Saturday, November 6, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday

Oh darling Callum!

Can you even conceive the effect you've had on our lives, dear sweet one?

Here today on your 2nd birthday, I just wanted to record a few of the joys and blessings you've brought to us, just as they appear in my head right now, the ones in my top of mind. Can it really be 2 years since you came into this world, at first with your little cry upon which I remarked, "He's no bother at all; he never cries", which soon materialized into that which would empty a football stadium.

Those first days in hospital alone with you, just the two of us, getting to know each other, falling in love. Time had stood still and nothing else mattered right then than our bonding, our cycle of eating and sleeping with so few other faces in our lives to bother us.

It's a strange thing listing the milestones reached like a competitive list, but when the future comes, I hope we can look back and the words will bring smiles to our faces and love in our hearts. We will remember them as moments captured and the actual age you achieved them will mean nothing to me then.

In the play area, ah, my boy, this is your place to shine. Boy. Baby. Your toddlerhood came all too soon. You may not have walked till your 13th month which interestingly is bang on averagely scheduled, but it didn't take long before you were running in leaps and bounds. Those tentative walking steps lasted mere moments before the rush, the run, feeling that wind blowing in your hair on a warm winter's day.  You'll happily hang like a monkey from a bar, using the free hand to pick at your nose. You love to swing chanting "higher and higher!" or hang belly down on a big boy's swing. You have no concept that there are (1) Big boys and (2) Little boys in the playground. They're all your friends. Their food is your own for taking. You only know how to share.

Food glorious food: Now we're talking. When you're not playing fussy, you'll devour and ask for more. Last night, your last as a one year old (oh how I've relished calling you one of late. How I savoured the last moments of your Oneness, happening upon a tiny print in an otherwise empty Baby Book for far too organised mums to frown upon), you dug into lamb curry, naan and chicken tikka.

Ah for language, you have charming little set pieces like, "I want more coo coos please mama". You used to only call me Mama and now I'm mummy at times too, which I think you find sweeter and funnier. I cannot think of all the words you know. The list grew far too quickly for me to ever put to paper, repeating every new word that's said to you, and following every request with a heartfelt please in sign and words. Or "I want more [juice] please Mama" and "More TV please Mama" when the video gets stuck on the Main Menu command (hurrah for Autoplay I say). You don't realise you've never actually seen "TV" per se, only DVDs on a big TV. You'll repeat every new word that's said to you till it's said back to you in acknowledgement. You especially love telling Reuben to "c'mon" and he does to you in turn.

On phonetics, you have the phonetic alphabet sounds mastered and jauntily sing your way through with ease, particularly enjoying "b b b bbbbbb".

You regularly use the potty and routinely have a pee in the morning, but are still happy to deliver a pooey hand to me after trying to clear the mess up yourself. Your potty times are happier when Reu's sitting alongside you.

You have a love for music and a funny little dance to go with it, preferring rock like your Mama or Reuben's piano concertos. 

You endlessly run your hands through your hair, self soothing, or delicately through mine, soothing us both. It's how you'll often send yourself into blissful sleep.

You are quite clearly obsessed with trains and line up so very neatly 6 of Thomas and his friends in the bath.  Then you proceed to categorize and organize the ducks as well so they're all in a nice little line too. From there, you go to the sea animals and line up fish, octopus, crab and whale. You adore animals, signing or speaking their names, from octopus ("oh-pus"), guerilla (signs with a beating chest") to giraffe ("gi-yaf"). You'll undress yourself then help Reuben undress too, not quite seeing the irony in doing so, stuffing your Nature diaper in the pail. 

You have a field day in Party City with all the balloons, and that wonderment of seeing Buzz, Cars and Thomas flying high above you was a joy to behold. You spot things I would otherwise pass by or leave my eyes searching around for the object you've seen anew but which I can't selectively pull out from a crowd as you can. You have razor sharp eyesight and it spots the everyday things we pass by, big and small.

You've been a little underprivileged in not having a TV but still get to watch DVDs on the big screen of your favorites Signing Time, Thomas the Tank, Up, My Baby Can Read, Leapfrog series, yet perhaps your absolute favorite is "In the night garden" discovered whilst back in the UK this summer. IgglePiggle is your new best friend, the one to whom you turn to at night to go to sleep beside you in "Mamabed". You're keener when he doesn't have the red blanket with him, preferring instead for him to turn to you for comfort than his blankie. 

You religiously want to chase dogs.
You order us round the dinner table (by this I mean the red IKEA plastic table with two chairs and a stool which still doubles) saying "Reu Reu sit", "Mama sit". You open doors with ease, but struggled with a "Daddy...." when you locked yourself in his dark, windowless closet. 

From an even more wee boy, you'd point at body parts on others or on your toys, listing them in turn, pointing to each as you go "Nose, mouth, hair, brows (love it!), cheek, chin, teeth, eyes", the latter of which involves sticking your fingers in my eyes. Sweet

You have a beautiful, endowed gift of sharing. You understand what it means, how it pleases another, how not to be selfish even when you so want that object for yourself. And when asked to give something to Reuben, you'll take it straight to him, enticing "Reu Reu's", even stuffing a sweet into his mouth.

