The Big Two

Two years ago I was in labor with my little Simon. How quickly two years passes, and how much changed in that time! When I remember my life before Simon it seems kind of…selfish, although admittedly fun. But then, having a kid is lots of fun, too, because you do fun things you wouldn’t do otherwise: play with toys, be outside, and go to playgrounds, pools, zoos, and farm parks. Little kids notice everything grown ups start to tune out. Every airplane, bug, or chirping bird is noteworthy and exciting to them. A child’s sense of wonder can help you see the world through a little fresher eyes.

Sleepy head during the day.

When I think of my tiny swaddled baby compared to the relatively large toddler sprawled in his soon-to-be-relinquished crib, all I can think is miracle. Considering all that has to go right, it’s miraculous every time a baby is born. Then to think they can triple in size in one year just on milk and mush. In that year they can go from helpless, squirmy little bundles to walking around. And in the second year Simon’s become a running, jumping, talking little person with lots of personality. Neil has been asking me to write down some of his cute phrases so bear with me, if you care to, as I unabashedly go on and on about Simon.

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Recently he’s started asking questions all day. It can be very redundant but it’s also adorable because he wants to hold a conversation.

“Milk, Mama.”

“How do you ask?”

“Pleeeeze!” with a big smile.

“What doing Mama?”

“Getting you milk.”

“What doing Mama?”

Other favorite questions include “Where did [insert name of person] go?” “What’s that for?” and the hybrid, which I’m not sure how to answer, “What’s that for go?” His favorite answer to my questions is “helicopter.” He’s responded this way to questions such as “How old are you?”, “What is your name?”, and “What should we name your sister?”

He can repeat basically any word now, including a couple things he shouldn’t have. Luckily he didn’t pick these words up. He repeats “Night night Simon,” sometimes when we put him to bed and has also said “Night night guys,” to us. He calls Target “Targot” with a long second syllable. At the store he wants to sit in a cart and definitely wants to be buckled in (also applies to wagons, riding toys, or anything else with a buckle.) He asks me to buckle his onesies and even some regular t-shirts. He asks for “butter” a.k.a. rash cream but he has a diaper rash, and has picked up the popular “Hold you me” when he wants us to pick him up. He’s finally started saying “love you.”

Simon also seems to be playing pretend more lately. Toys that he didn’t quite know what to do with before, like his little dinosaur land, now hold his attention longer. His favorite is cooking “hot doggies” on his toy grill. He loves to bake; when when he sees me pulling out the ingredients he pushes a chair toward the island and says “I cook, I cook” and asks for a spoon. I think this experience is giving him more to imitate when he uses his grill. He says, “Hot dog’s ready!” and warns me that the grill is hot, most recently with one finger extended as a cautionary sign. He also loves to play “night night” with his blanket which is one of my favorite games.

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We started singing the patience song (from his preschool friend) and now if he hears “you have to wait,” “be patient” or “just a minute” he sometimes sings “pa-tient.” When I show him baby girls clothes he says they’re “yute” i.e. cute. He’s learned a few colors, mainly “lellow” and numbers, but he thinks “buckle shoe” comes after two. He calls any printed letters (or numbers) “A.” Whereas a few months ago the idea of him choosing a shirt to wear seemed absurd, he now expresses very clear fashion opinions on which shirts are “not cool, Mama.” (!) It seems the main criteria is whether the shirt has a car or a hot doggie on it.

Last weekend all my siblings were in Ohio, a once- or twice-yearly occurrence, and my great-aunt was in town, so we had a pool party for Simon’s second birthday. Also Neil is gone on his real birthday. Tonight we made cupcakes to share with his friends. As soon as I mentioned making a cake, he kept talking about it until we started. Then I tried to ask if he wanted to make cupcakes or a big cake, pointing to pictures on the box. He just kept answering “eggs!” and pointing to that picture.

One last Simon story. Last week on my birthday Simon was playing at his train table and saw me reading Moby Dick. He thought it was the Bible. I told him it was just a regular book but he wanted to go get his Bible (which we never read to him). We sat on the couch and he looked through it and kept talking about “the baaa’s” (sheep) and the barn (where Jesus was born). After a little while he pointed to Moby Dick and told me to read my book. He kept paging through his Bible and occasionally would point to a page in my book and say “Mommy’s A.” So cute, and the best birthday present ever–sitting there, “reading” his Bible, and telling me to read (and actually letting me read)!

