First off, you must understand that you have a working mama who wastes copious amounts of time watching old Gene Kelly movies and/or reality TV late at night when she should be writing of your daily adventures. I come home from work, my mind so filled with mush from devastating stories that the television and its frivolity offer a much-needed escape. But, you see, I have a problem. This collection of moments floating around my head is growing every day and I fear I'll lose it if I don't document it. Many of the early anecdotes are jotted down on scraps of paper, which I'll put in a box with other items you'll find entertaining when you're 30. But in the meantime, I'm going to start writing you letters every few months so someday you'll be able to read about a boy named Liam, who was loved throughout his lands.
Adventurous and happy, you could have your own cartoon. The moment you came out you had personality. You smiled on day three and were giggling earlier than the books said you should be. People would ask me about the hardships of caring for an infant and I would lament about first-time-mom paranoia, sleepless nights and breast-feeding, not knowing what the toddler months had in store. I KNOW NOW. You have decided that your toys are not satisfactory and have since moved on to anything you can break apart, examine and put back together. Your daddy and me think you're part wild lemur, perhaps a refugee from a monsoon-ravaged island somewhere because you can climb anything. A few months ago you conquered the kitchen table: we'd come around the corner only to find you standing on it, surveying the land. Your papa tries to put you in the playpen at his house as a makeshift "timeout," but there have been reports of you secretly climbing out when he walks down the hall. The lemur strikes again.
In the food department, you take after your mama. You love to eat strange things that a kid your age shouldn't want. You'll eat hummus, but not peanut butter and jelly. Black olives from the ends of your fingertips, just like me. For months, you'd cram green beans in your mouth like a hamster, storing away for a long winter. But lately, you're fascinated with "trees," broccoli that is. You'll gobble up chicken, but once barbecue sauce touches it, it gets tossed overboard. We used to be grocery store ruffians: run out of supplies and then just order in or go out. My, how things have changed. You've given us so much, among them, a well-stocked pantry.
Since I work nights, your dad is the one in charge of the sacred bedtime ritual. And because you're like an addictive novelty, he got used to snuggling with you on the sofa at night. I admit, on my nights off, I did too. You would suck down a bottle with those passionate blue eyes that it became nearly impossible to put you in your crib. You're so squishy when you're sleepy. (Squishy, (sq-ish-ee); adj. State of near sleep where the body becomes less tense and more lovable, originially coined by your Aunt Amanda). And, because we're not followers of the school of rigidity, we were OK with this method until recently. You turned into a grouchy night owl. Enter, new bedtime ritual. Your dad gets all the credit for this by the way. It took three nights of pleading cries and jaunts to and fro to realize success, and you're a transformed man. In fact, I just peeked in on you and you're snoozing away, bum in the air like a stink bug.
There has been some talk about taking away your pacifier, which in these parts, we call a bink. Dr. Roldan told us the Elimination Proclamation should begin at 18 months, which at the time, I remember thinking, "You're crazy, lady!" Now we think it's hindering your talking a bit, but you're perfectly content to hold conversations in the back of your throat. Cute, but what happens when you're 14 and tongue-tied? The whole it-ruins-their-teeth thing is waking me up at night. Maybe you'll just wake up, hide it in a shoe and forget about it. Only time and your projectile teeth will tell.
I catch myself just staring at you because I can't believe you're mine. You've changed my world, my everything. You do this thing when I say, "Gimmee some sugar." A scrunch face, followed by a kiss. That's what keeps me going in this crazy, messed up world.