Month 19

Last week I was home alone with Thomas, and he was chasing Brigham around the house. Then I saw Brigham walk casually into the living room without Thomas behind him. I looked around the corner and didn’t see Thomas. I kept walking and Thomas was no where.

This happens all the time. I lose Thomas in the house. Sometimes he’s just in the playroom, quietly playing. But sometimes he’s in the mudroom, burying himself in cat food. This particular instance, he was standing at the Christmas tree, trying to cut a branch with a pair of scissors.

I grabbed the scissors and when I put them away Thomas disappeared again. I found him in the bathtub, with the shower on.

This is life with Thomas. He is always on the climbing, sneaking, destroying, getting in to something. Nothing surprises me anymore. Once we were playing outside and he walked up to me eating a piece of pizza.

A piece of pizza.

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The thing about Thomas, though, is that when I find him fully-clothed in the shower, he always reacts as if we’re playing a game. As if I had been closing my eyes and counting to ten rather than frantically searching the house.

It’d be like if you crashed your teenager’s party, and instead of being horrified and embarrassed, they said, “Mom! Dad! Great to see you! Grab a beer!”

He loves to laugh and he loves to play. He’s almost always up to no good, but he’s also silly and good-natured. He loves to snuggle, and when you ask him for a kiss he obliges by leaning forward and offering his forehead.

What I’m saying is, if you’re going to live with an arsonist, it’s nice if they have a good personality.

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Maybe the biggest change in the past two months is that Thomas is sleeping through the night.

Well, not REALLY sleeping through the night. It’s just that Tom has taken over Thomas nighttime duties, so I’m sleeping through the night.

Thomas also dropped his morning nap about a week ago, at the ripe old age of 19-months. Or maybe  I should say, I dropped his morning nap. He’d probably still take one, but the kid is 19 months old! I need to get on with my life!

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Thomas is becoming more and more verbal, and he’s really enthusiastic about it. All of his words are said in all caps with an exclamation point; he says DAY! for David, and MAY! for Mary Virginia. He also says GO!, MY!, BALL!, BYE!, HI!, MO! and MAMA! He says Brigham, and that one ends in a question mark because it’s always in the context of a search party: Bon? Bon?

He’s been saying words for several months, but it seems he only recently realized that if he asks for something, I respond. Like, when he says “WA-WA!” I’ll start running around the house and looking in bags, and 15 minutes later will find his water bottle and give it to him. Magic.

When I ask the kids a question like, “Who wants pancakes for breakfast?” Thomas answers first, and emphatically, “MEEE!”

It’s so cute that we do it over and over, Who wants to go to the DMV? MEEEEEE! Who wants to fold laundry? MEEEE!

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The truth is, Thomas would happily go to the DMV or fold laundry if that’s what his brother and sister were doing. When they run to get their shoes, Thomas runs right behind them. He jumps on the couch when they do, he tries to color with them, and when they laugh at something, Thomas joins in with an enthusiastic, hearty baby laugh.

Thomas idolizes his big brother, and David tolerates and even entertains him. Thomas’s relationship with Mary Virginia is more complicated. She wants to be his mother, so she follows him around patting him on the head and taking perfectly appropriate toys out of his hands. Meanwhile, Thomas wants to be her pesky little brother, so he pulls her hair and hits her for no reason; two things he’s never done to David.

Every time Thomas asserts himself I’m sort of surprised. Isn’t he still the baby we tote around everywhere? The third child who’s just along for the ride? Not anymore. Big brother moves his Legos to the table? That’s fine, just climb on the table. Big sister takes away your toy? No problem, just snatch it back and whomp her on the head for good measure.

Thomas is no longer just the baby strapped in a carrier at big kid activities. No, he’s the toddler who climbs to the top of the highest slide with an arm full of fireworks and says “HEY Y’ALL! WATCH THIS!”

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Dear Thomas,

Every time I cook, you run straight to the kitchen and push me away from the counter as if I’m walking toward the edge of a cliff. It’s infuriating but also part of my routine. This is a phase, and it will pass.

After dinner every night, Daddy takes the kids into the other room to do something fun while I clean the kitchen. Sometimes he builds forts, sometimes he plays games, but usually he turns on music and everyone dances. This is one of my favorite routines. I like being able to clean uninterrupted, but I also love watching you guys play and have fun. After a long day it’s a reminder, “Oh yeah! My kids are silly! And fun! And I can enjoy them!”

One night you left the dance party and came to the kitchen. You grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the living room. Your daddy came and retrieved you, but you would not give in. You ran right back to the kitchen and pulled me, over and over, until I joined the dance party.

What a compliment, what a blessing. What a reminder that there’s nothing more important than being together.




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