Category Archives: Buds

Closed for the Season

To the ten or so people out there that actually read this blog, I have an announcement: Elderland is closing. To what season do I refer? Possibly the eternal one, but I’ll not sell the land just yet. I have decided to start a new blog in an effort to improve my frequency of posting. Elderland has meant a lot to me, and I have no intention of pulling its content from the internet, but I do plan to focus on my new endeavor for the foreseeable future.

The new space is called and now Mama, and there’s an About page with a little story providing further detail on my decision to transition.

I hope you’ll visit ANM, and I welcome any and all thoughts and feedback. Here’s to writing, sharing and connecting.

And here’s a cute picture.

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Love, me.

 

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Words on Words

Creating the space to write has been a struggle for me ever since I first discovered that writing was something for which I had both an affinity and ability. Like many things I now appreciate, this connection happened only after reaching adulthood. It came about when a marketing internship I held for a few months lead to me composing a few blog posts about the Tour de France in an effort to add content to the online community my boss was building. I thought nothing of it, I was simply doing my job, but a few days after posting my boss casually mentioned that a colleague of his who “knows these things” read my babble and thought the writing was good. Who knew? I didn’t. Prior to that my writing career consisted of hastily written school papers and doodled nonsense passed as neatly folded notes to friends.

So blogging… this thing that certainly didn’t exist in any sort of friendly fashion prior to my university years, and even in college was still a mystery to most. I guess I decided to try it, first setting up a Blogger account through which I wrote all of three posts in as many weeks, one of which discussed the strength of our fandom for the Florida Gators and another of which bemoaned the maintenance of hair free legs. Truly epic stuff my friends. My dear Dad provided more praise and I was feeling lovely about this developing hobby, but then it died. As a childless woman working a part time job, it’s a wonder I found time to do anything at all, let alone write a few paragraphs about my high brow interests and opinions. I couldn’t allow anything to interfere with marathon viewings of the Sopranos or…um… what the hell did I do back then?? I didn’t work 40 hours per week, I didn’t have children, I didn’t have more than a thousand square feet of yardless townhouse to maintain, I wasn’t part of any sort of group or club or organization. WHAT DID I DO? I can’t even fathom the endless minutes available to me and what pile of meaningless fodder I filled them with. Point being, back then, I was fully setup for space to blog and back then, I didn’t.

But back then I didn’t work 40+ hours per week, and back then I didn’t have kids or a house or a fabulous circle of friends with whom I partook in all sorts of activities and endeavors. Back then I had little happening in my life that I deemed worthy of interweb discourse and so I lacked what every writer, artist, creator needs – inspiration. Of course with time came changes that created a more fulfilling life, one where adventure in one shape or another was seemingly always on the horizon, and one that no longer lacked excitement, but instead, lacked time. Ain’t it funny how life works? TNSTAAFL. Google it.

I suppose I’ll give myself credit though for the fact that Elderland here has existed since 2009. Dry spells abound, and it seems with every passing year I become less likely to keep at it, but I’m grateful for every last word I’ve written because those words are memories and those memories mean everything. I think about writing nearly every day, frequently frustrated with myself for not figuring out how to make it happen. I make a million other things happen all the time, why not this?

Well. It’s happening now. So how?

I started journaling. Nothing serious. Random thoughts, stream of consciousness, to do lists, wishes and wants, kid quotes, rants and vents, goals, feelings and anything else that I feel like privately expounding into my phone. Yes, it’s an app. I figured if I was going to make this thing work so I could make the other thing work, I better make it as seamless as possible, and what’s with me more than my phone? The “other thing” being writing of course, because aside from the mental health benefits that I’ve only recently realized the possibility of, the decision to journal came from my supposition that if I could just start writing some fucking thing it would lead to writing other things, and with journaling there would be less pressure (from myself) for it to be anything eloquent so it would be the walking that leads to running. Energy begets energy, so why shouldn’t writing beget writing?

