Happy Friday, y’all! It’s been far too long since I’ve done a Daddy Chronicles, about six months if you don’t count my annual letters to the boys on their birthdays, and of course so much has changed.
For example, one of my sons has turned into a werewolf, which we weren’t expecting, but he’s suddenly outstanding at basketball.
I kid, I kid! No but for real, let’s kick off the first Good News Friday of 2020 with some tales of my adorables, both of whom drive me crazy on a regular basis, although one MUCH more than the other.
OK, let’s start with the little guy. It’s been a running joke with Shelley and I that if Theo had been our first child, we would not have had another.
We got so spoiled with Nate as a toddler, as he rarely ever misbehaved, got his Terrible 2’s over with in about three weeks, and basically was the Golden Child (except he looked nothing like Eddie Murphy.)
So we knew that our second little one would be a challenge. And as lovable as he is… yeah, he’s a typical 2-year-old.
His motor is non-stop. He only stays still when he’s sleeping, and even then he moves around a bit. He eats sorta in stages, taking a few bites here, then going for a ride around the kitchen on one of the riding toys we own (he refused to sit in the high-chair for meals a few months ago and we’ve been unable to change his mind on that one).
And his volume… wow. Not only is he loud at almost all times, but he has no “ramp up” to a high volume. Like, when he wakes up from a nap, or in the morning, or if he’s playing quietly with his toys, there’s no slowly-escalating noise meter with Theo.
He goes from totally silent to “DADDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!”” in no time at all. It’s really quite something. And ear-splitting.
— Among his more fun quirks lately are that he’s hilariously and randomly started singing the “Happy Birthday” song whenever he feels like it, all throughout the day. Now, we did have a few December birthday gatherings in the family, so maybe that’s it. But it kills us that at least four or five times a day he’ll just warble “Happppyyy birrrrthhhday to youuuuu” and sound a little like a breathy Marilyn Monroe singing to John F. Kennedy.
Theo doesn’t know the words to the whole song yet, but his random outbursts of it never fail to crack us up.
— He’s talking up a storm, almost up to full sentences, and some of his recent favorite sayings are “I got it!” when we’re looking for something of his we’ve misplaced, “I did!” when he’s told to take a bite of food or put something away, and “No pease, Daddy, pease!” when his first request for more snacks is denied. It’s the second “pease” that you really have to resist.”
— Finally, Theo’s other huge difference from his brother, we’ve discovered, is a love of live theater. Nate was never a fan of shows, wanting to leave early from “Paw Patrol Live” and many other children’s productions, but Theo is totally riveted. Over the holidays he did not move a muscle during an hour-long live “Frosty the Snowman” show, sitting on Shelley’s lap the entire time, and was similarly frozen during a Thomas the Train live show.
It was stunning to watch; I wanted to poke him a few times just to make sure he was still breathing.
— Oh one more thing: Theo throws a screaming tantrum when his brother Nate, whom he worships, closes the bathroom door on him when he has to make a poop. This is outrageous to Theo, that his hero wouldn’t want him around for ANY moment of his life. And we try to explain to Theo that doing a Number 2 is a solo exercise.
**And now to the big guy. Kindergarten has been a joy to Nate; halfway through the year we’re so grateful he has a wonderful teacher who gives each student a hug every morning as they walk in, and has cultivated his love of reading and drawing. His reading, especially, has come so far since September, and it’s been wonderful watching him read books by Mo Willems or Todd Parr that he hasn’t just memorized, but that he’s actually reading by sounding out the letters.
Nate loves doing his homework, too, enthusiastically taking out his pencil box and spiral notebook when it’s time to write some sight words, or another assignment. As he was with preschool, he can’t wait to go to school in the morning.
— We’ve tried some new after-school activities this year, with mostly good results. He loves his robotics class on Mondays, where grownups lead the tykes through LEGO-based projects like mechanical fans, and soccer goals, and a power drill. He’s got such an engineering-oriented brain that I feel I’ll be totally useless when it comes to his science projects.
After much consternation by me I let him enroll in tennis lessons; I say consternation because it is of course my all-time favorite sport and I’m afraid of him playing it before he’s ready, hating it, and then me having to put him up for adoption since I will not have ANY tennis-haters in my family.
But happily, he liked it for a few months, before complaining that playing too much made his arm hurt, and that he wanted to stop. So all in all, a good first tennis experience.
–Having his tonsils and adenoids out in July has had most of the desired results; he sleeps much better now, hardly snores at all, but the promised increase in appetite has not happened. Kid still barely eats anything; I truly don’t know how he has enough energy to get through the day.
— It still freaks me out sometimes when I see Nate doing something I didn’t teach him. Like, last week at a playdate he and a buddy were playing “Rock, paper, scissors,” and I was like “How the hell does he know how to play that, I never taught it to him?”
— But man does he love his little bro. Except for when Theo pounces on him, or hits him, or tackles him, Nate is the biggest fan of his Mini-Me you can imagine.
On the walk into Nate’s sports class most Tuesdays they hold hands in the parking lot like this (below).
If I could freeze-frame that forever…