Dear Rowan,

On Monday you fell off the bed and sprained your arm.  Your left arm.  That’s tough stuff for an active, independent, left-handed toddler.  Once again though, you taught me a lesson in adaptability, patience, and good ol’ fashion relaxing.

I am not exactly stellar at any of the above.  Life has a way of forcing you to learn what you need to learn, though, and who am I to ignore these lessons?  Oh, not to mention that if you try to fight it, it’s just going to come back and bite you in the butt.  So, Rowan, when things get hard, it just means God has something to teach you.  Don’t fight it, it’ll just make things harder.

Since you hurt your arm, all you really want to do is watch Air Bud.  It’s a cheesy movie about a golden retriever that plays basketball.  You love it.  No, you are OBSESSED with it.  The first couple times we watched it, I just enjoyed cuddling with you.  We snuggled, you asked me to marry you, complete with slipping a plastic purple ring onto my pinkie.  You then asked me, “Marry me means?”  I told you it meant we’d love each other for forever.  You laughed and said it would only be two more hours.  I guess the sanctity of marriage really is on the rocks… 

Anyway, after about the fourth viewing of Air Bud, I couldn’t take it any more, and started to fidget.  I was paying bills, piling books, anything I could do while sitting in a chair with you on my lap.  You were not impressed and told me to stop touching your arm.  It hurt.  So I stopped, wrapped my arms gently around you, and we watched the movie together.  This time you had my full attention, and I know you can’t express it, but I could tell by how you put your head on my shoulder that you appreciated it.  Sometimes I wonder who is the adult in this relationship.

This morning you were feeling SO much better.  You even dismantled a train flashlight, one-handed.  You figured out how to control your world with one hand really quickly.  Faster than I could have adjusted.  You’re so adaptable, you make me want to be more like you.  When your world suddenly changed on you, you easily went with the flow, and didn’t even stumble. 

My favorite though, was when you sat yourself in your red chair, in the center of the play room, and did a one handed version of “The Itsy-bitsy Spider”.  Priceless.

I’m glad you’re feeling better Rowan. 

Love, Mama

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Dear Rowan,

Thank you for waking me up at 12:30 last night, so we could spend some quality time together.  It was wonderful to spend two hours with you in the middle of the night, listening to you whine about how you wanted to go to the living room and play, and banging on the metal bed frame, so you could hear it echo.  I’m sure all the other people in the house that were actually sleeping last night were glad to hear that you were awake and all was well.

I really appreciate your concern for my sleeping habits.  I understand that sleeping too much can be an indication of mental and physical health issues, so the prevention of sleep that you provide is really just your way of helping me stay healthy.  You can be so thoughtful!

Rowan, let’s just assume that Mommy is healthy and wants a full night’s sleep tonight, and leave it at that.  I understand that the prospect of eight hours away from me can be daunting, I mean, come on, I’m a fun Mom!  Instead of waking me up to inform me that you are up, why don’t you check your email, read a book, write a poem, or just lie there quietly, carefully planning your future.  I don’t think those are unreasonable options.

You are a unique little man, one that doesn’t require much rest, and I respect that about you.  I would just like you to respect that I need a solid eight hours if I am going to operate at full capacity. 

I love you Rowan, and it’s a darn good thing you are cute.  I mean, come on, I’m pretty sure that smile of yours is the main cause of global warming.

Love, Mamma

Dear Rowan,

WOW!  You are really good at this being two years old stuff!  You go so far above and beyond to find the most ridiculous, soul crushing, bone grinding, situation to tantrum over.  Let’s take this afternoon for instance.   I had given you a plate with baby carrots on it, and a small cup, filled half way with dip.  You had placed the cup on your plate, and started walking carefully towards Great’s room.  About half way there you realized that the time you have with your mother is truly priceless, and you couldn’t bear to be apart from me for a single second longer.  As soon at the realization made its way through your brain and shot out of your fingers, your plate was on the floor, the dressing  splattered across the hardwood floor.  If only you could have managed to do that on a canvas, we could have hung it in a gallery, and claimed it was a Jackson Pollock original.  We could have been millionaires.  You really should have thought that through better.

