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Happy 2nd Birthday, William

Dear William,

A few days ago you turned 2. I’m sitting here wondering where my baby went. You are talking up a storm, running around, and even making loud (very loud) demands lately. You want to do pretty much everything by yourself now, and cuddles are few and far between.

With every milestone you reach, there is a sharp reminder that it is your first for something, and my last. You are my last baby. It’s the last time I’ll see my baby learn to talk, learn to walk, learn to sit, learn to roll, etc.

With you I want to stop time and hold onto it all. But at the same time, I just LOVE each new milestone. I love how with each new phase, we get to know you more and more, and your personality just shines through.

You are boy through and through. As stereotypical boy as it gets LOL It’s so funny, because Caroline is stereotypical girl (loves princesses, only wears dresses, favorite colors are purple and pink, etc). And I swear it is not due to us. I am not girly and don’t like dresses very much. I never pushed girly things on her, if anything I did the opposite. I never pushed the boy stuff on you. Nature vs nurture sure is interesting to watch unfold.

You love tractors and trucks. The only toys we’ve ever been able to get you interested in are tractors, trucks, cars, and buses. That’s it. These are your favorite toys right now that you just got for your 2nd birthday:

Garbage/Recycling Truck- you can put things in the bin and pull a lever to dump it into the truck. This truck has great sounds and is really fun!

Little People School Bus– This bus has a handle to use as a pull toy, and the handle flips under if you want it out of the way. It comes with a really diverse set of characters, including a child in a wheelchair. It is a wonderful little toy with great music and learning.

John Deere Animal Hayride toy– This is also a cute toy with several different animals. As you place the animals in the tractor, they make noise.

Fire truck– This is a loud toy… so it’s not my favorite, but William loves it!

Power Wheels Dune Racer- This was an early birthday present that we gave to William. After a lot of research we landed on this two seater for both kids to enjoy driving.

Since you and Caroline both have birthdays right before Christmas, I have a lot of sorting and organizing of presents to do. This year, I was doing just that and making birthday piles and Christmas piles as the amazon boxes rolled in from everyone in the family.

Grandma and Papa sent you a fire truck for your birthday. I thought you were in the family room playing, and I was peeking in boxes, seeing what things were and putting them in the correct pile. As I peered into the fire truck box, I suddenly heard “TRUCK!” from right over my shoulder. You had snuck up behind me and I didn’t even notice!

As an almost 2 year old, I figured I could easily distract you and get you doing something else. Wrong. You cried and screamed… big crocodile tears for almost an hour wanting that truck. We finally moved on, but it was rough! You were so excited.

On your birthday, you squealed with excitement to see that truck again. I captured this picture of you waiting as Daddy put batteries in it as quick as he could. You were ecstatic and just had pure joy on your face.

You also play pretend very well from watching your sister. You pretend to eat, and make us plates of things with the little kitchen toy we have. But quickly you are back to your trucks. And if the weather was nicer still, you’d be out playing in your dirt box as a close second favorite. Yes it’s a dirt box, not a sand box haha! You literally dump dirt on your head. Once you dumped a ton of it IN YOUR EAR. You blow spit bubbles and make funny noises.

There’s nothing you love more, though, than wrestling with Caroline. You climb on her and tackle her and she does it right back. Watching the two of you just have pure fun with one another is my favorite thing to do.

You do anything to make us laugh. Daddy refrains from laughing when you do the silly things at the table, but Caroline and I can’t help ourselves. I try so hard since I don’t want you screaming and being silly at the table, but I can’t hold it in.

The look on your face as you wait for a reaction is priceless. Daddy informs everyone that in true boy style you’re “going to keep doing it so long as it makes the girls laugh”… And why yes, that’s true isn’t it!? LOL

At the table pretty much as soon as you’re done, we make silly faces with you. You just love it. You make a surprised face with your eyebrows up, eyes wide, and mouth open. And then a frown face with your eyebrows in. Back and forth we do it over and over. You love it and are so good at it. Sometimes when we try to get you to do and take a picture, you leave us hanging and looking silly while you keep a straight face. I swear you do it on purpose!

