our camera is back from being repaired (for free, thanks to my threats).
so you know what that means...more poorly-composed, ineptly edited photos that are super high-res! i know we can all breathe a sigh of relief now that we're back to that standard.
i wanted to get a picture of the still-groggy layla. i opened the door because our house gets NO LIGHT and because i like the door. i ended up with a bunch of cute shots of lady blue eyes, but this one gave the unintended bonus of some judah hijinks.
he is prancing in glee and his jugular is bulging with a dose of testosterone because he spotted, driving by the house just then, a "BIG DUM TRUHCK!"
this kid has become SO. MUCH. FUN. i can pinpoint almost the exact moment that the switch flipped between needy, boundary-testing, baby boy and awesome, fun kid. it was right at his half birthday. evidently 2.5 is his magic number.
at 2.5 he became fully potty trained. i should note for posterity's sake: we stopped putting him in a pullup at night because he woke up with them dry so many times. in a month of this, he has peed in the bed only twice, waking us up to tell us, "mai have peepee be ewry way-urh."
at 2.5 he stopped the egregious daddy-preferring and started seeing the awesomeness that is mommy. this has been HUGE and only with the grace of god (like, literally and blindly begging for it in the moments of brutal rejection) was i able to get through that period with a smile and some creative distractions that didnt give him REAL reasons to like me less.
after jesse reads him a story, prays with him and sings a song (she'll be coming round the mountain is his new favorite. it has supplanted the song that jesse wrote especially for him before he was born. great taste, judah. sheesh), he demands, "mommy come sing me superman song." if it takes me longer than 5 seconds to get back to his room, he comes to the door and calls down the hall, "mommy, come snuggle me!" obviously, i wait longer every time just so i can hear this. i come running down the hall saying, "you better get in that bed!" and he goes wild and capers off, throwing himself back in bed (i assume he has perfect baby night-vision, because i cant see squat when i enter the room, yet he has never once missed the opening on the side of his bed where the rail isnt).
i say, "what should we do now?" as we burrow under the blanket.
judah: "seeng superman song"
me: "oh, how does that one start?"
judah: "draaaaagon tay-uhls"
me: "then what?"
judah: " water be WIIIIIIDE"
me: "and then?"
judah: "pie-ruhts say-uhl"
me: "and then?"
judah: "loss boys FIIIIIE!"
and then i proceed to butcher that amazing song. judah doesnt mind. he sometimes sings along, catching the last syllable of each verse or so. sometimes he will be totally silent and then just pop in for one word in the last verse or something. these lyrical ambushes are amazing.
after the song is over, i say, "what should we do now?" and he usually says "snuggle me," or sometimes, "mommy pray." if i ask what we should pray for he ALWAYS says "junky moes," first. he means monkey joes, the bounce house play place. this is first among his many blessings.
then i tell him that i am going bye bye. for awhile this was hard and he would cry or beg me to stay and snuggle more. this was like water in the desert for me and i ended up staying for LONG times and he would still cry and cry when i left and it was not fun.
now i ask him the same thing that i ask when i get ready to leave him at church or with a babysitter:
me: "are you going to cry?"
me: "why not?"
judah: "mai braveheart."
this started because as i saw him starting to get scared about being left for church i would tell him that he didnt have to spend time crying because he was going to have fun and that i would always come back and get him. i told him that he was braveheart and that he didnt have anything to fear because jesus would protect his heart. (obviously we never suppress his tears or discourage crying when he is sad, our little routine just turned into this series of back and forth questions and answers over time).
hearing him say "mai braveheart," is awesome on many levels. 1: because it is the toddler version of one of my favorite michael scott quotes. 2: because its adorable hearing a two year old, who is on the verge of crying for his mommy declare that he is braveheart. 3: because it sounds like he is saying "my big fart."
then i tuck him in "snug as a little red judah-bug in a rug," which cracks him up every time, and i say, "i love you judah," and he says, "lobe you mommy," and i walk out of there floating on a glowing hovercraft of uterus because, damn, being a mom is good at times like this.
also at 2.5 he started wanting to help with little tasks, like loading the washing machine (though you have to watch him as he doesnt differentiate between the washer and dryer and sometimes i have found his little skid-marked undies stuffed in with a load of clean clothes in the dryer), throwing things away, cleaning up his toys, putting his lunchbox and book bag on their hooks every day when we get home.
the best was the other night. we were eating dinner in the living room (like you do) and i needed some ketchup. for my own meal. i was feeling so lazy and not wanting to get up, so on a lark, i asked judah to go open the fridge and look in the door for the ketchup and bring it to me. the little sprite was back 10 seconds later, ketchup in hand. embarrassingly, the first thing i thought was, "YES! my own little butler robot! like R2D2 was enlisted to be on jabba's sail barge!" i realize i am jabba the hutt in this scenario, but who cares, yall? i have a free condiment concierge to do my bidding! ...until he foments rebellion and deploys a lightsaber to arm my jedi captive.
dont get me wrong, he still pitches fits and tests boundaries like every two year old, but the fun, hilarious, rewarding stuff is really starting to outweigh the cruddy soul-sucking parts of bringing up a human cub.
a few more fun judah-isms that wont last forever but that i want to remember forever:
-he calls band-aids, "bandaddies." we are pretty sure this is in reference to grandaddy, jesse's dad. it pretty cute that when he gets a boo-boo he asks for bandaddies.
