If I Had A Flower For Every Time I Thought Of You…I Could Walk Through My Garden Forever

My lovely little Alexander,

Alexander eating bananas. I screwed up this year. I didn’t complete your slideshow or yearly letter on time, so this year you get something a week late. I have a lot of guilt over this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you don’t mind one iota. Instead of spending time on this around your birthday, we spent a wonderful five days together. With your birthday falling on a Thursday, and camp ending the day before, your Dad and I decided to take Thursday and Friday off to spend the last few days of summer together. And Monday being a holiday? Bonus! We had an amazing five day weekend full of back to school shopping, birthday day fun, and a very small amount of relaxing.

Seven days ago? You turned seven. Seven. Can you believe it? I certainly can’t. When people ask me what age you are I find myself stumbling over the words. “He can’t be seven!” I think. FrenchBakery

Seven days ago we spent the day doing some of your favorite things. Other than the obligatory yearly well-child visit, the day was about you. We went to your favorite french bakery, the toy store, and a second viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy. Needless to say, the bakery, toy shopping, and movie were a big hit. And the whole day I kept looking at you, staring at you, saying, “Buddy! I can’t believe you’re my seven year old now!” You would smile every time in this way that you do, with a slight flush to your cheeks, your eyes bright and knowing, and the corners of your mouth attempting to not spread out too wide in a grin.

“Seven, buddy! Seven!” I would grab you saying, amazed at the fact. But seven you are! And what a year it has been. What changes we have seen in you! And what an amazing young man you are becoming.

While you were six, you started and completed Kindergarten. It was not an easy start, and really it wasn’t easy at the end, either. But you did it! You graduated from Kindergarten, and learned so much along the way.

First Day of Kindergarten

You continue to be a very sensitive, loving, kind person. We frequently discuss your feelings, of which you have many, and how various things in life affect them. It’s a struggle for you to not take everything personally, and to not be very worried about how you are doing in life. While this causes you some pain, it also means you are a very conscientious young kid with a big heart. I have never once been concerned about you being mean to another kid.

And now you are beginning first grade, your first time in a full day learning environment as Kindergarten was a half day program. First grade is going to be The Big Serious, at least relatively speaking, and I am nervously excited to see how the year turns out for you.

Unlike Kindergarten, you were quite excited for the beginning of first grade. In fact, you were so excited that you “didn’t sleep at all!” the night before. You woke your father up at five in the morning, exclaiming your inability to sleep. When I picked you up after your first day of school, your eyes were glossed over and you told me you felt like you were dreaming all day. Your excitement kept you awake and had you wake up far too early in the morning, something I can relate to for sure!

March 1, 2014

For your birthday this year, you had very specific plans. You knew that on your actual birthday day, we would do something quiet, small, just you and your parents. But we discussed doing something bigger a few days later. We had talked about doing a party, but you wanted nothing to do with that. I must admit that when you told me your plans I was both surprised and yet not so surprised. Your plans were so very you.

This was your birthday plan:
Go out to breakfast and order peanut butter/chocolate pancakes
Go to the toy store and get toys (you knew there could be a lot because you chose not to have a party)
Have sushi for lunch, specifically sushi rolls with cream cheese in them
Go rollerskating!
Have Chipotle for dinner

We didn’t quite have that day exactly as you had desired. We went to Chuck E Cheese in the afternoon, had amazing pizza for dinner, and entirely skipped the toy store as you had gone two days before in between eating macaroons and seeing an IMAX 3D movie and the day before after back to school shopping when you got maybe the coolest costume yet.

And little man, I’m so happy that you still love costumes, superheroes, reading, and wrestling. I love that you have grown into an immense love of swimming. I love that you were so excited about starting first grade that you couldn’t sleep. I love that you still like to dress up sometimes, wearing ties and blazers. I love that you and Daddy have a love of comic books and Dr. Who and Adventure Time together, and that I can join in on the love in my own way. And I love that last night you told me you couldn’t help it, you just had to kiss me again and again and again…

July 12

I can’t wait to continue watching you grow up, Alex. You make me so proud.

I love you, Little Dude. Forever and ever.


When you turned one!

When you turned two!

When you turned three!

When you turned four!

When you turned five!

When you turned six!

A Hundred Hearts Would Be Too Few, To Carry All My Love For You

My wonderful not-so-little Alexander:

Today you are five. Five. It sounds so very old, probably because it means you are officially a whole hand in years.

You have been counting down to five for months now. No birthday has ever held the same excitement before, and I can understand why five seems like such a big deal. It sounds mature. It sounds very kid-like. Very school-aged. It’s not baby, toddler, or preschooler. It’s five.

Alex turns 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Yesterday, you had your first day in your new classroom at the same school. You entered their version if Kindergarten, a smaller class with fewer students and only one teacher. You had a great first day, and I hope that continues throughout the year!


