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August 8, 2017 by Heather

Dear Oliver,

Sunday morning you dunked both hands into a bowl of yogurt and attempted to wash your hair with it.  Two days before that you dumped out a container full of tiny sequins in Parker’s room, which wouldn’t have been the biggest mess ever if you had not then proceeded to lie down in the middle and make a snow angel, sending them flying down the hall and into every nook and cranny in between.  The day before that, you opened the fridge, retrieved a full carton of fresh eggs, sat down, and cracked them open all over the kitchen floor.

Are you sensing a pattern here, son?  Oh, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! by the way.  You turned two just a few weeks ago, and holy crap are you letting us know it.  You’ve kind of been a bit of a terror for some time now, so it wasn’t a huge surprise.  I think maybe that’s one reason this birthday letter is a little belated — how do I very lovingly and maternally say, “Son, you are the worst”?  I mean, I’m kidding, mostly.  Because along with being the worst you are also the absolute, absolute, very best.  Not sure how you managed that one, but it saves you from experiencing the full depths of parental wrath, so that’s good.

We had a donut birthday party this year!

The reasons you are so, um, terribly two, are not the worst things in and of themselves, but the constant constantness of them makes them the worst.  How do you like that for a sentence?  Goodness.  Moving on.

I tried to describe the frustrations of this season you’re in, but it sounded kind of heartless, especially when I have Brad Paisley or whoever the heck singing “You’re gonna miss this” in that little annoying corner of my brain that also houses things like Mom Guilt and Buyer’s Remorse, aka things I’d rather not feel.  So let’s just say this: You are a lot, pretty much all of the time.  But we are so enamored with your ridiculous personality and quirky ways that we’ll take it — frustrations and all.  This too shall pass, and Brad is right, I will miss it.  Parts of it.

A few things about you right now:

….My favorite words you say are:  toast, deal, yes, please, and mess.  Really anything that ends in an “s” because you do this funny underbite thing with your teeth when you say it, making almost a “sh” sound.  The things only a mother would notice, perhaps, but it’s so cute.

….Your favorite foods are:  yogurt, frozen blueberries, watermelon, chips and salsa, cucumbers dipped in ketchup (who knows), toast, and smoothies, except you are kind of grounded from smoothies right now because I got tired of you spitting them out all over the house.

….You are very, very confident and aggressive.  Aggressive confidence, perhaps.  Or confident aggression, one of the two, probably both.  You try to get away with anything and everything, and you give the most judgmental looks that we can’t help but laugh at.  When you decide to go for something or run into something or hit someone, heaven help it/them, because you’re going full throttle.  In fact, we’ve all started flinching and running for cover when we see you coming in our direction holding a hard object, because you’re going for the kill.

….On that same note, you are INTO EVERYTHING.  This comes with the toddler territory, but geez son.  We have to keep an eye on you at all times, and I’m not exaggerating.  This is why the house looks the way it does during the day and probably why my hair is falling out by the handfuls.  Nothing keeps you entertained or distracted, really.  No cartoon, no song, no book, no activity.  The other day I was talking on the phone and needed to pay attention to what the other person was saying, so I let you keep coloring on the kitchen floor with a (washable) marker just because it was keeping you occupied.

….While we were at the beach a couple weeks ago you climbed out of the pack-n-play one morning, luckily landing on your feet.  Upon returning home, I promptly took down one side of your crib to turn it into a toddler bed.  So far, so good.  I remember it being a big emotional thing with Parker, but this time it was a no-choice situation.  You’re safer this way, and you’re still sleeping during nap time and around 13 hours a night.  You also enjoy being able to get up and play in your room in the mornings before we come get you.

….You love this one corner of your blanket so much.  It’s the corner next to the tag.  You’ve worn it quite ragged, this particular corner.  You always hold it when you’re falling asleep, and whenever Parker is upset you’ll go get your blanket and hold that corner up for him to grab onto.  It usually just makes him even madder, but I think it is the most precious thing.  You instantly go into sleep-mode whenever I hand it to you, especially if there’s a pacifier involved (yeah, we should probably start getting rid of those).

The big news of today is that you went to daycare for the first time this morning!  Can we call it school?  I like the sound of that so much better.  As usual, I was worried and expecting the worst (and cried in my coffee as y’all drove off), but you did so well.  I got there to pick you up right as your class was laying down for a nap, and lo and behold, there you were snuggled under a blanket on your little cot!  You would’ve been perfectly fine staying the whole day.  We’re working up to that.  I start school/work in two weeks, so we are easing you (me?) into going full-time.  After today I really think you’ll like the routine and experience of it.  I’m so glad.

Alright.  Now that I’ve said all the ugly things about how needy and wild you are, can I change my tune for a bit?  Because the truth is, son, that you are the most delicious little thing I’ve ever held in my arms.  Despite your wiggle worm ways, you always want to snuggle before bed and even in the middle of the night if I wake you to change your diaper. And you snuggle hard, like you do most things I suppose.  I love it so much.  I almost gave the rocking chair away a while back, but now I’m glad I kept it, because the past month or so we’ve logged some good snuggle time in it.  Or sometimes we just sit there and laugh at each other.  Or you grab my face while I’m singing a song and just stare at me.  It’s so sweet.

You are FUNNY, my gosh you are funny.  You really do keep all of us entertained.  Parker is always trying to get you to do your little weird dances and songs, and he just laughs and laughs.  We get such a kick out of you, sometimes literally.  You will literally go around the room and kick us.  It’s ok, we’ve come to expect it now.  My prayer is that you will learn to channel this energy and aggression in positive ways.  You’re like a tiny, cute bulldog.

Oli, you really are a handful right now, I’m not going to sugar coat it.  You hate going to restaurants and you pretty much always throw a fit at any store we enter.  You want my attention at all times, and I won’t lie, it is exhausting.  There are many days where I do not handle it well, and I spend our rocking chair time on those nights crying and praying that I’ll do better the next day.  You are fierce and vibrant and sure of yourself, and those are all amazing, wonderful qualities.  I would never want to squelch any of that, not for a minute.  So we really do pray that God will help us help you learn the best way to navigate your feelings and emotions and, well, rage, to be quite honest.  You are your mother’s son, lucky you.  I recognize that temper, that fiery spirit.  I promise it can be used for your good and for the good of those around you (though it is not without its downfalls, trust me).  It will just take a little taming and re-routing.  We’ll get there.  You do you, sweet boy.

My goodness, I love you so much.  So, so much.  You are delicious, and you are crazy.  In that order.

Love always,


Highlight of my summer, this moment right here.




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