Saturday, December 7, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday, Jack!

(I started writing this blog almost a month ago, and am finally finishing and publishing it!)

Jack is two.  Well, he has been two for a little over a month now, and I still can't believe it!  I feel like it was only yesterday when I was cuddling him before putting him to bed, with my very pregnant stomach, thinking how he was still so much of a baby.  Now, he's very much a toddler.  A chatty (insert shocked expression here), opinionated (again, shocked), determined little boy.  He's drooly, he runs everywhere, falls all the time, and wants to do everything by himself.  But, more importantly, he's kind. He's got a cheeky smile that lights up the room.  He's busy. He's such a sweet little boy who adores his sisters and has figured out nicely where he fits in our crazy family dynamic.

From his earliest days, Jack has been such an individual.  He ate more and slept less than Lilly did.  He created more laundry than the rest of us combined.  He loved snuggling, and still gives the best cuddles.  He loves snaps and buckles and his little red car and bananas.  He thoroughly enjoys his food; well, the food that he gets in his mouth anyway.  So much of every meal ends up next to his bowl or on his face! He loves his blanket and Elmo.  In his crib before every nap and bedtime, he takes inventory.  He will notice if he doesn't have: a pillow, Spot, his blue bunny, Spike the unicorn (that Uncle Joef brought back from the Boston Marathon a few years ago), Paddington, Curious George, his sleepy kitten from Gigi, his Thomas books and of course, Elmo and his blanket.  It's way way too crowded in there, but try taking away of these things and you'll have to answer to Jack.  He learned how to suck his thumb when he was four months old, and has never looked back.  His curly hair, blue eyes and gorgeous little smile make me melt all the time.

Eating (and thoroughly enjoying) his first ice cream cake at his birthday party!
These days, Jack loves his routines.  He could spend all day doing puzzles.  For his birthday, we gave him an assortment of new puzzles, simply because I can only handle doing the "chugga choo choo train" puzzle (as named by Jack) so many times in one day.  This morning, he did a Thomas puzzle, the ocean puzzle, the fire truck puzzle, an Elmo puzzle and then the Thomas puzzle again.  They are all huge floor puzzles and he never, and I really mean never, gets sick of them.  He also loves playing with trains, fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, race get the idea.  He has a few trucks that he keeps outside; a bulldozer pushes all the leaves over to the dump truck, where Jack loads the leaves into the dump truck and then dumps them out for the bulldozer to push around again.  Such a simple game and it gives him so much joy.  He pushes his Thomas trains around the train table that we were lucky to inherit from our good friends, the Swifts.  We've all learned to incorporate words like "shunting trucks" and "Henry's tender" and "train conductors" and "hauling freight" into our everyday conversations.  I know more about trains because of Thomas than I ever imagined.

Just a typical morning in the Clark house.
Jack spends his days chatting away, and just as they did when Lilly was learning to talk, a few of Jack's expressions have given us some good laughs.  Here are a few of my favorite "Jackisms" so far:
  • In our family, when someone apologizes, we don't respond by saying, "it's okay."  When I was teaching Kindergarten, we taught the children to say, "I accept your apology," and so that is something we have done with our little ones.  I actually don't feel too strongly about either response but once Lilly started using it, it stuck so that's where we are.  Anyway, the other day, Jack tripped over Hannah, as he tends to do.  Hannah could be all the way on the edge of the room, nowhere near Jack and he still manages to find her and trip.  When this happened, Jack went up to Hannah and said, "Sorry, Hannah..." and then a few seconds later, "apology, Hannah."  He was waiting for her to say she accepted his apology.  And he continues to do this.  He said it again this morning after trying to give her a kiss and falling on top of her (poor Hannah)!  
  • This fall, we got an assortment of mini pumpkins and gourds for our kitchen counter.  Naturally, Lilly and Jack wanted to know the names of these funny looking things, so we told them they were gourds.  Well, the next time I heard Jack talking about them, he was calling them "Gordons" as you would if you loved Gordon, the train from Thomas.  Lilly picked up on this and didn't think anything of it.  In fact, one day, Lilly came and told me that we had an emergency.  While I was upstairs feeding Hannah, Jack threw a Gordon on the floor.  And she said this keeping a dead straight face.  So, from now on, we'll have pumpkins and Gordons in our house every fall.    
  • When we come home from dropping Lilly off at school, Jack goes straight for the duplo and I go and put Hannah down for a nap.  When I come back downstairs, I try to sneak away and put on some laundry and finish cleaning up the kitchen.  I'm usually successful at this for a little while before Jack decides he would like me to help with something he's doing.  One morning last week, Jack wanted me to sit next to him and color.  I told him I would love to color with him after I put on a load of laundry, to which Jack replied, "Mummy...sit next to you...please,, two, three."  He just used my own language on me, which was made even more entertaining because I didn't think that Jack understood what I was doing when I count for him.  When I ask him to do something and he doesn't, I say I'm going to count to three.  After my, "one, two, three," Jack smiles, looks at me, and then runs off to do whatever I ask.  It's not a very effective ultimatum to him.  It's more like an, "on your mark, get set, go" kind of expression.  Either way, he's decided that it works for him so throws it at the end of a sentence when he wants someone to do something for him.
  • Finally, probably my favorite Jackism at the moment is his very serious response when one of us asks him if he needs help with something.  A typical conversation goes something like this:
          Me:  Jack, would you like me to help you put on your shoes?
          Jack (who looks me straight in the eye, with a face as serious as they come):  No Mummy.  Ever.  