Throughout this year, you will grow. You will grow in height, likely losing the last of your chubby cheeks and gaining even longer legs that will be nearly impossible to fit into appropriately waisted pants. Throughout this year, you will grow in so many other ways, too. I know this is true because it is true every year. From four to five you shocked me with your ever increasing vocabulary, your understanding of simple math, and your amazing memory. If we read a story one time, you could tell me the entire plot months later! Even your teachers commented on that fact.

At four, you couldn’t say your “r” sounds. You also couldn’t say your “l” sounds, so “I wuv you” remained the cutest thing you said for a number of months. Then, you slowly outgrew the wuv and entered into love.

Outside in FEBRUARY

And love you do. You are an amazingly sweet boy, hugging and kissing at every opportunity, cuddling whenever possible, and generally being a lovable little guy. You are sensitive, quick to be upset when scolded, and quick to beam when praised. You have won the hearts of so many people already, and I can’t wait to see how this wonderful aspect of your personality grows.

As a baby, you weren’t the most cuddly. You liked to be held, but only if it meant you could play or look around. In some ways, you never outgrew this. Cuddling is much more commonplace now, but it always involves lots of conversation, a movie, or quietly playing in some other way. You still crave a constant source of entertainment, and for that I can’t blame you.

Luckily, the world remains pretty fascinating to you. While we have entered the “I’m boooored” phase of childhood, for the most part you find ways to entertain yourself with the world around you. This, of course, involves lots of questions. “Why?” is a favorite, naturally, but my personal favorite of your questions is always the more complicated, “how does that work?”

You look underneath things to figure out where sound is coming from; you fiddle with your toys again and again to determine exactly where it is that a click is made, to figure out what part of one piece goes into what part of another. You follow wires, notice breaks, determine the cause of an effect. Your fascination with how things work is, well, fascinating.

And I know that this love for The How will continue to grow, and we will do our best to nurture this in you. I also know that this year you will learn so much more; you will learn more than I even think possible to cram into one little brain in one short year. You will learn to read and write. You will learn more words, more math, more and more and more.

August 18

You will learn new ways to share your stories, and new ways to share your love.

I hope I can continue to learn new ways to show you how much I love you as quickly as you learn new ways to show me. Because I love you. More than anything. And I hope you have the absolute best fifth birthday, and a most awesome year as a five-year-old.

So much love,

When you turned one!

When you turned two!

When you turned three!

When you turned four!

Today More Than Yesterday and Less Than Tomorrow

Dear Alexander:

My little stinker. Stinker pot pie. Stinker the linker. Pooper. Schpooger. Booger. Booger the looger. Pinky. Boobers.

My little buddy.

Today you are three. Three! Can you believe it? It was three years ago that you were born, fighting to stay in the home you had known for the previous 9 months. You didn’t want to enter the world, but eventually you arrived, and boy was it beautiful.

The last 365 days have been quite an adventure. You went from staying home with me all day, every day, to going to daycare full time with me returning to school full time. You transitioned beautifully, and have grown even more beautifully.

You were talking at two, but now you won’t stop! There is a constant dialogue streaming from your lips, explaining every little thing that is happening. You not only talk, you ramble. You tell stories. Long stories. Almost every story ends with someone or something farting. Or pooping. This, of course, is hilarious to you, and pretty darn amusing to me. “Row Row Row Your BUTT!

This year, you have outgrown toddlerhood. You are officially a kid. Between the incessant chatter, including in depth conversations, the knowledge of letters and numbers, the ability to be taught, in an instant, the definition of a new word, the hopping, skipping and jumping, and the love of all things big boy, you are no longer a toddler. I look at you and see a child.

My child.

My Alex, you are my world. You make me happier than anything, and I hope that I can bring you even half of the joy in your life that you have brought to me.

In another year you will be starting school. Real school. You are ready in many ways now, but I know that the next year will prepare you for the beginning of approximately 18 years of schooling. You will grow more, learn more, mature more. And I will enjoy watching it all, because even the bad moments are only temporary. Every second of every day you are changing, and it amazes me.

This year has been a whirlwind, and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to spend more time with you in the upcoming years. I feel like I missed out on a lot, but as I look back at the year I know that I didn’t miss everything. We traveled to Florida together, and I came the realization that even though I may not be with you all the time any longer, something is going right because you were the most well behaved two year old imaginable.

You say please and thank you, and now excuse me. While you do not fully understand that “excuse me” is not an excuse to simply start talking or yelling or shaking or dancing in order to get someone to pay attention to you, you do know that there is some polite way to get their attention. We will work on that this year.

It isn’t something I am fully prepared for yet, but you are now lying. I know that it actually means you are learning, that you are comprehending the world in ways I didn’t think would happen quite yet. I heard you telling someone, “Mommy said when I woked up I could have fruit snacks for bweakfast.”

I certainly did not. But it’s cute that you thought you could get away with it.

You are smart. You are focused. You are extremely empathetic. Your hugs and kisses are the best ever. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

I love you, pooker. Sweetie. Honey. Honey bunny. Darling. Dear. My baby.

I love you, Alexander. Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. And I wish you the happiest of happy birthdays on this day.


