba Gabba soundtrack and patted us both on the back and walked along with us until you fell asleep. It also helps to know that phases go as suddenly and reliably as they appear, so remember the light at the end of the tunnel.
Then, after that first trying week of your nineteenth month you have had the time of your life! Your personality is shining through brighter and brighter every day and you are just a joy to spend time with! Some highlights:
- The last week of April you discovered words big time! You are saying so many new words and even phrases and can repeat every letter in the alphabet! I love to see how proud of yourself you are when I clap for you after saying new words.
-I feel better able to play with you because of this new level of communication. We can sit and play with blocks together. You can pick out colors and shapes.
-We have tons of new Buzz Lightyear paraphanalia thanks to Bubby and a Toy Story toddler bed waiting for me to get brave enough to allow you to sleep in. You LOVE your new Buzz things and point out all the Buzzes in the room to me and say “Buzz Buzz Buzz” as you point.
- We’ve been cooking and cleaning together. I especially love it when you help me empty or fill the dishwasher. The other day, as you handed me spoons and forks you lifted them out of the tray and up to your mouth and pretended to lick them, then you laughed. Your first little joke! It was awesome. You’ll even put the silverware into the silverware drawer all on your own. I didn’t even ask you to!
- Out in the backyard you pretend to sniff the ground like Leela does. You like to find sticks and poke them through little holes in the fence. You like to crouch down and watch the little ants crawling around. You run around in circles and try to make yourself dizzy.
-I watched Yo Gabba Gabba with you yesterday and you actually made all the funny faces. I had no idea you could do that. I got off the couch halfway through the show and looked back at you and you patted the couch cushion next to you, asking me to come back and sit down. It’s easy to get caught up in chores and other tasks. Sometimes you just want me to plop down and watch a show with you. It made my heart squishy.
- You are obsessed with books and I’ve been taking you to the library weekly to get a huge pile of books because I get tired of reading Dug the Dog, I Love Dinosaurs, and Jumpy Jack and Googily, even though they are great books. You love any book by Rachel Isadora and you like Eric Carle’s simpler books.
- Daddy got you a Magnadoodle today and we have never seen you so attached to an activity toy. You don’t want to ever stop drawing on it. You don’t ever want to let go of it. I had to basically rip it from your hands to get you buckled into your carseat. You insisted on carrying it into the restaurant yourself. You wouldn’t let us touch it. Geesh! I’m glad you like it, though. It’s a good toy.
- You love water activities and had a lot of fun in Calina’s wading pool the other day. I have been leaving you at Calina’s house once a week and letting Pops babysit you once a week and you are doing better and better with that. You seem to both have a harder and harder time saying goodbye and more and more fun once I’m gone. It has been great for me to get out and work at the museum twice a week. I’m having a lot of fun with it and feel good teaching the kids and earning a little extra spending money.
- You love choo choo trains, Wow Wow Wubbzy, Buzz and Woody still, making the dog run around the house like crazy, practicing walking up and down stairs without holding on to anything, running around the house naked, especially right before bathtime (the other day you accidentally peed a little on a rug and ran into the bathroom where I was getting your bath ready and said “Oh noooo” and grabbed yourself. I said, “uh oh, Jho, show me what happened” and you ran over to the spot on the rug and showed me. I was actually so proud of you for knowing that that was not correct and then for telling me! I hope you continue to do that for all other infractions in your future! Maybe it’s about potty training time?!?
- You’ve been playing dress-up with my shoes, my mardi gras beads, and various hats. You are obsessed with shoes and know that we aren’t allowed to go outside without them so you make sure to have them on and make sure that I put my shoes on, too. You’ve discovered the refrigerator and are also obsessed with it, driving me crazy opening and closing the fridge or just standing with it open while you peruse the offerings. Usually you just want “Juuush”
-You love to sing twinkle twinkle, pat-a-cake, open shut them, and the abc’s.
-It messes with my head to think about being your Mom and you being an actual person who depends on me to keep you safe and love you and teach you and make sure you grow up to be the best man you can be. I have to stop sometimes and force those thoughts into my head so that I’ll realize what an awesome and amazing relationship we really have. I have a lot of fun hanging out with you, little buddy. You are good company and a fun friend!
March 24th, 2010 — by mom
We’re both getting more of it. I am so happy about your recent ability to make yourself fall asleep. And I really like this extra sleep. Hopefully this falling asleep on your own and sleeping through the night with one 2-4 hour afternoon nap is not a short-lived phase, but something that’s here to stay for awhile. You’re doing pretty well without milk and froggy and blanky seem to be pretty comforting nighttime companions. You’ve been getting up between 7 and 8:30am, going down for a nap between 11:30 and 2:30 and then going to bed around 9:30 or 10:00 each night. That is working out great for us and it’s nice to be on a bit of a regular schedule.
