Sunday, January 17, 2016

Happy Second Birthday, Simon!

Dear Simon,

When you wake up in the morning (ideally not before the sun is up, please?), you will be two years old. That's TWICE the age you were a year ago. That will never be true again in your whole life, and you probably don't even appreciate it. It's not that you don't appreciate things. You appreciate chocolate. You appreciate balloons. And judging by the number of times you've squeezed his paw and made him say things over and over and over again, you really appreciate your new stuffed Daniel Tiger. But the trivia of birthday mathematics is still a little lost on you, I'm afraid.

It blows my mind how much you've grown and changed in the past year. A year ago you were barely walking, and now you're pretty much running this place.

You are still so amazing and methodical in the way you discover the world around you. We have magnetic alphabet letters on the refrigerator, and for awhile, you would bring us one (for example, 'D') and say a letter. Any letter. Maybe 'Q'. And we'd laugh and think, "Oh, it's so cute. He thinks it's a Q." and tell you, "D." But no, you didn't think it was a Q. You just knew that Q was something people said when they talked about these things, and you needed to put the pieces together. For maybe a few weeks you did that, and we thought it was adorable. "No, that's not an F, that's an M." Then, one morning, I was standing with you by the fridge, and you started pointing at letters and shouting them out at the top of your lungs. And you were right about all of them. Any letter I pointed to, you knew. You had been quietly figuring them out for days by trial and error and now you knew the whole alphabet. You were so proud of yourself and I'll never forget my amazement.

You're pretty mercurial, though. Sometimes you'll play with cars or trains in the basement by yourself for literally hours. If we try to play with you or talk to you, you'll put up with us, but it's pretty obvious we're intruding on whatever world you were in. Other times, you will accept nothing less than the undivided attention of both mom and myself and anybody else who happens to be around. You are quick to anger and slow to heal, which unfortunately means I think you got the worst traits of your mother (slow to anger, slow to heal) and myself (quick to anger, quick to heal).

On the other hand, when you are happy, man are you happy. In your happiest times, you're happier than I could ever imagine another person being. The other day, your mom was trying to record a video of you saying something. I don't actually remember what it was, just that you would not cooperate, and instead you kept just babbling nonsense in the video. Then you made her play it back for you and laughed hysterically at your own nonsense. Over and over and over again. You thought you were the funniest thing on earth, and I think you probably were, because we couldn't help but laugh with you, so infectious was your joy.

You're getting better at talking. You have a lot of words, and you can generally communicate pretty well, but you don't like to perform them when asked. In fact, you seem to delight in confounding our attempts. The last time you were at the doctor, she asked if you were talking, and we said yes, quite a bit, but the only word you would say for her was 'pee pee' while grabbing your...well, you get the picture. Your favorite method of delivering words is shouting them as loudly as you can, which can be a little alarming. You also seem to delight in intentionally misusing words. For example, lately you've been calling your mom 'Little Dada,' which drives her insane, but the more she says 'Mama' (which of course, you can and have said many, many times), the more you grin and insist on 'Little Dada'. I would be lying if I said I didn't find this absolutely hilarious every time.

Your favorite food is pizza. Your favorite book is...hmm, that's a tough one. You like a lot of books, but lately the one you SAY the most is "The Digging-Est Dog". You call it "Digginestdog," which you say over and over and over again and I think your mom is tired of reading it and probably hid it because I haven't seen it in awhile. Also, it's a little bit dark, because the other dogs demand that the boy drown the Digging-est Dog in the well. It was published in the 60s, which I guess that was an appropriate thing to have dogs demand in children's books. You love Thomas the train and Sesame Street. I wish I could just sit here and list everything you like, because each time I think of one it makes me smile.

My relationship with you is so unlike my relationship with Maddie. Sometimes I see so much of myself in you, and other times you're an enigma. I'm excited for you to get older so you can maybe explain some of your thoughts to me, but I also don't want you to grow up too fast. You will always be my only son, and I will always love you with all my heart.

Happy birthday, Simon!


Dada (the big one)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Dear Cecily Marie

Dear Cecily Marie,

I was just commenting to your mom the other day how strange it seemed that there's a person (you!) who already exists, and who will feature prominently in the story of my life and in every major memory I have from this point on, but that I don't even know you. I don't know what you look like or what things you like. I don't know what makes you laugh or what you're afraid of. I'll learn all of these things of course, but right now you're a bit of a mystery.

So let's talk about the things we (probably) do know!

  1. You are (most likely) a girl.

    We can't be sure, of course, because these things are tricky, but the ultrasound tech seemed pretty sure. Sure enough to make a pronouncement, and that's good enough for us. I guess it's still possible you turn out to be a boy. In that case, I'm sorry for our mistake, but I'll probably just go back and edit this so you never even know we were wrong! Hah!

  2. Your name is (probably) Cecily Marie.

    Your mom and I have loved this name for a long time. As usual, we've been way more certain about a name for a girl-you than a name for a boy-you. I don't know why that is, but it seems like we always come to a consensus on a girl's name first. Well, provided item #1 above remains true, then your name is Cecily Marie, so we'll run with that for now, okay? I hope you like it. You can always choose to go by a hip nickname like 'Snake' if you don't. Your mom said that wasn't an appropriate name for a child.

  3. You have Clinodactyly.

    That means your pinky finger is bent inward. We know this because it showed up in your ultrasound yesterday. This wouldn't really be a big deal, except that it is what's known as a 'soft marker' for certain genetic conditions and is thus worth mentioning, though we're not particularly worried. Your mom and I, as well as your Granny Jill and your siblings seem to have this trait to some extent as well, and it's autosomal dominant, so it's not unlikely you would have it. It's just that it only shows up in something like 4% of births absent one of those previously mentioned genetic conditions, so we're all very special, and that's one way you're like us already! Sorry if you get mom's club thumb, though.

  4. You will (probably) be born in June!

    By most calculations, your mom was 20 weeks pregnant yesterday, making your due date May 31, but you were still measuring around 18 weeks, 6 days. This isn't that strange, because you were also measuring small at your previous ultrasound, so it's very likely our timing is just off and you're a June baby. We'll know better in 8 weeks or so. Your mom is very excited about this, because she really likes pearls.

  5. You are loved.

    Oh, Cecily, how you are loved. Your mom and I love you, of course. Your sister Madeline is very, very excited to be getting a sister, even if it means she has to share a room. She knew you were a sister all along and wouldn't accept any other possibility. I guess she showed us. Your brother Simon is less sure about this whole thing, but he'll get on board. He's been walking around saying "Baby Sisser Sesame Street", because I guess he thinks that's your name. He really likes Sesame Street, so I guess that's his idea of a compliment. Your Memere and your Ooompa and your Granny Jill love you. Your aunts and uncles love you. You are loved like you wouldn't believe and we can't wait to meet you.
So I guess, in the end, it's really just the pinky and the love thing we're absolutely sure of, but man are we sure about that love thing, so that makes up for all of the other uncertainties.