Dear Noah
September 22, 2010

You are two now.

You are the wildest, hardest and boyiest thing to ever happen to me.  You are also the best.

This year you learned to walk, talk, jump, eat with a fork, climb your dresser, take off your diaper and love a little sister.  That’s a tall order for someone who sleeps with a thing called Crib Bear and still dabbles in eating crayons.  The rate at which you’re learning astounds me.  Just this week, we were swinging, and I asked you to count to five with me, and instead you counted to ten, and then put your binky back in, like it was no big deal.

But it is!  Because I didn’t teach you to count to ten.  Just like Daddy didn’t teach you that bad word, but you still learned it after watching him hit his finger with the hammer.  (In all fairness, you could have learned it from me while I drove in rush hour traffic.)  You’re picking up all the little nuances of life, like wiping your mouth with a napkin or locking a door.  We no longer have to relentlessly coach you to learn something.  You watch, you imitate, you move on.  It’s alive, Dr. Frankenstein might say.

You became obsessed with belly buttons, which for reasons unknown, you called “mites.”  You had to inspect everyone’s mite upon seeing them, sometimes several times a visit.  No keys are safe around you.  Phones fare slightly better, but only slightly.  We can’t get you to sit through Elmo’s World, but you’ll watch a twelve year old Bollywood clip over and over and over again.  (Chaiyya Chaiyya…)

Your favorite books were Goodnight Moon, Big Red Barn, Are You My Mother?, and your pop-up castle book.  If you are the only kid in Sunday School who knows what a portcullis is, I know I’ve done my job right.

You moved into a big boy bed–a mattress on the floor.  You cried the first night, then fell asleep on the floor, resting your head on the mattress.  Most nights after that, your daddy and I woke up at three to hear the thunk-thunk-thunk of your footie-pajama-clad feet coming down the hallway.  More than once, we wouldn’t be able to see your head because your arms would be full of stuffed animals–Crib Bear, Clifford, Myrtle Beach Turtle and maybe a penguin or two.  The entire menagerie came to snuggle with us.  Lately, whenever we put you to bed, you ask “Night night too?” wanting us to lay with you.  To me, you demand, “Glasses off,” knowing I’ll probably fall asleep next to you if I don’t have my glasses on.  To Daddy, you say, “Blankie on Daddy?” trying to lure him into cuddling with you. We can’t resist you.

You and your Grammy are best friends, just like my grandma and I were close.  You love your Pepas (all three of them!) and your uncle Jerry.  I’m guessing you love your aunt Stephanie too, but chasing her with a dead cicada shell is no way to show it.  You got to meet your uncle Jason and aunt Heather, and play with your cousin Jake.  I can’t wait until you two are old enough to get in trouble together.

Most importantly, you met your baby sister this year.  You didn’t sleep very well when we first brought her home, and you had a rough couple of weeks, but now you’re the best big brother anyone could hope for.  You want to make sure she has a blankie and a binky (even if she doesn’t want it) and when I’m holding her, you remind me that she needs “Tummy? Time?” and then lay on your tummy next to her.  When she cries, you tell her, “Don’t cry, baby.”  I know that these little moments are sowing seeds for big moments later on.  You’ll be the one to teach her all sorts of cool tricks, drive her to places we forbade her from going, beat up boyfriends you disapprove of.  In the near future, I can’t wait for the nights when we hear two pairs of padded feet on the wood floors, and I can snuggle both of you (and all your stuffed animals.)

I feel bad for you, Noah, because you’ll always be my learning baby.  You taught me how to mother an infant, and now you’re teaching me how to mother a toddler.  Sometimes I worry that you got the worst parts of my personality, but then you’ll give me such a Josh look with a quirked eyebrow and o, rly? expression that I know you’ll be alright.  At least fifty percent of you is sane, intelligent and level-minded.  Did I mention that you are as handsome as your father?  Hazel eyes, thick, thick hair and loooong lashes.  Handsome like Josh, mercurial like me–girls are going to go crazy over you someday.

Thank you for this year.  I’m sorry for the times I cried while making your waffle because I was so tired (I was pregnant with your sister) and I’m sorry that we didn’t discover Deanna Rose sooner.  Next year will be better.