Or Joey Chestnut, or whoever else out there would like to challenge my toddler to a cupcake-eating contest.
Child has the cheek capacity of several dozen frosting-crazed squirrels. I SWEAR.
It's not fair, this past year. It whizzed by in crazy-fast-forward mode. Blink, three months. Blink, six months. Blink blink, 10 months. And now here we are. 12 months. One year. On the cusp of toddlerhood, with his true babyhood vanishing into the few fat rolls he still has on his legs.
His delicious, crazy little legs -- he's so ready to walk but can't quite get that last bit of balance going, though he's down to needing a single solitary finger against the wall or furniture or hooked around mine.
He can suddenly do so many things, and I have no idea when he started doing them. He signs what he wants, he plays pattycake and soooo big and waves hello and goodbye to everyone he sees, he dances, he sticks his tongue out and furrows his brow while concentrating on his set of nesting cups, he mimics sounds and can point out Mama and Dada and Noah, he picks up a comb and immediately tries to attack his brother's hair with it. It's ridiculous, the little things that stun you, but there it is. He knows what a comb is for. Wow.
Of course I miss the baby. The newborn, even. I look at these year-old videos and oh, that squooshy little alien face, with his bleats and baahhs at all times of night. But...now he knows what a comb is for. He knows who I am, beyond the keeper of the milks. I know who he is, beyond the blank canvas of he is my baby and I love him.
He is my baby. My son. My boy. My daredevil, my clown, my social butterfly, my smartypants spitfire.
My mighty, mighty Ez.
Happy birthday, buddy.
(PS, re: the video. I promise to occasionally put pants on you this year.)
Oh my God, you guys. I have a FOUR-YEAR-OLD. And in less than two weeks I will have a ONE-YEAR-OLD. I should have planned things better, because this double whammy of birthdays is turning out to be hard on the liver.
At this rate I will have hardly any babies left at all. Damn you January and your mysteriously fertile properties!
PLUS I have to do a whole other stupid video montage every year, like, five minutes after I finish the first one. That's not QUITE so terrible, as I do really enjoy making you guys cry. Suckers!
Speaking of the upcoming Ezra edition, based on our gobs of footage and photos, it appears we have not actually taken that poor baby out of his high chair since he was about six months old. I'd say a good 75% of it involves him eating. Rolling over? First steps? First words? Eh, sorry Ez, I don't quite recall. But holy shit, check out this 20-minute clip of you eating corn on the cob. So glad we didn't miss THAT tremendous milestone.
So now Noah is four, fully four, and can officially start attending The Preschool this afternoon. Right now, the only thing I am stressing about it that no one told me the code for the front door, meaning I'm in for one mildly inconvenient and awkward moment of waiting for some to notice us and buzz us in. Oh noes! I think this is progress on the neurotic mess front, as I could easily be wigging out about the logistics of getting Noah off the school bus, into the house, eat lunch eat lunch eat lunch, pack his backpack a second time with a different set of classroom requests and requirements, get everyone in the car and drive up there and then drive back and still somehow keep Ezra's nap schedule intact so I can get work done before driving back up there to pick Noah up and also I haven't been away from him that long in years oh my God, STOP TALKING, SELF. YOU SHUT UP NOW.
Noah is excited about the second school, which we've dubbed "Camp School" around here (not to be confused with "School Bus School"). School Bus School is, of course, The One With The School Bus School Bus School Bus, while Camp School is the one with the motherfucking BALL PIT, motherfuckers. As far as Noah is concerned, that right there is a well-rounded education.
Okay. So. I would love to KEEP TALKING, but I seem to have a window to take a shower here. First day of school: I shower. Second day of school: Not so much, or ever again after that. So today I will uphold that proud tradition. Clean hair! Makeup! Actual non-elastic-waisted-pants! I am simultaneously excited and utterly exhausted.
Here, Noah (WHO IS FOUR), with your feel-good up-with-people message of the day.
Make your own kind of music. No matter what. Even if nobody else sings anarrrrg.
PS Hey, so Mamapop is up for an award, if you'd like to vote for us. We're up for Best Pop Culture Blog...in Maryland. Can you really argue with that? I mean, FINE. TAKE PENNSYLVANIA. AND VIRGINIA. MARYLAND IS OURS.
It's funny, as he gets older, my determination to stay away from mushy, embarrassing sentiment wavers more and more. He's no longer a baby or a toddler but a KID, and yet when composing this entry in my head, my first impulse is to fill is chock full of pet names and flowery goopy declarations of love and pride. "Mo-oo-oom," I can already hear him saying...but when? Two more years? Longer than that? Less?
