I start this monthly letter to you one day shy of your 14 month birthday. We are at the airport, heading to Lawrence to visit family. No doubt, this letter will not be posted until well over a week after the 21st. Your cousins are excited to see you and you will be excited to have someone other than me entertain you. Don Linny Can’t wait to get her hands on you and, in turn, I can’t wait to have my hands free for three days.
You’re fascinated with the airplanes rolling down the tarmac. Entertained by the other small children running around. your hands all over the glass looking down on the terminal, you are content to yell “Pwannnnnnne” every time you see one rolling by outside. Running around and begging for snacks. Throwing your sippy cup on the ground. Fast luggage carts and men in orange vests have you quieted for just a moment.
Note…Just ONE moment. Never more of quiet these days. Even in your sleep you talk and dream and make noises.
This flight marks well over 30 takeoffs. At this point, I have lost track and only know you are well-traveled and that I view this an invitation for you to explore every corner of our world.
Month Thirteen of your life is no different from any other in that it’s my favorite. Sure, you have some cranky days and wake up too early still, but you are a person now. A person with thoughts and opinions and ideas about what you want to do. It’s amazing. Each day is an adventure and I get to be your Tour Guide. This is the greatest job I’ve every had in my life.
Reeve, being your mama is tiring. I’m exhausted, wiped at the end of each and every day. But….I lie in bed with your Daddy and we laugh about what each new day has brought and it’s okay. I’m okay. New words. New tricks. New motor skills and sounds and lessons….it’s really one of my favorite parts of each day. Replaying those small moments (like how you used your corn cob as a baseball bat) or finding time to type them on here is a funny book report that has me in tears and laughter after each chapter. Someday, when you are older, we will read this book/blog together and have the absolute BEST time telling stories. I can’t wait! I know that what I’m doing here is important. That someday you will cherish this…but it’s hard to find the energy/time right now.
On a daily basis I am still asked how old you are only to have “Wow, he’s big” spoken back after my reply. You are tall for your age, but also look much older. You always have. Your neck is long and your face mature. Your hair is SO blonde and your eyelashes so long and thick. I NEVER in a million years thought I would mother a blue-eyed, blonde child. One with such big ears, nonetheless! 🙂 You are the spitting image of neither of us. I think you look more like me, some say your daddy. Perhaps 50% or equal parts of all of the best parts of us. You are beautiful! I say that not only as your mama, but also as a mama who loves attractive things. Just yesterday, at the airport on the way home, a stranger (a businessman in a his 60s) stopped me to say, “that’s a good looking young man.” I love looking at your face…still. I always have. When you sleep in the carseat, your lips purse out and your lashes are splayed on your baby fat cheeks. I remember tracing your jawline when you are tiny and have to hold my own hand back from doing that now. It would wake you up immediately, and Lord knows, we tip toe around you any time you are in slumber as waking you up is like waking a dragon. A fiery one at that!
You don’t like me to be very far out of your line of sight these days. You don’t like to be left with anyone of that me. Some days are hard. Some days you yell at me or cuss me out in your language. Some days you bite my shoulder or hit my face. Often, you even hit your own face. VERY often you hit other children. Some days you fight and have had a very few temper tantrums this month. Once, while FaceTiming with Don Linny on the computer, you got mad…sat down….bend your head to your knees….then threw your head back on the ground and starting screaming and kicking. We laughed until we cried. These moments are rare. I don’t often let them get to that point, I removed you from yourself and distract you, but some days are downright hard. I won’t lie, if 13 months is a precursor to the Terrible Twos and Threes….I am screwed. But, Reeve, even weeks after jotting down the above-notes in my phone, those moments seem so few. So small. I typed above how much I loved this month, then was surprised as I went back to review the notes at how the very first one was about how hard 13 months is. It just goes to show that time is so fleeting and goes so fast, that your memory chooses only to harbour on the good. Thirteen months DOES have some downs, but the UPs are so much better….with that being said, PLEASE QUIT HITTING OTHER KIDS. You have a reputation already at Story Time. The other moms know you are the “kid who hits.” It’s mostly only hard when you hit the child of a parent who doesn’t have other kids and cannot understand that this is a phase and not a personality. I don’t teach you to hit. It doesn’t mean you are a “bad” kid. It just means you can’t tell me what you what or why you are mad or sad. I long for the day when you can verbally express…that is, unless it’s to tell me that you don’t want Lucas to have your toy. Then we’ll have to go from the “kid who hits” to the “boy who won’t share”
As you learn to communicate more (with words and signs) I can see that our lives will get easier. It’s that inability to communicate all of your wants/needs that is the cause of any tantrum or tear. We will get there. Soon, you will talk up a storm and we’ll figure everything out. I just know it.
