Lately we’ve been taking the boys to a nearby college campus which is 1) satisfyingly empty after hours with tons of areas to explore, and 2) teeming with small cottontail rabbits—they’re everywhere; in the wooded trails, hopping across the parking lots, contentedly gnawing grass in the common areas. On Sunday I loudly asked, “Who wants to go see the bunnies?” and from the corner of the room behind a pile of Legos, a tiny voice peeped, “Me.”

3811117697_497138e1d2

Oh, Dylan. I can hardly believe it, but he’s a year and a half old now. A toddler! One who can talk. Using words. My god.

At eighteen months, Dylan is obsessed with animals and the noises they make. Particularly the cow (MOOOO), the sheep (AHH), the cat (MOW!), the owl (HOO. HOO.) and the horse (MOOOO) (?). He loves books featuring pictures of animals and is constantly clambering into our laps, saying “Book! Book!” and insisting on yet another team viewing of My Giant Book of Farm Porn or whatever it is.

9lrj

His language has been exploding lately and he’s so strainingly eager to communicate. When I get home from work, or open his bedroom door in the morning, he shouts “Mama! Mama!” before pointing to every recognizable object nearby: “Fish! Dada! ‘Orse! Ball!” Woe be unto you if you do not acknowledge these namings with the proper enthusiasm, for he will simply repeat ‘orse, ‘orse, ‘ORSE, ‘ORSE until you shout YES! Yes! That IS a seahorse, right there on the cover of that book about . . . seahorses. Holy fucking SHIT, Dylan!

Some of his frequently-used non-farm-animal words that come to mind: Mama, Dada, ball, noo noo (macaroni), up, down, baba, more, song, star, water, walk, outside, inside, shoes, socks, Riley (I don’t know how to spell the way he pronounces this, but its meaning is unmistakeable), hot, all done, night night, light, cookie, cracker, waffle, car, truck, baby. The words he can say are nothing compared to what he can understand, which I tend to forget until I do something like quietly ask JB if I should put the farm video on and Dylan cocks his head before heaving himself onto the sofa and pointing at the television. “More! More!”

3705553659_14de6e4129

He watches his brother with squirrel-bright eyes and wants to do everything Riley does, which is both awesome and horrifying. They cackle and conspire together. They plot ways to break bones and shatter household objects. Their favorite game is to violently pogo up and down on the living room couch, screaming and laughing, while I flap and squawk as uselessly as a mother hen.

3811118163_d388e38f84

Dylan is terrified of the vacuum cleaner, but in other areas of life seems to be fearless to the point of reverse Darwinism. He beelines for the nearest physical catastrophe with an unerring sense for what will give me the strongest heart palpitations, and just when I think he’s surely starting to get the hang of this self preservation business, I find him precariously balancing on the top of his toy car, grinning widely while it begins to roll out from under his feet.

3790477759_d1c4f93c8f-2

This weekend I suddenly realized I didn’t know where he’d disappeared to and I began walking through the house saying, “Dylan? Dylan! DYLLAANN!” over and over, peering in bathrooms and behind bedroom doors, and I kept hearing this bizarre, floating giggle that seemed to come out of the air, and I couldn’t find him and I couldn’t find him and I kept hearing the giggle and I finally shouted in sheer desperation, like someone in a horror movie, “DYLAN, WHERE ARE YOU?” and suddenly I saw him from where he had climbed into his stroller and was hiding in the seat. “Hee hee hee,” he said, his eyes crinkled nearly shut with the fun of it all.

3811117479_8bea4eb7be1

He has the most stubborn cowlick in the world, a perfect representation of his resistant nature, and his recent haircut protests were surely audible from space a few days ago. Oh, he is a furious little sniglet when he wants to be, stomping around throwing things and pulling books off the shelf and biting the furniture and strangest of all, vengefully cramming dog hair in his mouth when he’s mad.

3811932274_3d0eba2a3c

His moods are like summer storms, though, and as quickly as the black clouds roll in they’re gone, and his good humor shines through once more. And he’s off: to gallop at top speed while yelling “AAHHHHH!”, to steal one of my shoes and drag it around the house, to pound all the annoying buttons on Riley’s battery-powered Buzz Lightyear (“Zurg will—Zurg will—Zurg will—Zurg will never see this coming!”) to grab the dog’s Frisbee and try his level best to throw it for her.

3811117951_e0d87691c8

He is, at times, a most colossal pain in the ass; he can be frustrating and exhausting and a challenge of near-Everest proportions. But oh, this boy. He is so funny, so pure, such a delicious pie-slice of life. He is a lovebug who can’t get enough affection, he wants to be held and kissed and carried from place to place. “Up , up!” he says, holding his little hands high, then cuddles straight into my chest, rolling his arms underneath his body as if burrowing right into me. I can’t get enough of this determined, intentional love, so much stronger than a baby’s needful contentment. I can’t believe there will ever come a time when he’s too big to fit in our arms.

