Dear Owen: a letter at two years

Dear Owen,

You’re two. You. My baby. You’re two. How did that happen? Your baby rolls and dark hair have been replaced by a little boy who is muscular and lean and summertime blonde all year long. A boy who climbs on the furniture and runs down the sidewalk and talks from morning until night. We are beginning to see who you are, and we say this at least once a day: you are passionate. Your days are full – of emotions, energy, experiences – your highs are high and your lows are low, Owen Bowen.

owen-bwYou’ve been throwing 2-year-old tantrums for at least 6 months now (your very first one was over a graham cracker, your precious), and they are loud. You know what you want, and you let us know when you don’t get it. Coming in from outside, you act like we are dragging you to your death at times. At times, you get totally overwhelmed when you’re around a lot of other kids, and you cry and get crazy emotional. But it is not all negative. At times, your sympathy astounds me; we were watching a Wheels on the Bus music video in which some cats were crying together with the babies on the bus wah-wah-wahing, and you cried bitterly about the cats for at least 10 minutes and brought them up at least once a day for weeks after. When you are hurt or sad, you (still) rub your hair, and say “sah-ee Owen, sah-ee Owen” and “I know I know I know” just like I do when I’m picking you up from a tumble. The littlest things excite you – the anthill on the sidewalk, the squirrel running up the tree, the passing firetruck, the BIG GRILLA! and GIAN TURTLE at the zoo that you couldn’t wait to tell your dad about.

Your curiosity is endless. All day long you ask me, “What’s that sound make?” and “Where’s Dad/Mom/Elsa/Estella/Archie/Bumpa go?” Our walk down the block takes forty minutes because we stop every two steps for a “Whas this, Mom?”  You are distracted by bugs and dandelions and loud engines and somewhat phobic of stray hairs and “specka dirt” in the bathtub. You are communicating so much these days, and when a listener finally gets what you’re saying, you squawk “oh!” as if to say, “yes, that’s exactly what I meant.”

You also mostly know your alphabet – some letters you call by name, others by sound, and others by the picture in your ABC puzzle it’s associated with, but you know your letters. Two months ago, we parked outside The Salvation Army storefront, and from the backseat, I heard “T – Tie! H – House – those letters, Mom!” It blew me away. You are smart, Owen, and I say that proudly as a Mama, but also as a former teacher who used to teach these things to five years olds!

Your waterfall of words mostly lands on me throughout the day, but occasionally I hear you, alone in your room, with your imagination evident. I hear you say, “Okay, Murf, we go!” to your Smurf as you walk her up the castle stairs. Murf and Monkey have conversations, and I overhear you talking to Bear, Monkey, Lambie, Lambikins, and Elmo in your crib, gathering them under your arms like a mother duck. When Elsa would cry those first few months, you would sometimes roar in frustration, but you’d often start saying, “I’m a hippo! ROAR! I’m a lion! ROAR! I’m a peacock! ROAR! I’m a Elsa! ROAR,” making me and you laugh. You are forever fishing these past few months, picking up every stick we pass, and “cyast!”-ing it, waiting a moment before you inform us that “I gah a BIG one!” (It’s possible that your passion for fishing rivals your passion for snacks).

You still are an amazing eater, only really turning your nose up at feta cheese, which I can live with. Though you definitely have your preferences and would eat goldfish crackers all day if we let you (as well as juiwce! wif ice!), you’ll happily eat what we put in front of you (Thai curry, lasagna, you name it).

You are a boy on the go. It takes you about a half hour to wake up in the morning and after nap, as you sit on the couch, drinking milk and stroking your hair. But once you’re up, you’re moving, on and off the couch, on top of the couch, climbing into Elsa’s crib, on the stool, running like a madman through our house, sprinting down sidewalks, and yelling “RUNNING GAME!” the minute your dad walks through the door at night. (Running game is sort of like tag, hide and seek, and purposeless running and screaming all rolled into one fabulous game, only rivaled by “Getchya-Ball” in which the element of your Dad trying to knock a ball out of your hand with your stuffed Elmo is added.) I hear you from the kitchen, “Ready? Go. SET!” as you jump from the ottoman to the couch or throw a ball towards your basketball hoop in another round of Elmo Dunk. You have also taken to baseball this past month, much to your dad’s pleasure, and you could play “bichaw” by swinging your “bichaw” the entire day. You’re getting pretty good at hitting off the tee, and even hit a pitched ball at times; you throw like a pitcher and catch like…a pitcher.

