I sit here tonight trying to think of exactly how to capture the little ball of energy, attitude, and love that is you by simply using words. You see, words are not yet your expertise. And yet, there is soooo much about you that needs capturing at this stage in your life. I'll do my best.
Last night I lay in bed, thinking back two years ago, and I remembered being sooooo anxious to meet you. I was thrilled to be welcoming another little person into the world. And yet, I was also so worried. I was worried about how I would find room in my heart for TWO little people. I worried about how Ryan would adjust to having a baby brother. I worried about how Daddy and I would balance caring for two sweet boys, when we'd just started to feel like we'd mastered caring for one. (Little did we know we'd be welcoming a third little boy less than two years later!) I had so much worry in my heart that night, and it was all for naught. The moment you were born, you just fit perfectly into our life. My heart grew and was filled with more love than I could imagine! You continue to carve out your niche in our family every single day. You are your own little person; truly unique and special.
Zachary, you are full of passion and emotion. You feel strongly about so many things. As I mentioned above you are not yet a masterful talker. Don't get me wrong. You have LOTS of words and you learn new ones every day. You are putting two, and occasionally three words together now and every day you come up with new combinations. Just the other day you started saying, "No, no, Mommy," with such conviction and "I love you too!" The "too" is new and the way you say it just melts my heart. But, because words are not yet your strong point, you often get so darn frustrated when you can't communicate what it is you want to say or when we don't understand what you're saying. You sometimes get so frustrated you just throw yourself down on the ground and yell. You don't really thrown "tantrums" per say, but your little body just can't bare the frustration and you collapse into a puddle. I'm sorry we don't always understand you. But now, and as you get older, I promise I will always do everything I can to understand you and help you no matter what you're thinking, feeling, or experiencing.
You also get so frustrated when Ryan, your ever trying to be helpful big brother tries to talk for you. Sometimes he is able to figure out what you're saying when no one else can. But other times he thinks he knows what you're saying and he's wrong and this makes you so mad. I hate seeing you get so frustrated. But, I am also glad to see you always keep at it. It would be easy to just give up and not try to get your message across. But you don't. You always keep trying. You're very persistent, and we almost always figure it out. I hope this persistence will serve you well throughout life.
Its not just Baby Connor who is the beneficiary of your kindness. Ryan, too is a lucky boy to have you as his brother. Anytime I am getting you a snack, or on occasion, a treat, before I even have a chance to say anything you always say, "Eye-an?" As in, "Make sure you give me some for Ryan." And if I give you two of something, you always give the second one to Ryan, even if I intended them both for you. When Ryan is at preschool and we go to the park or to watch trucks at the construction site, you always ask about him. You say, "Eye-an? Home?" (When will Ryan be home?) Its like you know he's missing out on something fun and you want him to be a part of it. You love your big brother fiercely. You love playing with him and typically, if you and I start to play a game or read a book its not good enough to just have me involved. You want Ryan to be a part of it too. And he, being the great big brother that he is usually obliges you, even when he doesn't really want to. You're lucky boys to have each other and I hope the love you share never, ever fades.
I couldn't effectively capture you at this fun age of two without talking about what a Mama's boy you are. You've always been a pretty clingy little guy. You've always loved being held and snuggled, especially by me. But ever since Connor was born and I was away from home for three nights your "Mama's-boy-ness" has magnified times a thousand. You won't let Daddy tuck you in at night or give you breakfast in the morning and for a while you didn't want to let Daddy change your diaper or get you dressed. "No! Mommy!" is a phrase that probably broke Daddy's heart a few too many times in the past months. And I'm not gonna lie, I love you to PIECES but if you'd let Daddy be a little more involved, that would make life a lot easier. And yet, I know this phase is fleeting, and so, I'm trying at the same time to soak it in. Being a mommy is such an exercise in dichotomies and you seem to constantly put those dichotomies on display!
I have to give Daddy credit. He is tremendously patient with you, and tries really hard to find ways to connect with you and have special time with you despite your mommycentric behavior. You love your Daddy and Daddy loves you sooooo much!
Speaking of people who love you so much, I couldn't write this letter without talking about the special relationship you share with NeeNee and PopPop. You just adore them. As I write this letter, I realize that you, for such a little boy, have done an amazing job of creating unique relationships with many of the people in your life. What I am going to say next is going to make it sound like you love NeeNee and PopPop just for the things they give you. And that is not true at all. Anyone who sees you with them will clearly be able to tell that you just feel comfortable and safe in their presence. But you also look to them for gum (from NeeNee), popsicles (both), and granola bars (PopPop). They give into your every whim and you know it! They practically can't walk in the door to our house or you into theirs without you immediately asking for something! But, like I said, you feel comfortable and safe when you're with them, and this was most clear when I was in the hospital after Connor was born. You certainly weren't thrilled with being away from Mommy for those 3.5 days, but you held it together, and did great, and that is a testament to the relationship you share with NeeNee and "BopBop." You are one very, very, lucky boy.
I keep having to pause and think as I write this letter. I don't want to miss anything. I want to make sure I accurately capture the engaging, happy little boy that you are.
In addition to the many people I have talked about that you love, you also love trains (boy do you love trains!), Elmo, and Curious George. You love playing with my iPad, even though I don't let you do it very often. You love playing with trucks and reading books, especially ones about, you guessed it, trains. You love all things sweet (you get that from your Daddy) especially "pops" (lollipops), "dunks" (donuts), and cake.
You are able to play independently quite well. You will sit on the floor and look through books by yourself or push around your trucks and cars all by yourself without a care in the world as to whether anyone joins you. This is IMMENSELY helpful when I am getting dinner ready. And yet, at the same time, often, you will notice that I am making dinner and you then immediately want to help. Sometimes I can convince you to cook dinner along side me at your play kitchen. But sometimes that is not good enough. You want to be in on the action with me. And you're actually a pretty good helper! You follow directions very well, and if I didn't have to worry about you falling (off the chair you're standing on so you can see) you wouldn't be much of a hindrance at all.
You are rather physically adept. You climb and run and throw a ball like you've been doing it forever. You can nearly keep up with your big brother on the playground, and when you can't boy do you try! You have little to no fear, and while its fun to watch you play with reckless abandon, its also a little nerve wracking. But, as a Mommy to three boys I am learning to put my nerves aside and let you run, and jump, and play with all the energy you can muster.
Another word that comes to mind when trying to describe you is "imp." I just went and looked up its meaning, as its one of those words that I just know what it means, and yet couldn't describe it well. The definition is "a mischievous child." And if I had to add to that I would say, "a mischievous child who knows they are being mischievous." I remember one day when you, Ryan, and Daddy had gone on your weekly grocery shopping followed by Dunkin' Donuts trip. You had brought me back a Donut which was sitting in the bag on the counter in the kitchen. We had all been playing a game together in the family room when suddenly I realized you weren't with us anymore, and you were very quiet. Where did I find you? Sitting on the counter eating my donut. When I walked into the kitchen you just smiled the biggest smile with half a donut still hanging out of your mouth. There could simply be a picture of you next to the word "imp" in the dictionary!
Zachary, you are a kiddo that doesn't hold back. You express love and anger, and joy, and frustration with your whole self. You express it with words and action. You are fiercely loyal and devoted. You are kind and sensitive. You are playful and silly. You are my little boy, and I love you so very, very, very much. You are a wonderful son, brother, and grandson. In a few years, as you begin to truly develop relationships with your peers I know you will become an amazing friend as well. We are so glad you are a part of our family. We wouldn't be the Cam Fam without YOU!
Happy 2nd Birthday, sweet boy! I love you so!