And then there’s Norah. My burgeoning student. A couple weeks ago I came home to a beaming 5.5 year old proud to present her first ever award: Extraordinary Effort & Growth in Writing. The swell in my heart upon receiving this news was overwhelming in the most wonderful of ways. Having been an oft awarded, high achieving student myself, I’ll be honest and say that my expectations for these two little Elders in terms of their school skills are a little on the lofty side. Of course I’ll be supportive and grateful as long as they are putting forth a solid effort, but I’m looking forward to every ounce of satisfaction I’ll glean from the moments when they excel. So there she was, a certified achiever in the field of forming sentences, and there I was procrastinating as fiercely as ever on putting a few words on the web. Motivational magic.

I’m trying! I’ll always try. And fail, and cuss, and forget and then come back for more.  The benefits are many, and if nothing else, I aim to set for my children an example of determination – to show them that every goal is worth the work, no matter how many times you have to set it, and in the end, the simple act of writing it down can be a pretty big step toward success.

And lastly, for your reading pleasure, some sentences as recently written by future Pulitzer winner Norah Elder. There may be some room for improvement in her choice of punctuation, and in case you aren’t from around here, it’s Great Wolf Lodge…

“To mom, I cant wat for your berthday! I wont to go to grat woof loj on your berthday mom!”

“Dad can you have fun and play with me! Let mom play with Crosby at grat woof laj! Prity plees dad can you play with me at grat woof laj!”

“I love you mom! Can Gracie and Katie and Sylvie come to are berthday! I would reelee wunt to go to grat woof laj with my frends at my berthday!”

“I am so good at geting on purple.”

“I like yer shert dad.”

Take care. S.

 

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One year ago I wrote a post about our darling little boy and his affinity for certain things that might traditionally be dubbed “girly”, as well as the frequency with which the outside world assigned him the female gender based largely on his luxurious locks. Today I’m content to report that not a bit has changed.

It’s somewhat curious to consider, as much of my experience as a parent has been accepting the rapidity at which change occurs in our children, but I suppose in matters of personality that tends less to be the case. On the strangers mistaking him for a lady side of things, the long locks remain and the statistics persist – a solid 90% rate of failure in identifying him as a boy among those to whom we’re unknown. In regard to taste and style, he still loves all forms of the color pink, dons his sister’s clothing as often as she’ll allow (and even when she doesn’t), and is intensely obsessed with Frozen, or more specifically, Elsa.

Did you know that Frozen was released in November of 2013? That’s more than two years of top of the charts popularity among an audience with the attention span of a goldfish read: unfuckingbelievable lasting power among the youth of America. Side note, I just Googled attention span of a goldfish to confirm I was using the right expression only to learn that a study published by Microsoft Corp (hrm) last year reported that goldfish have a longer attention span than the average American by a margin of one second. Yes, one unfortunate side effect of the mobile age is that we lost an entire four seconds from our average attention span, meaning no longer can we scoff at those little orange ADD suffering swimmers. And then I clicked on a banner ad next to the article boasting Kate Hudson’s athletic wear only to find myself signing up for a site called Fabletics and HOLY SHIT I proved the study! The Internet y’all, amirite?

Look, the point is that kids loved and love and will keep loving Frozen with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, and my 3.5 year old son is one of them, even though oddly enough my 5.5 year old daughter seems to be getting over it, so there’s some field data for you Disney marketing researchers: sexy, introverted ice princesses score well among boys under the age of four. But the most fascinating feature of this Elsa mania is that it manifests itself not in what one might call attraction or crushing, but rather in a desire to actually be her, facilitated by his second iteration of the ice princess dress.

The first was worn to shreds, and so I did what any other mother would do for her baby boy – bought him a new and improved Elsa dress for Christmas. I kid you not friends, he unwrapped that costume and squealed with an earnest surprise I’ve never experienced, exclaiming “It’s so beautiful!!”, a moment I’m kicking myself for not having captured on camera. I believe it to be tied for first place in the best Christmas present competition, vying for position against the motorized lego train because trains are his other true love. He insisted on trying it it on immediately and has worn it at least once a day ever since, twirling fiercely around the house with furrowed brow to show his badassery as Elsa the Queen. He also just wears it to wear it, in the same way I wear house pants and sweatshirts, for quotidian activities like TV watching and breakfast eating.

