2.5

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Our sweet man,

How do we catch up?

You are two and a half years old now. You’ve dug in to the Terrible Twos lately in that you Just Cannot Handle It if your will is defied sometimes. You get really, really upset if we try to make you use the potty and you’re not in the mood or if we try to make you come inside or get in the car if you’re not ready. Cue meltdown. You really have taken to being a drama queen when the occasion arises.

And yet! You are such a sweet boy. You wake up happy every day and you want a cup of milk and a banana. Every morning. You want to sit on the couch with me and watch your Elmo potty DVD while I have my arm around you, holding your belly. If my hand is not on your belly, you will put it there. Grammy says you do this to her too. You love being held with a hand on your belly, and you a very good snuggler.

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You’re learning so much these days! We have so much fun talking about what the different animals say. Your favorite animal noise is “mooo” but you do adore a good bird tweet too. The kitties don’t live here anymore but you still ask about them and meow quite a bit. Your pig oink is hilarious. Some day I hope to sneak a video of it.

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You’re counting — you can make it to 10 on your own and even further if we count with you. You can identify some numbers on sight, which is CRAZY since we didn’t teach you how numbers look! (I have to credit this to Sesame Street, seriously.) Grammy had you out on the porch one day and she pointed to the house numbers and you told her what all four of them were! We were all so shocked and bewildered by that, but mostly impressed.

We’re working on our colors, too, and the alphabet. You love to sing the alphabet song followed by “Twinkle Twinkle,”which I catch you humming throughout the day.

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The past few months you’ve made big friends with your cousins Shannon and Levi. You see Levi every few weeks and you ask about him when you see his picture on the fridge. You guys get along like gangbusters, except when you have sharing issues.

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We’ve been trying to puzzle out this long-standing nighttime cough you’ve had for months. We think it’s probably allergies, and we’ve tried several remedies. Lately you’ve been better so maybe we have it figured out. Still, I hope you grow out of whatever is giving you trouble now. An allergy test showed you’re allergic to dogs, cats, mold, pollen, trees and grass. So … the world is going to be tough on you, kiddo.

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You are still very much into balls — footballs, tennis balls, basketballs, soccer balls. You like to talk about the moon (and when it might be up in the sky), and big trucks, big cars, and big planes flying overhead. Helium balloons make you BATSHIT CRAZY. You love being outside. You went through a shy spell but lately you’ve been delighting in other people. Just today you were swinging at the park and cracking up every time some other kid came to swing beside you. That is so fun to watch.

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You like to make us laugh and surprise us. You love to jump on the bed and turn flips. You love your Glowworm, which you call your “Woo woo.”

We found out recently that you were accepted to pre-school! That starts next month. We are so nervous and excited for you. You had to do a one-hour evaluation in a classroom and you were very reserved. I’m sure when you spend some time at school you’ll love it. There’s so much more to do there, and so much to learn. You’re going to make friends and really be a big boy, going to school every day. I almost can’t believe it.

Lunchtime selfie party Sad day. Taking the kitties to live with my parents. Holden's allergy test showed us they can't live with us anymore. Bummed. This guy is enjoying the V-Day balloon more than anything has ever been enjoyed before.

A little Saturday afternoon Egg huntin’

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We had our first proper egg hunt last weekend at Mom and Dad’s. Evan had a bunch of eggs — including some cruel camouflage ones! — and threw them out in the yard and Levi and Holden went for them. Levi had done an egg hunt before so he kind of had the idea but Holden wasn’t sure of the point until a few eggs in. He found an egg with a dollar in it and pitched it to the ground but pocketed the egg. My child, the hippie?

It was really fun and sweet to watch, but the best part is watching Holden and Levi play. There are times when they don’t share very well and they can get annoyed with each other, but for the most part they delight in each other and that is so great to watch.

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The Turner Chin

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Thirtysomething female in natural habitat, from unflattering angle

One of the ways in which you can pinpoint the source of my DNA is my weak chin/double chin. This thing torments me. It’s particularly annoying when I’m overweight (as I am now and, uh, have more or less always been) because I can feel fat snuggling my neck like a skin turtleneck. Ew, I just grossed myself out.

Anyway, this chin has ancient origins, I’m sure, that I could try to track down if I put some effort into it. My great-grandmother had it and hated it so much that in her later years, she would tape up her double chin with a Band-Aid, so that it would rest suspended in a little turkey-neck hammock. My grandfather (her son) always had a robust double chin situation, and his was covered in grey stubble throughout many of my brief memories of him. My dad (his son) hides his chin under a generous layer of beard, although in recent years his facial manscaping has allowed the chin to peek out more and more in favor of a more mutton-choppy look.

As for me, I’ve gone about my life trying to hide the chin with long layers of hair that have traditionally fallen in my face so much that my grandmother has probably repeated the phrase “Get your hair out of your face!” at least two hundred times to me. (See also: “Pull your sleeves up!” and “Black attracts everything but men and money!”) I hate this damn thing but it’s one of the very few and very obvious ways in which you can draw a straight line from me to my family, so I suppose it’s endearing in its own way.

That doesn’t mean I don’t entertain fantasies of neck lipo on a regular basis.

And just like that, it’s over

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We’ve had a blast up here in the campiest little strip in the mountains. Tomorrow we will resume regular life.

My mom really went out of her way to make sure we had a great time, even though she knows I have no money to spend on fun stuff. She’s a keeper.

My kiddo — despite being bitten by the whiny bug while we were here — has been a trooper through sickness and schedule upheaval and my insistence that he ride amusement-park rides (which he contemplated stoically, for the most part).

We made lots of good memories and when we come back, we’ll be able to do even more fun stuff.

Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, you’re a weird little area that vacuums up our money but you consistently churn out good memories for us, so thanks.

This is the only family picture we have

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Big ups to the total stranger at the Opryland Hotel who offered to take it for us when he saw me running back and forth from the makeshift, brick-column perch I had made for my camera, which was snapping one picture every 10 seconds while people wandered into the shot without knowing.

I hope everyone has had a nice run of the holidays. I know I sure have. I am a lucky, lucky gal.

A lucky gal who is still not done Christmas shopping.