Life has been crazy busy, since I last wrote; filled with ups and downs, temper tantrums and sweet gestures… You’re both changing so quickly it’s hard to even track the changes on a day-to-day basis.
Arlo, it seems like you’re taking your terrible two’s in strides. One day you’ll tell me you don’t like me, and moments later you’ll tell me I’m your best friend. The same goes for your sister. One morning you don’t want her around, and the next you’re concerned how much you’ll miss her when you head to big kid school and Elliott heads to Grandma and Grandpa’s.
You also went through a stage of trying to master the eye rake wrestling move anytime we picked you up for a time out. I’m glad we’re over that stage, you’ve been much calmer lately, but Elliott, you’ve unknowingly chosen to carry on the tradition, as you explore our faces with your little razor-sharp nails.
More often than not, Arlo, your terrible twos have been more irrational, than terrible. Often Elliott and I would come to grab you from your crib in the morning, only to have you break down into a screaming fit because I’d accidentally knocked over an imaginary sandcastle you’d built on your blanket.
Both of your imaginations have grown tremendously in the last few months. Elliott, you are convinced you can walk, even though you’re only nine months old, and haven’t even mastered crawling. The best way I can describe it, is, you’re like someone in physically therapy who is relearning to walk; but you’re completely impatient with where you are in the process, and you just want to return back to your normal, brisk, pace of walking. Except you’ve never walked!
You’re just starting to crawl more, and could’ve been crawling around for months, but instead of using your hands and knees to take you from point A to point B, you spend all of your time trying to stand up, or screaming for us to help you stand up and walk. It seems like 90 percent of the time you spend on the floor, you’re in the downward dog position, trying desperately to shift all of your weight onto your tiny feet.
Setting you down on your butt is an impossible task. When I lower you to the ground you frantically fight for position to make sure your feet hit first. I try to reposition you to get you seated, but your legs lock firmly in place and you squawk until I hold your arms and help you walk around the room.
Arlo, you’ve begun playing a lot of make believe. One day we picked you up from daycare to find your face sticky and covered in dirt. Turns out you covered your face with a glue stick in order to give yourself “A beard like Daddy.”
You’ll play doctor and sit on our chest, pulling our eyelids down to expose our eyeballs, saying, “Ooh, you’re eyes are red, you’re sick.” The other day you told your mom she was sick, and asked her if she needed some kisses. You’re very stingy with kisses these days, so she immediately said, “YES! I do!” To which you responded, “Ok, let me go get my dog.” You jumped off the bed, grabbed Dexter by the collar, steered him to the edge of the bed, and then commanded him to give your mother kisses, without any hint of humor.
We’ve also been playing a lot of trapping, a game you invented. The game essentially teams you up with either me or mommy, and then the other person is trapped with your blanket. Once they’re trapped, you shout, “Let’s POKE ’em!” Or you just want to “Jimmy Snuka” us. This used to consist of you diving onto our bellies, but has evolved into you splashing down onto us with your knees or elbows, as you giggle uncontrollably.
You’ve both taken to talking to yourself. It’s not uncommon to walk into a room and find either one of you chattering away as if you were discussing politics on the world’s stage. Arlo, you’re usually pretending you’re a scuba diver, talking to fish. Elliott, at this point, we don’t really know what you’re saying, but you have become more and more vocal over the last few months.
The first thing you ever said, sounded like you were trying to call your brother, “ARE-WOO.” You said it over and over for a few days, before moving on to “Mamamamama” and “Dadadadada.” You’ve also started waving, selectively giving high fives, and your smile is brighter than ever.
For awhile, anytime you saw our cat, you’d scream out loud and flail your arms enthusiastically. Arlo, you also declared your devotion to Sedona, firmly labeling yourself as a cat person. You began chasing the kitty all over the house, using brooms to get her our from under the couch, until you could corner her somewhere. Once you got her, you’d carry her around the house, then climb on the couch to pet her and tell her what a good cat she was.
A few weeks ago, we noticed how easy it was for you to catch her. It became clear to us kitty’s 16-years of life had caught up with her. She was taken in by Mama when she was just born, and lived through your mom getting married, bringing home a dog, and then adding two kids who loved to pet and pull her fur.
In the morning, we had you say goodbye to her, Arlo. You crouched down next to her and pet her gently, saying is a super sweet voice, “Goodbye kitty, I’m sorry you’re sick.”
That night you asked where she was.
“She’s gone,” I replied.
“But where IS she?” You asked.
“She’s dead, baby.” Mom answered.
“But where IS she?” You asked again.
“No one really knows,” I responded. “But she was a good kitty, and we’ll miss her.”
“Yeah,” you said.
A few days later you asked your mom more questions about where she was. Apparently you were looking for more of a physically location, rather than a discussion about where you go when you die. That night you asked me where she was.
“I told you baby, she’s in the ground somewhere.” Your mom said.
“Let’s go dig her up.” You replied, as serious as you’ve ever been.
Life goes on, and we go with it; twisting, turning, watching things speed up and slowdown, changing as we go, together, as a family.
I love you both more than anything.