Last year Harlan took swimming lessons that was supposed to help him feel more comfortable in the water. This was through a private company nearby and while they didn’t do a poor job Harlan just wasn’t having much fun. Fast forward a year and we’ve enrolled Harlan into another swim class, this time at the Calvert County Parks and Recreation Aquatic Center. Boy what a difference a year makes. You can hardly keep Harlan out of the water! This class also seems to be preparing the kids for actual swimming with kicking, scooping, blowing bubbles, putting their ear in the water.
This is a six-lesson course and we just finished lesson five. So far Harlan seems to be one with the water.
Harlan has become fanatical about pointing out letters everywhere, especially his favorite – the H. Because after all H is for Harlan. If left in the vicinity of a writing implement you are also likely to find that he has scrawled the letter H on all available markable surfaces. The kid is pumped about the alphabet. He’s known a handful of letters for awhile, but he’s gotten really into it since our visit with Nana and Papa just before New Year’s. It was Nana who taught him to write the letter H and Papa played letter cards with him (actually the Scrabble Slam card deck), introducing one of his other new favorite letters – the Y. I showed him how to write an “a” this week and now it seems there’s quite a running joke in our house with “Ha” scrawled on drawing paper, the backs of bills, envelopes, etc (it has been strongly stressed that only paper should be written on). As much fun as writing though is pointing out letters he recognizes everywhere. As we pulled into a small strip mall parking lot to get pizza the other night he shouted “There’s an M.” He then proceeded to spell out pharmacy, which was on the sign in front of the car, omitting the introductory P, but otherwise nailing the rendition. The night before at the library he was putting together an alphabet puzzle and held up a letter, informing Eric it was an M. Eric told him no, it was a W. Harlan took the letter and flipped it upside-down and said, “now it’s an M.” Can’t get one over on this kid.
We had a wonderful family Christmas this year with our now two-year-old! With Christmas falling on a Wednesday we decided not to travel for the holiday and instead stayed home, so it was quiet but a good chance for the three of us to enjoy each other’s company. In the days leading up to Christmas, Harlan specifically requested as one of his bedtime books “The Night Before Christmas” and studied each page intently, asking a barrage of questions throughout as he worked through in his mind this whole Santa story. He had the opportunity to see the big man a couple times leading up to Christmas, but wanted nothing to do with sitting on his lap or even getting close to him. He was, however, grasping the idea. A few weeks ago at a Christmas gathering he declined to get close to Santa, requesting instead that “Mommy go tell him I want a train.” Mommy did not, and as Santa left the room Harlan started crying, saying “But I want Santa to know I want a train.” We settled for a letter instead in which he dictated with the utmost clarity that he wanted “a train with tracks and a coal car.” We dropped the letter at the local post office, and the next day Harlan had a response (small town living has some benefits!). Santa came through and Mommy and Daddy elves had a fantastic time setting up the train tracks upstairs after Harlan went to bed. We were more excited than Harlan the next morning to go upstairs and look. He was quite reluctant until we promised him Santa was no longer present and had returned to the North Pole. (After eating the sugar cookies Harlan baked for him the day before.)
So up we went and to say Harlan was delighted understates the thrill. Not to underestimate my childhood Christmases, but it’s hands down the most excited and happiest I’ve been on Christmas morning in recent memory. Seeing Harlan’s enjoyment was the best gift I could have been given. (Not that Eric did a bad job at all with his gift-buying or delicious breakfast.)
All in all, 2013 is ending on a wonderful note. Harlan had his two-year-old check-up a few weeks ago and he pulled himself back up onto the weight chart and into 10th percentile at 24 pounds, 3 ounces. His height also bumped up to the 50th percentile at 35 and 1/4 inches tall. He’s certainly a growing little boy. He’s a real chatterbox, and it’s wonderful to have conversations with him. He’s so observant and constantly drawing connections and figuring out the world. He’s also age-appropriate ridiculous, including passionately insisting every morning that Eric allow him to go to daycare in his pajamas. Every. Single. Morning. Despite of course that he has never been allowed to go to daycare in his pajamas. Trying to guess what food is acceptable for consumption on any particular day is also a losing battle as what might be insisted upon today is met with a collapse onto the floor in tears the following day as soon as it touches his plate. (I know he’s still learning to regulate his emotions, but sometimes it’s hard not to laugh. I mean really, a face plant into the table complete with wailing because a fork is the wrong color?!) Overall, he’s a wonderful little boy though. He’s eager to help, clearing the table and washing the floor, and makes us all smile when he periodically looks up from playing and declares, “Group Hug!,” bringing together Mommy, Daddy, Harlan, and whatever stuffed animals happen to be in reach in a giant embrace.
Yesterday on the metro (he and Daddy met me in the city after I got off work and they spent the day exploring the museums) he insisted on holding both my and Eric’s hands through each of the tunnels in case we got scared. This was in between striking up conversations with other passengers. He informed the woman next to him using an e-reader that he had a computer too (we got him a tablet that he calls his ‘puter) and that it had an orange case and he read books on it too. He also showed a weary construction worker his bag from the bakery we stopped at as it was closing and told him he had muffins (the bakery let him take the baked goods they were going to toss out at the end of the day). He’s just a sweet kid.