It's been almost six months now since Samuel was born and Michael's world was changed overnight. I've been focusing on (sort of) keeping up with Sam's growth, but I haven't written about Michael in a long time. A couple of days ago it hit me how much he has grown and developed in these months - especially since Sam's arrival. It's just amazing! He's turned into such a little man. So, here's a long-overdue post on our Michael.
He'll be three in two months. I just can't believe it. I feel like he just turned two! It's been an intense year. He's opinionated and not easily influenced when he has his mind set on something. But his sweetness, his huge imagination, his energy and his exuberance bring us so much joy and laughter, I almost forget about the hard times. I guess that's the way it is at two - the highs are high and the lows are low. Sometimes I don't know if I want to cover him in kisses or kick him out of the house! I keep reminding myself that the world needs strong-willed people, and one day his temperament will be his greatest strength. For now, we try to err on the side of patience and understanding when he is being difficult, and I think that's been a good approach. He gets better at expressing himself all the time and he is slowly outgrowing the whiny/tantrum stage. Thank goodness.
He's been in a big bed for almost a year now. He doesn't use a booster seat, but prefers to sit or kneel in a big chair at the table. He likes to cut his food with a (butter) knife. He's getting brave about food again - lately he has even started eating spinach and brussels sprouts. He likes to choose his clothes and he can dress himself (but still needs help with buttons and zippers). As soon as we were finished traveling for the holidays we started potty-training and he learned very quickly! He's only had three accidents to date, and he is usually dry after naps and in the morning. (Skittles and Ninja Turtle underwear are powerful motivators for this boy.) He loves to put on his boots and help his Dad work outside. He hangs up his coat and puts his shoes away when we come home, he helps set the table, and he loves to help us cook.
He loves to imagine and pretend. In fact, at any given moment he is usually in the middle of a pretend scenario involving his favorite animals and characters (monsters, gorillas, characters from books and movies, etc.) He sings songs and does the voices of his favorite toys to act out little stories. He prefers running to riding in the stroller, so he runs and picks up treasures on our walks. He loves books and he can identify the letters in simple words and sound them out with a little help. He seems to have given up the afternoon nap and will read and sing and play happily in his room for a couple of hours instead of sleeping. He sings and dances to his favorite songs. He still sleeps like a champ at night, even with his little brother crying next door.
I think that has been the most remarkable development; seeing him become a big brother. Michael loves Samuel so much, and he has loved him from the moment they met. He has been loving and kind and nurturing toward Samuel every single day since he was born. I can't think of a single time when he has acted jealous or unkind toward his brother. When Samuel cries, Michael comforts him. When I ask Michael to play with Sam, he stops what he's doing and shares with his brother, happily. He sings to Sam. He knows how to make him laugh. He hugs and kisses him all the time. He wants to share his food, as soon as Sam is ready. He struggles with kindness and sharing with everyone else, but not with Sam. He has extra reserves of love for his little brother. It makes my heart burst to see this tender side of him. (Sam loves it too - Michael is his favorite person. More on that in another post!)
He's still very cuddly and affectionate with me, and I don't take it for granted. Every day he becomes more of a "big boy" and I know this snuggly stage won't last. He asks me to dance when there's music playing. He tells me I look pretty, and he likes my perfume. If I wear a long dress or skirt he smiles a shy smile and calls me a princess. When I'm sad he hugs me and tries to make it better. If he sees a flower he picks it and gives it to me. He has such a sweet heart and we love him to pieces.