You came bounding towards me, already poised to turn on the meltdown switch.  In the very millisecond in took for the tip of the first carrot hit the floor, you let forth a wail, that could have darkened the sky over the entire town  for months.  You were inconsolable for ten full minutes.  You didn’t want  Mommy.  You didn’t want more carrots or more dip.  You didn’t want me to help you back into Great’s room.  It took me an embarrassing mount of time to realize that all you really wanted to do was cry.  Just cry.  You just needed a place: an emotional place, and a physical place.  So I gently set you on the floor, surrounded you with pillows, and left you there.  You stopped screaming for half a minute, looked at me, and wordlessly I told you to go ahead and let it all out.  And you did.  You kicked and screamed, and threw pillows, and yelled.  I calmly told you to keep going, and get all your frustrations out.  About five minutes later, the whole debacle turned into a fit of giggles and belly laughs.  It drew to a perfect close with you and I curled up on top of a pile of  the pillows, your head on my shoulder, my hand resting on your sweaty head.  “Feel better, Sweet Potato?  “Hub Mom.”  “Yeah, I hub you too kiddo.”

For as many crazy wild-child  moments there are, there are always one or two spectacular moments to not only neutralize the previous situation, but to cancel it out all together.  You came to me with the laundry basket on wheels, and parked in at my feet.  You stood to the right of the basket, leaning into it casually, one arm swinging freely inside the plastic rectangle.  You looked at me, without saying anything other than, “basket!”  Yes Rowan, it’s a basket. “Please Momma.  Ride?”  I could not say no to those eyes and that lopsided grin…I heaved your 23 pound self into the basket, and away we went.  Soaring through the kitchen at .3 mph, your giggles filling every space, we slid around the corner hoping to collide with the couch.  Alas, it a door frame.  All is well though, as I throw my body into the space between the door and the basket, your bobble head impression came in very handy here, and your humongous head hit my shoulder first, ricocheted off the edge of the basket, and came to rest on  my chest.  “You okay?” I asked  “FUUUUN MOMMA!”  AGAIN!  DID IT!”

I suggested to you that we read your favorite book instead.  Delighted, you brought me, “Olivia” and we sat side by side on the couch.  You can recite that book word for word, but you still insist I read it to you.  About 3/4 of the way into the riveting story about a little girl who wears her mother out, you halt the story, and skip to your favorite part.  It’s the part where Olivia copies her favorite painting on the wall of her bedroom.  You always say, “No no no, Olivia!” at this part, and giggle like mad because she gets a time out.  I find this ironic, because if I even threaten you with a time out, you start to cry.  Anyway, you had me read it to you about four times, before I  insisted you stop stalling, and go to bed.

Exhausted from your afternoon of lung exercises, you were  refreshingly compliant about going to bed.  It wasn’t long before we were squeezed comfortably in your toddler bed together, ready to say your nightly prayers.  You talked to God about your day, thanking Him for you trains, your Nana and Bapa, and taggies.  I don’t have to walk you through this anymore, you can manage on your own now, thank you very much.

It was a good day, Rowan, and I love your emotional self.  Thank you for letting me go through these years with you, it is truly an honor.

Love, Mama.

Dear Rowan,

Last photo bfore he turns TWO!!!!

This is your last picture as a little one year old baby.  I am going to miss that sweet baby.  I’m going to miss your “close your eyes, throw back your arms, and jump!” approach to life.  I’m going to miss your 100% dependence on me.  I don’t want you to be dependent on me for the rest of you life, I just appreciate the time in your life that you were.  I will miss your baby squeals, your ever-questioning look, and the way you hug taggie while snuggled up under my chin.  I will miss this phase of your life, that I will never get back.   

