Monday, January 26, 2015

Dear Jack: One Year, Seven Months

Dear Jack,

One year and seven months! You keep getting bigger and bigger these days--more boy and less baby.

To be honest, this past month has been kind of hard for all of us. You grew pretty sick after Christmas--all of us were sick around Christmas. Once that seemed to work its way out, you began throwing lots of fits. If something didn't go perfect, you would throw yourself on the ground and cry. You've been quite dramatic, but I remember that Eliot was this exact same way around this age. For him, it ended up being teething as he got his molars in. Teething seems to be pretty rough for you, so I am giving you that benefit of the doubt. I can't wait for you to move past this and be our happy boy again.

However, we've had some really good times lately too. Your dad's New Year's Resolution is to go to the beach once a week (weather permitting), and we have done just that. We have had some lucky, warm days as of late. You love to go to the beach. You play with the sand. You chase seagulls. I bring bits of bread and crackers. You love to feed them--however, I think we should be giving them birdseed instead since it is better for them. When the seagulls come, you laugh and reach to the sky for them. It is precious--and also a little bit scary. You collect little shells and give them to me for safe-keeping. I cherish our time together at the beach when everything feels just right.

As always, I love watching you and your brother grow in friendship together. Whenever Eliot gets on the floor, you are quick to tackle him. You climb on his back and growl. You love your brother. I think the only thing you love more than your brother is beating up your brother.
Eliot fascinates you so much that I am unsure what your favorite things are aside from "everything Eliot likes". Eliot has monopolized the TV remote, but you are happy to watch whatever he wants to. Lately, it has been Ninja Turtles. Ninja Turtles EVERYTHING! We had to cut back, actually, because you would run around punching people while yelling, "Hi-ya!" Your dad was concerned that it was making you too violent!

One of your favorite places, though, remains the aquarium. You love to watch the fish. You could stare into that blue for hours. And then, of course, there is the sub with all those buttons. You adore pressing buttons and making things go. I love to see your little mind at work.

Jack, sometimes I feel guilty that we did not co-sleep with you like we did with Eliot. With Eliot, it was the only way he'd sleep. You prefer sleeping in your own space. So, it was not that we were snubbing you. However, then I remember that I nursed you for twice as long as Eliot, and you used to nap on me twice a day, so we did have time being close. I am so bless and fortunate that you love to cuddle with me. Sometimes in the morning, you wake up early before anyone else. I get you some strawberry milk and cuddle up on the couch. Those slow, sweet mornings are some of my favorite memories with you.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Organizing Drawers, Growing Boys, and Fading Babyhood

Recently, I decided to clean out the boys' dressers again. Eliot had a lot of 2T shirts in his drawers that were far too small for his almost-four-year-old frame, and Jack had some nine months clothes that I was hoping he could wear "just one more time," but he is in 18-24 month and some 2T clothes.

I made the big switch that always baffles me--clothes from Eliot's dresser transitioning straight into Jack's. Honestly, I think I let Eliot's clothes grow tighter on him because I'm not ready to let go, and then I allow Jack to wear looser clothes since he always seems to need more and more and more.

This time, though, the "switch" was a little different. It caught me off guard, even. I found myself placing shirts into Jack's dresser that Eliot had worn while I was pregnant with Jack. That's kind of a confusing sentence, and the implications are big. Jack is still two months away from the age Eliot was when I got pregnant with Jack (Jack is 18 months and Eliot was 20 months). And I'm not saying this means it is time to try for baby number three (not in my plans); I'm just saying, man, that baby boy (most likely my last baby) has grown so big so fast.

Eliot (23 months) and then Jack (18 months) in the same shirt

I am caught between worlds. Jack is our baby, but he is a toddler and growing into such a boy. I will miss all of the baby-ness about him, but I get so excited to see him progress from "baby" to "playmate". Jack wants to do everything Eliot does; however, sometimes he only knows how to take things apart when Eliot is intensely interested in building. It can be frustrating for all of us. While I know Eliot will keep growing, it will be great to watch Jack advance to a level more similar to Eliot. Yet that voice in my heart whispers noooo. Not yet.

Man, I love these boys. And I love them as brothers. No one warns you about the dangerous, emotional business that cleaning out kids' dressers can be, but I am glad that I don't have to pay double in clothes. And I can't wait for springtime so Jack can wear these cute shirts. And we can pick strawberries. And not be freezing anymore.