Summer is here. That means we are outside a lot. We play in the yard, in the cul de sac, parks, water fountains….it makes the days go a lot faster. Slowly you are learning to step down from varying heights of sidewalk, though it still terrifies me. You love picking up rocks or running after the other kiddos in the cul de sac. Finally, you are able to scoot on the ride-along scooters we have for you, though you would rather just run. Those things are too slow for you. You spend a lot of time outdoors on Mr. Marty’s perfect grass (next door). You love how his lawn feels and I worry that one day you will leave a toddler body imprint and he will get mad at us. You spin now. Like Gloria Gaynor, you throw your head back and whip around for one spin…two spins if you are feeling extra bold. It only takes just one to make you dizzy, but you just love that feeling. YOu get that from me. Like on a rollercoaster or turbulence on a plane, you love to feel spinny. You explore outdoors and pump your little arms as you walk, Sometimes with a clap clap here or there. You love going to the park and standing on the bottom of the slide. Yes, you will be THAT kid. You don’t really care about the swings or any horse-shaped object to ride on. You just want to look for balls and dogs, stand on that slide and find the sand to lick or run through your hair. I tell you, Summer is here and I just love it. Your arms have a wonderful little Farmer’s Tan already. I coat you in so much sunscreen I’m surprised you have any color whatsoever. You love to stomp stomp in the water at the park by the library. We’ve taken you to a couple of music festivals outdoors and let you spin and dance and throw your ball around. I imagine all little boys love the outdoors, but you just seem to have found what it is that your body needs.
We started this month with a trip to Atlanta to visit friends where we left you for 2 nights with their nanny. I don’t have to elaborate, but you were pissed and screamed the whole time…though she was amazing and able to get you to sleep both nights with some rocking. She sent me pictures all night long of you in different positions in your crib….I was worried you weren’t breathing. You loved being around E, E and Baby C….you danced and watched hours upon hours of cartoons and did a sideways somersault and threw your body repeatedly onto their bean bags and ate a whole lot while we were there. Our friend Kim referred to you as “passionate”…ahem…you were very vocal compared to her children and let us all know when you weren’t happy. You came home from Atlanta with the flu. Lots of diarrhea and your first projectile vomit. Luckly, it was in your high chair and just went into the tray. Daddy was away on business and I didn’t sleep all night worrying about you.
You love to read still. You bring me book after book and seem to be able to anticipate what will be on the next page. I sit cross-legged on the floor and you put both hands on my right knee, then pommel horse your body into my lap. It’s so cute! You know which books have a ball on which page. You love to turn the pages for me and get annoyed with any book that doesn’t have pictures of real animals, balls, bats, monsters, trucks or any other “boy” subjects. If there is a cartoon bunny on a page or an Elmo, it better also have a bat or balloons. Ahhhh….balloons. You still obsess over those and only want to look at the pages where balloons appear if they are in the book. With some books, I have to skip over the pages with balloons or we just stare at that one page the whole time.
At Story Time you have good days and bad days. Mostly, you just don’t like to be contained within the walls of the moms. I, on the other hand, don’t like you to be in the center of the circle contained either. It’s there that you hit babies and boys who play with the balls…Some days I wonder whether I should quit taking you. You don’t enjoy the songs or the stories. You don’t like to play with others. You really just want to pull books off the shelves and play with the stuffed giraffe and dragon in the back of the library….but wait…just when I think it’s not worth it, or that you aren’t getting it, your arms start doing the motions for the song those kids in the circle are singing 20 feet away. So, we go. We trudge there 3-4 times a week and you always hit at least one kid and you always want to play with the water fountain and computers and keyboards and you NEVER want to actually read a story…at Story Time….but we go.