So that’s Simon at the threshold of two. We’ll see what the next year brings.

It’s a Girl!

From a month or two into this pregnancy, Neil was convinced the baby was a girl. I didn’t have a strong feeling about it, and to everyone who asked “what I wanted” I could honestly say I didn’t know or care. On one hand I love having a boy, but I grew up in a household of mostly girls (4 to 1) so I know all about girls! As Neil maintained his conviction about the girl, I started to be convinced. When the ultrasound showed a healthy baby girl, Neil smiled and said, “I’m not surprised. I knew it.”

Two days later, he said, “I’m scared.” I guess parents, especially fathers, feel more protective of girls.

Right now I’m just excited. And relieved that the anatomy scan showed everything normal. I’m also sort of relieved not to have boys two years apart. That might be a little much, although I’m sure the girl drama will be a little much, too. Maybe I’m scared, too, but more because Simon is so much like Neil, I’m afraid our girl will have my personality. I know it doesn’t work like that but the idea of dealing with a mini-me is frightening!

I feel kind of lame for always blogging about babies now. I’m just surrounded (& pregnant) with it. On our block I know of 11 kids age four & under, and five more on the way (including triplets, yikes!). Outside our neighborhood, three more friends are pregnant, and others are trying. The playgroup we go to has about 35 moms & kids in it now. Then we know another playgroup of people from the library story time. So many kids!

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Vacation

Simon seems to remember there’s something about a baby going on though I’m sure he doesn’t really understand. He does call my stomach the “baby house” which he coined after I told him the baby lives in there. I’ve tried to get him to feel her kick, but his hand is so little, his attention span so short, and he thinks the suggestion means he should start kicking.

I’m interested to see how our home church will change once all these babies arrive. Currently there are 8 families with a total of 11 kids and 4 more on the way. Maybe the 4 more won’t make a big difference, especially with only 1 being the first of the family. But we’re going to have to come up with some new solutions for home church babysitting, plus form separate nursery and toddler classes for our bigger meeting. Beyond logistics, I wonder how everyone will fare with trying to serve others while also taking care of our families. This is certainly my plan but I don’t know what exactly it’ll look like. I guess that’s why we walk by faith, not by sight.

In the high school ministry, I’ve gotten to know a lot of the girls and figured out whom I should disciple. Now I just need to win the two girls to this idea. I feel a bit awkward, being so much older and newer to the group, but I’ve had good, long conversations with both so hopefully that means I’m gaining their trust. They each have a lot of potential but they’re very different from each other, so I’m not sure if I should try to meet with them together or separately. Need to pray about that.

In other news, Neil is going to India on a sort of short-term missions trip. He’ll visit a pastor’s conference, a children’s home, maybe a village where they are working, and also teach and share his testimony of coming to Christ. Three other guys from the home church are also going. While I’m excited for him and the experiences and insight he’ll bring back, I’m looking forward to him returning safely home. It’ll be a long week and half without him. Luckily it doesn’t fall too close to my due date.

We also went to the Xenos Summer Institute in July, where famous apologists John Lennox and William Lane Craig spoke. Neil’s mom babysat Simon and I sort of felt like my intellectual self again. And no pumping this year! Next year I’ll probably have a baby in tow so I tried to live it up and went to every session. Neil took a seminary class in tandem with the conference, taught by John Lennox! A week after we got back, we went on vacation to Michigan with two other families. Simon had a blast at the beach, swimming, picking blueberries, at the dunes, eating ice cream, and just playing with his friends all week. We also saw an old steam engine and toured a ship that was in D-Day. I took some awesome naps, read a whole book (Behind the Beautiful Forevers), stayed awake for a whole movie (Seal Team Six), went to South Haven with the ladies (all pregnant), and learned the National Dance Day routine before National Dance Day, for the first time. Each couple took a turn cooking for everyone and we took turns going on dates/babysitting. Neil said his favorite part of the trip was Simon. Watching him have so much fun was a thrill. It was a good trip, but I’m glad to be back home.