Here we are again, buddy. Winter in western Pennsylvania. It’s been cold, really cold. Last January, when you were four months old, you got your first runny nose. And now, at sixteen months old, you got your first fever. I suppose such things are inevitable when the temperatures are in the teens, and every kid we encounter was either just sick or is getting sick. We are careful about which activities we choose to leave the house for, but you and I catch a quick case of cabin fever if we’re trapped inside for more than 24 hours!
So I could blame it on the weather, or that nasty cold you contracted, but the bottom line is that I am nearly two weeks late with this month’s letter. Sorry, pal!
We did a lot of lounging around this month. While it broke my Mommy heart to see you so sick, I have to admit that I did love the couch snuggles and quiet hours of Sesame Street and how you fell asleep on my chest in the middle of the night. I hope you always know that I will do everything in my power to make it all better.
Just days before you got sick, Mommy and Daddy spent our first weekend away from you. Nana and Poppy came to stay with you and Lucy, and their goal was to keep you so busy that you didn’t realize we were gone. I think they succeeded! Nana texted a picture to me every two hours of you and your new Little Tikes car, you rolling balls of play-doh, you eating pizza, you watching movies. We missed you so very much, but you had lots of fun while we were gone. Oh, the benefits of being the only grandchild!
Sam, you are our little engineer. You are observant and inquisitive and meticulous. You notice new art on the wall, new words on the chalkboard, and new marks on the kitchen floor. You let us know if things are out of place — like our shoes in the hallway or the blender on the kitchen counter. You are a hard worker and love to help Mommy clean. You mop and dust and “vacuum” with your ball popper.
Besides “cleaning,” your current favorite activities are: building towers of blocks; making carrot and strawberry “soup;” cruising in your car around the house; and crawling through the tunnel and into your tent to lay on the pile of pillows and “read.” You still love your drill and hammer and the scrap pieces of wood on your tool bench. And you can now sit still for longer than five minutes to watch TV, usually Play With Me Sesame. You move along with Ernie Says and laugh when Elmo hangs upside down. But perhaps your favorite “movies” are the ones starring “Baby Sam.” You love, love, love to watch yourself on the iPhone. You point and giggle, and sometimes I wonder if you remember the moments we’ve recorded these past sixteen months.
You also know how to operate the remotes, including the one that turns on the Xbox, which to you means “dance!” Mommy moves the ottoman, and the two of us have a little dance party in the living room. You bop and sway and swing your arms, and sometimes you stomp your feet. Yes, I do believe you inherited my love for music.
You can walk backwards and spin in circles, and you try to jump and hop. Basically, you attempt to do whatever we do. You are quite coordinated and have become a very confident climber. You now push the kitchen table chair to the counter and climb up onto it. Which means we can no longer hide things there and expect them to be “out of your reach.” It also means I can no longer chop or mix or cook without you sneaking up behind me. You want to “walk” up and down the stairs by yourself, and you have figured out how to scale the gates that pen Lucy in the kitchen. Boy, I count my blessings every day that you are not covered in bumps and bruises.
Another new favorite this month: hide-and-seek. And you are good! Too good sometimes. I’ve legitimately lost you at least three times. Usually you find a tiny space like between the guest bed and nightstand, or in our closet behind a box of books, and you sit very, very quietly while I wonder around saying “Where’s Sam?” I think you know when panic sets in, though, because it’s right about that time when you pop out with a huge grin on your face.
You got your second haircut this month, and it was a lot less traumatic than the first time. Popcorn and Elmo on the iPhone helped tremendously. You also moved up a full shoe size to 5 1/2. Your new boots are so awesome. You weigh about 24 pounds and are 31 inches tall. You still wear size 4 diapers and mostly size 18-24 month clothing.
You still adore Lucy, and I love that the two of you are growing up together. You like to feed her treats — both hers and yours — and you chase each other around the kitchen. Fortunately, she doesn’t mind when you pull her tail or her ears. I guess you make up for it with hugs and kisses.