I’ve taken to doing a dance for every new food you eat in order to distract you long enough for you to chew and swallow. The Elbow Macaroni Dance is your favorite, then the Brocolli Dance (which looks a bit like Gangnam Style) and the Applesauce Dance. I probably look like the biggest idiot, but you think i am so funny and it works!!! You often forget that you are eating broccoli or snap peas and just laugh at me. You love Spinach smoothies made with apple juice and frozen berries. You still won’t eat carrots or asparagus or a whole lot of veggies, but we just keep trying. You can sign “finished” but usually just throw your food at me to let me know you are done. A couple of times this month, you ate Hannah’s dog food straight out of the bowl. You love to go over to her water bowl and splash around in that too.
Your dancing skills are something to see. It’s part hippie and part Jed Clampett. There is a Yo Gabba Gabba song that says, “go go go go!” over and over and when we say it like they do, you raise your right arm and stomp your left foot over and over and over. I bet I have 48 videos of you doing just that. You say, “doe doe doe doe” and we laugh each time. When in your stroller or carseat, your dancing skills consist of a side-to-side motion or a bobble of the head. Sometimes you point your elbows out and bend at the knees over and over. I just love to watch you dance. Any Yo Gabba Gabba song can get you going. You still love those crazy monsters…as long as they are in the TV. During one of Papa Jim’s visits this month he brought you a Muno doll and you freaked out….You can anticipate which song is next on any of your 4 videos as well. This morning you started High 5-iving us and then the song about doing that came on. You have a YGG book that you love to read and pulling the video cases out of the nightstand sure is a lot of fun. You love it when we say “Break it downnnnn” like DJ Lance does and say back to us, “downnnnn”
You have rediscovered your tongue this month. It’s very funny to stick it out at us. So is smelling our feet and pinching your nose to make a Stinky Face. You can blow your nose into a Kleenex too. You like to say “ba-beeee” to any child on tv or when you look in the mirror. Saying “bye bye” or waving hellow to anyone who walks by or through a door is pretty nice of you, but don’t be fooled, you are still the Story Time Terror and like to whack other kiddos right on the head or on the cheek. At this point, I just figure “whatever.” It doesn’t help you learn to tell you “no” or “hands are not for hitting” or to fake cry, so we just tell you it’s wrong and walk away. I figure there aren’t a lot of adults that walk around hitting each other, and if you grow up to be one of them, well you just won’t have any friends and that will be punishment enough.
This month we swear you can understand every word that comes out of our mouths…or at least mimic them. Just this morning you said, “poop” and “shit.” I know….not the proudest Mom moment. It’s hilarious and also makes us very proud that you seem to already have a grasp on the English language. You still sign a lot for things you want and have incorporated “help” into your repertoire. That one comes in helpful as you learn how to climb up on chairs and ottomons and other things. Climbing….you hoist that right leg up and find a way to pull up the rest of the way. It terrifies us b/c once you do get up on something, you stand all willy nilly and have NO idea how to get down. Perhaps my favorite word you learned this month was “daddy.” Sometimes, when you are upset, you still cry for “dada,” but it’s that emphasis on the Long E at the end of “daddy” that just gets me right where it hurts. A few times you tried to call me “mommy,” but I’m not ready for you to move on from your initial name for me (mama). As I’ve said before, you learn about 1 new word a day and, at this point, it’s impossible to keep up with. You have begun to learn that stringing 2-3 words together has more effect and your first sentence was “bye dada” and then “Hannah come” (though you still call her Nana) and always “berry please.”
This month you tell me “no” and “don’t” and “stop” quite often. Where did you learn such words? I try not to use those, but as you run too fast and climb too high and throw your food and hit other kids, its hard not to. You sometimes can nod “yes” but like to repeat the “uh uh”s I tell you and fuss and fight for me to put you “downnnnn”. You are VERY passionate. Or vocal. Or determined. Or certain of what you like…and have absolutely NO problem letting us know. I hope you stay like this, but as you near 2 I hope you learn to listen a little more.