You are possibly the pickiest eater ever. If you don’t like what’s offered, you shove it away and put your head down on the table in disappointment. Quite possibly this is due to the fact that we usually cave and get you something different to eat just to make sure you are full. We are much less strict with you I feel for some reason. Maybe as parents we’ve grown to realize that some things just don’t matter too much.

You’ve been alive for 24 months. 10 of those months have been spent home, away from other people due to the virus. A couple of months before the virus hit, you’d started a parents day out program. It was a small program, and only had a couple of kids. For a few hours, you got to experience life not right by my side. I’ve always thought it was a healthy experience and good to do. Caroline started going when she was 6 months old.

You had a hard time with me leaving you at first, but were settling in a bit after having gone about 4 times. Then the virus came and shut everything down. Over a third of your life has now been in “quarantine mode” here at home. We don’t go to stores. We don’t go to playgrounds. You no longer go to your toddler “school,” and well we have zero interaction with anyone really.

No story times. No zoo trips. No outings. We’ve done a few things here and there, but it’s a stark difference to what I did with Caroline and I notice it so much. When we do go out, you already wear a mask at your young age and do so excitedly so you can be like the rest of the family. You know no different.

With Caroline we went out daily. Always on the go, at a park, at the zoo, with friends, at the store, at story time, at random playgroups at the library or church gyms, at her baby school, or even doing gymnastics from the moment she could walk, and swim school shortly after. You haven’t gotten any of that.

At times I feel so bad about it. I really wanted to do gymnastics with you. I really wanted you to have time socializing and just experiencing other kids and being around other people. Caroline used to love her outings.

Most of it stopped for us after your big sister, April, died. It was hard to get myself back into going out and doing things again. Then we moved and it became even easier to stay home. But I was starting to go out more again and wanted you to have some of those same experiences. I was planning to start gymnastics with you when Caroline started kindergarten. The virus put a hold on those plans though.

Here we are now making a conscious decision to stay home, and well it suits us just fine. We love being home and just together with our family. I am so thankful for our big yard right now. We go outside and you love to run the fence line. It’s pretty adorable. You’ve loved chasing after us when I’m working in the garden, and Caroline is running around playing.

We are all too busy at times to really slow down with you, so a good 75% of the time you are left in the dust as I carry something out to the garden, or Caroline runs off. But you trudge through with your tiny legs and make it all the way out to where we are. You are determined and focused. Every once in awhile I realize you’d probably like some company, and I slow down with you.

Poor guy! I guess that’s what happens when you are the youngest. Always left to run after, catch up, etc. But you do it and don’t know any other way.

You are so gentle and kind. ANY time you see that someone is upset or sad, you give them big hugs. And you have such a way of comforting. On occasion, when I’m putting you to bed you could tell I was frustrated with something, or sad. You literally rubbed my back like Daddy would do. You press your face to mine and just hold me with your arms around me. One night I stayed there for a good hour because I felt so good in your arms.

Right now you want Daddy for everything. When Daddy walks in the door, you drop everything, yell “DADDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and run towards the door. It is the cutest thing! It’s also frustrating at times because you won’t let me do anything for you- it has to be Daddy right now.

You also want to play with Daddy. Daddy is the person that you get to climb all over. He’s so fun to you right now. You’ve learned to say “play” and you request it so well.

You love going for drives. Quite possibly because they rarely happen for you in this new quarantine lifestyle. Caroline is also loving drives lately, so Daddy and I are in love with this as it’s one of our favorite things to do. When we get to the roundabout by home, you always start saying “more, more, more” as you know we are close to home and about to stop.

You are just barely taking an interest in puzzles, learning colors, and shapes. Again a stark difference to Caroline who knew her alphabet already and had mastered every puzzle we had by now. You just want to run around. And prior to now, you didn’t even want a toy to play with. Where you both are the same at this age and probably all ages, is your love for being outside.