We spent so much time this year focused on the future. Worrying about it, planning for it. Determined to prepare him for the next step, the next year, the next experience. We became Mama and Papa Bear, growling at anyone who dared question the potential of our cub, demanding that the forest clear a safer path for him...while also tearing our fur out because holy crap, this is hard.
And yet, oh, this boy. He is still my heart. He is still so smart and adorable and funny. He is such a kind, loving big brother and a kind, loving person. He surprises me every day, every hour, sometimes, with the things he says and thinks and can suddenly DO, just like that, and I am awed to be tasked with a child with this much potential.
"Are you happy?" he asks, whenever I look upset or worried. "Are you happy, Mommy?"
Yes, Noah, my love. Yes, I am. I am so happy.
Happy birthday, baby.
It has been brought to my attention that reader Kari declared yesterday's post "the EXACT OPPOSITE of birth control," and that many, many of you agreed with that assessment.
Did you not read the part about the screaming? The terrible, terrible screaming? That he does in lieu of using anything remotely close to the English language? All the time, for everything and sometimes for no reason at all?
Oh, I see. The photos of the happy, angelically cute baby distracted you from that part. Well then. I'm afraid I'm going to have to break out the big guns. For your sake. For the overpopulated planet's sake. YOU MUST HEAR THE TRUTH.
I think he's saying he would like more cantaloupe. Or maybe more souls. Could really be either.
ANNOYING DISCLAIMER: I gave him more cantaloupe. I did not purposely withhold cantaloupe for the purposes of this video, or sit there eating cantaloupe in front of him like Kate Gosselin.* He was simply expressing his supreme displeasure over my refusal to give him more than one piece of cantaloupe at a time, because if I gave him six pieces of cantaloupe he would shove all six pieces of cantaloupe in his mouth at once and then SCREAM ANYWAY because there wasn't any more cantaloupe on his tray.
*To my knowledge, Kate Gosselin has never eaten cantaloupe in front of Ezra either.
Well, NOW how am I supposed to get anything done, ever?
Yeah, this blogging thing was fun and all but TICKLISH BABY GIGGLES YUM GOTTA GO BYE.
(This is technically the second time I got him to laugh. The night before I coaxed some giggles by screaming "GRILLED CHEEEEEESE!!!!" right in his face.)
All right, enough talk of near-smothered babies. It is once again time to DANCE!
Here is Ezra, possibly rocking out to the beats of the 30-Day Shred DVD menu.
Night at the Roxbury from amalah on Vimeo.
Hey, if we're going to believe in guardian angels and all that stuff, I don't think it's too far-fetched to believe in a 12-week-old who has already mastered the White Man's Overbite.
(PS: the break in the video isn't really a break in the action, but a sloppy attempt to edit out the part where I said, "You wanna get in shape, Noa-- uh, Ezra?")
(PPS: the 30-Day Shred is everything you've heard it to be. If you hate gyms, hate working out, have absolutely zero patience and demand instant gratification, this is the workout for you. It will kick your ass up and down the block, but by day three you're no longer panting and gasping quite so much, and you can at least scream back at the TV to shut the fuck up about more jumping jacks. Progress, baby!)
Some of the hideous post ideas I started and trashed yesterday:
"My kitchen sink is drip...drip...dripping and aaaaaahhhhhhhhhstopit!"
"Dear Dog and Cat: How do manage to time your vomiting TO THE EXACT MINUTE we run out of paper towels?"
"Yeah, so I WANT to write another installment in the Deodorant Wars, but I've been struggling to come up with a plot line for my new stick of Dove Clinical Protection. Who IS she, as a character? What's her MOTIVATION?"
Then I was all: cop-out time! Noah photo! Belly photo! But then all the camera batteries were all simultaneously dead. Simultaneously and AT THE SAME TIME EVEN. Clearly, the blogging gods were against me, determined that I should keep at least a few damn thoughts to my own damn self. This was, judging by the above examples, probably for the best.
I don't really have much else to say today, other than to issue a warning to anyone in the DC area: hey! You know what's a bad idea? Like, a really, really bad idea? Blindly following your GPS, even when it's telling you to turn left onto a one-way, do-not-enter street that happens to be oh, directly in front of the PENTAGON.
Luckily, the cops let us off with a warning. "Try not to drive into any lakes next time, okay?"
Sigh. I've really got nothing today, except for the crushing need for my 27th burrito of the week. Take me to Chipotle, GPS! I can no longer find my way out of a paper bag, thanks to you.
Here. This is video of my kid screeching into my laptop's built-in camera for five straight unbearable minutes. Special cameo by my chins and belly.