Dear Lil’ Man,
Mommy’s been putting off writing this letter to you, even though your 14 month mark was nearly a week ago. There’s just sooo much to say, so much to write. How can there be a way to show you all the joy you bring us on a day to day, hour to hour basis? How can we let you know just what an incredibly sweet and extraordinary boy you are?
Mommy can only proceed whilst knowing that it will never be enough, but also knowing that you will be grateful for the memories, just as we will be.Someday, you might turn into a surly teenager who sleeps until 12pm and never says, “I love you” because it isn’t cool.
On those days, Mommy will surely want to remember your sweet mornings together. She comes in around 8:30am to find you in your crib, cooing and talking away. She says, “Hi!”, because she’s sooo glad to see you and missed you so much. Your “HA! HA!” (hi!) is just as loud and excited, and you don’t stop saying it for a few minutes. Your diaper gets changed immediately (sometimes, your sleeper, too, if your diaper couldn’t withstand 13 straight hours of pee!), you are handed a bottle full of yummy milk, and you cuddle with Mommy while she dozes a bit longer. When you are done with your bottle, you politely chuck it across the room and begin your usual morning onslaught of kisses and hugs to Mommy’s face. It’s Mommy’s favorite time of day. You are so cheerful and well rested, and you have no qualms about showing off your abundant affection.
That’s something we’ve noticed, over and over again, about you– you are so cuddly and so affectionate. You wear that sweet little heart right on your sleeve.
Eventually, you start to whine because you are hungry for more breakfast. Mommy says, “Are you hungry?” and you respond with, “NUM-NUMS!!!!” You then eat a banana and some wheat cereal while Mommy drinks her coffee and checks her email beside you at the table. After your food is gone, you “ask” to get down by trying to climb out of your high chair (and, since you’re frighteningly coordinated, you almost always succeed!).
Once Mommy gets you down, you begin your morning workout/play-time. Basically, this consists of you squealing, “Ball! Ball!”, finding your basketballs and throwing them around the house, over and over. You pretend to dribble, just like you’ve seen the big highschoolers do, and it’s the cutest thing ever. You barely even realize Mommy is there, throughout all of this, you are so intent on your sports skills, but occasionally you flash a big grin her direction with a little giggle, just so she knows you’re having fun.
You love to rip apart grandma’s cabinets, but lately you’ve taken to putting it all away when you’re done! Lately, you’ve also started playing “house”, using a scrub brush you found to scrub the tiles, rubbing a washcloth against the sofa chairs for “stains”, using your Dodger bat as a vacuum.
Sometimes, though, you “ask” for Mommy to play with you by bringing her books. You LOVE to read books, flipping pages, babbling away the whole time. The touch and feel books are your favorite– you are so very tactile. You also love anything with peekaboo flaps on it. You are almost always very gentle with books. Chapter books without pictures are often your choice, simply because there are so many pages to individually turn!
Sometimes, our “playing” consists of throwing a ball back and forth. You are obsessed.
You love to sing. Mommy often hears you as you play, humming away. You have the same dozen words you’ve been saying for a few months now, but they’ve become clearer and more distinct. You even make some of the animal noises when Mommy reads you a Farm Book! So far, you know: “Mama”, “Dadda”, “Dod-gy” (doggy), “Baww” (ball), “Tee” (tree), “Boo” (book), “NUM-NUM” (food of any kind), “Dis” (this), “Dat” (that), “HAWW!!” (hi), “Buh-buh” (bye-bye), “aw” (all done, while holding your hands out to the side) and “Yay!”. Sometimes, you string “sentences” together” (usually, though, we can only understand a word here or there).
But what Mommy and Daddy love most– more than how smart or how athletic you are (and we can already see a LOT of both!)– is how sweet and loving your personality is. We know that this is not all of our doing as parents. It’s something God created in you. You are so easy-going, so willing to love. Anyone who’s ever received a “Gregory-hug” knows just what a sweet thing it is to experience. Our dog, Claire, is the only one who would disagree with this. You are constantly trying to smother her with hugs, and all she wants to do is get away! But that never stops you from trying.
We are not the only ones who’ve noticed how sweet and special your personality is. Just a few days ago, we were down visiting our church family in Southern California. They could not believe what a good baby you were! Despite the fact that you had two late nights in a row (one, you were up until 11pm! The other, until 9:30pm!), you didn’t have a single breakdown. No tantrums, no crying. You just walked around throwing toys (your usual source of entertainment!) or sat on the floor and read books! Even Mommy and Daddy were astounded at how well you behaved– we’d never kept you up that late, so we had no idea you could be so good! As long as you have your blankie, white noise and pack n play, you can fall asleep anywhere. You even fell asleep in Mommy’s Mei Tai wrap as we were walking around Uptown Whittier!
Because of how sweet you are, it’s getting hard to punish you. When we take something dangerous away, we always ask for it, then say “thank-you” afterwards, but 75% of the time, it doesn’t matter– your little heart breaks. You just stand there, lower lip quivering, and burst into tears. It’s so sad. The same thing happens when you’re exploring in something forbidden (usually the trashcan). You react to having it taken away as though someone just made fun of your shoes. Luckily, you’re easily distract-able with something else exciting. And you always want to be comforted. We’ve joked that your “Terrible Twos” aren’t going to be as hard on us as they are on you. It’s just that we know you’re going to get your “feelings hurt” quite often…
Mommy knows that there are many mommies out there who make a choice to work outside the home. There are others who choose to stay home, either because they think it’s the right thing for their kids or the right thing for their calling. Mommy often feels that the choice was pre-determined for her– it isn’t that you need her home, it’s that SHE needs to be home with you. Just an hour or two away, and she feels achy and sick inside, missing you.
Your little brother is only 4 months away (possibly sooner!). Sometimes, Mommy feels guilty, wondering if you’ll think that we wanted another baby because we didn’t feel complete with just you.
That isn’t even CLOSE to being true. We started wanting more kids right away because you are sooo wonderful! If all of our kids are as sweet and fun as you are, we’ll probably never stop having them. You make us want to have more kids, just because raising you has been such a blast. We joke that your little brother is probably going to get sick of us saying, “Why can’t you be more like Gregory?”
Thanks for making us such happy parents, Lil’ Man.