And that song. Forever that song.  Our dearest Crosby has been singing some portion of Let it Go multiple times a day for longer than I can recall, as I’m sure is the case for millions of other parents out there because Disney absolutely nailed it with that one, and I’ll not lie, it doesn’t suck. He knows nearly all of the words himself at this point, but still enjoys a performance of said song by yours truly which I attribute to the fact that he’s not old enough to realize just how out of tune I am. Among other oft requested bedtime serenades such as Twinkle Twinkle and Marry My Lover, Let it Go ranks high, but for whatever reason, perhaps his passing understanding of the concept of “played out”, he offers a sort of trade when asking me to sing it… “Mama, I’ll play with your hair if you sing Let it Go.” In my head it’s a yes, heck yes, easy peasy, done deal, but I show a little hesitation in my agreement every time. I can’t have him believing he’s figured me out after all! Must maintain mommy control.

2016 brings a fourth birthday for long hair don’t care, pink loving, Elsa obsessed, dress wearing Crosby, along with first time fall soccer and the possibility of a pre-K program at the big kid school. I’ll certainly not rush him through any phase as time moves quickly enough on its own, but a little excited curiosity over observing his developing personality feels totally fine.

Take care lovelies. S.

It takes two

Let’s start with this: several weeks ago I posted about the number five leading a good number of readers to believe I was announcing a new Elder. I can see how that happened. I can also assure you that I am not even a tiny bit pregnant, nor am I planning to be so ever again. See how I carefully used the word “planning” there. The world is weird, life is unpredictable, people change, and though my immediate response to anyone that inquires after our intent to grow the family is somewhere in the realm of “absofuckinglutely not,” there’s no way for me to guarantee a zero percent chance of it happening.

All of which is to say – Elderland is perfect with two kids.

Which brings me to the reason for today’s writing – sibling dynamics. While I certainly know plenty of people who grew up as only children and turned out to be successful, well-rounded, awesome adults, I am a firm advocate of bringing more than one child into a family. When I first conceived (PUN!) of this post, my idea was to start by writing a bit of an argument for the importance of siblings, but then I read this article from Time magazine and decided that this guy “Jeffrey Kluger” who has been a science and technology writer for 40 or so years probably did an okay enough job that I don’t need to offer any additional insight. So instead, I’d like to take this opportunity to speak specifically about our little pair of siblings.

Norah and Crosby are almost exactly two years apart and this was 100% planned. Granted, we didn’t start trying for number two until the month during which I’d have to get pregnant in order for this two year differential to occur, but given the fertility track record of both myself and others in my family, I was fairly certain all systems were a go. And in fact they were, almost remarkably so, which still makes me marvel at how I didn’t wind up preggers long before I intended to. Sometimes things just go right. Our plan for two years was based on a number of life considerations, but one of the principal reasons was that we believe two years (or thereabouts) to be ideal for making the most of a sibling relationship. This belief is based on nothing more than our experiences, both personal and with families of friends, and it felt right, so we went with it. After two and half years of experiencing life with two kids, I’ll call it hypothesis confirmed.

They do all of the things that all siblings before them have done when young and learning how to exist in the world. They battle over possessions and struggle with sharing. They whine when the other is taking up too much space and “touching” them. They compare what they have and raise holy hell if it’s not even. They beat each other up when no one is looking and then boldly lie about it. Like earlier this week, for example – Pete had buckled both children into their car seats and then closed the car doors and stepped away for a moment to grab one more thing before driving them to Grams and Grandma’s house. Upon getting back to the car, what he encountered was a crying Crosby with blood dripping down his cheek. His immediate inquisition of Norah received the response that “he must have fallen.” WHAT?! How does a 4.5 year old already have the capacity to so decisively feign innocence? Also, do better Norah. He’s buckled into a car seat. Digression! Point being, they’re siblings to the core, and we’re totally into it because every one of those interactions has an effect on their ability to function as adults. And as long as we parents do our part to teach lessons and get involved when appropriate, but encourage self resolve when not, the long term benefit will be great.

