This month can pretty much be summed up with one word: stories.
An exhausting amount of stories.
I think the only thing more certain about your day is that you will drink milk. No matter what else happens between waking up and bedtime, there are always books. You like to read to your animals all by yourself and you like to read with Mommy or Daddy. I’ve collected about a dozen of your books that are the loveliest, most imaginative or well told or best illustrated, and they have a shelf upstairs now instead of in your room. Most mornings while Meredith takes her nap we sit on the couch and read endlessly.
I mentioned milk because it’s one little manifestation of your growing mind that I’ve been observing. You used to just take whatever I gave you to drink but now often you’ll find I’m handing you a cup of water and you’ll look at me and sign “Milk” and it always amazes me that you have such a mind of your own.
This month there has also been lots of singing. You have begun to remember tunes you hear often and while you still sing random nonsense, more often than not lately if we listen we’ll realize you’re singing The ABC Song, The Wheels on the Bus, the Doxology, Christ Mighty Savior, and as of today Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. You have one toy that plays the ABC Song and you always patiently push the sequence of buttons necessary to get it to oblige you and then you stand there and dance and hum along.
Climbing has also been a theme. Climbing on me, climbing up on Daddy & Mommy’s bed all by yourself, climbing the furniture and sometimes climbing from one piece of furniture onto another. You can climb up in your chair at the dinner table by yourself but you’re still nervous to climb down. And the other day I discovered that you sometimes climb on the side rail of your bed to reach the light switch.
One of your most common pastimes is sorting things by color now. You make chains of linking toys, all of the same color. You make towers with your blocks, all of the same color, and perhaps the cutest is your cars. You have this sixth sense about how they should be sorted and one day when I was cleaning up your room with you I discovered that all the orange ones were parked in a neat row by the laundry hamper, there were three yellow ones neatly tucked behind the door, and there was a whole pile of red ones under the bed. Sometimes the sorting is more nuanced than that, though, and you have a baffling system that decides which cars go together in pairs. Today you presented me a pair: a police car and a police truck. The only obvious marks were the word “Police” on them and please don’t tell me you know how to read.
Night waking has been a big player lately after almost two years of beautiful, beautiful sleeping. It started with Meredith sleeping in your room and waking you but now you usually wake once at night whether or not she’s there. I think you are afraid of what you see illuminated by your night light when you’re half awake, and I think you’ve also had a number of nightmares. And you have definitely been teething, evidenced by the long awaited appearance of the fourth bottom tooth which has righted your lopsided grin. I think the night waking is on its way back out finally but it has given me a run for my money and I am constantly exhausted.
You love to play outside and have gotten brave enough to play all by yourself if I’m watching from the door. It’s a good thing, because it’s been too cold for me and Meredith to hang out with you, so we sit in the warm house and watch while you scoot your bike along (you don’t use the pedals yet, just walk your feet along the pavement) or pitch things down the steps. Yesterday you were playing with the 7yo neighbor boy and it was so cute to see you rising to the occasion, laughing at his antics and letting him take a turn on your tiny bike.
Your number one obsession this month has been the song The Wheels On The Bus and we sing it countless times a day, hand motions and all. It is pretty common for this to be the first activity of the day, even before a new diaper or a good morning kiss. I’ll come find you in your room and you’ll be standing there with the book, ready for me to sing.
Of course the biggest news of all is that you’re sort of starting to talk a little bit kind of maybe. One day we had this amazing break through and you started saying “Mama.” This is also what you say when I ask you to say “Dada,” and I think this is beyond hilarious. It’s been nice because now I’m trying to teach you that when you need help you say “Mama” so that I’ll come to you. Usually these are moments of frustration for you so it comes out like a squeal, but it’s there no matter how fussy it sounds, and it’s music to my ears.
The same day you started saying “Mama” I discovered that you know what a cow says. I hope you’ll forgive me for all the fun I had at your expense that week because anytime I’d ask you “Jacob, what does a cow say?” you’d get these big eyes and we’d practically yell “Mooooooo!!!!!” at each other and then I would bust out laughing. It happened a million times.
I think the first thing to happen, before “Mama” and “Moo” was the pig noise. I noticed one day that you were making this perfect little grunty oink in the back of your mouth and I asked you if that’s what a pig says and you repeated it. Then we got on a roll and discovered a high pitched squeaky “Meow” that you throw your whole face into complete with squinty eyes. The other hilarious one is a lion’s roar which sounds big and crazy and shows off a wide open mouth but it’s really just a big yell, not a roar. We keep grilling you on these sounds a dozen times a day. (Sorry about that.) I’m just so excited at the breakthrough – that you can offer any vocal imitation is a big, big step toward language.
Sorry I have nothing profound to write to you this month. We are all sick this weekend and I am pretty bleary-eyed. I know there have been half a dozen memorable stories to tell but they’re all gone now. I’d say this huge collection of pictures makes up for it, though.
Also? I love your dimples.
P.S. I said I had nothing profound to write this month since we are all feeling sick, but it’s early the next morning and I’ve changed my mind. I’m sitting in the rocker outside your room by the pull-out bed where Daddy and I slept last night. We put you to bed at 8:00 last night after you wouldn’t touch your dinner. It seemed at the time that you were just too busy singing to be bothered. 15 minutes after you went to bed you started wailing and I ran down the stairs to find you’d thrown up all over your bed, animals and all. Told ya we were sick! You threw up three more times in the next three hours and then started sleeping peacefully and I’ve just given you your first two sips of pedialyte and you are asleep again, not even strong enough to climb back into your bed by yourself.
You’ve been such a healthy kid that I haven’t had much chance to see what you’re like sick and I can now report: YOU ARE INSANELY SWEET. Just endless cuddles and weak, quiet smiles. I’m glad mommies feel overwhelming compassion when they have to deal with this stuff because otherwise it would be hard drudgery.
We are getting ready to travel this week and I am nervously praying for health for us. Daddy has a sore throat, Meredith has been hacking up a lung for four days, Mommy has been fighting what I hope is the same stomach bug you’re feeling for four days as well. On top of that, I have an intensifying problem with my right knee. As I sat by your bed at one point last night helping you go back to sleep we had prayed and I told you that Jesus was going to heal you soon. That’s become a theme we’ve kept talking about all night: Jesus is our healer. It’s helping me grow in my faith, to see yours so simple, trusting that what Mommy says is true of course. Not even two years old, you know this about Jesus and maybe you will remember it all your life so it will seem more obvious along your journey than it has to me in the last few days to pray for healing, expectant. So when we get on that plane healthy on Thursday (Auntie Becky is confident we will!) we owe it to Jesus, Our Healer. One more reason to love him, my sweet boy. There are so many.