Dear Aidan,

Ever since you were born, I have written to you, in a long, meandering Word document that now has 63 pages, letting you know what you are saying, doing, the myriad ways you are delighting me and the other people around you. So you’ll be able to read it one day. Then I started a blog and started writing here instead, shaping my writing a bit more elegantly, making observations I thought might interest other mothers, and so I have stopped addressing you, and that isn’t quite right, is it?

I’m sorry, baby. I guess one day you will have several documents to look at if you are interested in knowing what you were like as a child. You’ll have the rambling, inarticulate pages and you will have my blog. Both of them are for you, even if the one isn’t written in second person. It is in honor of you. You are its (and my) inspiration.

So, what have you been up to these days. So many things, since I haven’t been writing them down.

• You are as strong-willed and rambunctious as ever and getting funnier every day.

• The other night. Bedtime routine. You were having none of it. I’d nursed you and we were now in the rocking chair “reading” your books, all seven of them (eight if you include the many chewed up pieces of Pat the Bunny), only lately you’re not so much interested in reading your books as you are in stacking them, knocking them down, then stacking them again. Sometimes you stop to chew on one in between. So, you were busy stacking. Unfortunately you were stacking them on the ottoman which has a slant to it, so the entire stack tumbled to the floor. Since you couldn’t get them all, I put you down to gather them. Little did I know that you were going to take the opportunity to escape and you crawled—in fast speed—into my room and slammed the door laughing like a little rascal all the way. I tried to open the door, while you held it shut and giggled. When you did a little circle, I pushed the door and said, “Come on, boo, it’s bedtime, let’s go read your books.” You ran. I chased you, making you giggle more, and picked you up to bring you back in your room. It was getting late, so we said good-night to all your friends, turned off the light and on your music. And then the dancing began. You were bouncing up and down, shaking your head wildly, shaking it yes, shaking it no, swaying left and right. I laughed and that made you do it ever more wildly. I laughed so hard, you stopped, studied me and then started dancing all the more fanatically, occasionally breaking…to kiss me! You leaned forward and placed your mouth right on mine, all serious and then began shaking your head around again. Eventually you cuddled up next to me, like a little koala bear, and you were on your way.

• The dancing is adorable. Last night I tried something new that your dad suggested: reading to you in bed. So, we’d gone through the whole frenetic routine, then I put you in the crib and said, “Let’s read Good Night Gorilla in your crib.” You sat your buns down, all excited and started turning the pages. You giggled where you giggle—”Good night, good night, good night, good night…”—you said “zzzzzz” along with me on the last page as always and then we were done. I turned on your music, thinking we’d wind our way down to dreamland, but you started dancing. Bouncing, swaying, shaking your head, and the cutest thing was you clutched my hands to dance with me. The whole first song…Are you the sun? Are you the moon? Are you a watermelon bug in June? And when I tried to pull away to close the blinds, you cried.

• You don’t want to get out of the bath. You run away from me as well as you can in a bathtub. You stand with your tush to me and reach up toward the toiletries. Then you crouch down and splash. Then you stand up again, then crouch down and splash, all the while laughing like a mad baby on amphetamines, looking at me with that scoundrel grin. I need to upgrade my blog to put video on it ’cause you need to see it to believe it. This is also the routine post-nursing. The minute I stand up to bring you into your room, you haul ass to the other side of the bed, laughing at me over your shoulder. When I follow you, you laugh again, that naughty laugh, and run the other way, toward my nightstand, and this goes on and on till I grab you, pin you, tickle you while you cackle and forcefully haul to off the bed, giggling all the way.

• When you eat, you like to have your own spoon and whack the bowl and whatever is in it while I feed you. It gets incredibly messy—squash, turkey chili flying onto my jeans, your clothes, the rug. You love to feel a part of it. And you also love to feed me. The spoon is covered with food and I open my mouth and you shove it in, grinning that joyful grin of yours.

• You’re in this organizational phase. Yesterday in RIE, Catriona placed a bunch of metal plates in a row and in very orderly fashion you put each one in the next until it was a neat pile. Later you removed each of these little wooden cups from a shelf in the kitchen and lined them up perfectly along the edge of a big box on the floor. In the hotel room in Boston, you would gather all your toys and anything else you could find (your shoes were a favorite) and put them all in the garbage can. Then you’d take them out. Then you’d put them back again. Today while I was making your bed, you gathered all your shoes, plus whatever socks and toys you could find on the floor and put them in the trash with the dirty diapers. Nice.

• You’re a total flirt. You gaze at strangers with those big eyes, very serious, and if you like them, you smile. And they melt.

• You still like banging on things, but now you also like banging on your head with things! The clock, a block…you don’t do it very hard, but it can’t feel good!

• You love to throw things. Throwing things is probably your favorite activity besides dancing. You throw things across the room. You throw things out of the tub. You throw things at me. You throw things at the cat. You threw a wooden ball at Jack’s head the other day. Then you threw one at me while I was looking under the couch to see how many balls you’d tossed under there (eight) and you hit me right in the front tooth. I howled and you looked at me with such innocence in your big, gorgeous, innocent baby eyes, I almost believed you didn’t mean to knock my tooth out. Your grandma is trying to teach you not to throw things. She’s trying to teach you to put them down gently. She says that: “Put it down gently” and demonstrates. Every time you cooperate she gets all excited and when you go back to throwing, she frowns and again tells you, “Put it down gently.” Catriona says throwing everything in sight is a phase boys go through and there’s not much we can do to stop it. So what we should do instead is give you things to throw that won’t hurt anyone: stuffed animals, socks. Luckily you like to throw them, too.

• You have become such a babbler. “Da!” is still your favorite and “dis” (dis, dat and dee udder ting) and of course “ka!” which originally meant clock, but now seems to mean anything you dig. But there are others. Dada vaguely means dada and mama vaguely mama and ma seems to mean grandma and ca is clock or car or God knows what else. You speak in complete sentences that make no sense to anyone else but perfect sense to you. Guydiddyguydiddyguydiddyguy is common. It sounds a little like a sound your auntie used to make when she was a kid: gullygullygullygully. And then there’s the rapid dadadadadadada! with pointed finger, that generally means you want a specific object you can’t reach and want me to get for you. I can’t even try to transpose it here, only to say that you are incredibly talkative and you know exactly what you’re saying and I can usually figure it out. And then snap to it! Get that book off the floor! Put down the squash and get you some yogurt! Fetch your ball from under the couch! Pull my boob out of my shirt! Cause damn it, when you want something, you sure let us know!

• You’re getting closer and closer to walking. Your grandma insists on walking you around by the hands, which annoys me, but you are getting good at it. Very sure-footed, and sometimes you take those last couple steps toward me all by yourself. And it’s got you walking around very proudly—on your knees. In the tub, all around the living room, sometimes forward and sometimes sideways like a crab. Super proud, super smiley. And you’re practicing your donkey kicks. Yesterday you were standing holding my hands and I let go and you stood there for a few seconds, wowed, standing on your own two feet. I think walking might be on the horizon.

• Yesterday when I got you up from your nap, all sleepy and soft, I put you on the changing table to check your diaper and you wrapped your arms around my neck and just hugged me, held me against your warm little body for maybe two minutes, just hugged, with no motivation, no next step, no intention of stopping. It was heaven.

Baby boy,
You’re the cat’s meow
The dog’s bow wow
My world’s wow
That’s all for now