Let’s talk about Balls for a second. Baseball in particular. Love….your love for the sport is just in your genes, you DNA. We were out to dinner with family at a loud, busy Mexican restaurant and you were turned completely around in your highchair, neck craned and despite all the noise, trying to watch a MLB game on the TV mounted in the corner. How can you possibly even know what you are watching? Is it b/c you go to Daddy’s game every week? Where you hit the poles with your bat, try to stick your hands in through the chain link fence, run bases after and scream “ball” and now “strike” at every pitch? How do you know? Is is the tee we bought you that you can already whack the ball off of? Is it the little blue and green glove that you can’t quite figure out how to wear, but manage to hold onto the strap? Who know?!?! You know the pieces of the game and are learning how to fit them all together. You know a bat hits a ball, but can’t figure out what to do with a ball in the glove. You swing the glove and throw the ball as if that’s what they do. You can throw, but aren’t interested yet in trying to catch. You just know you LOVE the game. We took you to the HS State Baseball Tournament where you ended up on the local news b/c even the camera man couldn’t deny how adorably cute it is to watch you put two hands on the bat just right, choke up, throw it over your left shoulder (everyone always comments that you are a LEFTIE….as if that’s amazing), then bend your knees and swing with all your might. You could just swing and swing and swing all day long. It’s your favorite thing. I think we are up to 14 bats now. Some a plastic, some foam, some have superheroes on them….some are plastic forks, some are conditioner bottles, some are hairbrushes. You don’t care. If you can swing it, it’s a bat!
You are still sleeping 10-11 hours a night, but with travel to Atlanta and Kansas we were a bit off with naps this month. Its okay. I will never complain about a 1-hour nap or a 10-11 hour night. Getting up at 6 am is still something we aren’t enjoying, but a 7pm bedtime does has its perks now that we can sit out on our back patio with a beer and watch the sun set while you are upstairs asleep.
You eat like a horse one week and then the next won’t touch anything. Noodles are a consistent favorite, as are any berry. You aren’t the best eater…not a lot of veggies in your diet, but I know this is common and I try my damndest to fool you. You sure do love a apple juice and berry smoothie with a BIG handful of spinach in it. YOu also sure do love mac & cheese with brocolli or lasagna with veggies. I just have to sneak them in. You are kind of over bananas. You definitely are into sharing your food with Hannah and are a fan of throwing things right at Mama’s face when you are done with them. Punk.
We are down to nursing just 3 times a day. Upon waking, before nap and before bed. You would love to have it about 10 times more a day, but Mama’s tired of it. I’m ready for the freedom allowed with not having to do it. I pray you begin to self-wean, but either way, 18 months is our cutoff. I’m tired of you ripping into my shirt, fingernails scratching into my chest, hand reaching into my bra to grab my nipple any time I hold you. Sure, the sweet and pleasant moments are there still, but it’s just not as often. I still enjoy looking into your eyes and stroking your cheek and playing with your BLONDE hair, but I don’t like the ferociousness with which you let me know you are ready.
With that being said, I compare breastfeeding at 14 months to an Apple iPod/iPhone. You know how you have to charge it’s battery and back it up every so often? How you have to “dock” it? That’s exactly what nursing is to you. This hit me one day and it just makes SO much sense. POW!!! My brain got it. It’s understandable why it’s so necessary for you to have it exactly when you want it. You truly do need it. That time in my arms, cuddled up just so is how you recharge. I am your Docking Station. When you are in that spot, you are processing. The new words, the new trick the new ability that you just learned needs time in your brain to roll around and settle. Only in my arms, with my skin upon yours do you slow down enough to process how big this world is and how much you learn. My skin is your Touch Stone. When I think about the act of Breast Feeding in this way I am able to get through the pain or annoyance b/c I truly do see you calmer and more able after.
Kissing is fun this month. You open-mouth goo me and have snuck me the tongue once or twice. You love to give Daddy a big kiss each night before bed too. It’s so sweet. You LOVE to hug me. When I pull you out of your carseat and lift you in the air over my head each time, you land with a huge hug. Your head rests on my shoulder and sometimes I even get the arms around the neck. My favorite though, is the Koala hug. You put both arms under my arm and snug your legs up to your chest as if my arm is a tree trunk. I just love it. You say “mmmmmm” as though it feels so good. And it does, doesn’t it? I am glad you are becoming more affectionate…you still whack me on the head at least once a day though. You also like to sit on my chest when I lay on my back and bounce there or hard on my uterus…..it’s like a wrestling move to you.
You are so blonde right now people we know stop me to ask if you got a hair cut or why you look different. It’s so funny. Daddy wasn’t blonde (twin Uncle Rick was) and mommy was never as blonde as you are (unless you count highlights)…we are just outside so much. Each day we spend time going back and forth between the front and backyards or to the cul de sac. You are constantly going from soccer ball to tee ball to bubbles to frisbee to walking around. My skin is constantly pink and I can’t keep up with the sunscreen. I feel like it’s barely summer and we are already so tan.