3811118271_d4259639be

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
60 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Connie
Connie
13 years ago

So cute that last picture!

Is Dylan really as tall as he seems to be?

OMG- Riley looks so grown up!

molly
molly
13 years ago

Maybe mine and yours shared time in the library of souls waiting to be born? From the farm porn to the book pulling to the couch jumping (except substitute in a 3 yr old SISTER), I could have written it (but not nearly as eloquently or with the Pacific NW as a backdrop instead of the flat and humid mid-South where we have mosquitoes the size of bunnies)

Shannon
13 years ago

Totally made me cry. You have such an amazing way with word….

Shannon
13 years ago

(make that wordS)

Maureen
Maureen
13 years ago

Awwww…the time, how it flies!

Do you have the board book Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton? If Dylan likes the animals sounds, this is a great book to read him. My daughter loved it when she was about his age.

I thought this might be also be a good time to thank you for all the enjoyment your writing has given me. I have been reading for a long time, and you never cease to be able to make me both laugh and cry, usually in the same post. I will buy any book you write-I’ll even pay hardcover bookstore price, and I don’t do that for everyone!

Serenity Now
13 years ago

Tears!! My boy is just a couple of months behind Dylan and my heart aches with the bittersweetness of him growing up.

anna
anna
13 years ago

I am pregnant with our second child and when I read your entry I was just so excited to think I will have that all again. Thanks for reminding me how lucky I am to have my little girl and my growing little baby in my tummy!

Amanda
Amanda
13 years ago

He’s gorgeous.

SJ
SJ
13 years ago

Your family Sundry is just beautiful. Too beautiful for words…

vague
13 years ago

He is just too, too cute. Even wailing about the haircut!

Artemisia
13 years ago

Oh, my. I have kind of fallen in love with the entire family.

Hugs to you and yours!

Maria
13 years ago

wasn’t he just born??

Oof.

Beautifully written, lady.

Hillary
13 years ago

Noo noo! is a frequent demand in our house, too. I think Dylan and The Boy, who is just about a month older, would have a great time defying death together.

Ashley
13 years ago

Awww Dylan! *smooch*

Julie
13 years ago

That haircut picture is the best damn thing I’ve ever seen, ever.

Kelsey
13 years ago

Dylan is a few months older than my second child and when you write about him it is the best sort of coming attractions I’ve ever seen.

beach
beach
13 years ago

seriously… a beautiful tribute to a most beautiful child.

Di
Di
13 years ago

Just wanted to thank you for sharing your family. I’m expecting my second one in about a month or so, and you make me excited for what a boy can bring to a family.

Kathy
13 years ago

You know, this is the kind of thing you should find in a “What to Expect” type book.

Kathy
13 years ago

I mean that, of course, in a good way. I’ve never read such an accurate description of life with an 18 month old!

danielle
danielle
13 years ago

Thanks again for sharing a snapshot of your life with us. I often fail to contemplate the loveliness of our life with two young children. The monotony tends to overwhelm the sweet tender moments. I must learn to see life more as you do.

samantha jo campen
13 years ago

I can’t tell you how much I loved this post. As you know Dylan’s only a month older than Theo so I love reading about what to expect. Except for the hiding. OH DEAR GOD THE HIDING.

When you asked who wants to see the bunnies and Dylan said “me” I just about died from the cuteness.

Lesley
Lesley
13 years ago

Your description of Dylan was a joy to read. What a GREAT kidlet.

natalie
natalie
13 years ago

Such a gorgeous little guy. Lucky boy and lucky mama.

willikat
13 years ago

dahhhh, you are so awesome. and so is your family. seriously. aweeeeesome.

Skinny Latte
Skinny Latte
13 years ago

So beautifully written, I’m teary and thinking about my little boy and wanting him to have a brother or sister soon, even though at the moment the thought of having another newborn scares the bejesus out of me.

jonniker
13 years ago

I LOVE the way you write about your kids. I love it. Love it love it love it, and it’s part of the reason I wasn’t afraid to have kids myself. No shit. It is so true, so real and so very heartfelt, in every sense of the word. I hope we do get to meet someday if only so that I can hug you and honestly say: thank you.

Angella
13 years ago

How is it that I love your kids even though I have only met YOU?

Because you make them real with your words and shit.

Seriously though. You do them the justice they deserve.

Victoria
13 years ago

Ahhhhhhh….. lovely

Marie Green
13 years ago

Oh, Dylan. Must you grow up? I can’t believe he’s 18 months already!

