Avoiding the “terrible twos”

28 Jul

Hello Mr. Arlo,

We’re just a month away from you entering into the stage of life most commonly known as “the terrible twos.” While you have not turned terrible, you have become much more intense. But looking ahead at the changes you’re bound to go through, I’m choosing to find the positive side of this situation.

It has become more apparent than ever before that you really know what you want. A few months ago, when we decided to take bottles out of your routine and replace them with cups of milk, you had no problem letting me know you found this change to be completely unacceptable. Way to stand up for your beliefs!

For the first hour you were awake, you lobbied for a bottle, declaring over and over your disdain for milk out of cups. This carried on each morning for nearly a week—way to be persistent! Eventually you forgot all about bottles, and now you’re completely content with drinking out of a big-boy cup. Already learning the art of compromise!

While you’re now fine with cups, your persistence, and belief that you know what is best for you, has not wavered in the least. While you still enjoy story time each night, you have an internal list of who is allowed to reach which book. One night I’m allowed to read certain books—which you’ll hand to me and ask, “Talk? Talk? Read Daddy?”— while the next time you may try and banish me from the room for even thinking of reading any of the books I picked out. No one will ever say you’re not assertive!

Each book has a routine. If a character jumps, yells, or stands on their head, you have to do the same. If someone in a book has hurt feelings or gets a scrape, you have to kiss the character several times and hug the book. Empathy is a great quality to have!

You’re also more into music than ever. Salad bowls are now your personal drum kit, guitar strumming has taken on a punk-like feel, and songs are invented and sung on a daily basis, “Up the ladder, down the slide, weeee, so fun! Tsh, Tsh!” We have the baboon song, the Arlo song, and songs that don’t exist, but you still request. “Sing the boom-boom song, Daddy. Sing it now?” As so I make it up on the spot. Looks like you’re already trying to inspire others!

Each day you’re able to articulate your thoughts a little more clearly, and while sometimes these come across as commands, you quickly clean them up into sweet requests. “Read more books!” you’ll say with a scowl. Then your eyes soften, and your voice sweetens up, “Please, Daddy? Just a few more books? Please?”

I’m continually amazed by you, and I know that will ever stop; regardless of what stage you’re in, and what changes it brings.


I love you so much,

Dad

7-28-14

A lot to learn…

28 Jul

Dear Elliott,

You’re a little less than two months away from meeting your makers, and we couldn’t be more excited. You’re mom has entered into the nesting phase. We’re cleaning, running errands, painting rooms… This morning I opened Arlo’s drawer and discovered it had been reorganized to include some of your clothes.

Your mom loves shopping for you. Nearly every weekend she walks to one of the resale shops and searches for onesies, pajamas, or other cute clothes.

This weekend, friends of ours gave us some bags of clothes their daughter had grown out of. It was interesting, digging through the piles of clothes, trying to figure out which dresses you would like, or wouldn’t. Will you even like dresses? What colors will you like?

We’re at an odd place, right now. We know your name, we’ve got clothes for you, we’ve bought you diapers and wipes, and even a stroller big enough for you and your brother… but we don’t really know anything about you.

Well, one thing for sure. Based on what we’ve seen in ultrasounds, and from what your mom can feel, you’re going to be really active! But besides that, we don’t know much else. I can’t wait to put a personality and face with the name!

So looking forward to meeting you, my little baby girl!


Love,

Dad

7-28-14

Name your path

30 May

Dear Elliott Mae,

When trying to think of girl names, your mom and I were unable to come up with many choices to choose from, and even fewer that both of us could agree upon. Then one day your mom asked, “what about Elliott, for a girl?”

I instantly loved it, and it was pretty clear at that moment that we had landed on your name. Although we are not the first parents to take a name that is traditionally thought of as a “boy name,” and pick it for their daughter, it still seems like you don’t hear it very often. The other night I was convinced—that because I thought it was such a fitting name for a little girl—that it must be getting extremely popular, so I googled it.

What I found, was the wrath of people with too much free time on their hands. I found post after post of people raging about how Elliott is a masculine boy’s name and how people had no right to use it as a girl’s name. People were openly shamming mother’s who said they were naming their daughter’s Elliott. People demanded the mothers choose Ella, or Elle, or some other name that was more feminine, and thus a more fitting name for a little girl. 

I momentarily doubted our decision to name you Elliott. But then I realized, these are the same types of people who think you’re destined to live your life in a pink tutu, playing with dolls, and biding your time until you marry Prince Charming, just because you were born a girl. But let me assure you, that’s not the case, unless that’s what you want out of your life. 

