My dear, little Carter. I love you so much! You are now 2.5 years old! I've loved being able to tell people you are 2.5 years and sissy is 2.5 months. It's so neat and it will be the only time in your life it will match up like that! I don't mind you being 2.5 but the thought of you turning 3 is sad to me. I think because it feels so close to school aged! I'm sure it will be like your other birthdays, as it gets closer I'll be more used to the idea of you being that age and it won't bother me as much.
Something that I know should bug me but secretly makes me laugh is that you know rules and can repeat them back, but choose not to follow them. I have such a hard time stifling a giggle when I catch you in the act and you tell me the rule before I even remind you! I know developmentally it's an appropriate behavior and it's just too darn cute to hear you reciting rules back in the exact wording I use. I know if you can recite the rule as you get older you will get better about following it. Your most recent incident happened when I left the room to get your jammies. When I came back in you were drawing on the window sill with a permanent marker you found in the diaper caddy which I didn't realize was still in there. I used to use it to write your name in your clothes when you were in daycare. You heard my shocked gasp and whipped around telling me, "Only draw on paper!" As we rubbed it off with nail polish remover you said, "You leave the room and I do this. Naughty Carter!" As you are jumping on daddy and my bed you'll tell me, "Only jump on Carter's bed or trampoline!" You'll also try to bargain with me saying, "Not jumping, just bouncing. Look, feet don't leave bed!" You'll also jump on Harper and then tell me, "No jump Harper. Be gentle. Harper and sissy tiny!" All this knowing rules comes in handy for you because you love telling other kids rules and what to do!
Your imagination is really taking off and I love watching you play, it's adorable. You'll even tell me you are playing pretend. My favorite is when you play Cookie Monster. I believe you have him mixed up with Oscar the Grouch because you get in daddy and my laundry hamper and shut the lid to pop out at me. You'll even take fake Oreos that go with one of your games in with you. Pretty much every time I do laundry I find a cookie or two or few in the hamper! You also play kitty crawling around our closet, hiding behind our hanging clothes just like Skippy does. You love pretending to be different animals. Your favorites other than a kitty are duck and parrot. I'll always ask you if you're a baby, whatever animal you're being, if I can be a mommy of that animal because whatever you are is what I want to be. Each time you get the biggest smile on your face, giggle, and tell me yes. You have a duck puppet which you like to pretend to be. If I try to talk to you, you'll say, "No, mommy, I duck!" while waving your puppet hand at me. You also pretend you see animals out the window while we're driving. Asking me where the tiger went or telling me you see a giraffe while pointing at a light pole. I love it and it has made me more creative in how I play with you!
I also love that we have great conversations. You remember things I've told you from days, weeks, even longer ago. You have appropriate responses and, for your age, are surprisingly in tune with your emotions and the emotions of others. Just today we were each looking at magazines I'd picked up at the library. You were pointing things out in pictures and telling me about them. I read a snipet of an article that said breastfed babies should be given vitamin D supplements which your sister is not. I said, "Oh no!" so you asked me what was wrong. I explained that I had just read sissy should be getting something that she wasn't. You looked at me very concerned and said, "She be okay?" You are very curious and I love it when you ask me something I don't know so we can research the answer together. We've discovered what sound turtles, meerkats, and armadillos make along with looking up other random facts, mostly about animals. If you ask me something and I don't know the answer, you say, "That okay, I look it up!" and then run over to me so we can look it up together. Going along with the emotions, one day you asked me to help set up your cars mat to drive on. It's pretty big so I was picking up some toys on the floor first so we'd have room for it. You didn't realize what I was doing and thought I had started doing something else instead of helping you. You looked at me and said, "Carter mad. Mommy said help Carter!" I was so glad you shared your feelings with me so I could explain what I was doing. I like to show you videos of when you were a baby, tell you what you liked and didn't like, and point out when sissy is wearing one of your outfits. Now when she has a pacifier in her mouth you'll tell me, "Carter no like pacifiers as baby. I spit pacifier out!" It's so cute!
It seems you are constantly saying something adorable or entertaining. It's so funny to hear you say, "Oh, dang it!" and "Oh my gosh!" which are two of your favorites. I'm hearing a decent amount of "Stop a that!" as well. One day while playing trains you excitedly exclaimed, "Carter having so much fun!" I died from the cuteness! One day I went to get you when you woke up from your nap and you said, "Missed you mommy." It was the sweetest. You also tell me, "Love you!" when I put you to bed or leave to go somewhere without you. You overheard me telling daddy I thought they temporarily moved the zebras at the zoo off exhibit and were going to put them back out in the rhino enclosure but it turned out they had sold them and our zoo would no longer have zebras. You were confused and asked me, "Zebras turn into rhinos?" I must offer the solution that daddy can try fixing something when he gets home quite frequently when I can't fix something. Now if you ask me to fix something and I'm trying, but unsuccessful, you'll say, "It's okay, mommy, daddy fix it!" If daddy can't fix it either you suggest that Opa could fix it.
At the beginning of the month you got sick for the first time since I started staying at home, so in about a year! You had the highest temperature you've ever had, ranging from 100-102 degrees. It wreaked havoc on your nighttime sleep causing you to wake multiple times a night and not go down by yourself. Daddy slept with you for a few days. It coincided with you realizing sissy wasn't going anywhere which caused you to be overly clingy to me as well as jealous of her. We had a week of you getting upset anytime I was holding her or giving her attention. You'd yell at me, "Mommy no feed sissy!" or "Mommy put sissy down, hold Carter!" I heard, "Mommy, Carter want you," more in the span of a week than I had the rest of your life! You still say it fairly regularly, but not nearly as frequently. It was a challenging patch, but we got through it and you love your sister more than ever now!
