Thursday, January 22, 2015


I wrote this letter the night before Marty's birthday, Dec. 5, as Richard and I sat in bed talking and laughing and crying (only I cried) about how much we love our little buddy.  And, although it seems impossible, I think that in just shy of 2 months we love him even more than we did that night.

Dear Marty Boy,

Happy birthday!  You are 2 years old today (at exactly 4:17 PM).  Though I still call you my baby.  You will always be my baby.  And you think it's funny when I call you that.  I love making you laugh, and it's not hard to do.  I love the way you like to snuggle when you're first waking up, either in the morning or after a nap.  You still go after Daddy's ears like they might fall off his head at any moment and you just have to get in all the time with them that you can before they do.  And now, you've started nuzzling your face into the crook of my elbows.  I've stretched out many a long-sleeved shirt in order to bare my elbows for you, but I don't mind. 

You have more energy than anyone I know, and I love watching you use it.  You're always running, you rarely walk from point A to point B, and you jump more than anyone/thing I've ever seen.  You're a really good jumper, too - on the couch, the bed, the floor, chairs, stairs, you name it, you'll jump on it.  And you usually want us to watch you do it, too.  We love it when you say, "Daddy/Mommy, watch!"  Your jump is actually also part of your collection of signature dance moves.  Spinning in circles, shaking your booty and wiggling your hips, waving your arms around and flapping them like chicken wings are all in there, too, but the jump is really where it's at.  You're currently perfecting your "spin move" and incorporating it into as many parts of the day as you can: as we walk/run to the car, walk down the sidewalk, or jumping on the couch.  You even make your cars do spin moves as you drive them around the coffee table and furniture.  Speaking of cars, you're kind of obsessed.  Not only with cars, though.  Tractors, trucks, buses, bikes, trains, and especially ambulances are all part of the obsession.  I think it's safe to say that you almost always have a car in at least one of your hands, whether you're in the tub, climbing a ladder to a slide, or reading a book.  Your cars/trucks/tractors/trains are never far from reach.  Racing.  Did I mention the racing?  You can run from one end of the driveway and back again for, well, probably days at a time.  And the great thing is, you want us to do it with you.  We also race around the house when it's too cold outside, and when you need a break, you lay down and say you need to do some "feeping" (sleeping), and then 5 seconds later we're at it again.  I'm glad you want us to be a part of your races and your fun.

You're so smart.  I know I'm biased because you're my son, but I just think you are so smart!  You can count to ten (usually on your own terms, not often on command), and you do best when we play hide and seek.  Hide and seek is pretty fun to play with you because you love to find and be found - if you think it is taking us too long to find you, you start growling to draw us in, or just jump out and do that irresistible growl-laugh you do when you're really excited.  Back to counting:  you're favorite numbers seem to be six and seven, but Daddy and I have both heard you count from 1 to 10 without skipping any numbers.  You have a memory like an elephant.  We check out new books every week or two when we go to story time at the library, and before we return them you've got them memorized.  I know this because as I read them I will pause at the end of every other sentence and you will finish it for me.  And you will even mimic the way that I say them (like growling when I say "vroom," or making your voice higher to say "hooray!").  You're getting so good with colors - you've know green, blue, red, orange, yellow, pink and purple.  Even if you tell us that most things are "boon" (blue).  You're a singer, too, you know.  You can't really carry a tune quite yet, but you love when we sing songs, and you'll help us out with the words just like when we read stories.  Baa baa black sheep is probably your all-time favorite, and the one that you request most often, but you also love "ring around the rosy," "popcorn popping on the apricot tree," "once there was a snowman," "I am a child of God," and "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam," among others.  You love to look at books and be read to.  Your favorite books right now are "Bob's birthday," "Go, Dog, Go," Mr. Doodle had a Poodle," "Green eggs and ham," "Monsters, Inc.," and the musical book of nursery rhymes.

