[Note from the Editor: I have every intent of blogging about things other than my son's monthly updates/catch-ups, but I'm also content to have them as placeholders to keep the blog "active" until such a time as I can make good on my intentions...just so you know!]
Now, back to the expected business at hand, (Grandmas)!
I present, our precious, hilarious, intelligent, and all-other-things-moms-think-about-their-babies, 18-month-old toddler:
Oh, this kid. And he IS a kid. A full-fledged, running-not-walking, constantly bruised, always getting dirty, and growing in sassy-ness, KID! My pride and determination to get this posted before the turn of the month (only 4 days late!) will prevent me from waxing much more nostalgic this month, but we truly are having so much fun with our boy.
He continues to amaze us with his ability to catch onto things, and rather than be braggy about it (because what’s the point in that, anyway…they’re all different and change week to week), let’s just call it what it is: a cry for help, for soon we will be in over our heads with a not-even-2-year-old who can outsmart his parents. He definitely surpassed Oscar well over 6 months ago. It’s only a matter of time.
Ok, so lists are helpful to me and posterity, and they’re quick. And I don’t want this month’s “documentation” to be squandered:
- I think he’s had 5 or 6 haircuts by now. Ridiculous. (And his stylist, Staci, is a rock star. Moving targets + accurate scissors / endless patience = true professional.)
- An ever-increasing vocabulary…which Toodie seems to think comes from all the talking his mom does. I can’t argue, I suppose. And man, is he every bit as fun to listen to as I knew he would be!! My favorite development so far
- Much more steady on his feet, resulting in at least a couple of days between bruises across his forehead. Which bodes well for our parental reputation in the community.
- Still can only make it through about half of a Mizzou Football game…can definitely put away one whole hot dog, though. #priorities
- Got to visit family in Springfield this month while Chris took a CrossFit training course – lots of good time with aunts, uncles and great-grandma! Springfield is forever different since July, but we are so thankful for our wonderful family and their love for us and our boy. It is a special time…even if we were all exhausted after chasing a toddler in not-quite-completely-child-proofed situations for a couple of days! (Oh, and “hooray!!” for Chris, who passed his class!)
- Granny Sue and Grandpa Stan made a quick trip to visit yesterday – Granny Sue got to come to Jackson’s 18 month doctor’s appointment and then took over the “daycare duties” for the day. Grandpa Stan came up in the afternoon to deliver furniture for our basement (in other, bittersweet, Zoo news of the month: Kitties Calvin and Theo found a wonderful new home with a family in Booneville this month…and yes, I did cry when they left, but I know that it’s what’s best for them and am so happy they are getting the attention and love they deserve from a family who can give it to them. The Zoo was over-capacity and now we’re still overwhelmed some days (have you met Oscar?!), but have a bit more breathing room.) Annnnnyway…with our newly cat-free space, we needed new furniture and are excited to make it a place that Jackson can hang out. (See, now it’s about him again!)
- He still eats everything. Except mashed potatoes and stringy hashbrowns. He hasn’t quite developed his mother’s undiscerning, widely accepting palate for potatoes. I still love him.
These two coming up…if that’s not a preview of my 6-, 11-, or 15-year-old son…
Doesn’t meet my typical standards for a “keeper” pic, but Mr. GQ here couldn’t be tossed.
And those toes!!
I digress. Until 19.
Let’s go ahead and lead with the picture on this one. Man, that face of yours! You have got me almost entirely wrapped around your [sticky, food-covered, cute little] finger. I am having THE. HARDEST. TIME. keeping a straight face when the situation calls for it. Even when you’re in the short bursts of very intense fit-throwing mode, I can hardly keep from laughing. This is going to bode well going forward, I’m sure of it.
You still eat like crazy. The few times you don’t eat what we give you, you DON’T EAT IT and tell us about it, but for the most part you’re easy to please and eat more like a teenager than a…teen-monther.
All kinds of teeth going on in that sassy, you-know-exactly-how-cute-you-are grin of yours. Nothing seeming to bother you too badly yet, and brushing your teeth has been mostly fun.
Ummm…but you and those WORDS! Your Toodie looks at me and indicates that you had no choice but to be a verbal child…I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but it must be a compliment, right?! Toodie only says nice things. All the time.
Anyway, you are a little PARROT and it’s incredible!! I always knew I’d love this phase, and I’m still loving learning your interpretations on words and what things mean. For all of the completely discernible, multi-syllable words you pick up on, the two that still baffle your dad and I are “milk/nom” and “cup/puck”…we know what you mean, but son these are words we’ve been saying for a [relatively] long time and it’s just funny that you’re stuck on your version. Very telling, indeed
You’re VERY good at names and it’s fun for you to pick out family members in pictures without us telling you who they are. They kind of like that, too! Even Oshckar and Welma (got a little German in your blood, guess it’s starting to show!) and Pollo and Zeeuuus love that you know who they are! (Orrrr they like that you don’t always get all of your food to your mouth…as evidenced in this month’s photos…)
Nothing supremely remarkable about this past month other than we continue to take so much joy in you and pretty much anything you do…with the notable exceptions of tossing food and “pucks of nom” on the floor after being told “no”, and the whole screaming like you’ve never been fed/haven’t slept in days/someone’s pinching you thing. BUT even in those things, we’re thankful to have been blessed with such an expressive, joyful, intelligent and willful little boy. Because that’s what you are.