For as many moments when you are making life difficult or throwing rice on the floor or yelling “no!” we have a lot of sweet moments too. On April 15, out of nowhere, as we drove down Minnehaha Parkway, you said, “Love you, Mama!” and my heart melted. You are gentle with Elsa, and tell me “Elsa be cute!” as you stroke her head. You bring her toys. You love your grandparents and are always wanting me to draw pictures of Bumpa Joe and Bumpa Ron, or to call them on the phone so you can talk. You give hugs like it’s your job, and big wet mouth kisses before we lay you in the crib to “rubyerback?” before leaving.

We just celebrated your second birthday. Once, with my family, in a surprise party, complete with an Elmo cake from your Aunt Jean. We celebrated with Dad’s family, and you got all of the art supplies. And then, with a party here – with the Johnsons, Propsts, Macombers, & Johannsens. There was food, of course, and I made you a cake with a backhoe digging out a #2-shaped road. You sang happy birthday the loudest  of anyone and wildly applauded at the end. There were punchy balloons and presents and tons of kids in our living room and I hoped you felt celebrated and loved.

Owen, spending my days with you is the most exhausting fun I’ve ever had. I am completely spent by the end of each day, after your dad and I put you and Elsa to bed, my brain and body are done for. But you make me laugh; we have dance parties and sing songs “ageder.” We play games like “neaky neaky” over and over to your screaming laughter when I finally “find” you. We read books and you notice the most unassuming details about them. We cook together, take walks together, and tell our one and only inside joke, “mmm-hmmmmmm” while nodding and smiling hugely.  You propose preposterous things, “Me drive a car?” and then shake your head, laughing, “nooooo!” Your smile lights up your face, the room, my day.  I love being your mom.

I pray all the time that the Lord will harness your energy, emotion, and passion for good. That you will grow in wisdom and maturity and peace. And I believe He will do these things. You are gifted, my dear boy, and how blessed am I to have a front-row seat to what you’re becoming.

I love you more than I ever thought possible; you have made these last two years so rich, full, and abundant.

Your Mom

Things You Love: songs, singing, ABC’s, Only a Boy Named David, baths, being naked, “naken” runs, swimming, being outside, baseball (bichaw!), basketball, watching sports on the computer with your dad, videos (Elmo, Sesame Street, Baby Einstein), animals (espeically dogs, cows), stuffed animals, blocks, puzzles, books, food, snacks, cooking, tractors, trucks, construction sites, motorcycles, fire trucks / police cars / ambulances – anything with a siren, really, balls, playing catch, your mom and dad and usually Elsa, your grandparents, aunts, and uncles, especially Bumpa Joe and Bumpa Ron, Archie, Estella, the Johannson kids, Jen, Rachel, lawn mowers, BUBBLES! (bath or blown), taking things out of the refrigerator, helping, going in the basement, going to the park/zoo/library/coffee shop, putting your own shoes on, going for walks, milk, Bear, Lambie, Monkey, Elmo, balloons, coloring, playdough

Things You Hate: coming inside, waiting to go outside, riding in the stroller (sometimes), when Elsa’s feet touch you when we sit together on the couch, not getting a snack when you want one, getting water instead of juice, not getting out IMMEDIATELY when the car stops, when we don’t play your games right, throwing up (“I need a burp-cough (burpcloth)”), when I don’t let you have the pen I’m using, when I don’t let you color in my calendar, the “boy in the kashi (coffee) shop” who didn’t share [an experience you had MONTHS ago and still talk about daily]






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