little brother -
You turned one last month, and all of your explorations and new found talents were a challenge for me to express adequately without becoming emotional.
Sometimes you sit quietly and flip through books. Only board books - you like to rip the pages out of regular books. You point at pictures and give them your own names. You lift the book close to your face and breathe.breathe.breathe. and look. so very intently. You flip the pages, over and over and over. When you reach then end, you do it all again. Books are one of your favorite things to explore. You like to chew the corners and carry them around by just one page. You like to knock down the stacks of books throughout the house. You like to play the drums on books. You like to sit with books.
You are so active, so very curious. When it is just you and I around the house, I like to tell you about all kinds of things. About songs. About snow. About good people. About joy. About love. Always about love. I kiss your big, pink cheeks and you squeal like a tiny wild animal. You wiggle to be set free. You run from end to end and then back again, across the house, across the room, as far as your little legs will carry you. You catch my eyes, or I catch yours - I don't know - and we share a sincere smile. You know you are my joy, and I feel in my heart that I am yours.
You are exploring new foods all the time. You don't like to be fed with a spoon because you're a big guy now. You will only eat what you can use your fingers for. Sometimes you hate a food on Tuesday and love it on Thursday. You only have two bottles a day now, one in the morning, and one at night. You are the snuggliest bottle drinker. You bury your body in our arms and nestle in once the milk is gone. You try to fall asleep in our arms but it's harder for you now. Instead of sleep, you like to wave your arms and make little noises. We have to lay you down in your crib awake now and have you settle yourself. Your daddy and I are your favorite playmates and it's hard to sleep on your best buddy.
When you wake up in the mornings, you jump in your bed. You call for us gently, "mah mah" or "dahhhhda" and it's the most rewarding song I can ever imagine waking up to. Your favorite word is 'ball'. You can also say your Big Brother's name and 'cat'. You like to point out photos of Big Brother and tell us his name. You like to point to the cats and tell us they're cats. You.are.amazing. You're so smart and kind. When we hug you, you pat our backs because you love us too.
It was difficult for me to see you turn one. I want to keep you my tender little baby forever, but every new tooth that appears, every new word you associate to something you've seen a million times, every smile we exchange makes it clear to me that you will continue to grow...and that every day is better than the one before.
My darling little explorer, I love you immensely. I am so proud of the little guy you are growing into. Thank you for choosing me to be your mah mah.
I like you, I love you, I will always protect you.