You are very strong with your physical capabilities and fine/gross motor skills. You kick a ball pretty well, and can jump off of the ground and get air now. You understand how things work and move and really watch when we are building things or putting things together. You help put screws in and just seem to have really good awareness of things like that.

You’ve been able to climb the ladder on your bed up and down all by yourself probably since the time you could walk. And on stairs you are already doing one foot on each stair while holding our hand.

You are stubborn. Oh my gosh. You stand still with your head down if something doesn’t go your way, and ignore my requests to come, or pick something up. You even turn your back to me. And if something just doesn’t work for you, sometimes you’ll throw the toy down and go stand by a wall in disappointment. At the same time you are so helpful. If I start cleaning something up, without me even asking you, you jump right in and help.

You run away from me when I try to get you dressed in the morning and at night. When I finally get you in my arms, it’s like wrestling an alligator and your diaper is rarely on perfectly as I’d like, but it’s on. You listen perfectly well to Caroline though. If she is dressing you, you come right over and even lay down for her. Sometimes I’m so glad that she does it so I don’t have to wrestle you!

You were stubborn with potty training too. So stubborn! You asked to start. You had it down in a few days and did so well. Then, you rebelled against it. I stuck it out for a solid month, but you rebelled harder and harder until I just couldn’t do it anymore and stopped. LOL I was so disappointed because you were ready and did it. You were peeing and pooping in the potty and knew just what to do. We’ll try again soon…once you get through this stubborn phase!

You, of course, want to do everything Caroline does. Two of your favorite words right now are “MINE”, and “ME, ME, ME, ME, ME!”... as you want a turn and to do everything you can that she does.

Another word you say constantly is “Eat”… you are always requesting to eat. On your birthday, you woke up, I told you happy birthday and the first words out of your mouth were, “Eat! Popcorn!” It’s so funny and you say it all the time. Which is funny really, because we don’t eat more than 3 times a day- we aren’t a snack family unless it’s a holiday LOL

You also love helping me in the kitchen. You stand with me on your stool as I make bread, pizza dough, and even your birthday cupcakes (that turned out dense, rock hard, and well horrible). Apparently desserts are not my thing. You help knead the bread and you play in the flour. You even wheel out my big bin of flour for me and put it back when I’m done. I love the company.

Your speech has just exploded in the last month or so. You say so many things and I’m to the point where I can tell what most of your words are even out of context. You say hi and bye, and do lots of waving. You call all of the paw patrol characters by their names. You can say your color names, but don’t quite have the names matched up yet with the correct color but you’re close. You say tractor and truck, and bus. You LOVE saying ow sounds: out, around, down. If I say up, you say down. You tell us all done, and more. You say please and thank you.

After eating cereal or anything that has juice left in the bowl, you always look at us and say “please?” to get our approval before lifting your bowl to your face and drinking the rest all gone.

You’ve said your first sentences recently, and love practicing your words before bed. I lay in there and practice with you, and you make sure I have my head on your pillow…nothing else will do. We practice as many words as we can come up with before you sleep.

You are even starting to tell stories. You talk about our trip to the beach. You say “beach”, “boots” because you wore boots in the cold wintery water, “big” for the big waves, and “water” while doing a motion with your hand for the big waves.

You are so may great things. You are helpful, kind, so incredibly sweet, loving, and smart. You feel so right in my arms and your kisses and hugs are the kind I never want to let go of. When you ask for hugs I drop everything to give them to you.

As you both grow older I realize how little time I have left playing on the floor, being able to carry you guys, you each wanting snuggles in bed, and all of the extra little things you both ask for. Soon you’ll both be old enough that I can’t carry you, and you might not want extra mama time.

To this day you make me feel strength. I felt it the moment I held you. I felt strong for the first time in a long time. That feeling has never left. I can hold you, close my eyes and really take it in. It’s like you breathe it into me.

I am so lucky to be your mom. You are already such an incredible person. I hope you always know how loved you are. Thank you for making us laugh so hard, and for loving us all so much.

I love you.
-Mama

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