Dearest Dylan, my Dylbee booshki boo.
We're about 9 days away from your 2nd birthday and I've been preparing this letter to you in my head for the last month or so. Recounting everything that has happened is this 2nd whirlwind of a year. A year in which you have reached many milestones and you have leaped (literally and figuratively) into all sorts of new territories!
Where do I start? When I last wrote to you, you were on the verge of becoming a confident walker. I think it was by month 13/ 14 that you became pretty confident with your steps. With this came a lot of joy, but also a lot of fear on our part. Your new skill meant there was a lot more scope for bumps and bruises, and boy, did you get quite a few of those this year! At some point, a bit later in your second year, your daddy jokingly commented on us 'getting a yearly pass to the 'Accident & Emergency' department. Yes, you visited it a lot! Luckily, so far in your life, there hasn't been a major serious incident (touch wood touch wood touch wood), but you really did know how to scare us! From falling off a slide to having a lamp fall on your head and having your eardrum perforated, you've done it all! Oh, let me not forget to tell about the time that you fell face down into a very shallow pond! Again, you were fine, but we were both in shock for a few hours!
Back to your newfound skills: with the walking also came more dexterity, more consciousness and more understanding of the things around you. It is such a joy for your daddy and me to see you discover, develop and grow into an actual little boy! Sometimes, I look at you, take in the healthy glow of your hair, your round little cheeks, your cheeky beautiful grin and you might utter something funny like 'ciauw' (which is your word for 'cat' – you merged 'miauw' and 'cat' together) and I get so overwhelmed and overcome by love, I could cry.
By about month 16 you finally got the hang of sleeping through the night. Before then we went through many a sleepless night with you, often driving your daddy and me to the point of despair, but as you can see we managed and you survived! ;)
More awareness and independence also came with free will! You often had other ideas about what to do, where to go, where to sit, what to eat than we did! And that wasn't easy at all for us! We really had to work with you to get things done. For instance, putting on t-shirts wasn't something you were always agreeable to unless the t-shirt suddenly started to speak to you and asked you to be his friend or if he could have a hug. Yes, your parents had to be ever so inventive and talented to get you to cooperate with certain activities. Nappy change often involves the iPhone, toys, your dad pulling funny faces or me singing to you! :-) We've come to a point where embarrassing ourselves just to have a cooperative, peaceful and calm nappy change experience is not an issue at all. If I have to go naked to get peace, I'll do it! ;P
Now, about all your adorable, cute, hilarious and downright delicious traits. As off late, you've come to understand that holding two 'thumbs up' can make even the most depressed person smile at you, so you happily throw your thumbs up at anyone and everyone you meet! This makes my head explode sometimes, it's so cute. You also have an incredible capacity for empathy (of this we are incredibly proud and we are also a bit surprised as according to 'the books' this level of empathy is meant to kick in quite a bit later)! As an example of your capacity for empathy: I was having a back ache and lying on the couch and made a move that hurt me, so I screamed out in pain. You saw me, pointed at me, then signed the sign for pain and came to lie with me for about 5 minutes to comfort me. I think you were about 20 months old at that point. Incredible eh! Also, you're not just empathic when it comes to people in pain, you also like to join in on or encourage other's people's fun. For instance, you will often look at another child going down the slide and shout 'wheeeeee' on their behalf. Like you're really enjoying the fact that they (not you) are having fun. You don't seem jealous, or focused on having what someone else has. You like it when other people are happy, which warms my heart so much.
At this point you are also not possessive of toys or other objects, you share freely and often don't want to eat until you've 'fed' food to all the other members in the household including many of the stuffed toys. Though you are only 2 and often have to choose your own needs over other people's needs (because you don't know how to possibly do it differently yet), there is a selflessness and a sweetness about you I don't often encounter in other children. That said, I am your mother so I am utterly biased of course! ;)
Let me tell you more sweet things about you. You love giving kisses and hugs. And there was one evening a month or 2 ago where I was lying on the couch and you decided that I needed a lot, A LOT of kisses. So, you'd climb on the couch, kiss my face a few times, leave, play with something, come back to me and give me more kisses. This went on for about 30 minutes. I don't think I've ever felt more loved and cared for! (Of course I have also felt AS loved by your daddy, but that is another story! :)). I will remember 'the evening of kisses' for a very long time as it was such a special and again seemingly caring and selfless sort of activity on your part. Thank you for that sweet angel.
Now, this year, many of your teeth came through! You now have your 4 lower and upper front teeth, 4 molars and almost all your canines are through! We're waiting for another 4 molars though I'm not looking forward to them because you do become terribly grumpy during teething time (understandably so, don't get me wrong!).
This year also saw you receive your very first bike (ok, three-wheeler) which you love and we also went camping with you for the first time which was super fun for you! Other 'firsters' are: your first experience of snow! Wooh! Your ability to eat with a spoon by yourself! You became a master at sign language. And you started talking albeit it slowly! Your speech has only really come on a lot more in the last month or so! At this point, you can say the following words pretty clearly: horse, doggy, piggy, owl, bike, daddy, mummy, opa (meaning grandpa in Dutch), beans, bar, car, cow, birdies, row row (for boat), shoes, juice, bye bye and I'm sure there are more words I'm forgetting.
You still do a lot of signing too, so the two in combination make you a pretty good communicator although there are many times when you get very frustrated as not all communication between us works smoothly yet, but we're getting there!
Lately you've become really interested in 'Lalaas'. Lalaas' is your chosen term for girls between the age of 4 and 9. No matter which lalaa it is, you follow them around and just want to spend all your time with them! We have no clue why you like them so much or why you call them lalaas, but we think it's adorable!