-he just started saying NOPE instead of no. it's way cuter because he doesnt use it with the same situational finesse that an adult would, so it gives an air of aw-shucks ness to his responses. "judah, do you need to go potty?" "nope!" "judah, can i have a kiss?" "nope!" or while playing sardines at his cousins house, every time i took him into a new room to search (all the lights off, per the rules) for the hiding sophie and jesse, i would say, "are they in the closet?" and before i could take a step towards the door he'd pipe, "nope!" every time. i think the dark was making him uneasy in a new house, but the insta-nopes were so funny. he was so sure of where they weren't.
-in the middle of playing or watching TV he will just say, "snuggle me daddy," or "hug me mommy," in the cutest little love bug voice. these guerrilla love assaults are fantastic.
-the kid HATES wearing pants (see above photo). within 20 minutes of going in someone's house (i have only witnessed this at family member's houses, they say it doesnt happen at school) he starts pulling his jeans off or telling us that he wants to take his pants off (he barely makes it through the door at home before they come off). when he did it at home, i thought it was just because i hardly ever wear pants either and he was modelling my awesome habit. but lately, he doesnt care if he's the only semi-denuded person in the house and everyone else is happily pants-ed, his pants must come off. when we're with family, we always let him do it because, who cares, really? and seriously, the little bum and legs in the big boy underpants is the cutest thing ever.
-he knows what red lights and green lights mean. he is my traffic enforcer. if i am coming to a stop at a red light behind other cars, he will say, "stop, mommy, stop," to make sure i know that i dont need to be moving at ALL if there is a red light in sight. if you ask him what a yellow light means he says, "evybody BE careful!"
-chickfila = "chicken a lay"
-he likes to pick up one of layla's paci's and tell me he is a baby. he has never been a paci kid, so this is pretty cute to me. he will climb up in my lap and declare himself a "paci baby," and ask for "a ba-ba of milk." its weird and adorable.
-if he's cold, he will ask for dragon breath. this is where we blow hot air on his neck which tickles him wildly. is we are walking outside and it's cold and i am carrying him he will demand, "mommy, snuggle me warm" and we squeeze each other so tight.
-i cant remember if i have mentioned this before but he calls carbonated drinks, "sugar bubbles." i dont know where he got that or if he made it up himself, but it's kind of right on.
-for some reason, this memory has always stuck with me. when i was about 9, i overheard my older cousins listening to the radio. tom cochran's "life is a highway," was playing. one of my cousins told the other about how her boyfriend's little 2 year old sister loved that song and could sing all of the words and how hilarious and cool that was. i remember deciding, "that will now be my favorite song,." right then and there (was i jealous of the little kid that my cousins thought were cool? i dont know).
a few weeks later i won some contest at a skating party (fastest lap? best umbros?) and the prize was a giftcard to a CD store (if youre from atlanta, it was actually a coin worth $20 at the record store, turtle's...blast from the PAST), and i bought the tom cochran CD: the first ever CD that i bought for myself (i had been given amy grant's white christmas inside of my boom box from santa that year and had scored my beloved "free willy" soundtrack for my birthday (hold me, like the river jordan! so i had those two already). anyway, this became my all-time favorite song. i always requested it at school dances, barmitzvah's and weddings, despite it being an awful song for dancing to. that being said, when cars came out, rascal flatt's did a remake of the song for the movie. since judah loves that movie with a burning passion, i wondered if he would like any of the songs in it. yes he does and the ONLY one he even notices or likes is life is a highway. whenever we are in the car he says, "play lighten song!" (lightning is "lighten a-queen" to judah). or he will bust out singing it while he is playing at home. it's so cool to have him love the same song that i always have AND to have become the 2 year old from my cousin's story who knows all the words to that song.
-he is such a great big brother to layla. he gets so excited when he hears her crying as she wakes up from a nap, "dat cootie pah be wake. mai wanna go and get her." if she is crying in the car he first informs us, "layla be loooooowd," and then says, "dat-dat's okay layla. be happy, layla." of course he also steals toys from her, body slams her and tells her that certain things are "jus for big kids!" but by and large, he seems really tuned into her feelings and wants her to be included in everything we do.
-he is getting such a great imagination and starting to lead creative playtime. he will radio in to me as buzz lightyear saying, "come in star command!" and i radio back as star command, deploying him to some far off sector to search for the evil emperor zurg. he will go, "zurg be in tree. zurg be up dat one? nope! zurg be up dat one? yeah!" he always finds zurg in the second tree. sometimes with jumpy squirrel from curious george.
okay, that turned long. but i am just overflowing with awe at the explosion of development and learning that is happening in this stage. at least 5 times a week i am overcome with how cool and fun and sweet and weird this little kid is and how i am so happy that the sperm that made him was the one that won the race, and that i get to be his mom. i have never been tempted to want to freeze time and keep my kids at any age so far (except for when i was postpartum nutso and said i wanted a newborn forever), but this period is approaching that level of awesome with judah. one day the armpits that i tickle now will be hairy and smelly and he will have a deep voice that pronounces all the words correctly, and snuggling me under the covers wont be so kosher. so the knowledge that those days are coming and there IS an expiration date on all of these little moments and scenes makes me want to linger here as long as possible.
where's the pause button?