My Busy Little Bubba….I struggle to keep up with you. Each night after I FINALLY get you to sleep, I can barely stay awake another hour. I am bone tired. My gosh, keeping up with you pales in comparison to Marathon Training. If anyone ever tells you how busy little boys are, surely they are envisioning just you!!! It seems you are constantly exploring and touching and running from thing to thing. You just want to soak it all in and check it all out. That’s fine, just quit pulling the damn dog’s hair and leave her eff-ing dog food alone! Seriously, Kid…remember how at the beginning of this letter to you I talked about how I always forget how bad you are and, in hindsight, you are an amazing kid? Well, this paragraph was written days after the prior paragraph and today you were ROTTEN. You climbed up the walls, hung from the ceiling and spat in my face then tried to tear my eyeballs out. You were B-A-D! But don’t worry…tomorrow is a new day and you will wake up wanting nothing in this world more than me and I will, again, forget the bad and start the day anew.
Reeve, thank you for being so forgiving. Most days, I have NO idea what the hell I am doing. Despite being your mom for 14 months, I still feel like I get it all wrong. You didn’t come with an instruction manual and I wouldn’t have read it even if you had, but sometimes I feel like you are going to grow up and blame your relationship problems on the fact I nursed you too long or your vanity on the fact that I tell you no less than 483 times a day how you are the cutest baby in the whole wide world. And you know what? I really mean that. There is NO baby cuter than you and, for that reason, I’m probably going to be paying for your therapy well into your 40s b/c I would rather take blame than deny you the constant praise.
As you get older and bigger and I see your personality, your BIG personality, I have to remind myself that you aren’t “Baby Reeve” anymore. Constant motion with an unexpected hug has become my day. You do this cute thing where I tell you, “I’m going to get you soooo bad” and instead of running away from me (like one would do if scared of being tickled and kissed) you just run right into me. Hard….you throw your body at me. As long as you are still doing that, you are a baby to me. You are so smart. Not a lot gets by you. As I see you learn to raise your leg to climb or to slow down as you near the curb or when I hear you repeat “purple” or “flag” I’m just so thankful for your brain. Your healthy body. Your strong legs. The way you still love to hold onto my finger when you walk.
You are just so mischievous. You know better than to hit or throw my iPhone or to swing your bat at the dog, but testing your limits is just so fun for you. I think I know where you get that from….
We just love you so much. A few times this month your little legs have moved too fast and you’ve fallen and scraped your knees and it just tears Daddy & I apart to see you go down. We try not to react until you do, but with baited breathe we watch and are so proud each time you get up, dust your hands off and take off again.
Slow Down, Dude….literally and figuratively.
I cannot believe how much I love you. I can barely remember that moment you were born over a year ago, but I know the second they placed you on top of me they may as well have handed me my heart.
Reeve Denver (which we call you more often these days…most likely b/c all parents use first and middle names when their kids are in trouble, and let’s face it, you are naughty a lot) let’s always be best friends. The absolute best thing about me….is YOU!
To the moon & back,
Favorite things to do: Play outdoors. Kick your soccer ball. Swing at the Baseball Tee, or swing THE baseball tee. Run around the cul de sac. Put on Daddy’s baseball glove
Favorite things to eat: bbq sauce on food, pizza, blueberries, frozen grapes, CHEESE, oatmeal
Dislikes: learning how to climb down the stairs, getting strapped into your carseat & stroller, being told “no”, timeouts for hitting, when other kids play with the balls at Story Time
Funny Tricks: sticking out your tongue, spinning in a circle, bending over to do a somersault, “byeeeee,” jumping (ha ha)
Scary items: Toy Muno Doll from YGG…and not a lot else. You are fearless
Cute item: The tee ball we’ve rigged in the car over your carseat, showing us your belly, you love your YGG book,
Hair color: BLONDE…and getting long. People keep asking me if we are going to cut it soon….NO!!!!
Eye color: Still bright blue!
Clothing size: 18 months
Diaper size: 4
Weight: probably 24-25 pounds
Height: 33″ (so big you often are mistaken for a 2-year-old)
Teeth: 12. all 4 molars are in, but you walk around with your finger in your mouth so possibly your Incisors are working their way in too?