Even better? Norah and Crosby wholeheartedly love one another, and the ways in which they’ve begun to express this are enough to melt me into a sopping puddle of pride. Some stories…

I tend to leave for work somewhat early as I have a 30 minute commute and also enjoy getting to the office with ample time to coffee, breakfast and settle. My aim is 7:30, and even if I’m 10-15 minutes behind, on most mornings the kids are still in their beds. Regardless, I make it a point to go in their room and say goodbye, and many a morning they will already be awake, just hanging out and chatting. This alone warms my heart to no end. The overpowering moment of mom emotion came the other morning when I went in to find Norah standing next to Crosby’s bottom bunk, rubbing his back and singing him Twinkle. It was quite possibly the sweetest damn thing I’ve ever seen, so much so that I’m a bit weepy just writing about it.

On the weekends, our somewhat regular routine is for the kids to climb into our bed after waking up, and watch a little cartoons. Within five minutes or so of this happening, one or both usually says I’m hungry and this results in a couple small bowls of dry cereal making their way into the mix. On a recent weekend morning, Crosby followed me into the kitchen and asked that he be able to make his own bowl, which I happily obliged (I’m all about some independence!). After stepping away for a few to put some laundry up in the kids’ room, I returned to find Crosby carrying two bowls to the bed, and upon seeing me he said “I made Norah some cereal too!” My two and half year old thought to get his big sister some breakfast, and that absolutely kills me.

Both kids have been some sort of sick off and on for a couple months because well, it’s winter and they go to school, and enough said. Cros was the one with the worst of it this past week, and if you’re friends with us on Facebook you’ll recall seeing this gush-worthy update about Norah’s endearing moment of reading to him. Despite her surprisingly sneaky efforts to hurt him when no one is looking, Norah truly enjoys taking care of her baby brother and does so in a motherly way that makes us proud.

Little happenings like this are a regular part of our lives, and ample reason for me to emphatically support the sibling scene. And while that scene may be made up of three or four or more for other families, for us, it takes two to make a thing go right.

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XO.S.

Snips and snails and… fuchsia princess shirts?

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We have a son. He is a boy. We know this for no reason other than the fact that he has a penis; that his genetic makeup consists of both an X and a Y chromosome. Aside from that, at the ripe old age of two and a half, there isn’t much else inherently gender specific, and all that makes him who he is comes from what we as parents, family, friends, teachers, and society impose. I’d like to believe that the greatest influence occurs right here at home, that Pete and I have the most profound effect on our children of all the people, environments and stimuli they encounter. So with that in mind, when it comes to establishing gender identity, we tend to back off.

Of course we’re not perfectly gender neutral. He has a boy’s name, we buy him boy clothes, there’s a fair amount of blue involved in his accoutrement, and there’s at least some measure of deep-rooted praxis driving purchases of toys i.e trucks and tractors. But as the situation arises in which Crosby is offered the opportunity to make a choice, we’re not looming near to attempt to steer toward the “boy appropriate” option. I imagine (hope) that this is how many parents choose to rear in our generation, so I’m certainly not on a soap box. Only stating that we aim to allow our kids to become who they’ll be without forcing them into a predefined box.

Our son has long hair. Not so long now as it once was, but still long enough that approximately 7 out of 10 strangers mistake him for a girl. This fascinates me because in those situations he tends to be masculinely dressed meaning said strangers have placed greater emphasis on hair length than clothing style when making a snap judgment about my child’s gender. I’m not suggesting one is better than the other, only that prior to being the mother of a luxuriously locked, blonde baby boy, I’d not have surmised that hair was the go to gender identifier for the majority of our population. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest though! When the incorrect assessment comes in the form of a compliment – “your girls are SO pretty!” – I opt to smile, nod, and move on. And when someone refers directly to Crosby as she or her, I politely correct them.

