Dear little puppy, tomorrow you will be TWO years old! I can hardly believe it. Wasn’t it just yesterday that you were placed into my arms for the first time?
But it really has been two years and you’re getting to be such a big boy. You are into absolutely everything and you like to do most things for yourself. You want to feed yourself, climb up into chairs on your own, get books off your shelf for me to read (and sometimes for you to “read”) and do anything you can think of to bug your sister. But you still come running to Mom for a few things – mostly to “fix” your trucks and trains (read: turn on sirens, reattach train cars, open doors, and act as general toy mechanic) and for hugs and snuggles when you bump or bruise – which is far more often than your sister, because you’re on the go constantly.
Your love of fire trucks is still going strong. Most days when I come to get you out of your crib, you tell me you dreamed of fire trucks. (Other common dreams are of your beloved nanny “Telly,” and of “Mommy driving baby excavator” – the baby excavator in question being a piece of road work equipment that has been parked outside of our house for the past few weeks. The other day we saw a man operating it and you almost hyperventilated, you were so excited.) You can identify different sirens, and if we hear an emergency vehicle coming down the road, you know instantly whether it’s a fire truck or an ambulance. You also love ambulances, and construction vehicles, especially excavators and – to a lesser extent – bulldozers.
So you really love living in Alexandria, because there are vehicles everywhere. We are regular visitors to the fire station nearest our house, and to another one that is about a fifteen minute walk away – and you can tell the difference between the stations and their trucks. If Engine 205 comes down the road, you tell us it’s 205 – and the same for 201. Both trucks have become your friends, and you’ve gotten several personal tours of the fire station, because Telly (whose real name is Kelly, but you can’t quite make the C/K/G sounds yet) knows what you love, too. One of your favorite things to do is to walk down by the water and see 201’s fire boat. You’re insanely sharp-eyed and if you shout out a vehicle, you’re never wrong. Many, many times we’ve heard you call “Mini Cooper,” and sure enough, you saw one coming from two blocks away. We’ve learned not to doubt you. If you tell us a vehicle is somewhere in the vicinity, it always is.
You love to play outside and would live outdoors if I let you. Over the summer, we discovered that the beach is your happy place and we couldn’t keep you out of the water, little Pisces. You love hiking, too, and will happily point out doggies and kiss my head from your perch in the child carrier backpack. You’re going to have such a fun summer exploring the lakes and beaches near us this year. But really, as long as you’re outdoors, you’re happy, and we’re regular visitors to our parks, playgrounds and sandboxes to give you that fresh air fix that you need.
You’re crazy smart. You can count to 10 (!) and sing the entire alphabet and an alarming number of “Hamiltunes.” You are also incredibly well-spoken, and everyone who hears you is amazed at how clearly you talk and how large your vocabulary is. We certainly try to talk and read to you as much as we can, and I’m sure you’re getting a lot of your funny expressions from your sister. The other day, you told us a long story about construction vehicles in which every sentence was prefaced with, “When I was a little baby, I saw…” It made us laugh because you still are such a baby – but I know you don’t think you are! Other funny things you say include…
- “I’m a sweet boy.” You learned this from your nanny, who is as wild about you as you are about her, and who sometimes feeds your ego as a result.
- “Wanna listen Hamiltunes!” You mostly mean “My Shot” by this, but we try to explain that “Hamiltunes” means any song from Hamilton so maybe you could throw your sister a bone and let her listen to “Wait For It” every so often?
- “I like your hair!” Or shirt, or shoes, or pants. You’re definitely not stingy with compliments. Once, on a visit from your grandparents, you greeted them at their car with “Hi, Grandad! I like your shoes!”
- “You love me?” Sometimes you like to get reassurances that Mommy and Daddy, your sister, and your nanny love you. We all do.
- “Uppy Mommy HUG!” Your way of asking to be picked up is irresistible, and I suspect you know this.
- “SHARE, Em’ly, SHARE!” I don’t know where you learned this, but “SHARE” evidently means “Hands off my stuff.”
- “I love you, Mommy! I love you SO much!” The feeling is mutual, little guy.
Sometimes we do have to come indoors, and when we do your favorite hobby is jumping in your crib and singing “My Shot” from Hamilton, although the only line you know is “Frow my shot! Shot!” When you’re not rocking out in your crib, you love to be read to – Richard Scarry is your absolute favorite (you carry a copy of Cars and Trucks and Things That Go all around the house, which is hilarious because that book is almost as big as you are). But you also love any book from the Good Night Our World series (Good Night Beach and Good Night Washington D.C. are your favorites – no surprise there), and like your sister you’re a fan of Margaret Wise Brown and Dr. Seuss. Another favorite: Usborne’s Look Inside an Airport – you like to look at the pictures and tell me which of the little people at the airport is Nana; that one time we picked her up from a flight made a huge impression on you.
You also enjoy watching TV over your sister’s shoulder (we’ve pretty much given up trying to keep you away from screens) and you regularly shout out your show requests. Like your sister, you enjoy Curious George, Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First. You also just started watching the movie Finding Dory and you’re pretty obsessed. Other than reading, watching TV and jumping on the furniture, your favorite indoor thing to do is to make “toffee” (coffee) with Daddy every morning. You like to take deep whiffs of the ground coffee and to choose the filter (which you call the “filter basket”). Many mornings, you start clamoring “Daddy may toffee! Daddy may toffee!” as soon as you come into the kitchen. Future barista?
Hey, there’s your sister! You think she’s pretty great. (You’re right – she is.) You’re constantly trailing after her or squeezing into chairs next to her. She loves you, too, and she’s immensely proud to introduce you to her friends and classmates. Of course, sometimes you drive her nuts. Whether you’re stealing food off her plate, messing up her dollhouse, or grabbing her pink stroller and careening down the hall to set up a spectacular crash – you can definitely be a little brother. But no one can stay mad at your adorable little face.
At the end of the day, while you’re crazy about your sis, you’re very much a mama’s boy. When I walk through the door after a long day at work, nothing lifts my spirits like hearing your loving little voice shout adorably, “THERE she is!” You leap into my arms and cover my face with sloppy kisses and barely leave my side all evening, every evening – and I love every second of it. The feeling is mutual, by the way – I am wildly, madly, ecstatically in love with you too.
You’re turning into such a big boy. I love watching your little adventures every day – seeing you zoom down slides and dig in sandboxes, carry Elmo in the crook of your arm, crash your trucks, splash in the tub and charm the entire world. But when we turn out the light and start singing your bedtime song (you usually request “I Love the Mountains,” which surprises no one), you still like to cozy up and lay with your head on my arm as if you were a newborn. No matter what you say, you’re still a baby and you’ll always be my baby.
Happy, happy, happy birthday, little fella. Here’s to a year of more adventures, more doggies, more splashes and more trucks.