          Sometimes, after the first "ever," we even get a follow up, "Never. Ever." And then, a few
          minutes later, Jack comes over, dangling his shoe in his hand with a big smile on his face, asking
          for help. 

Jack loves singing, and we hear everything from "the wheels on the bus" to the Thomas theme song, to "Happy Birthday" to the continent song that Lilly sings from school.  But I think my favorite song at the moment is the French ABCs.  Lilly sings the French alphabet at school and comes home singing it proudly in the car or over lunch.  Let me preface this by saying that it sounds nothing like the French alphabet.  I don't speak French but I know that these sounds that Lilly is inserting as French letter sounds are definitely not part of the alphabet.  That being said, she's consistent about the sounds she makes up, which means that Jack is consistent.  He might not know his English ABCs fully, but he'll recite the French ones for you at the top of his lungs.

Singing "Happy Birthday" to Jack, while he sings it to himself as well.
If he sees that Hannah is upset, he'll run and get her a toy, or try and cover her up with a blanket (not his blanket, mind you).  He'll go up to her and say, "it's okay, Hannah...I'll be right there", clearly repeating what he hears me say.  When Hannah starts sucking her thumb, Jack comes up to me and says, "Okay Mummy, nap time Hannah."  He has quickly figured out that when Lilly is at school, he gets to run the show.  He'll share most of his toys with her, although his Bruder trucks, his blanket and Elmo are off limits.  Whenever Hannah makes a move to play with any of those, Jack carries them to the other side of the room, or upstairs to his bedroom where he knows she won't find them.  These two are going to be little buddies--I can already see it starting.

Jack is so little and so big all at once.  And now, he's two. He's a big brother and a little brother, which is so appropriate, because he really is both of those things.  He loves doing whatever Lilly is doing and will run and chase her around outside endlessly.  He sits at the counter and colors when she does, and asks her over and over again if she will draw a Mickey Mouse for him, or write a J for Jack.  He'll play dress ups and follow her around the house in her toy high heels (which really is about as perilous as things come, given that Jack falls while walking normally). And then, Jack comes over and plays with Hannah, bringing her toys and reading her books.  I often hear his little voice saying, "Look Hannah, train puzzle, by myself" when he's finished a puzzle. He loves holding her hands and pulling them up high saying, "How big is Hannah? So big!" while Hannah giggles away.  Lilly and Hannah are going to grow up very lucky to have a brother like Jack in their lives.

So, a very happy, belated birthday to little two-year-old Jack.  Here are some pictures from Jack's birthday and from his birthday party.

Jack's birthday morning! He woke up to a crib full of Thomas balloons. 

I love the looks on both of their faces...

After a big afternoon of bouncing and running and eating pizza!
And then, because I just can't help myself, this time two years ago...

October 12, 2011
And then a few of my favorite Jack photos...

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