Crosby’s favorite color is pink, sometimes more specifically, fuchsia. At times, he prefers this rosy hue to an almost obsessive degree, offering signs of tantrum should we try to give him any other color plate or bowl from the Ikea dish rainbow (this thing). His love of pink has recently extended to clothing selections, many of which now occur from his sister’s dresser. His favorite outfit consists of Norah’s long sleeve, pink Frozen t-shirt and black cotton Bermuda shorts, but he enjoys shopping her entire wardrobe, frequently donning such garments as her bright red, fuzzy sleep pants splattered with the likeness of Minnie Mouse. Aside from his infatuation with Frozen which I believe plays the largest role in favoriting that particular shirt, I get the sense that his affection for Norah’s clothing comes mostly from his affection for Norah. She’s older and cooler and wiser (yes, I feel like this is already a thing) and he wants to do what she does, wear what she wears, and be just like her in any way possible. I allow, and in fact fully support this raiding of Norah’s drawers because for one, who cares, and more importantly, he looks pretty cute in pink.

Despite our efforts to avoid sex stereotyping, we have begun to notice in Crosby some behaviors that one might traditionally associate with boys (and men). Like touching his penis and giggling, for example. Penis was one of his earlier words, and the joy and amusement he derives from discussing, exposing, and handling his penis pretty much calls it. It’s a boy! Perhaps we can teach Crosby to scream penis anytime someone calls him a girl. That should help clear up any confusion. Our other most recent experience that may or may not be what one would call “traditional boy behavior” occurred just last weekend about two minutes before I was supposed to head out the door for a run. Crosby was in the bathroom, which I had to pass on my way out, and I looked in to say goodbye only to find my darling, sweet, pink loving, silky headed son holding up both hands to display a glorious spread of poop. Upon closer inspection, the poop had also found its way to his forehead, and the painfully panicked look on his cute little face was almost too much to handle. PETE! I hollered. COME HELP NOW! We teamed up to scrub him down, Pete cringing, me hysterically laughing, and both making attempts to get Crosby to explain what exactly lead to this disaster. Hopefully the embarrassment and disgust he was so clearly feeling in that moment will be enough to deter him from ever again putting his hands anywhere near the inside of his potty bowl, but only time will tell. And boys will be boys.

XO. S.

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at the FL Elders’ house

There they go, looking all sorts of grown up again in yet another photo where I’m somewhat frightened at how easily I can see their teenage selves shining through. But for now, they’re two and four, and while I’m sure I’ll say this again and again as the years pass, this age coupling is thus far my favorite, part of which is due to the fact that they can both communicate with words.

Having two fully conversational children is 90% absolutely amazingly useful and awesome, and 10% temper testing to the point of maybe I want to bust through that window over there and keep running until either my legs or heart give out because collapsing on the street might be preferable to listening to another whiny word. Every parent knows the feeling of wanting to tell their child to shut the fuck up (and maybe every now and then some of us mutter it softly under our breath with our backs to them because even though no one can hear it but us, there’s some satisfaction in saying it “out loud.” Maybe.) But we also all know how invaluable it is to have a child who can express what they want, need, feel, etc. with actual words and not just through variations of WAAAAAAA!

Norah, more than two years into her life as a conversationalist, speaks like an adult almost to a fault (I correct her every time she uses the word like as a filler and not according to its definition), and has now moved on to mastering things like phraseology, irony and sarcasm (if only she had someone to teach her the latter). When she does learn a new word for something she’ll ask why it’s called that, to which I usually reply that’s just what they decided to call it, because much like many before me I’ve become an avid deployer of parent copout responses (because I said so is SO useful!).  I do help defray the wonder of who is “they” by following that with it’s like how we decided to call you Norah! Her response to that lately? I’d like to be called Emma and this is my brother Henry. Okaaaay, sure. Names are another fascinating verbal varietal for Norah and she’ll somewhat sporadically choose to address Pete by his first name instead of daddy. The other morning while I was in our bathroom getting ready, Norah was sitting on our bed next to her sleeping father “reading” a book to herself, when suddenly she dropped it in her lap and exclaimed “Pete! What time is it? I’m hungry. Is it time to eat?” She seems to use it only when she really wants to get his attention. I have no idea where she gets that from.

