It’s funny about age. With myself I always rounded up. I’d start saying I was “almost 26” when I was 25 and 3 months. Ha. I get that Harris exaggeration honestly. But with Ritter I always round down. That baby just can’t be growing this fast. Really he can’t!!! I feel like we were just working on grasping toys and now it seems as if he could start kindergarten tomorrow. The conversations we have and the things he says are just too much sometimes. His personality is SO big. I just don’t know how else to describe him. I know it comes across on social media. I post about him alot and you can’t help but smile when you see his pics and videos right?!? Whenever I run into people that I don’t see that often the FIRST thing they say is “your kid is so awesome, I love seeing him on FB!” That makes me so happy. Because I’m a proud mom, but also because I know how that little light in him can light others up too! His happiness is infectious!
Ritter’s latest obsessions:
1) The MOON!
Oh my dear lord does this kid love the moon! He’s always loved the book Goodnight Moon. And in all of his other books he has always pointed out when there is a photo of the moon – even as an infant. It was one of the first words he learned. Then some time over the last few months my mother had a conversation with him about how the moon hides during the day and comes out at night. Now we talk about it all the time. We’ve watched YouTube videos about the moon. We’ve looked up moon phase charts online. We’ve even talked about other planets and their moons. And we always look to see if the moon is bigger or smaller than the night before! The moon is a big deal around here!
2) Playing catch!
This makes Eric so happy. Ritter has started going and getting a ball and saying “play catch with me!” As I have noted before…this kid isn’t so much into solitary play. He wants you engaged with him. Which makes me proud. So we do alot of things like catch. Anything that gets you to get in the floor and play with him is a favorite activity. He’s gotten good at throwing the ball and getting it to go in the direction he intends…but catching took some work. Eric took this video the other day. I think it’s precious.
This boy loves to sing. We sing alot and we listen to alot of music so it makes sense. If you know Eric and I, you know how we are about music. We play Ritter a great variety of stuff. When he first really started getting into music he loved Shake It Off by Taylor Swift. Our Nanny played the video for him one day and he was hooked. We must have played that damn song a million times. But finally he let us move on to something else. He instantly loved Josh Ritter the first time he heard him. And he has loved every song of Josh’s I’ve ever played. Josh recently came out with a new album and I fell in love with the first single instantly. I’ve been playing it alot and Ritter has learned almost every word. It’s FREAKY. I look back when I’m driving and he’s just a singing along and I wish I could video it but typically as soon as he sees the camera he goes “NOOOOO mommy!” He loves the standard preschool songs also… Baa Baa Blacksheep, Wheels On The Bus, Hokey Pokey, the ABC song, Itsy Bitsy Spider, etc. We sing alot of those too. The other day I visited Ritter’s school and I asked if he was as talkative there as he is at home…they said “he certainly talks alot but mostly he sings…he sings all day every day…he’ll just sit and sing to himself!” Makes me happy!
4) Reading the same books…over and over…and over and over again!
No exaggeration here. He will ask for the same book over and over for a couple of weeks and then move on to another one…that he requests over and over for a couple of weeks. And so forth and so on. This was getting so annoying. I would try to suggest other books and have a variety each night and he would fuss and say NO! But then I realized one night that he was reciting the book along with me. So I started pausing as I was reading and letting him finish a page here and there…and I realized this kid has memorized these books in their entirety. He will get us to read one over and over and over until he memorizes it word for word. It’s unbelievable. The other night I just stopped reading and let him recite one on his own. I only had to prompt him with 2 words through the entire thing. I have written about this before but I have always had an excellent memory and I’m starting to believe I passed that trait on to R!
This isn’t new but I thought it was worth mentioning. One of the things we hear the most from the school is how “joyful” Ritter is. And we agree. He has loved to laugh from day one. And he will do anything to make others laugh. Going out to eat with this child is always an adventure. He smiles and flirts with everyone around us and ALWAYS tries to find someone to play peek-a-boo with him. Here’s a video of a recent dinner out where two young girls were sitting behind us… Ritter was obsessed with them all night!
6) Talking on the phone!
Both real and imagined. Ritter walks around with play phones and pretends to be having these adorable little conversations with people. But he’s also gotten good at talking on the real phone and actually holding a conversation with people. Here are a couple of cute videos of him “talking” on the phone recently… I love how he tells everyone what we are doing ..and he always starts with “I’m good!” Like they’ve asked how he is. LOL. He must hear me do this alot when on the phone. “Hey I’m good, we’re cooking dinner, and we didn’t go to the park…etc etc.” SO CUTE!!!