While your sixteenth month was full of new rites of independence, fortunately this was not the “16″ involving car keys. (Or “keeeees!” as you might call them.) That is still a ways off, indeed. Even so, here are a few of the ways you exerted and revealed your growing independence this month, as well as few other important things:
- You had your first “trip” away from home without mom and dad when you stayed a few extra days with Granny Sue and Grandpa Stan at the beginning of the month, and by all accounts you handled it like a champ.
- You still have the one speed (fast!) and have added several more bruises and scrapes to your wound history. I’d like you to learn that if you go slooooower you’ll spend less time getting up off the ground with the wind knocked out of you…and I’ll spend less time having my breath momentarily taken away as I quickly assess whether to rush to your aid or let you be a big boy. (I can’t deny that I love my when my independent boy pouts and says “mama!” with arms open for a hug…but I do love how tough you are!)
- You are a water fiend. The splash park at Stephens Lake is probably your favorite place on earth, and your dad, Toodie and I are still perplexed as to the wonder that is Rachel…who has not only taken you to the same park, but taken you along with her own three-year-old, and been in control enough to document the experience in photos. None of the three of us is capable of anything other than “chase” at this point in time, because all you do, my boy, is RUN. You are fearless as water shoots up from the ground and hits your [thick] feet, protruding belly, sweet cheeks and all over your face. You seem to be a sponge-child, gaining more energy the more time you spend soaking up the water. It’s pretty adorable…and only slightly exhausting.
- You are learning to hold your own on the ground with Velma and Oscar (no, we haven’t let Oscar sit on you yet, but the days are drawing nearer for that milestone!) – Apollo and Zeus have provided much [calmer, mature] practice for your familiarity, and your pups are learning to love you without reckless abandon. It makes me happy.
- Lastly, you had the distinct and bittersweet pleasure of seeing all of your grandparents and great grandparents between this month and last. Your Great-Mamaw June and Great-Pawpaw Chris both passed away this month and it’s been tough. However, looking through the many, many photos of you with each of them taken over the past 16 months has been such a wonderful reminder of how much time you were able to spend with them in your life and how much joy you brought them. And goodness, what a bright spot you have been in the midst of so much sadness in our family as we walk through this hard time together. I hope to tell you many stories in the years to come about your great-grandparents and how amazing they were, and making sure that you get to spend as much time as possible with each of your own wonderful grandparents to develop the same kind of closeness that I enjoyed with mine.
So I’ve been that slacker mom. Falling off the already-not-so-frequent posting schedule in your second year of life. Here’s the thing though…you move so much faster now that it’s a) harder to get you in good photos without being strapped down and b) much harder to get anything done while you’re awake and c) much harder to find time to edit any photos taken when you’re asleep because I’m either too tired or too busy cleaning up the tornado you left in the living room.
And I love it.
But, I do want to make up for lost time (and maybe prove to myself that I do still take “good camera” photos of you at least monthly), so in the interest of catching up, I present months thirteen, fourteen and fifteen.
This was the most impressive natural post-nap ‘do that I’d ever witnessed. Apologies for your still sleepy demeanor and for taking advantage of you. But LOOK at that thing. It puts Chandler’s flock of seagulls to shame! (I am determined for you to not only be familiar with that reference as you get older, but love it. No pressure.) You were also baptized this month, which was a really special celebration with family and friends…many of whom were able to make the trip to Columbia. You are one well-loved little boy!
This photo was from your Aunt Jen and Uncle Zach’s backyard in Memphis on our last overnight stop on the way home from your first trip to the beach. You are a wonderful traveler…I am still amazed looking back. Books and binks and the occasional song and funny face was good enough for you! (Of course, having me to look at from my semi-permanent post in the “way back” and having Toodie right next to you must have made for optimal circumstances.)
And ohhhh you were so much fun at the beach! You didn’t quite warm up to the ocean until the last day or so, but you were content to play in the sand, run in the sand, throw the sand, eat the sand…and take well-earned naps. Now, if your daddy had only not had to have his appendix taken out unexpectedly (ok, maybe that’s never an a “expected” operation)…anyway, you two would have spent much more time getting you acquainted with the water. (Not to worry – you have since made up for it in a few lakes and the splash park…your love for the water is well-cultivated!)
Ohhhh, your chair. It matches mommy’s and daddy’s that are outside. But yours has a decidedly inside presence, as I am convinced you could climb in and out of (and up and over and down and under) chairs all. day. long.
If only you would SIT. ON. YOUR. BOTTOM. without me having to say it 17 times a minute. Oh well, I’ve been learning that while I certainly am not a bottomless pit of patience, I have an increasing amount for you, my son. Patience has never been one of my strongest traits, and I pray for an ever growing supply, but I do find that you and your sweet face and watching you learn through repetition has made that kind of repetition almost fun in a way. Again, let’s keep praying for that!