You also absolutely LOVE anything water-related: jumping in it, splashing with it, throwing it around in a mug, you name it. So bath time is something you thoroughly enjoy!
Our bedtime routine is a time of day I really enjoy as I get to read stories to you ('The Great Monster Hunt' and 'Dinosaurs Love Underpants' are a current favourite) and lie about with you making funny videos of ourselves. You love watching videos of yourself back. It can entertain you endlessly (to our great relief, because when we need a bit of quiet time, we simply shove the iPhone in your face and yay, you're quiet for a bit!). Back to the bedtime routine. By far one of the most tender and loving moments is the moment right after 'boobie milk' and I say: 'shall I blow on your tummy?' And you say 'yes', pull your t-shirt up and then in the pale light of the moon, I blow on your tummy softly and you get the biggest grin on your face. There, that moment, is enough for me to have lived. To experience that tenderness and sweetness in life is such a joy and I often get tears in my eyes when I do it.
Ok, you are trying hard, at the moment, to say all sorts of things. And as I mentioned above, you say many words with great success! Others a little less successful. One of them being your own name. Currently you call yourself “Dabaah”. You're very clear that “Dabaah” is you, because usually, when you say it, you point at yourself. Sweet no? Other words that you've almost got down are: 'sheep' (you say: 'shiip', 'more' you say 'ooore', 'turtle' you say 'dudhle', 'bear' you say: 'doaw', 'there' is 'da' and for mouse you say 'mass'). There are quite a few more fantastic sounds and words you use for things, but I think I might be forgetting them now!
One of your favourite activities at the moment is 'jumping'. You love jumping from the couch to the chair to the footstool. For a while we tried to stop you thinking it could get you killed (and it probably can), but it was simply impossible to stop you unless we tied you down and now you are like an insanely talented jumper! Physically you are generally very skilled, you walk well up and down hills without toppling over, you run well and like I said: jumping is your forte. You also have an excellent sense of balance! Of course, you do still have accidents, and when you do bump into something you get quite angry and 'blame' the item that you bumped into for having 'hurt' you, even if you walked into it. Funny, that once happened with daddy's foot and you were bashing daddy's foot as if it had done you great harm!
When you were about 18 months old, I became pregnant with your brother! (Still am at the moment btw). And we've been trying to introduce the idea of a baby and a brother to you slowly over the months. When we ask you 'Dylan where is the baby?', you come up to my tummy and give it a little poke most of the time. Sometimes, you seem to think that you too have a baby in your tummy! When you grow up you'll learn that that is near impossible. You are again simply adorable when I ask you if you want to give a kiss to the baby and you kiss my tummy with gusto plus hug it/ him too!
We're hoping you'll like having a brother, but we understand it may take some getting used to!
Sometimes, when things don't go the way you want them to go, you find it difficult to manage your temper and the moment can get so heated up, it feels like a Greek Drama. You scream and stamp your little legs and when all else fails, you run over to the table and bite hard into the corner rubber thingie (which is there to protect your head from the sharp bit). As much as I understand that you are not happy and deeply frustrated at that point in time, seeing you bite the table with all your might really makes me laugh; it is incredibly funny to see. So sorry, my sweetheart! I do hope that with your developing skill to communicate you will experience less frustration of this kind!
On food. You're a funny one with food. You have days where you eat heaps and heaps of food and on other days you just pick at some raisins. You are particular about your food and mostly you're still only interested in the stuff we buy from the supermarket. This is frustrating for us as we'd love it if you ate some of the food we cooked instead! There was one incident where we went out, bought all the ingredients of your favourite supermarket pouch food and tried to recreate it ourselves. Your daddy possibly spent about 3 hours on preparing it and when we placed the little bowl of food in front of you, you took one look at it and just turned your head! As if to say: “talk to the hand cus I ain't eating this stuff!”. Let's just say that a zen attitude was very needed for both of us at that moment in time.
Foods you do like at the moment are; bananas, oranges, grapes, raisins, goggogs (yogurt), baked beans, cheese (geeee), bread, bars, crisps, milk, juice, water, vegetable bake pouch, salmon and risotto pouch, fish pie pouch, apples, pears, peaches, all sorts of fruit mix pouches, mush carrots, baby biscuits, pineapple and you'll have the odd bits of food mummy and daddy eat.
Oddly, you're not really into things like cake, icecream and chocolate yet! (Luckily)!
You love your daddy and your daddy loves you. Your dad is fantastic at distracting you when you're upset, he is also your favourite dance partner! Whenever music comes on, your little arms fly up into the air and you want nothing less than to bounce up and down in your daddy's arms.
You also love it when he chases you, though it can sometimes scare you too! But I can tell you now that you never have to be scared of your daddy as he is the most gentle, loving, caring, considerate daddy you could ever ask for. You are very lucky to have the daddy that you have!
Ok, I better finish this letter as it's getting very long!
Oh, I also wanted to tell you 2 more things: you are becoming really good at counting! I love, adore, worship how you say 'six', you say 'sisz' instead, you also say 'seven' really well and you can recognise the first 6 letters of the alphabet! (Sort of).
Lastly: you have really amazing pitch when you sing, which keeps surprising me! You can 'hum' the whole tune of 'twinkle twinkle' little star really well! :)
But mostly: you fill our lives with humour, love, joy, surprise and amazement on a daily basis.
Yes, things aren't always easy, you're only 2 after all and learning everything about life, but I wouldn't want my life without you. You are a bright shining light in our lives dear baby boy. Keep on keeping on. Keep growing, developing and loving like you do!
And thank you, for being here, with us.
I will love you forever.
(Mummy made this cheesecake!)