Sunday, October 9, 2011

Two: Snapshots

Pax Augustus Carter turned 2 years old just two weeks ago. We had a family celebration that started with gift opening, a favorite breakfast, a lot of time to play with new toys, and then a long nap. Rested again, we set out for Bounce n Play, a huge indoor "playground" of air-filled bounce houses, slides, and play sets. Exhausted, sweaty, and thoroughly filled with glee, we headed to dinner. Given his absolute love of hot dogs, naturally, we headed to the local hot dog joint that serves foot long dogs. Pax ate 9 inches out of 12 - no bun, just ketchup - and one might say he was in dog heaven. (get it? like hog heaven, but with a hot dog??) We topped off the night with delicious cake and ice cream, and Pax clapped and grinned each time we sang "Happy Birthday" to him.

So what does Two look like on Pax? Some Snapshots:

Pax has this wonderful, quiet way about some things. I absolutely love how his tacit determination has played out in several big milestone events. At 21 months, Pax decided he was done breastfeeding, for good. One night, he refused to nurse. Instead, he held my gaze steady, and seemed to say almost beseechingly, "I'm all done now, Mama. Is that okay with you? I'm done." Our eyes were locked on each other for a long minute, with silent understanding and acceptance passing between us. In that moment, I was reminded of the first time we locked eyes in that way - minutes old, holding Pax to nurse for the first time, he gazed deeply into my eyes as if to say "oh there you are, my mama. Here I am! I love you so much." It was a very full-circle moment: one long, steady, soul-deep gaze, bookends to the beginning and the end.

Just a few weeks later, Pax decided he'd had enough of his "baby" high chair. Instead, he would drag over the spare kid-sized booster chair, identical to the one Leo used. He would climb his way onto the seat while the food was being brought to the table, and he refused to sit in the high chair one more time. To his great credit, he made good on his end of the deal, and ate nicely without throwing his food or spreading it all over the table. I was thrilled to be rid of the hulking, bulky plastic chair, and even more thrilled at his place with us at the table.

Always a climber, Pax was not ready for nap one day and decided to climb out of his crib. Then, he did it because it was fun. Then he started doing it all the time, until I foiled his plans by turning the crib around backwards. That worked... for about a month. I knew Pax was careful when he climbed out - I'd watched him on the sly, and saw the graceful, almost poetic way in which he hoisted himself up and over the rails - but it got to be too much when he scaled the sides multiple times at night. I knew the crib days were over when I woke up to find Pax asleep next to me, having no idea when or for how long he'd been snuggled up in my bed. Out came the toddler bed, away went the crib.

Predictably, Pax lands himself in a bit of trouble, too. Hair pulling, biting, hurling small objects, and screeching are all part of his repertoire of "Two." Predictably, he often finds himself in time-out, as pictured here: the stove provides an oddly ideal location for time-outs (with Mom an arm's length away, of course.)

Finally, there was the pacifier. Oh, what struggles we had with Aidan and Leo when they had to give theirs up! Countless searches were conducted by weary parents when the pacifier went missing. And so it was with a deep feeling of dread one afternoon when I couldn't find the pacifier and needed to put Pax down for a nap. He did... fine. He didn't even seem to notice - his biggest concern at bedtime is making sure the scary cat isn't lurking under the bed. Still without the paci, I tried it again that night... and discovered how cute his little lips look as he's settling down to sleep. Pacifier? What pacifier? those lips seemed to say. I looked for the "easy button" to press on that one.

Oh, and he is a quiet little thing. He has almost no language, which is obviously a concern that we're investigating (although his receptive language is quite excellent). And perhaps because of his lack of words, the words he does say become all the more delicious to hear. My heart swells when he calls for me - Mama? Mama? because it is his best word - the one he's had the longest, the one he says most clearly - and because it means ME.

This boy has some mad skills when it comes to helping with dinner. Here, he expertly rolls the crescent rolls - I credit the many hours he's spent with play-doh for his developing culinary genius.

Pax is a budding musician. His favorite piece of music is - I kid you not - Carmina Burana. He absolutely loves the bombastic lines, loves the loud, crashing drums and the high trills of the piccolo, loves the chants and swells of the tenor and soprano. He listens to his Kindermusik CD and bops his head in time to the music; he thrills at using his new instruments to create all kinds of loud and satisfying sounds. Grandpa taught him "Itsy Bitsy Spider," and his favorite book at night is the Tomie dePaola's collection of favorite songs.

Half of the people we meet say that Pax looks like Aidan; the other half say he looks like Leo. Me, I think he looks exactly like... Pax. His gorgeous blond, silky hair; his chipped front tooth; his wide, open-mouthed grin and his crinkly, cresent-shaped eyes are only reflections of the person he is on the inside: sweet, happy, vivacious, loving, unique.

(He is also a Lollipop Monster, as evidenced here:)

Best of all - the novelty of Pax hasn't worn off yet, for any of us. We marvel at him. How cute he is, how sweet he is, how much we love him. How lucky we are that he is in our family, that he completes us.
Happy Birthday, Pax Augustus!


Susan said...

he is such a sweet, determined little guy....and now that he is 2, he is finding his own ways of keeping up with his older brothers. To say nothing of being able to stop those brothers in their tracks when he wants to.....Here's to Pax!

Stel Bell said...

I am a friend and colleague of your Dad. He is SO proud of you! I'm blessed to know him and grateful he shared your blog with me! You share his talent for writing!!! I'll continue to read it!!!