You can wear, play, and date whomever or whatever you like. It’s your life, and although people will have strong opinions about how you should live it, especially because you’re a girl, it does not mean that you have to listen to them. Just look around at the amazing women in your life, especially your mom. When we started dating she was training for an mixed martial arts fight, she’s literally one of the strongest people I know, and she trains men how to box—these are not characteristics that are often thought of as “girly,” but it’s what she wants to do, so she does it, and it’s part of what makes her so amazing.

Being born a girl, and growing up into a woman, does not put you on any particular path, or mean any part of your life is predetermined. The only thing it means, in fact, is that you are our daughter, and that we’ll always love you, no matter what.

I hope you love your name as much as we love you! I love you so much, and I can’t wait to meet you,

Dad

5-30-14

 

If you teach a kid to tell fish stories… 

29 May

Arlo,

As you’ll quickly discover, I am a story teller. Your mom routinely classifies all of my stories as exaggerations, but the art of storytelling some times requires massaging the facts just a bit to ensure your listener is entertained. 

I grew up around some of the very best story tellers in the world—here I am exaggerating again—and I think its safe to say their trade rubbed off on me. I’m virtually incapable of telling even the most basic story without slightly fabricating certain elements for comedic relief—mainly my own. 

It appears I’ve now gone ahead and passed this trait on to you. You’re three months away from being two years old, and yet you’ve been speaking complete sentences for many months. While this is no exaggeration, most of your sentences are… 

You love doing dishes, mainly because you can splash in the water. But ever since I showed you how to scrub a pan, you’ll pick up the sponge, and in a deep voice, sounding as if you’re nearly out of breath, you’ll say, “Too hard,” as you scrub the pan. 

This voice has become the calling card of your exaggerations. Anytime you’re stretching the truth, your tale is told in this out of breath, deep, raspy voice. 

The other night, while your mom and I were eating dinner, we heard a loud crash as a group of mixing bowls and pans were pulled from the cupboard. You’re mom went in to find you sitting among the devastation, and asked, “Who did this?” You responded, “It happened.” What “It” was, you never clarified. 

As you approach two, your scrapes and bumps are just a little more severe than the identically injuries were just a few months ago. Owies now emit ghost pains for days after an accident. Conveniently, this usually happens during story time, and you use these excruciating injuries to score kisses from your mom, in place of ointment or medication.  

Everything has also become “Big!” Nothing you talk about is small. Big dirt, big bike, big helmet, big toast… A few weeks ago at daycare, while you were getting your diaper changed, you grabbed your business, and in your best story telling voice, you called out, “Big penis!”

I love listening to your stories, and I can’t wait to hear how they evolve as you make your way through life. I’m not exaggerating when I say this, but to me, you’re truly the most entertaining story teller I’ve ever met in my entire life. 

Love,

Dad

5-29-14

 

Girly Time

7 May

Hello my little baby girl, 

The verdict is in—as I’m sure you’re surely aware—you’re a girl! Although we both stated we didn’t care what we were having, we were both pretty excited to find out you are a girl. 

Arlo knew it all along, and now that he knows for sure, he’s intent on naming you, “Baby Helmet.” It was something he muttered a few weeks ago when I asked him about names, but he’s now adamant that is what you should be called. He’s been busy getting himself ready for your arrival. Daycare said he recently became very interested in all the babies, and has been very gentle and sweet with them. The other day when I went to pick him up, all of the other kids were running around playing, while he was sitting in a stroller next to a baby. 

“Oh no,” I said. “Is Alro in baby jail?”

“No,” they responded. “Lately he just wants to sit next to all the babies.” 

This is very different than last month, when it wasn’t abnormal to find him quarantined off from the other kids because he was shoving. 

Your mom has also begun preparing for your arrival. I returned home from a business trip last week to find a stack of cute girl clothes sitting on the table. Something tells me she’s very excited to dress you in something other than T-shirts with bears on them; which is all your brother wants to wear. 

I, on the other hand, am preparing to be the father of a baby girl. Don’t worry, I’m not preparing the stereotypical way, by saying, “I’m going to buy a gun,” or “She’s never going to date.” I’m just wrapping my head around the fact that soon I’ll have two children.

From what we’ve seen so far, little girls tend to be a bit easier than little boys. While Arlo’s girl friends are sitting and taking in the things around them, he’s typically running in circles or seeing how far he can throw anything in his vicinity. So when the nurse told us to make room in our home for a baby girl, I began to think that maybe life as we know it wouldn’t change too much.

