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To Miles on your 24th month of life,

To Miles on your 24th month of life,

December 12, 2006

This morning I woke up to your arms hugging my neck, your 28 lb body draped across my chest. I kissed your neck until you laughed and kicked me in the stomach a few times. This is fairly typical of our mornings, with you snuggled in between me and your father, having joined us in bed at some point in the middle of the night. Many mornings your sister will be in bed with us too. And I love the way you two will greet each other when you wake up, as if you are long lost friends who have been apart for a long time.


Every day you become more independent and more assertive about your opinions. (And for someone only 24 months old you certainly have a lot of them.) Every day I think that you must have reached the pinnacle of your oppositional behavior, but then you go ahead and surprise me by taking your oppositional behavior to new heights.

This morning as we lay in bed I said, “It’s your birthday. Happy Birthday!”

You said, “NO!”

I said it a few more times to convince you that it was in fact your birthday, but you just screamed “No” each time I mentioned it. I know how you feel, but it didn’t happen for me until I turned 35.


You exhaust me. Your endless climbing, jumping, and coloring on everything but paper. You wear me out, child. And it makes me glad that I am at the end of my baby and child bearing days, and not just starting my family like many of the people our age that your father and I know.

A couple of weeks ago I returned home from a weekend away, filled with Christmas shopping, eating out in restaurants, and not heeding your every tyrannical whim, and you were already sound asleep. In the morning you began calling for me from your crib as you do every mornning. “MOM.MOM.MOM” As I went to get out of bed to go get you, your father excitedly stopped me. For a brief, oh-so-brief moment I thought he was going to get up and get you.

Instead he called to you, “Show Mommy how you learned to climb out of your crib this weekend. Go on, show Mommy.”

I almost dropped dead right there on the spot.

“It’s so cute. Just watch how he gets out all by himself.”

Did your father not realize the importance of your daily afternoon nap for my sanity? The nap that you hate and fight tooth and nail to avoid everyday. The nap that you continue to take because you are trapped in a cage crib and can not escape…

And so like any SANE parent, I jumped out of bed, screaming, “Are you crazy? No! No! NO CLIMBING!!!”

You didn’t climb out again for a awhile. And I was so happy. And so thankful that this was the one thing you decided to obey me on. Everything else I tell you not to do, color on walls, climb on the stove, throw balls at the windows, you promptly discard as unwanted advice.


Yesterday though, perhaps in celebration of turning the big T-W-O, you decided to climb out of your crib after I put you down for your nap. After you ransacked the room you grew bored and began banging on the door and crying. I heard nothing of it since I was downstairs revelling in my two hours unfettered by your whims, eating bon-bons, and drinking martinis. Okay, the bon-bon eating and martini drinking were in my head, and in reality I was supervising your sister with her watercolors, which is really only marginally better than dealing with your whims.

But I didn’t hear you. Your oldest brother was upstairs in his room and came to your rescue. When he brought you downstairs to me you were sobbing so hard that you could hardly catch your breath. The guilt was overwhelming. You wrapped your little arms around my neck and kept saying “Mama” over and over again. I carried you upstairs and laid down in my bed with you. Your body wrapped around mine. I rubbed your hair with my hand and kissed your chubby cheeks over and over again, while apologizing to you. You promptly fell asleep. But even in your sleep you kept shuddering with sobs, trying to catch your breath. And each time your body shook I felt like I was being stabbed in the heart.

After a little while I extricated myself from your clutches and tucked you in, building a fortress of pillows around you. I looked around the room for the first time and noticed all my books strewn about the floor, the dust jackets taken off and crumpled up like garbage, the clothes emptied out of the hamper, mixed with those pulled out of your drawers. There is a reason toddlers are so cute.

You love your older brothers and will frequently go to one of them if I reprimand you in anyway. You’ll grab them by their legs and yell, “mama bad boy” And yes, they will agree with you. Especially funny is how you have decided to call your 10 yr old brother “Joe.” His name in no way remembles “Joe” and yet you insist that is his name.

Trying to get away from the camera

You have decided that you hate having your photograph taken. This means that I have lots of pictures of the back of your head this month. Taking photos for our Christmas card this year was a real battle of wills. You didn’t want to be in a picture until someone else was being photographed. Then you would run to get back into the picture. Where you would pose nicely until I brought my camera out. I also have quite a few photos of you screaming and everyone turning to look at you.

Gone are the days where I could do this, and you would just sit there, like your very first Christmas:

December 25, 2004

Going to see Santa this year should be a lot of fun and add to the side show feel we already bring with us wherever we all go.

This month you have decided to walk up and down the stairs like a big person. No more crawling or using your hands for you. Instead of turning around and going down the stairs backwards on your stomach, you walk down facing forward, your left hand just casually dragging along the wall. I can hardly stand to watch it, so sure I am the the next step will cause you to trip and fall down the wooden stairs and break your neck.