You rock the muscle tees with flair, and your only speed is fast. Several bumps and bruises has your forehead encountered and it’s only a matter of time for the milestone of stitches, says anyone who knows you. Just make it a good story, ok? Preferably one involving minimal amounts of negligence on my part. Thanks.
What a fun quarter of the year that was…and now I can post July on time-ish!
Well I started writing a poem, but as it turns out, not many flattering words rhyme with “Toodie.” And since I am trying to express an insane amount of love, gratitude, appreciation and admiration, perhaps a silly poem isn’t the way to go with this.
Even so, I’m not at all confident that any amount of genuine, straight-forward words could ever do justice to the woman I’m proud to call “Mom,” and my son [will eventually] call “Toodie.” So we’ll break it down into two formats in which I excel: a list and a story in photos.
Incomplete List of Things That Make Toodie Awesome:
- Ceaselessly selfless. Unbelievably so. Too many examples to give…
- Watching Jackson two days a week (+ some evenings, weekends, overnights, mornings, pretty much any opportunity that comes up)
- Loving him with her whole heart and seeing her be a grandma is pretty much the best thing ever
- Her famous chocolate chip cookies…you know what I’m talkin’ about.
- Bunco friends…she surrounds herself with some of the most fun ladies I have had the pleasure of knowing!
- Always has a bottle of red wine on hand…[again, with the story below...].
- Worthy word game competitor
- Loving her kids and her family above and beyond.
- Personal shopper…seriously “Mom, I need a dress for Spring Roar”…”Ok, I went to Kohl’s, here are 5 options.” WHAT THE WHAT?!!
- Sister and daughter…she excels in these roles, and those ladies are also some of my favorites together (and separately!)
- Home…she is so good at making her house a home, and getting to spend time there weekly is one of my favorite things about Columbia.
- Patience…when I’m late [see story below]…when I’m cranky…when I’m freaking out…when things don’t go how she planned them…when Zach is annoying [sorry, I had to!]…when ANYTHING.
And now for the story of How I Failed Mother’s Day [before it even happened]:
The past few weeks have been some of the busiest in the almost 14 months since we’ve had Jackson, so we’ve relied even more on Toodie (and Dude) to help cover Jackson while we work, etc. We’re going to St. Louis tomorrow to celebrate Mother’s Day with Chris mom A.K.A Granny Sue, so the plan was to celebrate with Toodie on Saturday morning at our favorite breakfast spot, B&B Bagel Company. Jackson had slept over at Toodie’s on Friday night while we had a work event, and we decided that I would meet she and Jackson at B&B at 8:00AM on Saturday.
Chris left for work at 6:30AM (missed that completely), my alarm #1 wasn’t home (Jackson) and alarm #2 & #3 (iPhone x2) didn’t go off loud enough for me to hear, and alarm #4-10 (6 phone calls and a missed FaceTime from Toodie) were also unsuccessful at rousing me. It was like I had regressed to “old-school Jen” and turned off my “Mom ears” to catch up on some much needed “it’s magazine time” sleep.
I woke up to Toodie and Jackson standing over me and realizing that I had stood my mom up on our Mother’s Day. (Not technically, I suppose…turns out she was able to correctly assess the situation without actually showing up at the restaurant and then still delivering my son to his home.
And not being mad about it. [See notes on patience, selflessness and loving her fam above.]
— Fast forward several hours —
Jackson had napped, lunched and played with me so we could catch up on some lost time together, but I needed to go back into work. He was also out of milk, and I wanted to make sure Chris didn’t have to run that errand after he picked him up later, so to Schnucks we went. Drink orders: Milk for Jackson, an iced mocha for mommy, and a bottle of wine for Toodie [an unofficial Mother's Day I'm-sorry-about-standing-you-up-this-morning gift...no shame.]
We pull in the driveway at “Home” (Big H home, just for you, Mom!), and I go to get little man and the properly contained liquids out of the backseat, in priority order. As I’m working the never-annoying belts on the carseat, apparently the bottle of wine got impatient and jumped out all by itself.
It was the saddest hosing off of a driveway there ever was. It smelled nice, though I’m not sure I could claim any feeling of “zen”…
And even with her driveway looking like a poorly disguised murder scene, she was gracious and amused. And told me that I hadn’t failed Mother’s Day and that the thought actually does count. And then she sent me off to work, and took my son inside to spend her Saturday afternoon with him.
Gosh darnit I just love her so much and I hope she knows it…even though I oversleep our dates and break glass bottles of her favorite liquid indulgence all over her driveway.
Here’s to Toodie/Mom/Mary and I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!
[And for a bonus pic: Jackson and me on Mother's Day last year after a long night and early morning...huh, that sassy personality was showing through already! Now I'm kind of thinking this should be a traditional pic...even at the risk of this getting much worse for me as time goes on!]
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