But as the ultra sound carried on, the nurse commented a few times on how active you were. Every time she attempted to measure you, you’d squirm or wiggle yourself out of position. Based on the family you’re being born into, this type of behavior is par for the course, and I should’ve known a calm baby was never in the cards. 

Right now I feel like I’m in the calm before a storm. Your brother is just getting to the stage where he’s easy to put down for naps and bed times, and meals don’t require nearly as much clean up time, from him throwing food. But pretty soon you’re going to arrive on the scene like a wrecking ball, and just as Arlo did, you’ll ensure that life as we know it is shattered. But I honestly can’t wait, and I’m truly excited to see what it looks like once your Mom and I have the chance to piece it back together again.  

We can’t wait to meet you, my darling little girl!

Love,
Dad

5-7-14

 

 

Logically flawed logic

7 May

Hey Boo,

Before I had you, I was overwhelmed with the thought of having to teach you everything. Not having a child before, that’s what I thought I was on the line for—teaching you everything, and explaining how everything works. Luckily for me you’re incredibly smart, and you’re quickly piecing together your own vision of how the world works.

One of your favorite household activities is to sweep. You have your own broom, and often times you’ll grab it and then command me or your mother to help you clean the floors. When we’re all done, you go get the dust pan for us and empty the pile of dirt into the trash can.

Based on this repetitive process, you’ve developed your own logic; and according to this new logic of yours, all dirt goes in our kitchen trash can. So the other day when we were out in the yard digging in the garden beds, you got a big shovel full of dirt and declared, “Dirt in trash.” You then walked up the stairs into the house and threw the pile of dirt away into the kitchen trash can. You then proceeded to explain to me that the dirt was dirty, so it had to go in the trash can. 

A few days later, you wanted to help me and your mom put away groceries. I handed you a 12-pack of toilet paper and asked you if you could put it in the bathroom. You assured me you could handle the task, and took off running with a package of TP so large you couldn’t really see where you were going.

Awhile later I went to go to the bathroom and found the entire package of toilet paper sticking out of the toilet. The package didn’t quite fit, so luckily it didn’t get wet, but it was wedged in as far as you could get it. You’ve obviously been listening to me when I’ve explained to you how to use the toilet and where to put the toilet paper; I guess I just didn’t make myself clear about the order in which those steps occur.   

I am truly impressed with how quickly you’re figuring things out, while just a bit frightened to see what logical steps you come up with next.

I love you so much,

Dad

5-6-14

PS- Sorry I didn’t have time to write last month, we had a very busy month. We went to the zoo for my birthday, and had an amazing time; and found out you’re having a baby sister!  

 

Progress Report

24 Apr

Hello Baby No. 2!

While your Mom and I have been busy with life on the outside, you’ve been putting in some long hours preparing for your entrance into the world.

You’ve gone through a lot of changes in the past three months. First of all, your head got unbelievably huge; but then the rest of your body caught up, for the most part. You slowly grew and developed arms and legs, fingers and toes, and now you’ve even got your very own set of fingerprints.

Your ears are also fully developed now, so feel free to join in whenever you hear me singing, “If you’re happy and you know it, touch your ears.” To clarify, your ears are the things that just grew in on the side of your head.

Meanwhile, your brain is developing circuits and using them to train your arms and legs how to react to its every command. Your Mom has only felt you move a few times, so I have my fingers crossed that you’re going to be an extremely calm baby that easily sleeps through the night and takes long morning naps.

You’ve also been practicing sucking, so you’ll be able to eat, but your time inside isn’t quite over. You’ve still got five more months of bonding time with your Mom, and your body has prepared itself for the last leg of your journey. You’re currently covered in a cheese like sauce—just like your brother when he has macaroni and cheese for dinner—to protect you from the amniotic fluid. And to keep you warm, you’ve sprouted hair follicles all over your body; a process you’ll likely repeat when you enter your early-to-mid thirties, if you’re a boy.

And speaking of that… today we find out whether you’re a boy or a girl! I’m very excited to find out, but also to see how much you’ve grown since I saw you last. A lot of people feel like you’re going to be a girl. I had a very vivid dream you were a girl, your mom just has a gut feeling you’re a girl, and Arlo has insisted since day one that your Mom is having a “Girl baby.”

Whether you’re a girl or boy doesn’t matter to us, we’re just so incredibly excited to meet you. See you soon, little one.

Love you so much,

Dad

4-24-14

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