  Here is something I know without a doubt, YOUR TWO YEAR OLD SELF IS GOING TO BE AMAZING.  You are going to be strong and confident, and gentle and chivalrous.  

You are an amazing human being.  Mommy will also be here for those days and moments where you feel a little less than awesome.  We’ll get though them.  We always get through everything.

I”ll love you always.

Love, Mama

Dear Rowan,

This morning you gave me my first unsolicited “I love you.” 

We were sitting on your playroom floor, surrounded by trains, and tunnels, and tracks.  We’d been pushing around Thomas and Spencer for a while, when you left to find Rosie.  She was right where you left her, in a cardboard box, usually reserved for tea.  The tea had been relocated to the silverware drawer, or course. 

You came charging back into the room, Rosie in hand, threw your arms around my neck, and said, “HUUUUB EEEWE!”

At that moment I was prepared to give you anything your heart desired.  That would have been a oportune time to ask for that John Deere 9400 tractor you’ve been lusting after.  You didn’t though, and the moment passed quickly for you. 

I’m still feeling a bit of warmth from that 10 second interaction.  I’m raising a tender-hearted boy, and I can’t help but feel proud.  You are a sweet boy, and if there was one characteristic that I would wish for you to take from childhood to manhood, it would be that.

Oh, and Rowan? 

I Hub Ewe too.

Love, Mom

Dear Rowan,

I think it’s great that you want to eat vegetables all the time.  It’s a little strange that you beeline for the freezer in the morning, and then whine until I pour some frozen peas in a bowl for you, but then again, you’re a toddler.  You do some odd things from time to time.  Like lick Bapa’s chair.  And hoard batteries.  And talk to the knots in the wooden furniture.  But I digress.

Last night we were all sitting around and having root beer floats, and I offered to make you a small one.  You aren’t allowed to have soda, so I thought this would be a nice treat for you.  You dragged your chair over to the counter to watch me prepare the dessert.  After plopping a scoop of vanilla ice cream into your space ship cup, I saw the oh-so-familiar look of a tantrum coming on.  Your body went limp, your face scrunched up, and you let out your first wail of utter distress.  I calmly asked what you needed, but you were screeching too loud to hear.  Or care.  I kneeled down, took your hands in mine, and looked you in the eye.  “Rowan, when you are ready to tell me how I can help you, come find me.”  Then I left you to wallow in your misery of being a neglected and unloved child.  

A few minutes later you appeared, still wracked with sobs, your face blotchy and tear-streaked.  Interestingly enough, I had zero sympathy for you.  Wordlessly you took my hand and led me to the refrigerator.  I opened the door and lifted you up to stand in main compartment.   One by one you pointed out what you wanted, and a few minutes later the counter was littered with various vegetables and dips.  Together we cut up some carrots, a cucumber, some broccoli, and of, all things, a radish.  I got three small dishes and you squeezed some dressing into each one.  We took our medley and retreated to your pop-up tent on the back porch.  You happily ate every single bite, while jabbering away about the fly desperately trying to simultaneously escape the tent, and sample your ranch dressing.

“Rowan, you’re an odd duck.”

“Quack! Num, num, num.  BUG!”

“I rest my case.”

I love you just the same, Kiddo.

Love, Mom

Dear Rowan,

I don’t mind that you follow me into the bathroom whenever I go.  It doesn’t really bother me that you empty the cabinet that holds the lotions, some bath toys, and other harmless junk, EVERY time you’re in there.  I’m okay with the fact that this morning while you had your back to me, you unwrapped four tampons and threw them into the still-damp-from-your-bath tub.  I can handle the fact that you figured out how to get the lid off a tub of vaseline and you rubbed it on the wall.  Do you know how hard it is to get that crap off walls?  No, you don’t, because I, your loving mother, cleaned it off while you sat on the floor eating strawberries and watching like I was your own personal floor show!  I can even deal with your desire to throw my toothbrush down the heating vent.  But Rowan, please, please STOP FLUSHING THE TOILET BEFORE I AM DONE!

Love, Mom