Hi! It’s Daddy again. You know, Daddy, the guy who in the past 12 months has seen you lock him out of the apartment a few times, and has taken you to the park and taught you how much fun it is to jump up and down in the rain puddles.
I’m writing this a few days before you turn 2, and just like I did when you turned 1, I wanted to get my thoughts down about this past amazing year you’ve given us.
I cannot believe how many changes have taken place since last Sept. 10; you learned to walk right after your first birthday, you started talking at around 18 months, and you have turned into such a polite, loving little toddler.
I love that you try to hug almost every other child you see at the playground, and that you have learned to say “Thank you!” after we give you an avocado or a pickle or even some cereal in the morning. I love that you listen, and that you seem to love books as much as Mommy and Daddy do (I’ve been so thrilled that you’ve become a big fan of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day,” because that’s Daddy’s favorite from childhood.)
The milestones we see you surpass every week continue to boggle my mind; one day a few weeks ago you decided it was time to climb into your high chair by yourself; no assistance needed. And your devotion to night-time routines, whether with us or with babysitters, is impressive.
This year has seen a little “entourage” join our bedtime and often mealtime routines: Despite having “real” best friends like Coco and Max, you have decided that Elmo, Winnie the Pooh, and Paddington must sit and listen to story time at night, get kisses from all three of us, and sleep on the couch across from your crib.
I am so proud of you, Nate, for how you (mostly) listen, how you always want to share with others, and how you’re able to keep track of all six grandparents (though we do find it amusing that as soon as you see one of a “pair,” you immediately ask for the other one.)
Your love of music is all encompassing; if the CD player even stops playing your “musik” for a second or two, you shout “Musik!” as if it will never, ever come back on, and how dare the CD stop for even a second. Your favorite songs are still “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Ba ba Black Sheep,” though happily your repertoire also includes “No more Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.”
You will also, your mother and I think, be the only child of your generation who knows what a “CD” is.
You are growing up right before my eyes, and your independence scares and thrills me in equal measure. Seeing you develop “likes” and “dislikes” and then having those change within a few days is something I don’t quite understand, but that’s OK, I don’t really have to understand.
All I need is to get those huge smiles when Mommy comes home at night to greet us, and those enormous hugs you give when you haven’t seen me for a while.
You’re 2 now, and the “Terrible Twos” are surely going to be upon us, and hopefully toilet training happens before you’re 26, and in another year from now we’ll be sending you to pre-school and we won’t even remember the time you were 2.
If I could, I’d preserve you forever just as you are right now, completely un-cynical about the world, and able to be made happy by so many simple things, like a silly face I make or a chocolate chip cookie I share with you.
You are absolutely the love of my life, and I am so proud of you, today and always.
Happy 2nd birthday, and I hope you get everything you wish for when you blow out the candles (though let’s be honest, what you probably will wish for are more avocados to eat).