Your sweetness is tempered with fire, befitting of a fellow Scorpio, and you'd be happy to scream the place down for an hour in order to resist bed.

You relish in the nightly bathtime, your special time with Reuben, splashing bubbles, lining up Thomas and his friends, counting numbers, organising letters together and being absolutely a great sport since you were but a few months old of routinely having a bucket of water poured over your head during bathtime. Not once have you moaned of the experience. You simply wipe your eyes, blow like a whale emerging and carry on having fun.

You love to pick flowers and deliver them as gifts to Reuben, teachers or new found friends.

You're clearly right handed, but when that's preoccupied with something else, you'll use your left hand and transfer the object. And with that right hand you'll pull us along with a "Come on" a phrase which Reuben now imitates and as if there is the most exciting thing to see on the other side of the house or garden.

You have a great understanding of the possessive pronouns, Reu Reu's shoes, Mama's bed.

You have a wonderful knack of making people laugh, especially Reuben, with your striking blue eyes which glisten and light your whole face when tickled. I recently caught you, yes, just this week whilst we were in the kitchen eating breakfast together, laughing at your own jokes, unable to remember after a while why it was so funny, but the laugh becoming self perpetuating, tickling you at its very core, you delighting in the joy of your life.

You're obsessed with shoes, putting them on, taking them off, handing them to Reuben with a "Reu Reu's shoes.

I relish the all too precious moments when I can just get down on your level and watch you, watch how you problem solve, maneuvering an object to and fro til it fits in the right hole, study the Russian dolls and how they all fit to become one. You devour the many puzzle boards, those skills shared with Reuben, your mentor. With a studious look upon your face, you'll role play. I cannot wait to see your face when you see Buzz behind the wrapping paper.

You're Mama's helper around the house, wanting to help me sweep, vacuum, pick up all the boys and place them in the box. You've learnt your manners well, your delightful please-thank you-sorrys which sound so sweet and sincere from your rose bud lips. Through the observation room at school, I've watched you role play at the kitchen area, tidying up the dishes and cutlery in a way you often help at home. 

You love to drink from a sippy cup or a big boy's cup, the choice by Mama being much determined by the contents and proximity to the white sofa.

You relish books though have a little less patience than Reuben, but it's on your own time. You'll become excited by one book only to pick another when your interest wains. You love to finish the ends of sentences especially in a well read classic like "Wise old man won't you help me….please. My house is a squash and a squeeze." That's your game with Reuben, finishing the sentences in delightful chorus.

You love to count to 10 and I first head those magic words on 26 September whilst swinging you back and forth at the playground. With each passing to and fro, you would say each in turn, remarkably clearly. On another occasion too at the park, you reached as high as 14, but I've rarely heard it repeated since. Perhaps you tire of the same games with Mama. Perhaps I don't stretch you far enough to where you want to achieve. I'm still learning darling too, just like your. You're learning a life and I'm learning about being a good mama to you both.

You're often mistaken for being much younger than you are, as described, because people can see your scalp.

I haven't quite worked out the best way to teach you sign, ironic given your brother's impressive mastering. It'll come to me, but the spoken words flow so naturally from you, perhaps because you've never wanted a pacifier for fear it would shut you up. You can certainly recognise upper and lower case letters on everything, today the tinniest "S" on an "M&M".

Your energy for problem solving knows no bounds and your excitement at the new is unsurpassed, delightful. 

You gobble up puzzles till we have no more left to show you and you learnt that great skill from Reuben. 

I can never tire of your sweet little face. So full of character and mischief playfulness.

For all of this, the greatest gift you've brought to our lives is that of friendship to Reuben. May you forever remain the closest of friends I can possibly envision, never tiring of each other's company, never becoming frustrated with the quirks of each other. Reuben has an endless patience for you in the height of a tantrum; you are foils for each other, the ying and yang and that which is so meant to be.

I only dreamed of you so many years ago. I couldn't not have imagined that that dream could ever come true,  to have given Reuben, the greatest gift he could ever receive and me your loving mother, the greatest joy imaginable at watching you together. 

Today I feel so much the paradox of life and love: loving that you're growing and becoming independent, feeling sentimental for the past and the baby you were, not wanting to let go.

Happy birthday Callum Andreas. I love you so very much. Did I say that?


Abi Roman said...

Happy 2nd Birthday Callum! I have tears in my eyes as you describe the gift of love between your wonderful boys and I realise how much joy, learning and laughter comes from the bond between Jake and his sisters. XXX

The Waggoner Family said...

Catherine, you write so beautifully! Happy birthday to sweet Callum!

Abi Roman said...

Happy 2nd Birthday Callum! This post brought tears to my eyes, thinking of the bond between your wonderful boys. It made me realise how the joy, the learning and the laughter between Jake and his sisters is the most perfect gift we can all recieve every single day. Thank you xxx

Crystal M. said...

Happy Birthday Callum, God sure put you with the right mom who loves you more then you will ever know!!
Crystal and Eva

Kristi said...

Thank you for letting us share in your day, sweet boy!
I adored watching you thank us as we left... and that big, giant hug you gave Preston just warmed my heart!