Crosby’s vocabulary is bloody brilliant (BRAG!) for his age and in general I believe he’s just really excited about having the ability to speak. He revels in identifying things – “that’s a tractor trailer!” – and wants only for one of us to be paying attention because our natural response is to offer happy praise – “that’s right, Crosby! very good!” – and who wouldn’t want that? If we say a word he’s unfamiliar with, he repeats it a time or two as if he’s mentally adding the entry to his personal lexicon. His normal voice is what you’d expect from any two year old – soft, sweet and a bit on the soprano side – but every now and then his eyes grow wide with excitement over something and he drops a couple octaves as he breathily exclaims his observation – “that’s a BIG one!” I don’t believe describing it here can fully convey the absolute adorableness of this voice transformation, but if you ask me sometime (after I’ve had a beer or five) I might try to replicate it for you. And then there are the times when he says something that flat out steamrolls me with its gush-worthiness and leaves me in a puddle of mommy to baby adoration…

Ping from Pete to me on a work day:
While looking at stuff online there was an ad with Sophia Vergara on the side
Crosby walks up and says “I like that one” while pointing to her
I said “She’s pretty huh?”
He whispered “yeah.”
He then said “I like my mommy.”
I said “She’s pretty too eh?”
He whispered “yeah.”
 
Toast. XO.

ten for two on tuesday

Tomorrow is Tuesday. Tomorrow my baby turns two. I suppose this is about the time that many a mum might come down with a classic case of baby fever and start feeling that familiar itch for all things teeny and tiny. They see a pregnant lady out and about with boobs busting and belly drooping and can almost feel the little kicks inside their own empty tummies. They visit with friends whose wee one just started to giggle and balance all itty bitty 15 lbs of her on their knee, smiling, cooing, and marveling at her remarkably small fingers and toes. They may even miss those middle of the night feeding moments when mom and baby bonded so lovingly, and wax nostalgic for a time when their tot lived nearly every minute in their arms.

Nope. I’m good.

Holding my buddy’s babe is fantastic because she’s fucking adorable and I love her to death and when she starts to get a little too pissed off I can just hand her right back. We Elders are not shy about the fact that our baby factory is officially closed. Two is the magic number. Three not for me. We have all the love we need in this family and we’re happy to keep Elderland a party of four.

So in honor of the fact that I’m actually quite comfortable about the impending second birthday of my baby boy, I believe I’ll write a little list called “Ten Things about my Two Year Old”…

1. Crosby started out a bit on the long and scrawny side, as many newborns do, but by the time he hit 12 or so weeks he was a solid butterball of a baby with fat rolls for days, and he has been a chunker ever since. Of course these days the mass quantity of calories he burns from never ceasing movement have at least diminished his wristles (like cankles, think about it), but he’s still a hefty little man and weighs nearly as much as his two years senior sister. I have every expectation that he’ll be taller than his daddy by high school with some seriously strong legs, and though I’m fairly opposed to having a child play football, I wouldn’t mind having a future World Cup star on my hands (USA takes it in 2034??).

2. The hair. Oh my god the hair. We waited well over 20 months before we got Crosby his first haircut, and did so then only because we grew so wary of every stranger we encountered calling him a girl. No matter how boyish his outfit, it was all she-her-so pretty-your girls-blah-blah. Looking back on the photos, I kind of get it, but his glorious mane of silky blond curls was just too amazing to lay scissors to. When we finally gave in, Pete took him without me, which was probably for the best lest I convulse with each snip and yell at the stylist. I all but commanded that Pete not let the woman cut off more than an inch or so, just enough to push him back toward the boy side of the spectrum, and she really did a bang-up job (PUN!). He’s had one cut since, but for now we’re keeping it longish because I mean damn, the kid has dreamy California surfer hair, and I’m seriously jealous.

3. The range of what he eats is somewhat narrow, but when he finds something he likes, he goes all in (see #1). And when I say all in, if we’re talking about hummus, I mean ALL in – all fingers, hands, cheeks, lips, forehead, hair, belly, and who knows where else. Hummus, or Thomas as he likes to call it, is definitely Crosby top five fare, and while he’ll occasionally opt for a dipping vehicle like carrots, crackers or pretzel chips, those are entirely unnecessary as he’d just as soon scoop it out with a spoon. No spoon? No problem! That’s what these ten little digits are for. The boy likes his Thomas. I suppose there are worse vices.