Your vocabulary has grown exponentially this month. You string words together in complicated sentences. By far my favorite is, “My yuh you” (I love you), though “I NEED CAKE!” is up there on the list. And when your father is watching a sporting event of some sort on television and you pause to watch and yell, “WHOA!” well, it cracks us up every single time. You don’t sit still, ever. You are constantly running around the house, screaming, laughing, and trying to be a big kid. Your giggling fills this house.

One of our Christmas traditions is to read every night by the light of the candles on our Advent wreath. You spend the entire time I am reading climbing onto the table and trying to blow the candles out. You are so serious about it and you puff your cheeks up so big, huffing and puffing to the point where we think you might hyperventilate. And so this year will be forever remembered as the Advent we spent pulling you back from the candles every other sentence. And laughing in between.


If that isn’t what good Christmas memories are made of, I don’t know what is.

People ask me all the time if I am having any more babies. I guess they haven’t gotten the memo. Usually I’ll look at you and then back at them and say, “I have achieved perfection. There’s nowhere to go from here.” And while it is something of a joke, I mean it. I have never won anything in my life. I have never been lucky. But somehow, inexplicably I have won the kid lottery.

Happy Birthday, baby.

Posted by Chris @ 3:07 pm  

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  1. Beth F. says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful boy.

  2. Tricia says:

    You could just eat him up, couldn’t you???

  3. Christina says:

    Happy Birthday Miles!!

  4. Tal says:

    Oh boy, you know you did good when you make the single, childless 24 yr. old cry…GREAT post.

  5. daring one says:

    Happy birthday to the cute boy. I wish I could get his 28 lbs and Magoo’s 28 lbs together for a good squishing.

  6. Kellie says:

    Beautiful. Every single word. Every single image you created by detailing what this precious child is like. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s people like you that I admire and respect, in so many ways. I, too, have never won anything. I feel I won the kid lottery and I only have one baby (she is 11 months old). Happy Birthday, Miles!

  7. Jaime says:

    Happy birthday baby! What a gorgeous tribute!

  8. Christy says:

    What a touching letter to your darling son. I hope he cherishes it one day, when he’s old enough to understand.


  9. Lori says:

    As if I needed to cry again today–here I go again. That was beautiful. It is great to win the kid lottery! Enjoy the special day!

  10. Novaks8 says:

    You are such a role model for all of us!

    That blonde hair, when did that happen?

    Too cute.

    I feel like I know him after reading your blog his whole life!

  11. Ave says:

    I loved the image about Miles and his big sister. It reminds me of my almost two year old and his 3.5 yr old big sister. The hugs and kisses they give each other in the morning and again before bedtime and all times in between is priceless! After bedtime hugs, he waves to her and says “Dye-Dye!” and she says “see you in da mornin’, baby!”. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it!!

  12. Carola says:

    This is a very beautiful and touching letter, one of the best ones you’ve written for Miles. Happy B-day to him!!

  13. Jennifer says:

    You made me cry a little bit. And want to have another baby. Damnit.

    I love love love the picture of him climbing up on the stool. That is my favorite of your Christmas series…although his brothers and sister are adorable too.

  14. Susan says:

    Oh that was so touching, Chris! You are the only person on the face of this earth who *regularly* makes me think I can have just one more. Or three. Or seven.

    This was the best line of all:
    “Your giggling fills this house.”

    I never want to NOT have the sound of a child’s giggles filling my house.

  15. Brigitte says:

    Your heart is still tender enough to be pierced by his wails, after 6 other children - you are an awesome mommy.

    And I think I’ll wait until my daughter is a teenager before I let her go down the stairs by herself, you’re brave!

  16. fancythis says:

    If I churn out a kid half as good-lookin’ as him, I’ll be a lucky lady.

  17. Lilly says:

    Your beautiful baby boy is a gem and your writing is wonderful. You did win the baby lottery!

  18. ali says:

    omigosh! he’s adorable!

  19. Kate says:

    So sweet

  20. Nicki says:

    Happy Birthday!! May every year see you looking as sweet and cute as the last two.

  21. Sara says:

    I love your “achieved perfection” line. Mind if I use it for my fourth (and last) child who is also two? Wonderful post.

  22. Playdate Susan says:

    I’m all weepy. Mostly because what was Rob thinking letting that kid CLIMB OUT OF THE CRIB???

    But also because I just adore Miles. And you.

  23. Mary W says:

    I know that clutch in the heart as they walk down the stairs like a big kid. you can’t bring yourself to look or breathe yet are afraid not to watch should the stumble.

  24. jody2ms says:

    Oh, this was by far your best milestone post yet.

    Lovely. Absolutely lovely.

    And he is so adorable and perfect. The stool shot is great.

  25. Amber says:

    WOW Its hard to belive ive been reading here since I wanna say since before Miles was born! I think so lol! He is a GORGEOUS boy! My lil’ man turned 2 on Sept 30th, so I know how your feeling. I love your writting and how we all feel what you feel! Your an amazing mom & writer and you DO make beautiful babies ;)


  26. Carrie says:

    You totally brought tears to my eyes. I hope to be able to write my daughter a letter as touching as that one day.

