Half Birthday

Dear Asher,

You are now two and a half years old! Somehow, this fact is stunning to me. Where did the last six months go? Well, let’s see …

You have learned to talk! To sing! To fight with your brother!

I gave up trying to write down all of your words several months ago. The floodgates of language opened up and I and my notepad were swept downstream in the river of your many expressions. It’s so exciting, hearing you communicate, perhaps most when you tell us firmly and in no uncertain terms that you are not happy with what’s going on, or tell us exactly what you want: “No Mama! Baby wants more chocolate ice cream! You’re in trouble, Mama!” I respect the way you stand up for yourself. I laugh a little, of course, but I respect it.

You mostly maintain a sunny disposition. You’re always game to jump in the car and go “bye-bye.” You like visiting people, especially your grandparents. You don’t even really mind it when I drag you out in the heat of the day to pick up your brother. Your laughter is contagious and nobody can resist your goofy grins. I worry about your dad because you seem to have him wrapped around your little finger. He would lasso the moon for you if you asked him.

This morning, before breakfast, you and Lucas began playing a new game. Our new sofa was instantly transformed into a spaceship. Lucas was piloting the ship and you were both navigator and gunner. You are so cute and funny when you follow your big brother’s lead. I see you watching him, striving to repeat his exact words and facial expressions. I know he is teaching you every day because I see Lucas in some of your behavior.

I don’t really like seeing you running around the house shooting monsters with imaginary guns (or pieces of toast), or sword fighting with any sticklike thing you can find, or chattering on and on about Pokémon creatures, but you are hard-wired to do it. I worry sometimes that you are learning things that are too sophisticated for your age, and that you are too attracted to big-boy things and games when you are still only a little boy. But I cannot stop it. It’s the way of older siblings to initiate younger siblings. I must try to remember to cherish every moment you are little because I think you will fight your way out of babyhood and into the world as fast as possible to keep up with Lucas.

Swimming has become one of your great loves this summer. At first, you were skittish and only wanted to put your toes in the water on the swimming pool step. Soon, though, you were leaping into my arms to be carried around the pool. You avidly practice your kicks now and don’t mind if you get a little water on your face. You’re jumping off the side of the pool to me now, but you don’t like it if I move too far away. As in all things, you enjoy telling me where in the pool to take you by pointing imperiously. “Where do you want to go?” I ask. “RIGHT THERE!”

I’m embarrassed to say it: You’re really into TV—of any kind. In the evenings when I am putting Lucas down for the night, you’re in with daddy watching shows. You have an impressive working knowledge of classic “Star Trek” and new “Dr. Who.”  I’ve tried shifting the routine, but you and your dad are both resisting, I think in part because daddy likes sharing these relaxing evening moments with you. He likes having a Star Trek buddy who joyfully exclaims “There’s Mr. Spock! There’s Captain Kirk!” when they come onscreen. Lucas really doesn’t care for any of the shows daddy likes.

And speaking of likes, we are presently witnessing the birth of the train and Thomas the Tank Engine obsession. I don’t really know if you will love them as much as Lucas did—or for as long—but they have definitely caught your eye. Now you pretend to be a train, choosing to be Gordon and saying “I’m a train. I’m Gordon. I puff away.” You scuff your little feet, preferably in dirt or dust, to make little clouds lift after you. We were recently near a baseball diamond in a park to watch Lucas play soccer on a nearby field and you refused to leave the hard-packed dirt of the diamond. There were terrific white chalk lines for tracks and the “smoke” you kicked up satisfied you much more than listening to a bunch of parents yell encouraging things to mini soccer players. You clutch the wooden toy trains and carry them around; so far you cannot be bothered to place them on the tracks. Lucas recently replaced his old porcelain Thomas bank because he outgrew it. You want to play with that big Thomas soooooo bad!

Meat is still your favorite food, followed closely by Strauss vanilla yogurt. You have recently tried noodles, which you call “noonoos.” I’m happy to see you eating some things of plant origins: carrots, sweet mini bell peppers, watermelon, and rarely, broccoli. I am grateful that you are going to preschool because I think your friends are helping you warm up to trying new foods. You like crackers, quesadillas, sautéed chicken, meatballs, tacos, hot dogs, rice, “chewy bars,” and cheese bunnies.

And now I must share a story about the cheese bunnies. These are organic cheesy crackers shaped like bounding bunnies. About a week ago, you crammed so many bunnies into your mouth—as is your habit when eating anything—that you choked. I was by my computer when you came toward me, flapping your arms and making the most alarming sound—but now that the excitement is over, I cannot remember what the sound was. Anyway, it wasn’t normal and I recognized that immediately. I hopped over the baby gate and realized you are too big for the infant-over-arm position and too small for the regular Heimlich position. I hooked you into my arm, lifted your body off the ground, and shoved my fist up into your diaphragm. You sputtered and I made three sweeps of your mouth with my finger to get all the cheesy-cracker goo out. Another moment passed and then you were coughing and crying. The first thing you said was, “Too scary!” I completely agree! Since then, we have talked a lot about taking little bites, not big bites because big bites can make you choke. Too scary, indeed.

I had hoped that you might show some interest in toileting by now, but mostly you haven’t. I think you are being encouraged at school to give the potty a shot, and we certainly urge you to try once in a while. But you really don’t want to yet and it makes you mad when we suggest it. You now wander off by yourself when you have to go “number 2” and tell us “Go away. I’m pooping,” if we come to investigate why you’ve become so quiet. OK, kid. You’re entitled to your privacy. I like that you now ask for a diaper change when you’re done, so that indicates you’re maturing and moving toward potty training.

You now know the names of most of your body parts. You enjoy telling people you have nipples, or they have nipples. “I see your booty!” you told me this morning. I asked you if you really just said what I thought you said. Yep. Then you immediately mentioned dinosaur booties. “Really BIG,” you said. And I tried not to follow your line of thought from my own naked derrière to giant dino butts.

We have taken two weekend trips this summer: one to the Bay Area and one to Strawberry, near the Lake Tahoe summit, to Mimi’s cabin. I am very happy you’re a good traveler. You adapt well to new places, and enjoy the adventure. In fact, you troop along beautifully, preferring to move under your own power rather than in the stroller or baby carrier. You try so hard to go everywhere Lucas goes, even up a mountainside, scrabbling over granite boulders! Your sweet nature seems to open doors for us. I hope this quality stays with you because I have hopes that someday we’ll be able to travel afar as a family.

I could write a lot more in this letter, like how you are fascinated with your brother’s big-boy things, like to imitate the sounds of animals, love to swing in your seat on the swing set in the backyard, would like to eat ice cream every day, prefer to draw and scribble directly on top of someone else’s writing, “work” on your “computer,” and strangely don’t seem to mind how your Play Dough is a now disgusting rusty brown color where it was once bright red, blue, and yellow. For now, though, I’ll sit back and let you bloom before my eyes.

I love you, Asher. You’re a treasure of a little boy.


3 Responses to “Half Birthday”

  • lunagirl35
    August 7, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    This is so sweet! I’m sure Asher will greatly appreciate these when he’s older.


  • kittiliscious
    August 7, 2009 at 7:32 pm


    “too scary!”


  • jaleenafied
    August 8, 2009 at 3:13 am

    so so good. yay mama!


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

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