Today is not any sort of official milestone or marker -- you're 22 months and nine days, if we're counting. You're almost two, if we're giving out the simpler answer to folks at the supermarket.
"Wow," they say. "Such a big boy."
Which makes me laugh, because I'm sorry, it's increasingly clear that your big brother got the height in this family -- the long lanky limbs and the giant feet -- and that you are our solid-but-pint-sized 7th-percentile-for-weight scrapper, much to your constant frustration.
Noah's hand-me-down orange Crocs that are still a tad too big = the only shoes you want to wear. You're right in between the combo sizes but I tracked down a sized style and bought them for you. They are red and blue, because I could not find orange, although I promise I looked. I TRIED. You were pleased for a few days and then revolted, violently. You scream and tantrum every time I try to put any other non-orange-Croc-like shoe on your foot. You climb up the stairs just to dramatically slide back down, as if that will help convey the depth of your displeasure better than all the crying and tears and beating of the floor with your tiny angry fists. "Shuhs!" you wail, pointing at your feet. "SHUHS!"
The drama you create about those shoes makes me shake in mine when I think about you as a teenager.
(Though if Doc Martens come back into fashion, you totally have my permission to wear them. Your Nana wouldn't let me, because she wasn't always like she is now, with the spoiling and stuff. Also L.A. Gear sneakers. Man, I wanted a pair of those. So never mind. I kind of feel you on the shoe thing, and once I finish this letter I am going back on Amazon to find you a pair of orange Croc knock-offs that fit, SO HELP ME GOD.)
None of Noah's hand-me-down shoes fit you yet -- by the time he graduated out of baby booties he was easily two shoe sizes ahead of you. To this day, I don't think he's ever really expressed a strong feeling about footwear, or been so fascinated with trying them on, like you are with everything in the hand-me-down box. You stomp around in sneakers and snowboots and backpacks, thoroughly enamored with anything and everything that is in store for you juuuust around the next growth spurt corner.
Because you are such a big boy.
You are *thisclose* to potty training, once we figured out that you preferred to stand up, like DUH, that's how the other menfolk in this house do it, MOM. You picked out Toy Story 3 underwear. but they're still too big for you. I'm sorry.
You talk *somuch* and all the time. It surprises people, I think, to hear you chattering away and managing to get your point across even if your pronunciation isn't quite where you want it. "Hi!" you say cheerfully to everyone you see. When they smile and ask you a question you don't have the answer to, you merrily change the subject. "Backpack! Ball! Outside! Doggie! Shuhs!"
You eat *somuch* and all the time. It still shocks the hell out of me, watching you eat with a spoon and dig into bowls of hot salsa with tortilla chips and enthusiastically try anything and everything that you see us eating. If you don't like something, it's usually nothing that a little Dip-Dip won't solve, because you will eat ANYTHING and EVERYTHING if you have some kind of sauce or condiment to dip it in first. And yes, you call them Dip-Dips, preferably ones that come with Chip-Chips, and yes, I am physically unable to call ketchup anything other than Dip-Dip on the first try now. And seriously: the amount of guacamole you can put away in one sitting is mind-blowing, mostly because I haven't the faintest idea where you're putting it all.
You are such a big boy.
You kick the soccer ball across the living room. "GOOOOAAAL!" you say.
You watch us walk up the stairs and attempt to climb up after us. "WAIT WAIT!" you say.
You busy yourself with your play kitchen while I make dinner, mimicking my every stirring/tasting/preparing move. "YUMMY," you say, while offering me a plate of whatever wooden-food masterpiece you've created.
My God, you're such a big boy.
Every night, after your bath, you pretend to follow us into your room...right before switching directions and running into Noah's. "Night night!" you say, climbing into Noah's bed and pulling up the covers, though sometimes you go in headfirst and we walk in to see your tiny bare butt sticking out. Last night you weren't feeling very well and went to bed early, so we figured we'd let you stay there and see if you actually slept or started destroying Noah's room the second the door closed, like one would EXPECT an almost-two-year-old to behave on his first night in a big boy bed.
You stayed. You slept. You cried when we put you back in your crib. Daddy mumbled something about the old toddler bed in the basement but neither of us feel as ready for that step as you do. I'm sorry.
You are such a big boy. SUCH. A big boy.
You are in such a rush to be even bigger, to do everything your beloved Nona does. You want Star Wars, not Sesame Street. You hoist Daddy's computer bag over your shoulder and blow me a kiss before trying to head out the door in your orange Crocs. The meanest I have ever felt in my life was the day I had to put you down for a nap when Noah had a big-kid playmate over, and I could see your heartbreak all over your tearstained cheeks because it was just too unfair for words. I have always been Mommy, and never Mama. You want a bike with PEDALS ALREADY, you want a scooter, a helmet, and the keys to the car.
But sometimes -- sometimes -- you want me to hold you and rock you while you snuggle with your blanket and thumb. Sometimes you want me to hug and kiss away the boo-boos and the frustration over That Dumb Chair Being Too High To Climb Over. Sometimes I walk into the room and your whole face lights up and you come barreling over for a hug.
"MOMMY!" you say, because you are such a big boy.