You are such a love bug! But you also challenge me every day. I try to reason with you when you misbehave, but it’s not always easy. I usually have to repeat my request about five times before you listen. And, well, you don’t always listen. Heard at our house on a daily basis: we do not throw toys, that’s not for Lucy, slow down, take it out of your mouth, hands out of the trash, sit down, off the kitchen table, it’s too cold to play outside. Whew. And I wonder why I’m so exhausted at then end of the day!
We are still working very hard to encourage your language development. You have gotten better at saying words (or beginning sounds) when prompted, like “ba” for banana and “cack” for cracker and “mmm” for milk. You say “down” with great enthusiasm, usually directed at Lucy when she’s jumping up to your plate. You open your mouth wide and make the “h” sound for Momma’s hot coffee and “hi”, and you do a very similar expression when you make the “i” sound for ice. We are so anxious for you to verbalize your thoughts. Because we know once you figure it out, you will have so much to say. Until then, we will enjoy your constant incomprehensible babble.
Our routine has become pretty predictable. You wake up at 8am, though you don’t always want to get out of bed right away. I think it’s because you know you need a diaper change. (Though it is worth noting that you now grab your diaper and make the stink face when you have a dirty diaper during the day.) But you prolong that first change of the morning. You line up your binkies, you hug Mr. Ribbit, you stand in the corner of your crib — just out of my reach. I finally grab you and change you and you often try to put on your own shirt and pants. Then it’s downstairs to say good morning to Lucy.
Breakfast always includes a banana and berries (you have been known to eat 3/4 pint in one sitting!) and either pancakes or muffins or scrambled eggs. You’ve also figured out how to eat cereal with a spoon, which is fun. Then we play, play, play, and I do my best to keep you entertained. Sometimes we go to a playdate or to music class or to the bookstore for storytime. You eat a snack around 10:30 — more fruit or cucumbers with Ranch dip or applesauce pouches and string cheese if we’re out and about.
Lunch is at noon, and I love that you can now handle peanut butter sandwiches and turkey wraps. Though macaroni and cheese is still your (our) favorite. Then it’s time for a nap, which can last up to three hours. (I resisted the move to one nap a day, but I must say that I now love it!) You are ready to eat again as soon as you wake up — surprise, surprise. New favorite afternoon snacks are raisins and popcorn. And ice. You stand at the refrigerator and point and make the “i” sound. So I fill a cup with ice and give you a spoon and you are content for at least 10 minutes — probably because you cut all four molars this month!
After your snack, we play, play, and play some more. We recently converted the basement to a playroom for you, and it’s nice to have that space for a change of scenery during the day. Boy, I can’t wait until the weather warms up and we can get back outside!
Daddy gets home around 5pm, and I don’t know who is more excited. You and Lucy literally run to the door when you hear the garage door go up. And, I admit, sometimes I count down the minutes until reinforcement arrives. We eat dinner together at 6pm, and you usually end up with one cup of water and one cup of milk — big boy cups, not sippy cups. And you often eat half your meal in your booster seat and the other half in a big chair. Stop trying to grow up so fast, son!
Then Daddy squeezes in as much time with you as possible before we start your bedtime routine around 7:15pm. You still love the bath, and every night we sing the song “five little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away.” You line up your rubber duckies on the tub and knock them over until “no little ducks went out one day.” You sing along, too, and it’s the cutest thing ever. You typically fight to put on your diaper and jammies, and so we sometimes let you run around naked for a few minutes before reeling you in. But as soon as the binky hits your mouth, you are immediately quiet and calm and sleepy. (I think Mommy and Daddy are as attached to it as you are!) Favorite bedtime books are still First 100 Words and Chugga Chugga Choo Choo. Then you give big hugs and kisses and are sound asleep by 8pm.
Sometimes the days feel long, but at the end of each one, I wish I had stolen one more hug, seen one more toothy smile with a scrunched up nose, heard one more “momma.” Because you won’t be this little forever. And as much as I look forward to each new stage, I know I will miss all of these todays.
Love you to the moon and back, kid.