Also, ha, ha, Riley looks suspicious of that book, even! Here I thought it was of the camera only. ;)

Emma
13 years ago

My youngest is just a little older than him, but you always seem to capture the best (and worst) of these ages so much better than I can.

Emily
13 years ago

I’m with Jonniker here. I don’t have kids, yet, but the way you write about yours makes me feel a lot less scared for when I do.

Erin
13 years ago

First of all, beautifully written lady!

Secondly, uhm…who is that very large boy who obviously ate Riley in that last picture?? Oh my goodness he looks so grown up!!

Sundari
13 years ago

Wow..beautifully written..

Zelda
Zelda
13 years ago

This is just to say: I love love love your writing, and enjoy everything you post.

I second the “What to Expect” observation–you never fail to talk about exactly the random parenting bits I want to know about.(Also, since it’s ALLLL about me, could you please write that book of parenting poetry so I have something awesome and foolproof to give at baby showers? kthx!)

also the 2-year-old sister of the handsome Riley I know personally pronounces it “Heh-why-YEEE.”

Trishy
13 years ago

LOVE LOVE LOVE the last photo of your boys – too sweet. Also, can’t believe baby Dylan is such a big boy already! What a lovely family you have :)

Kimberly
13 years ago

I see photos of your family, doing their thing, and it perfectly, *perfectly*, embodies the ideal family in my mind. You guys aren’t perfect (obvs, who is?), but you fit together so well and you Make It Work. And the thing that’s most awesome about your family? Is that it’s so clear that you all appreciate each other and what you have. That’s so amazing, Linda. :-)

shriek house
13 years ago

Such a sweet depiction, and makes me nostalgic for my own son at that age (yes including all the farm porn), and the photos truly slay me with scrumptiousness.

(PS – I don’t think the haircut protests were audible from space though, cause, you know, in space no one can hear you scream…)

Leah
13 years ago

Oh, pie-slice. You are a real treat.

Emily
13 years ago

Oy, that haircut picture…I am DYING!!

Michelle
Michelle
13 years ago

I’m going to have to stop reading you while at work. My co-workers are starting to wonder why I’m crying or laughing like a maniac nearly every day. You have an amazing talent for sharing the most mundane things and making them into something brilliant.

Claudia
13 years ago

Lovely. My second is also much like Dylan – the firestorm of emotions. And yes, she’s too big now to comfortably hold and will be going off to *sob* kindergarten in a few short weeks.

Amanda
13 years ago

Another fantabulous post that lets your readers know EXACTLY what Dylan is like!

may
may
13 years ago

*Sniff*

That was beautiful. You really have a way with words.

And to completely change the topic, I see you cut his hair. How do you do that???? No, seriously. My son’s hair grows hippie-long in a matter of minutes (well, practically), and I’m sick of paying to have it cut. Do you just buzz the whole head, or do you try to work “the fade?” Please unravel this mystery so I can start saving money. Hmm, that sounds self-centered…

kristin
kristin
13 years ago

Crying at work again. Thanks a lot, jerk.

;)

pam
pam
13 years ago

i know i’ve said it a million times. i’m so glad our boys are the same age (i mean, as dylan.) if i ever forget what they were like at x age, i can always just refer to your blog. :)

Jen
Jen
13 years ago

You have a beautiful family. I love this post.

Redbecca
Redbecca
13 years ago

Wonderfully captured, as always. Every time you write about Dylan, it is like Pam said – just like mine, and I’ll be able to look back to your blog to remember what mine was like. Seriously. Same temperament, same fascinations, same fearlessness (although mine loves the vacuum cleaner, but he doesn’t have half of Dylan’s word count), same cuddles. You’ve captured it perfectly. Does Dylan shriek bloody murder when the car comes to a stop for more than 5 seconds at lights and stop signs, too? If so, I’ll let you know when the permanent hearing loss starts to kick in….

Courtney
13 years ago

That first picture? Ladykiller. There are some girls in the class of 2026 who will certaintly have their hearts broken by that cute little swagger and grin!

nanann
13 years ago

Hi! lurker forever now, infrequent at best commenter.

I have 2 girls like the exact same ages as yours, and my gosh you do sum it up so well.

And I also wanted to comment that I am always fascinated by your pictures, and the wearing of pants and long sleeves in AUGUST. I mean, seriously, did someone forget to tell you that it’s AUGUST? In the SUMMER? I just can’t fathom the clothing choices when we’ve had 40+ (or is it 50+?) days 100 or over here in Austin.

And then I long for the days where we can wear pants comfortably, but then realize my girls’ wardrobes would be 100% different, and I do love the sundresses.

Okay, time to stop babbling in your comments!