It’s possible this is the last of these monthly letters I write you- at least in this form. I don’t know what will happen next but I know next month you’re turning two. Which is incredulous to me. I know that once you turn two, no one will ever speak of your age in terms of months but rather in years, and I know (hope) that you will also have a brand-new younger sibling who will start doing over all the things you did, but maybe none of them, or maybe a bunch of new and different things. But either way, I know (or I have been told) that by then my capacity to love this purely will have doubled and my daily responsibilities will have doubled too, and well, maybe just maybe, these letters will go a different way.
For now though, you are twenty-three months old, but I just tell everyone you’re almost 2- because you are. Almost. Not yet. Don’t rush me, people.
I haven’t even started to say what I want to say yet and already I am crying. Is this the hormones of my third trimester? Is it the impending birthday you will have? I think, honestly, it is what you now say. That is the biggest thing that I can think of for this past month. Your words are exploding, day by day, hour by hour, like everyone assured us they would. I tried one day to write down your words, to capture a moment in time for posterity, but I had to abandon it because every time I put the paper down I realized I had forgotten one more. Ten more.
So instead of a list, I will tell you what I think are my favorites.
Tane. Pane. Train and Plane as you first uttered them for the first few weeks. And not just how but How. TANE! PANE! You are absolutely obsessed with trains, planes and automobiles and the only thing I can attribute this to is the mysterious power of DNA and gender stereotypes. And you don’t leave out the water-based transportation either. I am actually sad that you say Boat now because for weeks and weeks it was BOPE!
You love when we take you to the Pawp (the park) and you call things Cake that I wouldn’t have even thought to, but you’re always spot on. A muffin really is like cake. You get so excited to point out the tars (stars) in books and you love your plastic wools (whales) as much as I do, since we bought them when you turned 1. Jonah and the Whale/Wool. Every fruit is an apple and every day you say a new thing in a British accent. Forever it has been Cah (car) and No (you have to imagine this as an English child would say). Today it was Lady and Man, like a Brit, when referring to a Lego woman and man. The British nanny and your TOONS! (cartoons) are influencing you.
You mimic everything we say. One day it’s Toast, the next day it’s an unmentionable courtesy of your father.
The words you choose are a window into your mind and watching in real time how you are processing your surroundings, and making connections, is an absolute pleasure for me. When you were sick it was No sleep, Momby in the saddest of croaky voices. Often lately when you feel like one of us is not paying enough attention to you, you just come up, stare us down and say HI! very emphatically. Also, it helps me to know if you want Gapes (grapes) or a Bar (granola/fruit bar) because hell if I am going to keep wasting food up in here. And sorry, but you only get I Keem (ice cream) when mama wants some too. Which luckily is twice a day.
American Mother’s Day was a week ago and I wasn’t expecting anything. It’s sappy but my favorite thing to do is just to have a day with you and your daddy. But I guess I was so sleepy in the morning that I wasn’t even remembering yet what day it was and then I heard your unmistakable entrance – which I love because the way the door opens to our sleeping sardine can is that it has to hit my side of the bed to open so I never see who is coming until clearing the door and every morning you say something upon entry like Mama! or Plane! and also I love that Daddy wakes up with you first so I can sleep – and anyway, on this particular morning, all of a sudden there you were holding a bag of frozen corn. And it was a beautiful sight for me. Because I knew that millisecond that your father, my husband, had made me corn pancakes (my favorite) and I knew that you had “helped” him. And I knew that he sent you to give me the surprise of breakfast in bed first. And I knew that the whole time cooking, you would have been eating the kernels. And then we all sat on the bed and ate. And you jumped into the pillows. And you smiled. And we smiled too. If you can call what your parents were doing smiling. I don’t even know if there is a word that means quiet, shared, everyday euphoria. If there is, maybe you will say it soon- in all-caps with an exclamation point on the end.