Monday, January 10, 2011

Birthday letter for Noah

Dear Noah

I've been telling people that you are two (or "almost two") for a while now, so you might think I am used to the idea. You might think that I would have gotten used to the fact that each day you are less baby curls and cuddling and more big boy energy and imagination. You sing songs that you've been taught and you make up your own songs. You can get most of the way through the alphabet song and identify basically all of the letters. You count to 14 on a regular basis, to yourself, for fun. You tear about our house jumping up and down and playing air guitar. Your favorite game is to order Daddy or Mommy to run away so you can chase us, or order us to chase you so you can run away. You have opinions about what to eat and what to wear and the negotiations we have to conduct to get you into the bath or out of the house are becoming increasingly more complex. You roll your eyes at me when I suggest doing something boring (let's read this book!) instead of what you want to do ("Noah watch [curious] George TV?").

The eye rolling I could live without, kid.

You totally understand what is going on in our daily lives "Daddy go work. Take train." "Dinner time! Noah have it chicken nuggets." "Hi Max!! Where Entropy? Max, go over there!"

(for the record, Max rarely tells where Entropy is and never goes where you asks her to).

We have asked a lot of you this year. I quit my job and we took you out of the day care you were used to. We put away a lot of your toys and interrupted our routine many evenings and weekends so strangers could walk through our house. We dragged you to Boston to look for a new place to live.

You responded by being generally delightful. By sleeping well in the Thoughtbot apartment. By having generally great behavior while eating out. By learning the motions to "Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes" and the Itsy bitsy spider.

We packed up our house, left all of your friends and the places you were used to, and moved to Boston. You responded with an explosion in language and started telling us what you saw.

We were amazed at your improved coordination and dexterity

and a total laid-backness about the fact that we were living (and asking you to sleep) somewhere different. You started asking to use the potty and we were crazy enough to encourage it.

A blink and a half later you were in a new school and mommy was sick and pregnant. You charmed everyone and started coming home with even more words and skills. You learned how to manage the playground and go up and down the slide by yourself. You learned how to jump. You continued to eat your vegetables.

You started to put two words together. You started to "read" books and build things with legos by yourself.

By the time the fall rolled around you were regularly using short sentences and we could have actual conversations (albeit, sometimes crazy ones). We took a leap of faith and in anticipation of the new baby put you in a big boy bed. You responded by sleeping great. A few weeks later we had most of our family over for Thanksgiving. You responded to the craziness by charming each of your many grandparents in turn.

And then, after all of this craziness, amidst the craziness of the holidays, we uprooted our family again and moved to a new house of our very own.

You clearly understood the process. You knew why the movers where there, why our things were in boxes. You understood why our old house was empty the next day. You adopted your new room without hesitation. You have continued to astonish me with your cognizance and ability to handle everything we have thrown at you.

Noah, you have been just amazing this year. I cannot believe how much you have grown. When we arrived in Boston eight months ago you seemed so big and capable. When I look back on that time I am astonished at how young you were then.

I am amazed by how much more mature and more able you are today.

You are a bouncy kid, with endless energy and a quickly-developing sense of humor. You say things that are clearly intended to be funny. You run around and around and around our house. But you also have a maturity that allows you to calmly accept the craziness that has swirled around us this year.

You are two. You have tantrums. ("Noah want different shirt. No! No shirt! [flailing] DIFFERENT SHIRT!!!!"). But even when you are upset I rarely get the feeling that you are confused and unsure. Mostly I see that you know exactly what you want (or what you do not want) and you and I just happen to disagree.

Luckily for me I am still bigger than you. You still have to wear a shirt to school. Also pants.

I want to thank you for your willingness to go along with the ride your father and I have taken you on this year. We have asked a lot in a very short time, and you have adapted gracefully, by acting exactly like the two-year-old that you are. I will take 10,000 shirt-related tantrums, because you have trusted us and accepted the things that are really difficult and important. The family moves. Changing schools. Potty training. My pregnancy.

We are going to continue to require you to change and adjust and throw you for another loop when your baby sister arrives later this month, and I am sure you will continue to amaze us with your depth of understanding and your trust in us. I can't wait to see all you will learn to do over the coming year. I don't understand how you could possibly be more articulate and independent than you are today, but as you have shown me repeatedly, you have a great capacity to amaze and are showing no signs of slowing down.

Noah, we are so, so proud of you. We love you. Thank you for another amazing year.

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