A Little Bit

Just a small peak at Alex’s language:

Language acquisition is fascinating. The way that children learn to communicate is something I would love to one day learn more about. Currently, I just love listening to him figure out new words, learn how to put words together. I love the look in his eyes when he says a full sentence (or two or three) and I repeat it back to him word for word. When he says a new word or sentence and I understand it immediately his eyes light up. When he says a full sentence that I am unable to understand, he sometimes gets very upset, tilting his head down and looking away from me.

My worries about his language development have (pretty much) dissipated. He talks all the time, communicates exactly what he needs, and surprises me most days with a new word (or ten). His narration of his life can be pretty hilarious at times, too:

“Walk walk walk. RUN! I’m running! Going down the stairs. Trying to fall down the stairs! Oh no! No fall down the stairs! Careful, Alex*. Careful down the stairs. Walk walk walk. Getting The Ernie! Oh no! What happened to Ernie’s hat? I broke it! I fixed it! Oh no! Where is the ball? Mommy help. I FOUND IT! Mommy play? Chasing the baby. Mommy chasing the baby. Run run run. I GOT YOU!”

*Yes, he really does say this to himself. Sometimes it’s just “be careful!” in the exact tone that I use when saying it to him, sometimes he uses his name. Which, if you watch the video, you’ll notice sounds little like Alex and more like “ass ix.”

Proof That It’s The Beatdown

I was trying to get Alex to say “running” and “chasing” and “fast” or something along those lines the other day. With his second birthday coming up I realized that I have very little video evidence of his ever increasing vocabulary, and I need some video footage for his planned second birthday slideshow. In my attempt to get get a video of him running and speaking, I succeeded at something. It wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, but it was something.

He’s running in hopes of finding the “beatdown.”

(It was in the opposite direction.)

One Point Five

Dearest, Darlingest, Alex:

Today marks the day that you are no longer a baby. You are officially a toddler.

Exactly 18 months ago you were born. You were tiny (well, relatively, you ginormous-newborn you), completely unable to do anything for yourself, and you melted my heart the second I saw you.

Since you were born we have had good times and bad. You went from never sleeping, to sleeping 11 hours solidly every night, to, again, never sleeping (let’s work on that never sleeping thing, okay?). You went from uncontrolled and jerky movements to running and jumping to your heart’s content. You went from making nothing but a few gurgling noises to having an ever-expanding vocabulary. You went from nursing exclusively to eating anything and everything that is put in front of you. You went from 9 pounds and 12 ounces to at least 26 pounds and from 21 inches to at least 35 (we will know when we go in for your 18-month check up in a few days). You went from just barely being able to hold your head upright to walking up and down steps (sure, they are tiny steps but it still is impressive!) like a normal person.

While I have been referring to you as a toddler for some time now, I’m sure that I will forever and ever call you my baby.

I love you baby boy. Happy One Point Five!

18 month photos

Verbally Speaking

Not too long ago, I was feeling a bit worried about Alex’s development. My concern was that he wasn’t developing, verbally, as fast as I thought he should be. Shouldn’t all babies at 17 months of age be able to say cup, doggie, cat? He lacks the ability to make the “c” sound, and I really just want him to have more words and less sounds that represent words.

He calls dogs “woof” and grapes “meep” and elephants are the sound that your lips make when air blows through them. Monkeys are “ah ah ooh ooh” and swimming is the same as water: “wa wa”. A penguin waddles, so clearly a penguin is “wada wada wada.”

When I casually brought up my concern to Zach, and he in turn mentioned it to my Mom, they both told me that I was, well, crazy. And just plain wrong. The number of words, or word approximations, that Alex makes is quite substantial.

The surely incomplete list of the words he either says or has his own “word” for: Mama, Dada, Daddy, Gramma, Nana, Big D, Kathy, Jackson the dog, Dog, Elephant, Mine, Monkey, Water, Up, Help, Cheese, Eye, Nose, No, Fish, Grapes, Wind/Air, Car, Truck, Bus, People, Baby, Belly Button, Bowl, Banana, Apple, Cow, Bunny, Ow, Heat, Book, Wolf, Dirty, Cheese, More, Yummy/NomNom, Cold, Shoes, Knee, Tickle, Bye Bye, Hi, Uh-Oh, Swimming, Sun, Moon, Penguin, Toes…

He even uses the occasional two word sentence. “More ___” is the most common.

It’s amazing the difference between what he can say and what he understands. His comprehension is easily hundreds of words, while he can probably only say around fifty. He can point to his head, eyes, ears, hair, nose, mouth, teeth, cheeks, belly, knees, feet and hands. Pointing to his nose is my favorite, though. When I tell him to “go tickle Daddy” he runs over and tickles Zach. When I ask him to give someone a specific toy, he finds the toy and brings it to that person. If he’s in the mood, of course.

So, my concern was unnecessary. I think I suffer from the paranoid-that-something-is-wrong syndrome of a first time Mama. He is fine. Maybe even better than fine.