September 3, 2011

Dear Luke (Year 2)

Dear Luke,

Today you turned 2 years old. As 5:21 rolled around this afternoon, I was remembering those crazy last moments before you made your entrance into our lives. I know everyone always says this, but I truly cannot believe you have been with us for two years. It's gone so fast. And yet...I can barely remember what life was like before you came along.

In the past year, you have changed in almost every way possible. Physically, you've weighed the same amount for 6+ months, but you've been gaining half an inch in height every month. You are losing all your hard-earned baby fat and turning into a little boy right before our eyes. You've gotten so tall.

You are a climber. From the bookcases in your room to the rocks in the backyard, you are not afraid to explore. It amazes me how well you've learned to use your body. I can remember those days when we waited with bated breath to see if you'd figure out how to flip your little body over. Now, I watch in amazement as you haul yourself onto furniture, up ladders, through jungle gyms, and onto all sorts of places you are not supposed to be (ie. on top of the piano, the middle of the table, on the kitchen counters, on top of your dresser, etc etc ETC).

You have finally become a good sleeper; mostly because if you are awake, you are moving. You play hard and you sleep hard. You hardly ever sit still, usually only lulled into submission by Sesame Street or Veggie Tales.

When you were a baby, we wondered about your personality. You've always been a happy guy, but would you be smart? Would you have a temper? Would you be an introvert like your parents, or more extroverted? The past year has started to answer some of those questions for us. In the past 2 months, you have figured out EVERY single "child-proof" device in our house.(As an aside...I think you should get a refund if your kid can undo them. False Advertising.) Last week, as we watched you drag a bag of blocks over to the front door, then proceed to climb on top so that you would be tall enough to unlock the dead bolt (our only defense since you dismantled the door knob cover in 2 hours), your father said, "Well, he's not dumb." Amen. Our garage has become a holding pen for all the toys you use as step ladders.

While you have hit all the physical milestones months ahead of when those charts said you would, you have been slow to talk. At your 18 month doctor's appointment, I may have fudged just a little bit on how many words you could say. You were supposed to have 10 by then, but you barely said 3. At two years of age, you are finally working on your HI!! and BYE CYA! and you are picking up new words every day. CAH! (Car) HAH!HAH! (Hot! Hot!)

While you may not be spouting Shakespeare, you are very adept at getting your point across. You have inherited my overly expressive face and can make a statement just by lifting your eyebrows. And if all else fails, you are not afraid to grab a hand and literally drag someone across the room and point at the cookie jar or place their hand on the doorknob. Subtlety will not be your gift, I feel.

To celebrate your birthday, we took you to Monkey Joe's last weekend, and watched you run non-stop for 2 hours. While you were hesitant at first about walking on the weird surface of the bounce house, you got over it and had a great time. An older boy continually knocked you down on one of the slides, and while most toddlers would have dissolved into tears, you laughed and pushed him back.

As I've already said, you are a physical kid and have yet to figure out when it is ok to play rough and when it's frowned upon. It must be so hard to be a toddler and have to figure out all these social cues. It's ok to throw the soft soccer ball at your dad, but it's not ok to throw your full sippy cup at the dog. It's ok to draw on the sidewalk and the chalkboard, but not ok to draw on any of the walls, furniture, or books. It's ok to play rough on the jungle gym when everyone is laughing, but it's not ok to poke at the girls on vacation when they want to play princess and not Wrestlemania.
Your father and I are doing our best to explain it to you in a way that you'll understand, but we all end up needing a time out at one point or another as we deal with these frustrating things.

This past month, you became a big brother. Up until the day Mom and Dad disappeared and Grandma magically appeared while you were sleeping, you had no clue anything was going on. You showed no interest in my burgeoning belly, nor did it bother you when we moved your crib into another room and got you a Big Boy Bed. Needless to say, Samuel has rocked your world.
The first few weeks were tough, as you were figuring out how to be gentle with him. So far, we've had a few close calls, but you have yet to maim him in any way. I'm so proud of you for adjusting the way you have, and it melts my heart every time you insist on giving Samuel his nightly blessing before you will do anyone else.
Your little brother was born with Down Syndrome and a heart defect. The heart defect we can fix, but your brother is always going to be different from you in a myriad of other ways. I don't know what this is going to mean for your life. For any of our lives. It is something we, as a family, are still trying to figure out. I imagine we will always be figuring it out. I hope you love him, protect him, watch out for him, and guide him as only a big brother can. I think he is going to be a lucky boy to have you as his brother.
My sweet, crazy boy...I love you. I'm so glad I get to be your Mom.

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