my first's second

dear judah,

today you are two! 730 days ago we were in the hospital working hard to get you into our arms. then we blinked and now you are a running, jumping, galloping, will-exerting, boundary-testing, nonstop-chatting little tyrant of our hearts.

man, what an awesome year it has been for you. right after your first birthday you started to be able to follow simple commands ("judah, stomp it out!") and say a few words (da-da, car, ball) and today you give us commands non-stop and can communicate almost anything you need us to know. this explosion in our two-way communication has been the greatest unfolding in our parenting lives. it has added such a fun and heart-warming new element to being your parents.

despite my efforts to stop it, you are obsessed with buzz lightyear and lightning mcqueen. you have tiny little figurines of both thanks to some of your extended family members and you really cant stand to go anywhere without them. this fills up both of your hands and drives me nuts. i am trying to keep them localized for bedtime only but it's very hard to resist when you chirp, "way-uh buzz go?" or lamentably wail, "white-neeeeeeeeeg."

your little sponge brain blows my mind. we took you to a braves game in april and tried to teach you the tomahawk chop. you did pretty well. not being huge baseball fans, that was the last you heard about the bravos. until a week ago when we were leaving for tennessee and i got a little hyper and started stomping around our house yelling and clapping "let's go braves! let's go braves!" for no real reason. my jaw hit the ground when you watched me do this and then said "chop chop," while doing the motion. somehow you remembered that the braves that i was yelling about were the same ones that you do the chop for. so cool! hooray retention!

another really cool moment was in february wen you had your galoshes (puddle jumpers as we call them) on outside after a rain had come through. you were about 20 months old. you started jumping in puddles and saying, "i elmo. i elmo" i could not figure out why you were elmo all of a sudden and then i remembered an episode of sesame street you had watched the week before where elmo goes splashing in the rain. thats a few leaps of knowledge and memory and application right there.

probably the coolest thing for me this year has been you finally losing some of your emotional daddy-only tether and wanting me more and more. it got pretty bad right before layla was born. we would both be in your room putting on your jammies and getting ready for bed and you would look up at me, pat me on the shoulder and say, "bye bye ma-ma," with a little wave. dismissing me. it was 40% hilarious and 60% heart-breaking.

but something changed in the ensuing months. maybe it was layla coming in to the picture or maybe it was me being home more , or maybe it's just phases that kids go through, but whatever it is, i love it! now if you get a bump or a bruise or are feeling yucky, you tend to ask for me first, and lately you instruct me, "mama kiss it." you run to me right when i get home whispering, "mama, mama!" right before you body slam me with a hug which you have always done with your dad. i love hearing you in the other room say, "way-uh mama go?"

you have been 100% the most amazing big brother to layla. we were a little worried about you being so young (17 months!) when she arrived and not understanding how fragile she would be and how gently you would need to treat her (dont stomp the baby!), but boy did you surprise us there. your two reactions to her presence those first 3 months were: ignoring her or giving her hugs and kisses. best options ever!

you love to "help yay-yuh" by giving her a binky or her paci (even if it may have been you who took it from her to begin with). i hear you in the back seat saying, "hi yay-yuh! hi yah-tuh!" over and over again like a little conversation. you love to reach in and hold her hand while yall ride. now that she is starting to crawl and babble you are paying slightly more attention to her, "haha! yah-yuh tawkin'!" or when she starts grabbing one of your toys, you are learning about sharing and taking turns very well. and you probably get away with some big brotherly bullying because layla is so laid back and doesnt tattle on you.

you have become very attached to and in love with your 2 grandfathers. you fell asleep on the way up to tennessee and in the middle of REM yelled out "pop-pop!" and then fell immediately back to sleep. and any time we drive on a gravel road, you get really excited and start yelling for "grandaddy!" because the dukes live off a gravel road and you think we're going to see them. you love your grandmas too and they are the ones that do most of the work when you stay with them and who take care of you the best, but all versions of daddy, grand or regular, have your little heart for now.

toddler tantrums started full force this year too. i have got to say, they are mostly just hilarious to us. you are SOOOOO dramatic. you like to get a running start and throw yourself to the floor wailing when something doesn't go your way. there is also a version where you totally fake cry by tilting your head waaaaay back, closing your eyes and opening your mouth so wide to yell/cry. its so fake and SO over the top. but you ruin it by stopping to peek out and see if it is working on us. you do time out like a champ and go whenever we tell you to (though as of today you have to stay in it for 2 minutes per offense rather than just 1 minute). you also obey very well when i start counting to 3. sometimes i will tell you to do something and you will do it without me having to get serious and count and you will look at me and go, "oooonnnnneeee.....twoooooo," and it cracks me up because i didnt have to use that method but you know i would have if you hadn't been listening.

you also are great at apologizing. if you throw something at someone, or hit or push you must always go back and say sorry. we ask you to give a hug and a kiss to your victim as well. but for some reason you always add a little wave-like rubbing motion as if you are rubbing away the boo-boo that you caused. so you say, "sawy mommy," while waving at my arm where you pushed me. its very adorable if completely perfunctory.

we are still really slacking on your potty training. you do great at my parents house because they are vigilant about giving you chances to use the potty, but we are too lazy i guess. i was giving you a chance after your nap last week to use your potty because that is when we have the most success with #2's. but you only went #1 so i let you go around without a diaper until the #2 arrived. i thought certainly you;d know there wasn't a diaper and you would tell me before the poop came (plus i was asking you every 2 minutes). well i turned around to do some quick cutting for a sewing project and you walked up to me in the kitchen wearing all suddenly brown socks! i followed your little footprints of horror backward to 2 big judah-patties right on the carpet (steam cleaners are coming in june). it was amazingly gross. so maybe if you cant grasp "pooping on the carpet is no good" right now, you dont fully understand the why's of potty training in general.

speaking of why's, at about 22 months you started dropping that question on us all the time, even though i wasnt expected it until a few more years. i dont think you even really know that you are asking for an explanation, but you do the ask-why-over-and-over-again-after-i-answer-each-one like 4 and 5 year olds tend to do oh-so-annoyingly. one day you "why'd" me all the way back to the issue of slavery. when you dropped "wwwwwooooooohhhhiee?" on me for why slavery existed i knew i was being played.

you are so amazingly cool and cute and sweet and inquisitive and feisty and wild and loving. i wouldnt change a single thing about you. except maybe your vicious summer foot odor.

note his left hand

left AND right hand (lightning and chick hicks). i LOVE his sassy pointing.

happy birthday, my boy!


  1. happiest of days to that handsome boy!

  2. Stellar, Keight...you captured him, and he's captured your heart--just the way it should be!

    Wonder what he was thinking when we sang Happy Birthday on the phone this am...weren't they at my party on Sat.? Don't they remember singing to me then?? He is one incredibly bright, indescribably precious, and irresistibly charming little grandson. Just want to kiss and hug him right now!!!