You are eighteen months old now and I am really enjoying this age. You are communicating so much more with me and understand so many new things. You are such a big boy. We had to get you size 7.5 Wide shoes today at Stride Rite and you are almost 36 inches tall and 30.8 pounds! We still battle your eczema a bit and you wake up with the occasional high fever which I think may be a result of the new molars coming in (you have three of the four back molars now). You are wearing between a size 2 and 3T and love to examine what is on your shirts each day…especially when you get to wear your Buzz Lightyear or Sesame Street shirts. I realized recently that it is often those stupid details that I want to remember and that I forget. I need to keep better track of what sizes you wore when and what ailments you have at what age…that sort of thing. I also want to keep better track of some other things:
Things you love: Buzz, Woody, and Mr. Incredible, soft pillows…especially the new “big boy pillow” we let you sleep on now, running around the house chasing (and sometimes hitting and pulling on Leela), sitting in various chairs, playing outside picking little flowers, picking up acorns, examining small objects, playgrounds, especially going up the stairs and down the slide again and again and again, reading books like My Name is Dug and your frog pop-up book, doing your “barnyard dance”, pat-a-cake, twinkle twinkle, and itsy bitsy spider, climbing up on the bed and jumping on your Dad, playing a modified hide and seek, being surprised, wiggling, stomping, being tickled, communicating effectively and then getting praised, saying animal sounds, playing a variation on Simon Says, felt boards, playing with toy phones, blowing kisses, feeding me from your dinner plate, sitting in my lap and letting me read to you, holding small things, riding in your backpack and in the car carts at the grocery store, magnets on the fridge, putting on your shoes (probably because it signals that we’re going somewhere), helping me with house chores (emptying or filling the dishwasher and opening or closing drawers being among your favorite chores). When I give you something you want and asked me for you clench your fists with excitement and grin and sometimes laugh. It’s awesome. When you don’t get what you want or something is frustrating you like something not fitting into a container or some container not opening for you the way you want you get very Hulk-like and grunt real loud and bang the object down. You are a lot like me! (Something I’m noticing about parenting…you parrot my actions and bring attention to mannerisms I didn’t know I had like when you started saying “okay” and I realized how many times a day I say that word!)
Things you don’t like: When your nesting cups don’t nest properly, when I don’t provide a toy you’ve asked for promptly enough, when it’s been too long since your last snack, when you wake up in the backpack after having fallen asleep in there (same goes for carseat), when we turn off Yo Gabba Gabba before it’s over, when we won’t let you get down and run through a store, sweet potatoes and broccoli, when other people pick you up besides me, when I won’t let you chase the dog any more
Favorite foods: Bananas still win. You take the hugest possible bites. Grapes are probably next favorite, although crackers are up there. I mean, honestly, ice cream would win above all but you don’t get to have ice cream very often. You love oatmeal in the morning, strawberries, and pretty much any fruit. You like tomatoes and cheese and you’ll tolerate avocado. You don’t eat many vegetables willingly (unless hidden) but you will eat just about any vegetable if it came out of soup. Weird. Broccoli is still really iffy, but I discovered tonight that cauliflower is acceptable. You like spicy foods and you do not appreciate potatoes unless they come in french fry form.
Favorite places to go: Any playground, the library (some days at the library are better than others), anywhere outdoors, especially if you are allowed to run wherever you want. Theme parks are fun but exhausting. You like going over to other people’s houses, but you don’t want the other people to pick you up and you don’t want to be left alone with them until you are good and ready,
Words you often say on your own: uh-oh, okay, ou-T, Daddy, dog, look, up, moo, quack, baa, Buzz, yes, no, ouchie
Words you reliably sign: cat, dog, more, please, thank you, I love you (blows kisses), hello, goodbye, banana, cracker, frog, sleep (you sign and say sssss…it’s adorable), bath, eat, drink
Words you have said when prompted: please, car, off, down, Leela, Mom, Jack, ….pretty much most words I try to get you to say you try to say now, even if you don’t actually use them or necessarily know what they mean. You also know many, many more words than you ever try to say. I can ask you to point to a bird, an octopus, a zebra, an elephant, all the Yo Gabba Gabba characters, some colors, almost all your main body parts, some shapes, etc. and you point at them.
It’s fun to watch you starting to interact and play with other kids and interact and communicate more directly with me. You are really exploring what your body can do, randomly trying to turn in circles or walk backwards or jump, randomly trying to rhyme words or make up syllabic rhythmic patterns, mimic the way we talk on the phone or sit in a chair or sing a song. (We’ve been putting a song to everything we do so you can get used to our schedule. You sing “away” when we put the toys away. Tonight in the bathtub you sang “away…okay…be-bay.”
I also feel like we’re getting to know you and your quirky mannerisms and your likes and dislikes more and more each day. You like to be praised, but you don’t necessarily need us to notice what you do. You are very independent and often seem to question why you have to do something that is asked of you. You can be very focused and almost have tunnel vision if something interests you. After library class you are not interested in socializing with the other kids…you run for the door so you can explore the rest of the library. Books are pretty much your favorite things next to holding Woody and Buzz. You have a very expressive face that gives away all your emotions…your latest face being very quizzical where your scrunch up your nose and your eyebrows and look very concerned and confused. You are very caring and thoughtful and like to help me do things. I broke something the other day and you came over and stood over the shattered remains nervously, sort of seeming concerned that I was upset. You kept saying with your scrunched up face, “oohhhh….okaaaaiee….okaaaaiee” as if you were trying to make sure it was okay and that I knew it was okay. You also have a mischievous streak. You run and run and don’t look back. You test your boundaries and often seem to love the attention you get when you cross a known boundary. You do not scare easily and seem to be adventurous. And you are so sweet and loving and awfully adorable and people seem to just really like you! I know I do!
March 10th, 2010 — by mom
Well, you can say “dah-eeeeee” which is good enough.
Seriously you were adorable today, which is true for most days, but I figured it should be written down somewhere. You did have to go to timeout twice, though. Stop messing with that Leela so much!
February 14th, 2010 — by dad
December 31st, 2009 — by mom
You loved our Disney Cruise so much. You loved running all over the deck. You loved going up and down in the elevator. You loved the gingerbread cookie house (probably more than anything else) as well as the nightly dance parties with the band Midtown (where you totally hit on a little girl in while Midtown sang Lady in Red…amazing moment). You loved our waiter Ludo and the constant stream of junk food. You loved the constant stream of Disney movies and television programming in the room as well. You loved the framed picture of the song “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” that your Dad sang to you every time you pointed at it. You loved your Woody and Buzz toys we got you on the ship. You especially loved access to the splash zone by the pool. When we got home and walked in the house, you cried.