We play cook pretty much 24/7. Anything can be a waffle, or a sandwich, or pasta. And he loves to make us coffee and bring it to us. He will pull random groceries out of the cabinet and make special concoctions for us. “I’m making you rice mama!” or “I need to saute this!” Where does he get this stuff??? He’s also started setting the table for us and making us little meals. It’s the best.
8) Baby Dolls!
All of Ritter’s best friends at school are girls and he plays dolls and kitchen with them all day. So it makes sense that he loves to do the same at home. He has asked Santa to bring him a new baby doll for Christmas – one that has a paci! He’s so sweet and nurturing with his dolls. He cuddles them and wraps them up and puts them to sleep. Makes my heart melt!!!
When I gave him some sweet potatoes with some spices on them the other night: “Did you season these mama? They have spices on them!” – I mean…what 2 year old uses the word “season”? Where does he get this stuff?
When I was cooking the other night I was draining and rinsing a can of beans and R goes “you drained those didn’t you?” “Why yes I did son, where did you learn that?”
When Ritter is eating:
Ritter: “I want another cracker”
Me: “eat some more green beans”
(Ritter eats a carrot)
Ritter: “I want another cracker”
Me: “eat some more green beans”
Ritter: “I ate a carrot though”
Me: “that’s not a green bean”
Ritter: “but I ate a carrot mommy”
Me: “I still need you to eat a green bean”
…and this is how every meal goes lately. While he still loves to eat his veggies that kid definitely loves a cracker, chip, or bread…probably because we don’t eat alot of that stuff. So we do alot of negotiation around food. I think it’s hilarious.
If we are ever NOT fully engaged and present with Ritter he will totally call us out on it. And lord help if I’m on the phone… “mama, mama” “yes Ritter?” “why aren’t you talking to me?!” …clearly an only child! Must always be involved in the conversation!
Every morning when I go to get him up it’s a negotiation from start to finish. I’m sure other toddler moms can relate. He wants to do EVERYTHING himself and wants to make choices himself. I don’t have a problem with giving him choice where I can. It’s totally developmentally appropriate…no less annoying though. ha!:
Me: “good morning”
R: “hey mama what’s for breakfast?”
R: “I want cereal”
Me: “we are having oatmeal today…what do you want to wear?” (see how I change the subject there?)
R: “I want to wear my Mickey shirt”
Me: “Mickey shirt is dirty”
R: “NOOOOO I want to wear Mickey shirt” (begins to fuss)
Me: “OH! Train shirt and Beatles shirt are clean, which one do you want to wear?” (more distraction and offering of a choice!)
R: “Okay train shirt”
Me: “Okay let’s get dressed”
R: “Noooo I want to eat first”
Me: “if we hurry and get dressed we can go look for the moon before we eat!”
Life these days! Wouldn’t trade it for anything!
Ritter also loves anything we all do together. When we all eat a meal together he says “we are all eating together!” And when I come home in the evenings he looks at me and says “I’m so glad you’re home mama!” It just melts me!!! He also has these adorable little mannerisms that are becoming a big part of the way he expresses himself. He talks with his hands ALOT. And he does this little thing with his hands when he asks questions. I can’t describe it…but it’s so cute. I’ll try to get a video soon.
I could go on and on about this kid. I thank God every day for him. But also for the TIMING of him. I thank God that I had him at a point in my life when I’m fully able to appreciate him, cherish every moment with him, and be engaged in all the little things with him. I’m so grateful that I had him later. I’m grateful that I had him at 33 instead of 25. I feel that the growth I did in my 20s was immeasurable. I’m calmer and more focused on things that really matter in life. Eric was a big part of that. I thank God every day for every step in my journey. Ritter and his spirit are such a gift… watching him grow is everything to me.
Now for some recent photos and more videos…
If you have time, please watch this video. It’s just a little snippet of how meals and mealtime conversation tends to go at our house. He’s just so darn funny. We talk about our day, we look at the crafts he made at school, we talk about friends and family, etc. So cute!
You can view all of my Ritter videos at my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfyKdTFgieY7EdcPR3jwnyA