Alden At Two Years Old

Alden,

My snuggle bug. My little buddy. The past two years have been two of the happiest of my life and they have gone by in a blink.

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You are suddenly making leaps and bounds with your speech. At eighteen months old I was a bit concerned because you were just finally starting to speak, and most of it was completely unintelligible by anyone but me. Now, you have many words, and most people can understand what you’re asking for even if your speech isn’t completely clear. Just this past week or two you’ve started to string two or three words together to make your first sentences. I adore some of your quirks of speech, like the way you call a muffin a “buffin.” (It used to sound like “button”). I forbid the girls to correct you when you do this because it’s just too cute.

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You are Mr. Independent, growing increasingly fed up with strollers and carriers. You want to walk on your own, everywhere, refusing to hold my hand except when crossing the street when I absolutely insist upon it. When it’s time to go back in the house, you are always distraught. There’s a whole wide world out there and you want to explore it! The stairs to the basement playroom are your latest conquest, and you are just so proud of yourself. You are *just* tall enough to hold the railing and insist upon doing so every time you go up and down. You learned how to climb over the baby gates a couple weeks ago, so now we live with all the doors shut to keep you from going up and down the stairs unsupervised or playing in the toilet. I know it’s only a matter of time (months? weeks?) until your motivation is so strong that you learn how to open the doors. I have no idea what I’ll do then!

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Your love affair with food continues, although it has tamed down a bit. You don’t inhale your food with quite the same vigor, but you do eat constantly. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, more snack. Until just the past two weeks or so you were still waking at least once each night (often two, three or four times) and greeting us with a mournful, sobbing “Hungry!” After a pouch of baby food (or two) you would go right back to sleep.

I am so glad that, after two full years, you are finally sleeping through the night.

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When you wake in the morning, you are hangry. I’ve taken to bringing a pouch of food in with me when I get you up, just to stave off the screaming and crying so I can get you dressed. As soon as you’ve had breakfast, your usual happy, silly self re-emerges.

Oh, how silly and happy you are! You have the best laugh: jolly and rolling and full of joy. You love to be tossed in the air, bounced, swung, any kind of rough-house play, really. You adore being tickled and will forever keep saying, “Again!” You think farts are hilarious. You’ve been known – on many occasions – to walk up to an unsuspecting victim, pull up their shirt, and start blowing on their stomach. The king of zerberts!

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You still suck your thumb and love your blankie more than any other possession. I love the way you wrap your arms around me in a tight hug while saying, “Squeeeeeeze!” And the way you love to give me kisses, all the time. I will never forget the feel of you in my arms, as you rest your head on my shoulder, snuggling into the crook of my neck.

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You suddenly love books, bringing them to us to read to you all the time. You get so excited about Good Night, Seattle. You love the airplanes and the page with the gorillas at Woodland Park Zoo. You excitedly yell, “Baby Yola!” whenever you see it. You also love the Llama Llama books. Your biggest obsession, however, is Thomas. That little train has stolen your heart and chug, chug, chugged away with it. You beg for Thomas cartoons. You make us read shockingly awful Thomas books over and over again. You never go anywhere without a tiny metal train clutched in your hand (often one in each). As I write this, there in an enormous Thomas balloon in the living room, waiting for you to wake up and squeal with joy when you see it.

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Oh Alden, I wish your babyhood hadn’t gone so fast. We have had so much fun together, you and I. I adore our adventures and I’m going to miss wearing you on my back and going for walks with you in the stroller, things that are rapidly speeding toward an end. I’ll cling to them as long as I can. As long as you’ll let me, I’ll wrap you in your blankie and hold you in my lap while we rock and read a story or sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider (your favorite song and the only one you will allow me to sing). I will hold on to any remnant of your babyhood as long as I can, my sweet little one. I love you.

Happy Birthday.

Love, Mom

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