  27. Pete Aldin says:

    That’s so moving. Your children are growing up breathing in love. I’m sure you’re as much a joy to them as they are to you!

  28. Heather says:

    Beautiful! Happy birthday Miles! :)

  29. Kate says:

    What a great post for Miles!

  30. Erika says:

    beautiful post chris.

  31. rachel says:

    the cuteness is overwhelming! oh so sweet.

    happy birthday Miles! He won the mom lottery, too, you know.

  32. CaliforniaGrammy says:

    Beautiful tribute to your baby boy. Happy Birthday Miles . . . you are a very lucky boy to have such an awesome mom, who so lovingly writes the perfect birthday letter. Great job, Chris. He, as all of your kids, will just cherish your written words.

  33. jen3 @ amazing triplets says:

    Awesome post. Happy birthday Miles!

    Your story made me tired and then I remembered, maybe I’m exhausted because I have three two year olds (25 mos) and a fourth on the way. Yeah, maybe that would be it!!

    He’s such a cute little guy.

  34. Chris says:

    Chris, your tributes to Miles are beautiful. They are one of my favorite things to read on your blog.

    I hope it was an enjoyable day for you all.

  35. Pastormac's Ann says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your precious baby. I love reading your letters to Miles.

    I think there is just something special about a last baby. I find myself pausing to soak up my baby’s every smile, the curve of his sweet sweet face, the music in his giggle, trying to sear every detail into my mind. I don’t want to forget this precious person that he is, even when he’s making me want to pull my hair out.

  36. Katie says:

    What a sweetie! Gorgeous post, Chris!

  37. Lari says:

    Happy Birthday Miles! He’s such a beautiful boy.

  38. Meg says:

    Sniffly now.

  39. Kate O'Brien says:

    Your post was wonderful! We have SO much in common. I too have seven children with 2 girls in our mix though. And my youngest and last child just turned 2 this past summer. My children range in ages from 13 down to my little boy.

    Your blog is a blessing!

  40. peepnroosmom says:

    I’m all teary, now. Happy Birthday, big guy!

  41. fin says:

    happy bday!

  42. guinness girl says:

    Okay, I don’t know if this is hormones or what, but this bday post made me cry. Too, too sweet.

  43. halloweenlover says:

    Beautiful! Miles is so lucky, and you are so blessed! You really have such a beautiful, wonderful family!

  44. Angela says:

    He is getting so big…amazing how time flies. I wanted a large family too…but now too much time has passed and the thought of starting again scares me…we’ll see.

    BTW, how do you get the black backdrops…do you photoshop it or take the pictures w/ a backdrop…just wondering…they look amazing.

  45. Danielle says:

    Happy Birthday Miles. You are very loved.

  46. Stevie says:

    Chris, you are such an eloquent writer.

    I have a Miles of my own, who was two just a few months ago. Reading this birthday love note makes me want to go and tell my Miles that I adore him.

    As I was sitting here thinking this I heard “Mama, ‘mere”, and I followed the voice to the kitchen counter where naked Miles is rifling through the straws. I pulled him off the counter and hugged him, and now he is in the living room opening the bowl of spaghetti that he just pulled out of the (still open) fridge.

    My husband brings the pasta to the kitchen and says to me “Let’s not have a fourth baby.”

  47. Genevieve says:

    *sniff* AWWWWwwwwwWWWWWW! Now I’m all misty-eyed.
    You’ve produced some truly beautiful kids. (Go ahead, take the credit!) Were they all such little chunks o’ love at this age?

  48. Lisa says:

    All I have to say is wow. That was one of the best posts I’ve ever read. What a fantastic gift to your kiddos to write to them like that!

  49. InterstellarLass says:

    I remember two. It was one of my favorite years with my kids. Such a sweet post.

  50. kris says:

    damn you and the tear-producing posts.

    love to you.

  51. buttercup says:

    I found you through Suburban Bliss, and then was caught by your beautiful post about your son. It was lovely. He’s a lucky boy!

  52. Jessica says:

    Happy birthday Miles!
    Chris, for his birthday you should buy yourself a crib tent. Very useful for keeping little climbers snug in their cribs!

  53. Kate says:

    The last picture looks eerily like the one posted in November at Breedem and Weep.

  54. J. Jones says:

    What a nice and touching letter to your son. It is very inspiring. I have three children, 5, 2, and 8 mo. Number three was our little surprise so my two year old daughter never really had the opportunity to just be the baby. Not only is she the only girl, but she is little Miss Independant. She is very different from her brothers and I just look at her and want to melt. She amazes me every day. I love all of my children and they each hold a special place in my heart but two is an amazing age. As you obviously know, this is when they transform from baby to little person. And then the fun begins!

  55. Jennifer says:

    I found your blog two years ago when you were waiting for Miles to make his appearance, and have loved following your family’s life since then. It’s hard to believe how fast time flies! I hope that one day I have some kids as wonderful as yours. Happy Bday Miles!