Necessary Precaution

As I think I have mentioned Zach loves to “shoot”. All. The. Time. I had put away his baby hoop in his closet but he spotted it once when his father was in charge. I was initially annoyed as I try to keep a rotation of the plastic junk toys that keep him happy so that they are not ALL in my living room. But the mini hoop has actually kept him busy when he can’t go outside and shoot at his big hoop. Which he wants to do every day.
He is not satisfied with throwing the ball up towards the hoop (to be fair it goes up about 2 inches) he wants you to hold him so he can shoot. My patience with that is highly limited so I came up with the idea of letting him climb on his stool and shoot from up there. The downside is that he is a 2 year old, climbing, carrying 1-2 balls with concrete under him. I actually thought none of it (my under-parenting is highly documented) but my friend KK mentioned something about her son wanting to climb too and she thought he would fall off. That was literally the first time it occurred to me that he could fall off. Onto the concrete. Bad, bad parenting.
My solution? He now has to wear his bike helmet while shooting. No, I am still not standing out there, the helmet is parenting for me. I am glancing at him from the kitchen window while I make dinner.
Oddly enough he loves it. So much that he wears it while collecting leaves, running around the driveway and being chased by his dad. Safety first my friends, safety first.
Note the death stool in the background

2 years

My baby is two. My BABY is two. Now that he is technically 2 years and one month I am handling it much better. While I did not get as emotional as last year, there were some tears shed about how big and little he is all at the same time. I decided to create a Top 8 list for my new 2 year old. My 8 favorite things about him right this second.

1. His talking. While I do love/hate all the talking that happens, his language just astounds me. Right now he is huge on talking about playing basketball. Requests to “shoot! shoot” and “I play basketball. Mommy play basketball. Norman shoot!” are constant in the house right now. The best part of my day is when he greets me with a “Hi Mommy” at school, the part I don’t really enjoy are the “Mommy play me!” requests. They way he says “please” has changed from “peas” to “prEEse” and “cheese” is so enunciated you think he is teaching someone else how to say it.
2. His singing. I swear it is the sweetest thing in my world right now. He still sings Jesus loves me but has added Row, Row, Row Your Boat – during which it is required for you to rock back and forth. Don’t try to stand still and sing, that is highly unacceptable behavior. He sings Wheels on the Bus and when he did the “shh, shh, shh” for the babies I almost fell out of my chair. He nailed the cadence perfectly.
3. His growing independence. I know, I know. I will hate this shortly, but right now watching him playing with his trains or puzzles or reading books on his own makes me smile. He puts on his “working face” which is Alex to the core – tongue sticking out of his mouth and everything – and plays for about 20 minutes on his own. Heaven.
4. His chubby cheeks. The part of my baby that is still a baby are his cheeks and belly. When he lays next to me to read books in the big bed (aka our bed), I love to stare at his precious profile; those round cheeks and double chin. I can’t help but kissing him. Which annoys him. And I don’t care.
5. His smile. As my mom says Zach smiles with his entire face. His big brown eyes shrink to about 1/3 of their size when he smiles and laughs. Which he does often. Now when he laughs I can see all his teeth (and I give thanks that he has them now, I was really questioning that for a while) and it makes his cheeks even chubbier. See #4.
6. His friendships. Given how social Alex and I are I am so glad that Zach is very similar. He really has some friends and not just because we force them to be together. You can tell when he sees his close buddies Ben, Abby, Sophie and Miles that he loves being with them. He then talks about them for days afterwards. 
7. His dad. I am just going to give a special shout out to Alex because I usually don’t. I like to poke fun of Alex for not being able to keep up with Jesus, encouraging excessive ball playing with Zach and whatever else he does that makes me laugh. But he is a wonderful dad and Zachary just adores him. (Plus he is OK with me writing whatever I want on this blog and has only given me grief once about the picture of Zach in bunny ears I posted on Facebook. And we KNOW I have done worse). Anyway, when Zach is mad at me he will cry, “My Daddy, my Daddy” and when that man walks in the door Zach runs full speed ahead shrieking with joy to see him. I can’t tell you the joy it brings ME that Alex scoops him up and away they go, away from me, Alex still in his work clothes. That is the 2nd best part of my day.  
8. His happiness. I am guessing this too will change, but I feel so blessed that my baby is generally very happy go lucky. That is not like me. Not. At. All. You know who that is like? Please reference #7 above. The only caveat to that rule is when Zach is hungry. Oh girl, watch yourself he becomes a bear. But keep him fed on his diet of Oldfish and milk and he is smiling, talking and giggling about.

Chugga Chugga

I finally put Zachary’s train table together and wow, is it a huge hit. I would like to state that it no longer looks anything like the below pictures as the main thing that happens on the table is him “working” rather than driving. Working means taking apart and putting back together all the tracks. I routinely hear loud banging coming from the table – but I don’t care as the table also keeps him occupied for a little bit. I did try to drive a train down one small connected section of the track yesterday and though he allowed it, he preferred I help him “fix” the tracks that are strewn across the table. I see this as just one step in his play with the table (as he will have it for a good long while). Eventually he will figure out that it is fun to drive the trains around and use the crane to load things in and out.

His buddy Ben (aka his mom) gave away conductor hats at Ben’s train theme party and Zach does like to wear it to fix his trains. He can’t quite figure out the whistle that she sent as well but his face just lights up whenever someone else blows it for him.

Wall to Walls

Phew! The holidays are over, can you believe it? Most of you are probably saying, “Ummm Kinsey the holidays ended weeks ago”, but not for me. The holidays are not officially over until the 17th – Liv’s birthday. After that we can finally put away our party hats and get back to the drudgery of work.

This is the first year that we did not travel for Christmas and while I missed my family and our traditions, it was nice to be in our home for Christmas Eve. The Walls kept Zach on his birthday night and brought him back for church on the Eve.

Church was a disaster to put it mildly. Apparently the Catholic churches near us do not have a kids service (like any self-respecting Episcopalian church), but instead the kids choir sing carols for 30 minutes followed by A HOUR long mass. I’m sorry, what? My baby loves church, loves it, but he cannot sit there for an hour and a half. The church was also packed, I have never been to a church that was that crowded. Zach and I spent most of the time out in front with the Jesus statue – and every other 2 year old in the place. I finally realized that I had the car keys with me so I hustled that boy home and got dinner going.

Christmas morning was sweet and fun. Santa had put out Zach’s gifts on a chair in the living room, complete with his train table, still in the box. Santa decided to go see a movie on Christmas Eve instead of putting together the table. Zach threw himself on it screaming “Open! Open!”. He also really liked the play kitchen pots and pans I got him to help me in the kitchen. He kept saying “Help you Mommy, help you Mommy”. (Tracy you might notice that some of the gifts Santa gave Zach were technically from Wyatt….thank you for that!) I didn’t get the first part but here is a bit of Christmas morning.

Then we went out to the Walls for what my mom deemed years ago the “Wall to Wall free for all”. And it was. I did get to take a nap while Zach napped, then it was dinner with their friends and more present opening. I am pretty sure that Zach is going to think he gets presents every day as he has opened them every day since his birthday.

Everyone was so generous to him (and all of us). He loves his basketball hoop, all his trains, his handyman stuff – he keeps hammering on the walls saying “I working!”- and his new ride-on front end loader. I have put most of the toys up in his room to bring down throughout the year. That is the trouble with having your birthday and Christmas right next to each other, you get everything all at once. So I will rotate down his toys throughout the year so they are new to him all over again!