Today you are exactly 18 months and 10 days old. As I look at the clock and realize that 18 months, 10 days ago at this exact time, you were just being moved to the hospital nursery, I am amazed all over all again at how much you have grown and changed since I first saw your sweet little face.
Of course, I still see a little baby who looks so much like his daddy. We still occasionally see the quiet Drew who still trails his twin by a couple of pounds in the weight department. You still have the faint trace of your stork bite between your eyes, and your cries still get drowned out by Emily’s louder, more urgent ones. Still…
There is so much that has changed. As your daddy said tonight, we watch you learn right before our very eyes. He showed you how to joust with your light-up sword, and the next minute, you were attacking and parrying like an old pro.
(Sure, I realize teaching an 18 month old to play with swords doesn’t qualify us for the Parent of the Year award, but no one has poked an eye out yet).
Our quiet little Drew Bear revels in the action, and that’s such a change from the little Drew who stretched and yawned his way into the world.
You love anything that moves and that you can make move. You love Papa’s four-wheeler so much that we decided to get you one that was more your size. You learned quickly how to push the pedal and make it go.
You love swings and slides. The higher and faster, the more you like it.
You love to run around and around the island kitchen, squealing in delight as one of us chases you and plays peek-a-boo around the corners. You climb everything: chairs, tables, baby gates, slides—with reckless abandon. If you find that you aren’t tall enough on your own you will use your reasoning skills to find a way—pulling anything over and using it as a step stool. Or, you fall back on your ever-expanding verbal skills—asking someone to pull you “UP! UP!” Then there’s the ever-faithful stand-by—looking up at mommy with those big blue eyes and doing the sign for please. No wonder please has become synonymous with getting whatever you want.
Speaking of signs, it finally appears that the signing classes did work after all. Your daddy says you use your signs more because it’s the only way you can compete for attention against Emily. You sign all kinds of things: please, more, milk, all done, fruit, thank you. We really should add more signs since you pick up on them so quickly. Forgive us, though, if we have been more occupied with reading books, chasing after you and Em, and cleaning up the various messes you make.
And forgive us, too, for not really knowing what your first word was or when it happened. Between the intense, twin- speak and random, seemingly unintentional mumblings that sounded like words, it was hard to determine what was really a word. Da-da was definitely an early one; ma-ma a long-awaited one, and sissy a definite sweet one!
Sissy is now the first person you ask for in the mornings. Since you’re usually the first one up, you try your best to wake her up, too. She’s usually the last one you talk to at night since you are still sharing a room. Your daddy and I love to sit downstairs and listen to the two of you laugh and talk back and forth. Right now, the two of you are running in and out of the curtains. It’s a happy moment. Five minutes ago, you were screaming because Emily took your toy. Five hours ago, she was crying because you took her sippy cup. Five minutes from now, you two might be found giving each other a hug or holding hands. With the two of you, every minute is an adventure (in patience, in compromise, and in love).
Knowing how close the two of you are made the switch to daycare much easier for us all. The last time I wrote to you, we were making the big transition from staying at home with Miss Julie to going to daycare for the first time. Those first weeks were hard. I bargained with your daddy so he would take you two in the mornings and I could pick you up. I feel like such the heroine when the two of you run to me when I walk through the door. Despite four months of reoccurring sickness, I think we can finally say daycare has been a good move for us all. Your immune system definitely thanks daycare for helping make it big and strong.
I am sure that daycare has contributed to the learning explosion of the last few months. You understand so much. Just today, I told you to go get the “quack-quack” book, and you walked over and picked up the book with the duck on the cover. You know animal sounds, body parts, and can identify most items in your word book by pointing to them. You love to sit at your table, a skill you learned at school, and since then, you fight to stay out of your high chair. Every time we get to the line in Itsy Bitsy Spider: “he rubs his hairy head and blinks,” you rub your head. Cracks me up every time. Or when we get to corn into your Growing Foods book and you chomp like you are eating corn. Seriously, Bear, where do you learn this stuff??
Maybe you are learning it all while you sit back and quietly observe the world from the safe confines of your car seat. While Emily babbles away in the car, you sit in silence looking out the window. Maybe you learn it when you cuddle in my lap for another story. Perhaps it’s when you take things, like our dishwasher, apart and then try to reassemble it. Or maybe while you are outside playing happily… Something tells me you are always learning, no matter where you are.
As we approach Christmas, we’ve really enjoyed watching you and Emily learn about all kinds of new things: Christmas trees, Santa, trains, wrapping paper…
And even sugar. Yes, Mommy bought you a cupcake for your 18 month birthday!
I know this Christmas will bring new excitement for us all. This year and in the future, regardless of what is or is not under our tree, I will always feel like I have been given more than I ever deserved because I was given the gift of being your mommy.
I love you, Drew Bear.