Tuesday, June 10, 2008

River News: Month Fourteen

Dear River,

It's nearly two weeks past your 14 month birthday, and I am only now getting to this post. I'm sorry it's so late, but I know you'll forgive the tardiness because, hey, you won't be able to read this for another four or five years. This has just been a monster of a month for us, and in spite of all the chaos you have handled yourself beautifully. Let me give you an idea of what we've done during the past few weeks: searched for a new home, bought a new home, had endless meetings regarding the new home, packed up half of our possessions to clear the clutter, moved them out to storage, redecorated two bathrooms, prepared for an open house, traveled to Denver and back, lived through first your illness then mine, and finally--amazingly--sold our house after one day on the market. You maybe won't understand how much work that has been until you are yourself an adult trying to do these things all while caring for a one year old kid.

Your sitter, Anabel, who you spend three hours a day with, will be taking a two week vacation soon. When I first heard of this I was terrified. How am I going to handle the long long days without a break? I was sure I would be a crazy woman by the time your dad got home in the evening, exhausted, frustrated, and not pleasant to be around. But I gave it some real thought and I came up with this: you are such a pleasure to be around these days I don't think we'll have a problem at all. Looking back on this past month you have grown into such a great little boy--so patient, sweet, and helpful--and I think this time together, just you and mommy, will be really good for us. It's an opportunity to spend long days together, to go on outings to the museums, spend time in the kiddie pool, laugh and play together, and just enjoy each other's company.

This month you have shown me what a joy toddlerhood can be--how exciting it is for you to have new skills and independence, how much more understanding you are of mommy and daddy's limitations, and how fun it is to teach you the skills you will need as you grow into a little boy. Here are some of the highlights from Month Fourteen:

You have discovered dancing! Your little friend Jackson introduced you to the concept, bouncing and bobbing his head whenever music came on, and now when you hear a tune you like you flap your arms, shake your hips, and do a little stepstepstep to the beat. Your momma spent many years as a dancer, training three times a week in ballet from the time she was ten until sixteen, so to see you take joy in moving your body is such a thrill for me. As you get older you will discover favorite songs and figure out your own unique way of moving, and I am so excited to see those days ahead of us.

Your dad and I talk about what activities we think you'll be interested in--will it be dance classes like mommy, soccer like dad, karate like your uncle, or something completely different? Based on what we've seen since the day you were born, I think it will be swimming. You are such a natural in the water, and you love every moment you have splashing around in the bath or playing with a sink full of water. This weekend you played in the neighbor's kiddie pool and you could not have been more happy. You jumped in and out of the pool with no fear, played with the water toys, and lounged on your back. You couldn't be more of a water baby unless you had fins and gills.

Some other things you've shown an interest in recently are throwing balls and dressing up. You get better at the former every day--throwing further and further every time you try. My favorite moment this month, however, was inspired by the latter. I was folding laundry one afternoon, and you jumped in as you sometimes do, trying to help me sort and organize. You landed on a pile of my underwear and were instantly intrigued. What is this? What could I do with this? Before I knew it, you had taken pair after pair and strung them around your neck! "Look mommy, pretty necklaces!" you seemed to say. I couldn't stop laughing and even took some video which I will play at your high school graduation or wedding reception.

You have an ever growing interest in big trucks and buses. Every time we pass one on the street you crane your neck to get a better look. You point and clap and show such joy at seeing these massive lumps of metal rumbling down the street. While we were in Denver at my cousin's house, we took a couple naps in a room that had been decorated for a child. The walls were decked out with a mural of cars driving down a long winding road and tracks carrying big trains. You'd barely be able to lay down, so excited to see the pretty artwork and let your imagination flow. And as soon as you woke, you jumped up instantly, so happy to discover that they were still there. It makes me think your next bedroom may have to have a similar mural on the wall. Who knows, maybe you'll be into dinosaurs next, but these days it's all about trucks.

This month you have come closer to saying some real words. By all accounts you have said them, but they were solitary performances, rarely to be repeated. In the correct context you have used these words so far: hi, here, woof, mooo (sounding like bvooo), dis, dat, mamama, and dadada. You are (and have always been) much more interested in improving your physical skills than your verbal ones, so it's exciting to see these little steps toward talking.

As I mentioned before, we spent a long weekend in Denver visiting family. My aunt Candy had a birthday (Happy Birthday Candy!), my folks and some other aunts, uncles, and cousins came out to her daughter's home to celebrate. Since everyone is so spread out across the country, none of the extended family had met you yet, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to introduce you.

You were such a hit! You latched onto the girls in an instant, charming them with your smiles and waves, bringing them presents like rocks and tupperware, and climbing in their laps for snuggles. You see pretty girls and are just compelled to flirt. I am so afraid of your teenage years.

The boys in the family did not get as much attention, but overall you handled yourself amazingly well in strange new circumstances. You slept in your own (travel) bed, took great naps, played independently and with others, ate well, and generally let nothing phase you. The family was amused to discover that your favorite food (aside from any kind of berry) is guacamole. Your grandpa made a huge batch and you gobbled it down with vigor.

I was really glad to see that your cousin Sydney took a new interest in you. I think she's very happy to have a new playmate, rather than a squishy blob that steals all the attention, as you were most of the first year of your life.

We took a long hike in the foothills (much longer than anticipated due to some poor planning) and you slept in the backpack carrier most of the way. We went to downtown Boulder and shopped, stopped to get you a balloon mouse, and let you play in the outdoor sprinklers. (A little anecdote: after a much older boy kept kicking water in your face, I took a perverse delight in seeing him get sprayed right in the kisser later on. There is nothing like a mother's protective instinct.) Overall it was a fantastic trip, bookended by two flights in which you slept almost all the way home.

These have been wonderful, if busy days, and I am just so excited to see you growing and thriving. You laugh so easily and seem to find joy in the smallest things. You're such a sociable little boy, waving at everyone you see, making connections with old friends and strangers alike. You are just an amazing and wonderful YOU.

I love you my sweet boy,


A said...

Congratulations on all the new transitions! I can't wait to see pictures of the new house.

River is more and more handsome by the second! How can you stand it??

Summer Ryan Doyle said...

It's not just me--he really is impossibly cute, right?