I love how sweet you've grown with your sister now that you've realized it's not temporary, she's here for good. You get very protective of her. When other kids come over and want to touch her you'll yell, "No, my sissy!" You'll even get in front of them and box them out so they can't get to her. I explain to you that it's okay for them to look at her as long as they're gentle and that it's your job to show them how to be gentle. You'll calm down and show them how to touch her gently. It's getting better but it's definitely a work in progress. You love to hold her and now ask to rock her quite frequently. You like to put your fingers in her mouth so she'll suck them, ick! You get a kick out of it when she is sitting by you and touches you or starts sucking on your arm. You also think you can take care of her on your own and offer to do so. One day Uncie Taco and Uncie Jeremy were over. I asked if anyone wanted to hold sissy so I could set dinner out. You said, "I do!" It was so sweet! I put off getting dinner out and helped support sissy's head while you rocked her until you were tired of it which was quite a while later! You'll also say things like, "Mommy go get ducky (or whatever toy you want that's in another room), Carter rock sissy." When I'm holding her and you want me to get something. We're working on how to soothe sissy when she cries as you admit you, "No like it when sissy cries!" You always start out sweet, attempting to sing to her, giving her a pacifier, or saying "it's okay sissy," or "you okay sissy," or "I know sissy, it's alright." All things you see and hear me do. But if she continues to cry you'll scream at her, telling her no. I explain she doesn't like that and it makes her more upset. I remind you she likes it if you sing to her or talk to her sweetly. I really talk up how great of a job you did soothing her if she stops crying while you sing or talk sweetly to her. I tell you how upset it makes her and how much she doesn't like it, crying harder when you scream. She loves you and pretty much always stops crying for you except sometimes in the car. If daddy's driving and she's crying and you do the appropriate things to soothe her, I'll sneak a pacifier in her mouth and really talk up how you did such a good job getting sissy to stop crying. You also like to hold her hand and give her kisses. I'll find her with food on her head after lunch because you've been kissing on her. You'll even tell me, "Mommy, I be sweet to sissy!"
Sissy isn't the only one you like to take care of. You pretend to be a mommy while playing quite a bit. You always say you're a mommy, not a daddy when you are playing as the caretaker role. You'll play mommy in the bathtub, bathing and rocking your toys. It's so cute to watch because you do exactly what we do for you. You also rock your baby dolls and stuffed animals, sing to them, and tuck them in bed. You will be such a good daddy one day!
You've gotten so much sweeter with Harper lately. You'll pet her nicely and now when you call her and she's in a different room she'll come running. Sometimes it takes a while for her to decide to come, but she does. You are still too rough with her quite frequently and I often hear you telling her, "Bad girl, Harper!" I'm pleased with how your relationship has changed and I'm optimistic it will continue to do so. You get protective of sissy with Harper too, pushing her away if you think she gets too close. You'll also yell at her to back up if she walks up to sissy in her car seat as we walk in the door after arriving home. You've decided feeding the animals is your job and I let you do it by yourself most days. Sometimes they get too much, sometimes not enough but it's usually pretty close. One day you were looking for their measuring cup and realized it was no where to be seen. You said, "Oh well, Carter use hands!" I cracked up because they each got one handful of food which was not nearly enough!
I'm constantly amazed by how smart you are and how quickly you learn. You can count to 10 and even know a few numbers over 10. You are starting to develop one-to-one correspondence, understanding that each number represents one object. You point and count, but after you reach 3 you sometimes say more than one number when pointing at an object. You also know almost every letter of the alphabet. Rather than call them by name you'll call them a word that starts with that letter. For example A is either Auntie Ang or Auntie Amanda, it's never A. You do say the names for B, C, D, and P. You are showing an interest in writing. You like to "write" letters while telling me what you are writing. When you drew with permanent marker on the window sill you were yelling to me that you were writing Auntie Ang, Mommy, and Carter. When I came in I saw what looked like the letters A and M along with some squiggly lines. You know your first, middle, and last name. Often you refer to yourself as Carter Ty Cox which is beyond precious! You love pointing at things and telling me what shape they are. One day you said, "Mommy, look triangle!" so I looked and you'd put your thumbs together to make the base and your index fingers to make the point. I was shocked and went on to show you how to make a circle, rectangle, and heart with your fingers. You know all the basic shapes plus a few: square, rectangle, circle, oval, rhombus or diamond (you know both names), hexagon, heart, star, you call a crescent a moon, you call an octagon an octopus. There may be more that I'm not thinking of right now. You love to sing and can often be found singing while playing. Your favorite is the alphabet song. You also like to sing Pat-a-Cake, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Baby Beluga, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, 1 2 Buckle My Shoe, and The Wheels on the Bus. I feel like I'm forgetting some, but that's all I can think of right now.
For a while now you've been able to open doors. This month you realized that meant you could get out of bed and leave your room after we put you to sleep. Some nights you stay in bed. Other times I have to take you back in 2-3 times. When you come out its hard not to smile because you are always so thrilled with yourself, giggling and looking for me. You always bring Big Al out with you and sometimes bring the whole gang wrapped up in your snowman blanket. I swear you just get out of bed for extra snuggles because when I pick you up to take you back to your room you always turn and give me a kiss, then flop down on my chest and squeeze me for a hug. I'm annoyed when I hear your door open but once I'm holding you I don't want to put you down.
Carter baby I love you so much. You are the apple of my eye, the sunshine in my day, the giggle in my soul, the light in my heart. I am so thankful for every moment and every day I get to spend with you. You are a treasure! I'm so excited for another month home with you!