Xander and I were running some errands a couple of days ago and it occurred to me that soon he will stop that adorable flap-flap-flap toddler gait and that it will be gone forever! He is officially no longer a baby, even if he'll always be *my* baby. I think if you're old enough to pretend to be a baby, you're probably not a baby any more. Hard to believe that the tiny baby who smiled at us the night of his birth and only just turned one is now a little boy!
One of my favorite things about this age is the appreciativeness two-year-olds have for the world. They have few expectations and take great delight in everything. Everything is still fresh and new, but now they have the ability to tell you about it. "Mom, look! Christmas lights!" Or this exchange from last Saturday:
X: Where going?
J: We're going to Williamsburg.
D: Or, as I like to call it, "The magical land of Williamsburg, where history comes alive!"
Adam reflected today that on Luke's birthday, he had no way at all of knowing what was in his presents, no expectations of what the packaging might contain, and each revelation (most having something to do with trains) was met with rhapsodies of pleasure. Christmas will be extra-fun this year for our families because of these kids who live so fully in the moment!
Xander has been working hard at growing up, probably in an effort to keep up with two older brothers, whom he adores. He and Griff are SO precious together. Xander is devoted to Griff, who returns the adoration and often reads to him or walks hand-in-hand with him. They are the sweetest brothers ever, with a special connection since Xander's birth. Reese and Xander have recently become buddies and often invite each other to join in some game or building project; watching their relationship develop is interesting and rewarding. Unlike his brothers, who were each more attached to one parent at this age, he focuses pretty evenly on both parents. He asks for "mommy snuggles" and "daddy snuggles" all the time, although one recent development is that he'll playfully tell me "yuck!" and wipe his face after I kiss him. Where did he learn that?
As social as ever, he greets people everywhere he goes and usually enjoys hamming it up. He and Luke are still best buds and I love hearing them talk together from the back seat of the car - usually something like this:
X: Luke, look! Big truck!
X: Over there!
L: Oh, I see it!
They also tell each other jokes all the time and recently seem to be making plans together. I keep imagining them as teenagers. Not sure whether to look forward to those days or cower in fear. They're both devastatingly charming and mischievous. Look out!
Xan has way more adults in his social circle than his brothers had at his age, and I enjoy seeing how important these people are to him. He looks forward to seeing the teachers at the preschool, especially Anna, Kara, and Page (who, I'll admit, are some of my favorite people, too). He greets our friends, he asks to go visit Aunt Johannah and Brody. It's great to see that he has a sense of himself as part of a bigger community. Part of his community is also the places we go - this kid also has a greater knowledge of stores and restaurants than his brothers had, and knows exactly where he wants to go. He recently gave me a very detailed order for a burger with pickles and ketchup from 5 Guys.
His cognitive skills never cease to amaze me. While he's not using as advanced pronouns and syntax as his buddy Luke, he is able to string together an enormous amount of content and tells me long, complex things, makes intricate requests, and tells detailed stories. He's always been an impressive communicator and doesn't show signs of slowing down. It's so much fun! He's always asking me what things are and then repeating it back to me, or asking me "what mean?" He's also into building things lately - machines made of tinker toys, tall stacks of blocks - and loves to doodle. His fine motor coordination is awesome. His sense of imagination is also surprising to me. He loves to pretend he's a puppy, and often tells me that he's changing the poopy diapers on small toys, which requires a tiny piece of toilet paper to use as a wipe.
His favorite books are still the tales of Curious George, which we read nightly with him and Reese, after which Xander hops up, gives me a kiss and a hug, and then pads out the door to find Daddy for a song and tuck-in. Not quite as adorable: he still wakes up multiple times a night. Oof! Someday everybody will get to sleep all night, right? On the up side, he's been night weaned for a long time. He shows no signs of being ready to give up mommy milk entirely, though.
He's the most adventurous eater of the three boys, a trait which I hope he maintains, but which I fear will fade; already he's hitting the two-year-old dinnertime pickiness. He loves baby yoga and sings a lot - either made up sing-song tunes with lyrics of his own devising, or standards like "twinkle, twinkle, little star," "row, row, row your boat," "happy birthday," or "jingle bells". He frequently mushes songs together, with amusing results.
I could probably go on forever about this kid, he's a lot of fun. I asked him what we would do for his birthday, and he told me "cupcakes", so we made sure to have some for him today, complete with M&Ms and brothers to help him blow out the candles:
Parting shot: a look back at 4-month old Xander giggles:
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