Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Letter to (Nineteen Month Old) Graves

Dear Graves,

You seem so grown up in many ways this month, and still such a baby in others. You still don't say a whole lot of words and there are things about you that make me feel like you're still so babyish- you love having a lovey more than you ever have and you're pretty attached to your paci. On the other hand, we finished nursing last month and it was very uneventful (on your side). I can truly say that you self-weaned. You were ready! It worked perfectly for us for so long, but once you decided you were over it, you were. I'm so glad it worked out that way.

But you are communicating more in your own little way. You understand EVERYTHING we tell you. Papa told you he liked your pjs this morning and you pointed to them proudly. The other day you melted my heart when I told you to tell Annie you were sorry for something. Usually, I say that and I tell AP that I think you're sorry. But that time, when I said it you gave the air a big smooch (that's what you do when we ask for a kiss- you don't actually kiss, you just make a smooching sound). It was so precious!

And you're such a busy little guy. It's hard to think of you as a baby when you're always on the go. You're so active these days. I've said this before, but you're a lot like Papa- you're either going ninety to nothing or your in a hibernation like sleep. There's no middle ground with you boys!

I've noticed lately when you climb on things or are playfully rough that my heart just bursts. There are times when I look at you and I feel a way I never felt about Annie (of course, there are times like that with her, too and I'm no less blessed by one than the other). It's just when I see you, so brave and adventurous, you are a thing to behold. And I'm so smitten with you.

Ann Peyton calls you "Bud" all the time. It seems like more and more it's replacing "Baby Graves". Bud was kind of a shocking nickname because we are (let's be honest, Momma is) sort of prim and proper and traditional about certain things. Like, how I fully intend to do my best to keep you in jonjons well after the potty training stage. I actually like "Bud" because it provides a balance to this, I think. I guess during this short stage, I feel like I can have my cake and eat it, too. I love your sweet, almost delicate side. I love that you still look precious in rather frilly things. I love that you are very snuggley and are more interested in stuffed animals and even baby dolls at times than your sister was at your age. In some ways, I think you'll be a very sensitive little boy. But I also love the side of you that is such a stereotypical boy. Papa and I talked about it recently and I think it's an age thing and a gender thing, but when you get dirty you're just so cute. For some reason there is so more charm to a dirty boy. I never want to tell Annie she can't get dirty and play hard like you do, but I don't know if I'll ever be as taken with how absolutely adorable she is when she's grimey.

It's sensitive because I'm pretty big on not gender stereotyping (within the realm of normalcy...I wouldn't send you to preschool in pink nail polish). I don't care if Annie's a tomboy and I don't care if you want to be in the choir or do school plays like I did. But at the same time, I can't help but love what is so innately boy within you. Like I said, I love the nurturing side of you as well, but there's so much that's special about thinking of you fishing with Mickey, or doing Boy Scouts, or even just playing in the mud. And for some reason, "Bud" fits well into that.

When I say you're obsessed with balls, I don't joke. The other day when we left the nursery, we had to leave a ball there. We tried to distract you, but you cried and said "Want ball!". It was the second two word phrase you've said in your life, the first being "Uh oh, ball!". Very telling. Your latest thing is liking to eat food that resembles balls. If you have a tray full of mixed vegetables, you'll carefully pick around the carrots and green beans and find the little round English peas. "BALL!" you exclaim and pop them in your mouth. 

Oh, and you have a new eating companion. You have an orange stuffed kitten that we call "Baby Kitty" and for some reason, you like her to eat with you. Especially in the morning when you wake up, if she's near the high chair, you grab her on the way and do not want to let her go. We don't usually let her join you for messy meals, but for cereal and things, we let you enjoy your snack with your little friend.

Graves, you are such a sweet boy and I can't tell you how much I love watching you as you encounter new frontiers- trying to articulate your thoughts, determining preferences more and more strongly, and building more full, genuine relationships with those around you. It's such a privilege to be your mother and I'm so thankful you're my son.

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your turnkey jonjon is an 18 mo.

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