1.23.2007

Twenty-four Months: That's Two in Weasel Years!

Dear Miriam,

I'm having a hard time writing through my surprise that you've been in our lives for two years. Nothing beats the first year for crazy, mind-blowing change on an unheard-of scale, but the last year has been dramatic by any other measure. You've gone from a crawling baby who called everything that moves Cat! to a conversing, phone-talking, running, jumping, hollering, direction-giving, food-not-eating person.

In the last month, you've started answering questions more accurately and with less confusion, and verbally working through your experiences with a memory for detail that amazes us. The other day I asked Mana if she needed anything from the grocery store and you popped up with Cucumbers. This is your new favorite food and we had run out the day before, but this was the first time you made such a connection about shopping and the things you want. Your other new favorite food, by the way, is Ikura, which you call orange balls. Your face lights up if anyone so much as mentions sushi, and your Sushi board book is your new favorite.

Ikura was an accidental discovery. You were dining along side your buddy Prince H at our local sushi place. Prince H was eating happily, while you were talking nonstop about what you weren't eating, per usual. We'd ordered a roll that had ikura sprinkled across the top and you exclaimed "orange balls," so I gave you one. You demanded more, Prince H tried some, and we ended up ordering nigiri for you both, which you demolished. Given your love for smoked salmon, this shouldn't be so surprising, but I am impressed.

You say things you know are funny, like Ye-ah boy-ee when you fold your arms (with the head cocked), or Amaya! when you want me to join you from whatever I'm doing, and you seem to have consciously decided not to add our salty dialogue to your vocabulary. The other morning, after I dropped something and it broke, you walked around saying F$%&en f$%&en f$%&en for a while, till I said, No, I think you mean "Truckin'!" You looked at me knowingly, decided that was hilarious, and exclaimed Truckin'! between gales of laughter for a good five minutes.

You're getting more physical, too, conquering the big-kid slides and attempting the ladders at Library Park, and you mastered jumping! You've been working on it for weeks, one day you just decided it was time to jump and you've attacked it with an admirable single-mindedness. You were satisfied to jump holding our hands or to make the jump motion without your feet leaving the ground for the longest time. But the first few times both your feet left the floor, your smile was radiant enough to light the neighborhood, if only we'd known to hook you up.

You're all about helping these days, too, and your Daddy is much better than I about enlisting your assistance. In those touchy moments before dinner is served, he occupies you by having you place the forks and napkins on the table, or helping him unload the dishwasher. Mana has folded laundry with you (you do very well with the washcloths) and Bubbie has you putting your toys away regularly. I always seem to be in a rush to get out of the house and have to restrain myself from doing everything myself, but one task we do together is feeding the cats: You open the container, we scoop the kibble, and you carefully pour the food into their bowl, tell them to eat and then replace the scoop and close the container. You’re so proud of yourself when you accomplish these tasks, and we are blown away that we have come to this point so quickly.

On the other side of the coin, you are MZ the Destroyer. If I tarry a moment too long in my attention to household details, your fury is a thing to behold: you unpack drawers, dump blocks, unfold dishtowels and extract a full box of tissues before I can turn around. And when I do, you are stolid in your refusal to help pick up. Clearly I am to pay for my neglect.

It's not really your fault, though, because these days you're all about telling us what to do, and had I only been listening you never would have needed to tear apart the dining room. You are capable of giving the same direction over and over and over and over again, with mind-numbing consistency of tone: Read the book, Mommy, Get Puppy, Daddy, Move over, Bubbie, Stop talking to Daddy, please, Papa. You are full of directions.

Your birthday was a celebration of all your favorite things: bagels, smoked salmon and lox, sliced cucumbers, red peppers and cherry tomatoes, tuna salad, pork buns and the most amazingly delicious chocolate cake made by your AuntieS. She also made dozens of tiny cupcakes, which you proceeded to grab and lick the frosting from, one after another till we stopped you.

We had Enzo join us, too. You don’t seem to like surprises, and we told you he was coming for your birthday a week in advance, so you were convinced he was coming home with you after music class one day. But when he arrived, you took it in stride, telling Papa knowingly, He’s going to do another one, whenever a song ended. You laughed with glee to have him here, and asked for him for a few days afterwards.

These big celebrations must be so surreal for you, with all the to-do and ta-da, and then it’s over for another year. But you were such a sport through all of it, and it was such fun to make the day special for you. We worried about overkill, but realized that whether you remember it next year or not, we will never forget your unmitigated joy, which was truly a mirror on our own happiness at having you in our lives. Welcome to your third year, MZ, let it be another healthy, happy one.

All my love,
Your Mommy

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