Brantley Carter: 2.5

Dear Brantley,

Here we are already at two and a half years old!  It absolutely blows my mind that I have a kid that age!  The downward slide of my favorite age range (1 to 3), which makes me a little sad, but like with each stage thus far, I'm sure it will continue to get better than I could have ever imagined.  Being a mom is absolutely the most amazing thing in the world and you make me very proud to be yours.  Despite your whinny-ness (at times), and your ornery-ness (most times), you are one of the best kids I've ever known.  And I'm not just saying that because you're my own.  You truly have a heart of gold, you are politer than most, an amazing big brother, and just my most favorite toddler in the whole wide world.

I say this every time I write an update, but you have changed so much since turning two!  I feel like you've really matured over the past six months (as much as a 2-year old can mature anyway).  You understand everything we say and communicate in even completer sentences and thoughts than you did just a few months ago.  I'm baffled by the phrases that come out of your month.  Your dad and I often look at each other and ask "Where did he learn that?"  It's very interesting to me and so much fun watching someone learn the English language.

You also have a memory that blows my mind!  You remember the most minute of details.  Your dad went to the KU basketball game a couple of days ago and you asked if he was going to get his picture taken with {Big} Jay - because, of course, that's what you did at the KU football game in September!  We also drove by Shawnee Mission Medical Center one day and you muttered the word 'backpack' - as in the backpack you received as a big brother gift when Holden was born. 

You are still all boy.  A lover of sports, balls, cars, and trains.  I even think you're starting to smell like a boy.  A ball of energy, too.  You yell, scream, run into things (on purpose), and fall down (on purpose).  You are quite the show off and have no qualms about being the center of attention.  You are definitely a Daddy's Boy, and you aren't afraid to admit it.  (Though you're quick to point out that Holden is a Mommy's Boy.)  But there are times, through tears, that you say "I want my mama" and it's just about the sweetest thing ever.  I'm able to kiss away your owies, which is both funny and sweet to me.  You also recently started asking to "nuggle" (snuggle) at bedtime.  Oh goodness, that's hard to turn down!  One thing you aren't fond of is being dropped off for childcare when I go to MOPS.  You hate it.  Scream.  Cry.  Practically beg for me not to leave.  It's probably been the hardest thing I've ever dealt with with you to this point and it absolutely breaks my heart.  But the excitement you show when I come back to get you ("MY MOMMY'S HERE, MY MOMMY'S HERE, MY MOMMY'S HERE!!!!") *almost* makes up for it.

Another thing you try to weasel your way out of is bedtime.  As with all things you don't want to do these days, you tell us, "I no like to go to bed."  You've officially mastered the art of stalling.  You have gone through phases of refusing to go to bed (crying, yelling, screaming), but for the most part, you've always been one to roll over and fall asleep.  Well now, before that, you have to tell everyone in this house "nigh nigh".  Sometimes multiple times.  And that's after you've already gone potty a couple of times.  And asked for water.  It can be exhausting.  But at the same time, I'm not about to tell you no you can't tell Holden good-night.  It's very sweet hearing you say "I love you, Holden."

Speaking of Holden, you adore him.  You love talking to him and you love entertaining him and you love making him laugh.  It's so sweet listening to your {one-sided} conversations from another room.  You aren't always the nicest big brother (you once hit his head with the baseball bat and you often take his toys, yet you get mad when he tries to take yours), but you really are a great big brother with the sweetest of intentions.  Holden is going to look up to you so much and I know you will be a fab older role model.  I look forward to watching your relationship grow as you each get older.

At two and a half years, I can proudly say that you are completely and fully potty trained.  It's been weeks since your last accident and you even wake up (from naps and night time) dry.  I think your favorite part of going potty is going potty in public.  I swear, the other day I just pulled into a gas station parking lot and you immediately exclaimed that you needed to go.  You love public restrooms for some reason, mainly the automatic soap and paper towel dispensers.  Your Daddy and I are so proud of you, however, for doing such a great job with this, and grateful you made this so easy on us.

You gain independence by the day.  You want to do everything on your own, which can make life pretty frustrating at times.  You love to sing, love making trains out of everything (shoes, pool noodles, playing cards, etc.), love to race, love daycare with Ms. Stephanie, love acting goofy with Daddy, and love playing on the iPad.  You can identify all numbers 1 through 9, can identify all letters of the alphabet, and can even identify words (Brantley, Holden, Mommy, Daddy, Papa, Grandma, Kinnick) based on their first letter.  You have such a spunky personality and you don't stop moving until we put you to bed.  Movies?  Forget about it.  You're interested for about ten minutes and then you're ready to do something more physical.  In fact, we're starting you in gymnastics in two days.  Hoping it helps pass these winter days until we can head back outside again!

These past two and a half years have been nothing short of incredible.  It's hard to believe in two and a half more you will start kindergarten.  (Yikes!)  Until then, I will enjoy every minute of these pre-school years because time sure isn't slowing down anytime soon!

Love you little guy!

Xoxo, Mama

2.5 Year Update

Size | Not a clue...does that make me a bad mom??

Food | You are getting braver and more adventurous with food.  We almost always give you what we are eating plus something else (a side) that we know we like.  There are times you refuse to even touch what we give you, and on those nights we tell you there are no snacks or treats later on.  Often times, you try what we are eating and decide you don't like it.  And then sometimes, you surprise us and eat every bite.  I'm still hoping you grow out of your picky phase.  Go-tos are still fruit of all types, breakfast (pancakes, waffles, french toast sticks, oatmeal, cereal), hot dogs, mac and cheese, and chicken nuggets.

Sleep | You've always have been and still are a great sleeper!  You wake up on occasion and cry for milk, your blanket, Mommy/Daddy, to go potty, etc. but those nights are few and far between.  You usually go to bed (and naps) with little fuss, but like I said earlier, you are a pretty great staller...

Bedtime/Waketime | We were very lax with bedtime during the summer, but have gotten stricter (and earlier) since going back to daycare.  Bedtime is around 8pm.  Your wake time is usually around 6:30am.

Hair | Still blond, but not quite as light as it was in the summer months.

Eyes | Dark grayish.

Teeth | A full mouth of them.  I scheduled your first dentist appointment for my Christmas break, but you would, of course, wake up throwing up that morning.  Rescheduled for mid-January.

Wardrobe | Tops are true to size (2T & 3T), but you're still wearing 18-24 month pants.  2T pants are just too long!

Diapers | Done-zo!  Pull-ups for now, at nap and night time, but done with those as soon as our current package is gone!

Mommy's Fave | Oh goodness, there are too many!  You asking to snuggle.  You saying "I love you, mama."  You conversing with Holden.  You singing when you're in your own little world. (ABCs, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Old McDonald, Jingle Bells).  Funny story about your singing: one day as I was helping you on the potty, you started singing Eric Church's Springsteen (the whoa-whoa part).  I knew immediately what song you were singing, despite you never doing so before, nor us ever encouraging you to sing it!  Perfect example of the little things you pick up on a daily basis!  And because we laughed and kept asking you to sing it, you know request that song all. the. time.  So funny!  Great taste in music, kid, especially for a 2-year old! 

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