For only being 2, you sure have a lot of friends.  Every morning when you look outside and see the Hyers' house across the street, you immediately start asking to play with Hudson.  He may be two years older than you, but you guys play together pretty well.  And little Esther loves playing with you, too.  You always have fun when we meet the Johnson twins at the Tree House Museum, and it's pretty clear that you love playing with Emma while Mom is visiting teaching.  My favorite is watching you play with Maddie ("Mannie"), though.  You run and laugh and play and wrestle and dance better with her than any other friend, and it always sounds like you're being tortured when we have to leave her house.  I'm glad you have so many little buddies, and I hope that it stays that way.  Good friends are important.  They matter.  I think you're also starting to make friends in Nursery at church.  You have come so far since that first awful day at Nursery, when we were both in tears.  You still don't like going to the church, I think because you're worried we will leave you, but as soon as you walk in that door and take your teachers the star with your picture on it, you're happy to be there.  And we love picking you up - it is the highlight of being at church for us.  It was only about two months ago that we asked you what you did, and you actually answered us - you told us that you sang songs, and played with toys and bubbles.  It melted our hearts, and we were so glad and relieved that you were happy about it.  When we're pretending to be on the phone, you always call one of your friends (usually Hudson or Maddie).  You ask them how they are doing, and then you tell them about elephants.  Even when we are really on the phone with someone, like Daddy or grandpa or grandma, you almost always tell them about elephants.  Sometimes we haven't seen or talked about them for days, but it seems they are just always on your mind.

Your favorite foods include pizza, pesto pasta, pickles, pears, oranges (canned or fresh, you love them all!), macaroni and cheese, blueberries, quesadillas, cheese of any kind, hummus (you don't even need chips), tomatoes, goldfish/fishy crackers, bacon, fruit snacks and gummy vitamins, juice, suckers, ice cream, and popcorn.  Oh my, you love popcorn!  You call it "pop pop," and we love making it for you when we have a family movie night.  We also love that you love movies.  It used to be that you only had eyes for Elmo, but your movie interests have expanded to include the likes of animated films as well.  We've gone through long stretches where you'll watch only one movie, but thus far they've been really good ones: Wreck it Ralph, Monsters, Inc., Cars, Frozen, and currently you're quite smitten with Tangled.  I swore, before I had you, that I'd never let my kids watch movies.  What did I know?  We love watching them with you, and seeing you be excited by a story or character.  We love cuddling up on the couch as a little family, and then dancing like crazy to the music that plays during the credits at the end.  You also love to dance like crazy to Daddy playing guitar, but only if it's "loud" and "fast."  You get frustrated when he starts to slow things down or do some finger picking.

Your smile is to die for.  It was Labor Day weekend when you started to really cheese it.  You squint your eyes as much as possible, scrunch up your cheeks, and grin like the silly, goofy boy that you are at your core.  And now when we ask you for a smile, that is what we get.  It never ever disappoints us.

Some things that you really don't like are brushing your teeth, having your hair washed, getting in the car seat (sometimes), when Daddy stops throwing you high into the air, and coming inside before you're done playing.

You love dogs, but still get a little nervous around them.  You love cats so much that I think you might hug one to death someday.  I will try to prevent that for all our sakes.  You love jumping on your bed naked, and you're starting to tell me when you poop and want to sit on the potty.  You love your grandparents on both sides.  You still suck your left thumb and rub your right ear (and we still think that's ok).  You pick your nose and eat the boogers you get out if we don't snatch it away first.  You have one volume: LOUD. You love to help with laundry, and by help I mean make a mess of it.  You like to drive your cars on the inside of the dishwasher.  You laugh pretty hard when we try to kiss you at the same time (3-kiss!), and you love to separate Mommy and Daddy when they kiss each other.  Most nights it takes both of us to get you to sleep, Daddy first, then Mommy.  You've got a great throw (no matter what it is that you're throwing).  You love to help Daddy play the guitar, and you like to use picks to do it.  You also love to sit on Dad's lap and play the drums, and "help" Mommy vacuum.

More than anything, you're a sweet, smart, funny, happy, energetic, and loveable little boy.  You make us the happiest and proudest parents in the world, and you occupy the biggest space in our hearts.  Thinking about how much I love you brings tears to my eyes, and a smile to my face.  Thanks for making our lives what they are - it's sometimes hard to remember what they were before you got here, because they are so much better and fuller now.

Happy birthday, buddy.  We love you.