This morning you made your mommy super-happy by sleeping in till 9:00 a.m. It was a very productive morning for me.
Of course, then you made up for it by skipping your nap. Too much sleep, and all. But that’s mostly OK because you love to play alone in your room so much. If I were to leave you there all day you would be incredibly happy. Sometimes I think about doing that, because I would be incredibly happy, too. You are just an introvert and you don’t like to be bothered with other people’s problems.
But everyone’s immediate happiness is not my job, as easy as that might be in comparison. So I go ahead and let things play out as they should, which means you yell at your sister a lot. You yell at a lot of other little things, a lot, too.
The battlefront where we are fighting these days, with fresh fury, is anger. You get angry at the stupidest little things. Sometimes if you are especially angry you can’t listen to me remind you “It will feel easier if you aren’t angry.” Instead you just yell at me, too. In which case the next line is usually “Time for a spank,” and the line after that is “No spank!” Doesn’t quite work that way, my man.
We’ve been talking and thinking a lot about sin in our house the last few weeks, and how much power it has to destroy the good things God gives us. I find myself saying to you over and over and over again, “We will not have sin in our house, Jacob.”
Dear Pastor Moon, who you were so tickled to see again since you are always eager to discuss how he baptized you and put water on your head, has preached on the sacrifices of Leviticus recently and the imagery of dealing with sin found in those chapters has burned deep into my mind. Sin and any of its various ramifications was simply not tolerated in God’s presence because it was such an affront and a threat to the good world He made. And so in our house, too, since we want to be loving Jesus, this is what we’ve come to say, and I will say it again: “We will not have sin in our house.” God has given us so much beauty and joy in the way He has made the world to be, and I shudder to think how easily we can mess it all up by shrugging at sin.
But enough of the serious stuff… I must try to collect my thoughts about the hilarious two-and-a-half-year-old you are now. I’ve known all week that I’d be writing your journal tonight, but it wasn’t until I was getting you dressed and calculating in my head what month this was that I realized it was your official half-birthday, which means I owed you a half-birthday cake and Daddy owed you the half-birthday song. Daddy was ready with it immediately. I had you help me bake up a year-old box-mix pumpkin bread into a cake pan before you crawled into bed tonight, and we’ll eat it together with some cream cheese frosting in the morning.
In the mean time we had an improvisatory celebration at the kitchen counter as I set your day-old banana pancakes onto your plate. I gave you two and a half of them, put two candles part way in and one candle in way down deep so it looked small, wrote “2 1/2” on the plate with a little icing tube, and lit the candles. It might as well have been a professional’s confection. That’s the beauty of two-and-a-half.
This month we traveled. And traveled and traveled and traveled. You went to two zoos in one day last week, and the day before that you learned how to ride escalators with Papa. You enjoyed all the traveling because of all the cars you got to see from your spot in the van. It’s gotten to the point where you just chant out a running list of the cars you see as we drive. “White car! Blue car! White truck! Wee-o car! School bus! White Ni-ni car!”
So you’re currently obsessed with cars, trucks, diggers, and especially anything that can be classified as a “wee-o” car. Since you know sirens look like bulky things on top of a car you declare any vehicle that has anything at all unusual on its roof to be a “Wee-o” despite the various conversations we’ve had about things like taxis. But why spoil your fun? You are too cute.
You loved Grandma Lynne and Grandpa Al’s house and you loved them, too. You also loved their clocks, and you would perk up when you’d hear them chime every fifteen minutes and blurt out, excitedly, always the same words, “Clock upstairs go DEEEEENG!” Several times you got to ride in Grandma’s car to help her visit her mom, Grandma Pat. You charmed all the residents at the place. You are such a dear.
We’ve started saying “Fuzzy Pickles!” when we want you to smile after a wise old grandpa-looking photographer at a wedding used that to get you to take your finger out of your nose and grin for a moment. It worked and it stuck.
You are quite the talker now, even though it is still difficult to understand you. At least now you are constantly venturing to converse, to name, to explain, to describe. And it is so cute when we offer back what we think you’ve said. When we get it wrong you look at us with these twinkly, sassy eyes as if to say “Oh please! That’s ridiculous.” When we get it right you take in your breath sharply and grin from ear to ear. I think it still surprises you that you can say things now.
One time when that happened we were with Mr. Paul at his house in Minnesota. You were repeatedly throwing match box cars, and every time you’d launch one a little sound would come out of your mouth: “Doot.” Suddenly Paul tuned in to what you were doing and realized what was happening. He asked you “Jacob, are you saying ‘Dude’?” You were so pleased. It was like his recognition made it a hundred times funnier, and for the next 24 hours you said “Dude!” as many chances as you could get, and always followed it up with a huge laugh.
You love to play ball and your arm is so strong. You astound me with your throw. Unfortunately, you throw just about anything, anywhere, and that is an increasing problem that we are having to work on.
You are currently obsessed with the goofiest story, called “Will Gets a Haircut.” You ask for it frequently at nap times. Speaking of haircuts, you are so due for one.
And speaking of nap times, now that we’re settled into a new academic year here at home I’ve created a number of new rituals for us, not least of which is a nap time ritual. It helps so much to be able to say “Jacob, are you ready to read a story?” instead of “Jacob, are you ready for your nap?” So our ritual is this: I put you in your room to play while I put Meredith down for her nap and then I come to your room, change your diaper, snuggle up on your bean bag to read a story. Then I ask you “Who do you want to pray for?” and you always start by saying “Daddy!” and usually then “Nana, Papa, Puppies!” and sometimes “Pastor Moon!” There are not a ton of names that come to your mind unsolicited, but these are guaranteed. So then we kneel down by your bed, a posture I’ve been explaining to you since we began this practice last week, and we pray together. Then I ask you what song you want as you clamber up onto your pillow. I tuck your blankets in and crawl in beside you while you, predictably, start “Doo-be-doo-be-doo-ing” the tune to the same song every day. It is adorable how you are so good at it, because it is not the simplest tune. So then I sing “Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us…” and I kiss you and that is the end of it. These rituals make it so easy to keep track of what’s important, and I love to see your appreciation of them and how much you are learning with them undergirding what we do each day.
I have to tell you about the most vivid, emotional moment of being your mommy this month. We were sitting on the floor in the brides’ room at the church where Auntie Laura was getting married. Daddy was getting Meredith into her party dress and I was putting you in your suit. I buttoned up your tummy and your sleeves and then I literally started crying by accident. There you were in your tiny (big) two-year-old body but you were in an actual suit. I will stop trying to explain now because I realize that it is completely ridiculous. But I’ll just say it was pretty nice getting to hang out with you all day in that suit and then have a second chance at it two weeks later at Auntie Gwen’s wedding. You are a good looking little man and you wear a suit as well as anyone. And for now anyway, you are MY little man.
I love you.