4. Crosby has taken to using the training potty quite frequently, enjoys a good celebratory potty dance after accomplishing his goal, and while still fully in diapers for he hasn’t completely grasped that you can’t just pee when and wherever, he almost exclusively poops in the pot. He gets very excited when his poops are of noteworthy size, calls “Mommy/Daddy/Grandma come look!” to show off, and even commends us for our own pottying skills post pot sit – “Good job, mama!” On a less proud note, one small side affect of all this fecal joy is a favorite new game of his which involves straddling whichever of us is sitting or lying on the floor and exclaiming “I poop on you!” before bursting into giggles. Boys.

5. He has a tiny scar below his right eye from a terrible spill he took off the front of the jog stroller because stupid mommy thought letting him ride like this was a good idea and he face planted on the sidewalk proving me very wrong. I know chicks dig scars and all that, but he’s going to be handsome enough without it and I hope it mostly goes away. #momguilt

6. He talks a lot. In complete sentences. It blows my mind and makes me ridiculously happy. Sure there are plenty of words he still struggles with, or perhaps just mindfully opts for his own version of (see #3), but his vocabulary is what I’d consider vast for a two year old and I’m not ashamed to brag about it. He’s also shy and when we get around folks he doesn’t know well he tends to clam up and hold on to my leg, smiling coyly as he peaks around, so not everyone gets to enjoy his jib jab, but we hear his lovely little voice every day and it never fails to bring a smile to our faces. Even when he’s saying things like “I poop on your penis!” Because come on, it’s funny.

7. In classic boy fashion, he loves trucks and tractors. Dump trucks might be his favorite. He has a book about all sorts of trucks and from it has learned to identify things he sees on the road like scoops, bulldozers and cherry pickers. He gets adorably excited when out the window he sees a truck drive by our house and tells us all about it – “I saw something! A big truck!” – and the day we paid a surprise visit to the Mebane fire station and he got to run around the garage and sit in the trucks might have been the happiest moment in his life to date. And while I’ve never been the type of mom to push gender specific toys, I can’t help but love how much of a little boy he is. He also loves baby dolls, tea sets, and the color pink (which he occasionally refers to as fuchsia). So there.

8. One of his top front teeth is chipped and has been for almost as long as he’s had front teeth. I can’t tell you how it happened, but it did, and it only adds to the charm of what is surely the most amazingly cute and contagious smile this world has ever laid eyes upon.

9. Bed time routines are the best because a) they’re routine and everyone loves some good old fashioned reliability and b) they signal impending adult time for mommy and daddy for things like watching netflix, reading the New Yorker, blogging, and staring at the walls in silence. Aside from the expected bits of his routine like teeth brushing and diaper changing, Crosby has thrown in a little of his own flare to keep it original. One such step is to wait until the last moment after which we’ve put him in bed, turned out the light, turned on the sound machine, and turned toward the door to say through his pacy “sing me a song.” His first request is generally Twinkle (for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star of course), followed by Sunshine (for You are my Sunshine), and up until a few weeks ago when he perhaps grew sick of it, the third and final request was Wrecking Ball. And who I am not to oblige my baby boy with a little Miley before night night?

10. Ninety percent of the time Crosby is the happiest kid people have ever met. Seriously, we’ve been told as much again and again, “that is the happiest kid I’ve ever met!” About half of the remaining ten percent is made up of the occasional injury induced tear-fest, often brought on by a sister induced injury, but only when she thinks we’re not looking, and it’s hilarious to see the look on her face when we catch her in the act – “what? wait? me? no, i didn’t? huh? you saw what? that doesn’t make sense.” That final five is the worst as it brings out the tyrant in our darling baby boy, mostly in response to him not getting his way, our response to which is a firm time-out, his response to which is to cry for a minute, then stop and flash that irresistible smile (see #8), our response to which better be to look away lest he see us melt and know that timeout is obviously over. Clever little bugger.

Happiest of birthdays to our favorite son, the one and only, Crosby William Elder.

XO.