Brandt, you’re 2 years old!
Mama recently had an appointment with the doctor who delivered you. The doctor talked about how vividly she remembers your birth, how dramatic it was. Honestly, I was surprised by her comments. Though your birth day was obviously dramatic and memorable for us, I assumed it may not have seemed so to someone who delivers babies for a living. But, no; this doctor thinks of your birth often.
“Most of the time,” she went on to say, “when I see babies in that situation” – faltering so desperately in the womb – “it’s too late.” Oh, how that statement pierced me. At the time of your birth, nine weeks too early and so sick, I couldn’t really let myself think about how close to death you were. Realizing two years later how perilous your premature birth actually was, I’m filled with awe for the miraculous gift of you. We waited so long to have you, and then we nearly lost you. The story could have been so different. God was so generous to give you and to spare you.
So what’s happening at this point in your story, as you turn 2? Well, you’re certainly playful and silly, like most toddlers. You love when your daddy chases and wrestles you. And you’re definitely starting to show the willfulness of a two-year-old. You have opinions about what you want to wear, what you will and won’t do. I’m finding that it helps a lot to let you make choices where I can. You can’t escape a diaper change, but you can decide whether it will happen on the couch, the floor, or the bed. You have to wear shoes, but you can pick which pair you want. Some of the battles seem so silly, but I’m trying to grow in compassion and patience as you go through this stage.
For a toddler, you’re very pensive. Several people have commented about how thoughtful and deliberate you are when you play. For instance, when you play with trucks or trains, you like to indicate in advance where you intend them to go, either by pointing or saying something like, “Up.” And just recently, you started doing something new with your shape sorters and puzzles. You grab a piece and, with a twinkle in your eye and a satisfied little grin, deliberately put it in the wrong place, shaking your head and saying a slightly sassy, sing-song-y “Nooo!” After doing this once or twice with each piece, you put it in the correct spot and clap for yourself. It’s delightful to see your mind at work, making up your own games.
Another recent development in your life is a fascination with the alphabet. A couple months ago, you suddenly started identifying the letters “I” and “O.” Then you wanted to read and re-read books featuring the alphabet. You somehow figured out the difference between letters and numbers; for a while, you would always guess “O” for letters and “8” for numbers. (This happened a lot in grocery store aisles, as you pointed at words and quantities on boxes.) Now you know almost all of the letters; you name them in just about any circumstance, not just in the regular order or in your familiar books. It astounds and excites your book-loving mama to see your mind latch onto these rudiments of reading!
The last notable thing in your life these days that I’ll mention here is your attachment to some little stuffed friends. A few months ago, you became devoted (for no clear reason) to a stuffed bear wearing a bunny suit. “Bneee!” you call him, and he does everything with you. He sleeps with you, he plays with you, he sits at the table with you. If you’ve left him across the room and then encounter him again, you crow, “Bneee! Hiii!” Bunny also stands in as your surrogate sometimes. If you need a diaper change, you typically offer Bunny to get his diaper changed first. And you instruct Bunny in the same way I instruct you. You have held Bunny’s paw near an outlet, written on Bunny’s hand with a pen, and made Bunny throw toys, all while chiding him, “No, no.” It’s revealing to see how much you understand and comical to watch you seek to assert authority over your little inanimate pal. Second only to Bunny in companionship is a petite plush monkey, “Ah-ah.” Before every nap and bedtime, you ask for “Bnee” and “Ah-ah.” Other animals rotate through the gang; sometimes an owl (“Hoo”), sometimes a dog (“Oof-oof”), sometimes a wee chipmunk (high-pitched squeaky voice). I love the glimpses I get into the landscape of your imagination through your interactions with these “friends.”
I can’t wait to see what the coming year holds for you, my sweet boy!