We had four really good days with Garrett--in a row! We were able to talk him out of tantrums before they became colossal. He did exceptionally adorable things and was being incredibly sweet. This morning he woke up and the power struggle went something like this:
Me: Hi bud. I can't believe you are 22 months old today.
Garrett: Mama say what? I am not a day younger than two.
Me: Whatever do you mean?
Garrett: I'm TWO! I'm TWO! I'm TERRIBLY TERRIBLY TWO! Take me outside NOW! Give me fruit snacks now! No I don't want to change my diaper. Get away from me! Come with me! Hold me! Put me down!
But he still only manages twenty-five words so all of that came out as grunting and yelping and pulling on my arms. Then I turned on his music and, just before I laid him down for his nap, he gently put his head on my shoulder and closed his eyes. I thought to myself, "This is what it's all about. We sift through the tantrums and the filthy diapers and the talking back and the childbirth for these moments of peace and joy and utter adoration.
I cannot believe that you are 22 months old. You speak like a fourteen month old but you clean like you're thirty. Just this morning, when I told you to pick up your toys, you ran into your playroom and, without my help, put all of your toys (except for one truck) back in the exact places they are supposed to go. Then you closed your closet door and, aside from that one truck, the room could not have been cleaner if I had done it myself. It's because of my dad's side of the family. Stories about their cleaning habits are legendary. You can climb up onto just about anything now. This includes the dog and, while he pretends to be annoyed, we know he enjoys it when you grab his tail and run along behind him in the backyard or pounce on him when he's asleep on his bed. He ate the crocodile from your pirate set this morning. I'm sure it was an oversight on his part and not at all linked to retaliation. He was scolded severely for committing such a sin against you. You looked with concern at the remaining portion of the mangled croc and then dismissed it completely. It was almost as though you knew it was merely payback for all the jubilant bouncing you do on that poor dog's head. Like the wheels turned in your little head and you thought, "Call it even, then?"
You have a neck now. I suppose I ought to inform you that you've always had a neck, it's just been hiding somewhere between your shoulders and your chubby face, as is the custom with most babies. Therein lies the problem. You aren't a baby anymore. You've grown a neck and thus have dealt me a swift blow to the stomach, taunting me with all of your big boyness.
You want a baby in the worst way. Every time we pass an infant--or a toddler, small child or occasional teenager--you scream, "BABY!" and point at it. If we ask you if you want a baby brother or baby sister you nod emphatically. In the absence of a real baby, you have taken to carrying around your glow worm. You cradle it in your arms and, when you grow tired of it, you put it in my arms, get a bottle and force me to pretend to feed it. It is very cute and I think that, one day, you will make a very good big brother. I'm not sure you're ready quite yet. This morning you put the glow worm in the microwave of your play kitchen and then pretended to turn it on.
You are my joy. When I hear you squealing and practicing your limited vocabulary in the mornings I can sometimes barely wait to get you up. I can't wait to start another day where you might learn a new word or discover a lady bug--as you did in the garden two days ago. And don't you ever think for one minute that you don't have your father wrapped around your finger. The two of you are nearly inseparable these days. You were together on the couch last night, watching basketball, and I couldn't help but stare at the perfect picture of my two greatest blessings sitting side by side. Raising you is, by far, the greatest job I have ever had. Challenging and exhausting, yes, but I wouldn't trade a moment of it for all the money, all the vacationing, all the stuff, all the fame in the world.