Letter to 18-month-old Isaac

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Dear 18-month-old Isaac,

My ‘Wrecking Ball Baby’ is now my ‘Wrecking Ball Toddler’. From the moment your feet touch the ground, there is no stopping you. You climb everything – the chairs, the coffee table, the stool in the bathroom (wherever you’ve moved it to)- and there’s now a scar healing on your forehead to prove it. You can be left alone, but not without inherent risk.

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Someone at the park yesterday said it well, ‘you learn so much about your first child by having a second’. I’ve certainly learned that while you do not require the emotional energy that your sister did at this age, you require all that I have physically. From your fall in April, to your inability to judge your next self-imposed injury, I now have a sudden appreciation for my much more hesitant, well-calculated 18-month-old Marin.

She is currently our combined Saving Grace (which ironically, that was almost her name – Grace, anyways). She keeps an eye on you enough to help me clean up the dishes from breakfast – or at least get them to the sink. She will not hesitate to make sure you are safe, reprimand you when she doesn’t think what you (or any of us) are doing is right, and reminds us of the past it the most blunt of ways – ‘Hey, remember when Isaac cut his head open?’ or “Mama, watch Isaac – don’t you remember when he fell down the stairs?”. Yes, Marin, thank you for that trip down Memory Lane.

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But you are also physical in these incredibly sweet ways. You hug so tight that I well up with tears just thinking of them; I can’t wait till they’re from my teenage son who’s taller than me and dunks on his Dad. You pucker up when I request a kiss and you are never one to keep them from any baby that you meet.

Your impulse is to be either Isaac the Love or Isaac the Brut(us). You pull hair, at my shirt when you want to nurse, bite when I am not rapidly undressing at your request, and hit just because you can. I often tell people ‘that you’re big, but you’re soft’ – you are the epitome of someone who can dish it, but can’t take it. You flail your body like I’m causing you serious physical harm by wiping you for a diaper change – it’s not my fault that you pooped! (I request an explicit Thank You card for this gesture when you’re older.) I don’t really understand your polar opposite impulses, but from what I understand, if I opened the encyclopedia to “Boy”, yours would be the picture that I’d see. For now, we’re all doing our best to re-direct you, remind you to be kind and respectful of others, and holding to a pretty zero tolerance abuse policy – putting you in your crib for a momentary break from human life.

Besides being exiled to your crib, you are not far from a cheesy grin at all times – even at dawn. How you wake up at 5 am happy after going to bed at 8 pm is beyond me. But trust me, you do – again, and again, and again. You love to unshelf all my neatly organized toy bins in the playroom, look at ‘doggys’, chase birds, and swing at the park, catch my eye as you turn a corner and play spontaneous peek-a-boo, push the vacuum around the apartment, play tag with your sister with your respectable buggies, bring me your shoes when you want to go outside, play with your dinosaurs and cars, throw sand from the back porch onto the neighbor’s car, and learn how things work and disassemble to then reassemble them (at a recent birth I was covering for another doula, and I said to the Dad “so I hear you’re an engineer, that’s what my son wants to be when he grows up” “Oh ya? How old is he?” “He’s 1.5”). You, however, do not enjoy eggs (which I find heartbreaking since they’re a breakfast staple in our home), experiencing a haircut (I now bribe you happily with M&M’s – anything for that hairline on fleek), the crack between the floor and the elevator floor, or every Wednesday night when you see me changing my T-shirt for any normal outfit and know I’m heading off to teach Bradley classes (which stinks because you are going through a strong Mommy-only-at-bedtime phase). You look more and more like your Daddy, but your brow and eyes remind me so much of my Dad’s, your Grandpa Lynn. You say “Mama”, “Dada”, “quack”, “duck”, “down”, “Boo Boo”, “uh oh”, “broken”, “stuck”, “up” and your vocabulary steadily increases week-by-week. (Honestly, given your current verbal trajectory, we may be learning “stitches”, “ambulance”, and “hospital” next). You throw tantrums – by throwing yourself on the ground and then banging your head on it when you do not get your way and you always give hugs to say ‘I’m sorry’ in your perfect toddler way. You are still rarely addressed as “Isaac” by me in public, but often a combination of “Bubs”, “Bubsy”, “Chubba Bubs”, “Stud Bubs”, “Bub-uh”, and “Dougie” (and I don’t see that changing anytime soon).

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“My Sweet, Sweet Boy”, you are rapidly growing up faster than the tornado of disaster you make daily (today, you found Baking Soda and got it EVERYWHERE while I made breakfast).  I relish the moments that you lie still in my arms (perhaps only when I nurse you to sleep for naps), and love looking at your feet curled up on my lap as you’ve always done (and now, typically, with your hand on my chest). There’s this deep affection I feel for the parts that are you, and have always been you – from birth, there’s just been no stopping you, Bubs. So with that my little Hurricane, thanks for knocking me off my feet 1.5 years ago and showing me an entirely new love unlike any I’d known before. You completely rocked my World then, and still do, and I can’t imagine life without you in it.

I love you madly – there’s no stopping that either.

Love,

Mommy

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