making memories with 2 year olds

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i’ve been thinking about this a lot.

i spend lots of time most days with a very independent, often excruciatingly frustrating 2 year old.
he is smart, he knows what he wants, and he is pretty good at the art of manipulation already.

i have done lots of complaining on the matter, i know. 
and i’m getting to that too…

without sleep, or food, or the proper amount of attention,
this temperamental 2 year old can become a ball of screaming uncontrollable rage.
{if you have one of these, i’m sure you know how this sensitive grenade works…}

this means, that i often opt for the nap before going out with friends.
i often think about what we could go do or see in this beautiful city,
…and then i remember that i have a 2 year old…

“he will probably have a huge meltdown…”

“that’s right during naptime…”

“we HAVE to have lunch first then because if we don’t he probably wont eat there… and THEN…”

“i would love to do that… let me get a sitter first cause i will just be chasing a runner who wont care we are there anyway…”

 “what will he even remember, he’s 2??”

a few weekends ago, when we were in arizona, we had a few plans that we were really excited about. aside from a wedding in the family, we were also going to take a tour of the new LDS temple and we were so excited to see it and the design and architecture, cause we love that kind of thing. and yeah, we’re mormon, so it’s exciting either way for us.

boss went down late for a nap, and we had to wake him up to go. he was extra tired, cranky, and very unfriendly. i was tempted to leave him with one grandma to go and not have to worry about it. my husband insisted we bring him and just deal with what happens. i was prepared for one serious meltdown…

we endured a lunch-date where he screamed for a solid 15 minutes while we sat in silence and ate next to him, ignoring looks from onlookers. g-ma ran around with him, and then we drove to the temple where grandpa offered to stay outside and watch him for us so we could walk through in peace. i was sad to leave my father-in-law outside, and cc really wanted his kids with him.
so we opted to go for it. melt down or not…

as we walked in, i explained to boss what the place was, that it is a quiet place, and a special place. we are going to walk quietly and look at eh pretty building, ok? {deep breath….}

he nodded, let them place booties over his shoes, and then quietly walked in.
my father-in-law had been through with the architect who designed the building and had lots to share about each room, and it was very interesting and such a great experience for everyone.
i can’t image it being so without him there.

my husband held our little girl under beautiful chandeliers in stunning rooms. boss walked and pointed excitedly at pictures on the walls, pointed out plants, and gave appropriate oohs and ahhs, but he was great. the entire time.

boston loved the temple. he talked about it the entire drive home, and said he wanted to go back and see the pretty lights again. he remembered details. i squeezed cc’s hand, and though i assumed this car-ride would entail a melting-down child and a snide “i told you so” look from me, i was so happy we were all there, and so filled with happiness and gratitude for his patience to make a memory. because it obviously worked. cheers to a husband who is often the smarter and far more patient one than i am.

in the last few weeks, boss has brought up that experience nearly. every. day.
“mom, we went to the ‘princess house’ with grandpa. we saw jesus there.” {which to him, was the first bearded man he saw inside. #oops} he remembers when we drive by the temple here in san diego, “hey that’s aroni [Moroni] up there on that temple! i saw that place! i went wif you, and daddy, and grandpa, and reesie!”

i realized that my son, nearly 3 years old, has a memory much greater and more vivid than i give him credit for.  he will recount events that i had no idea meant so much to him. gifts that he opened from family that i was sure he would forget he owned, he pulls out with reverence, and declares who and when he received them.

after just one or two times through a book, he can read each page, word for word. {and demands to, usually.}  after once through a musical, he knows the tunes and can at least pretend to say all the words.

this week, our cousin, who boss loves more than most humans alive, had butterflies that she received as cocoons in the mail for christmas. she wanted to let them go while boss was around so he could see. again i had the thought that he wouldn’t care or remember, and thought to tell her to do that when she wanted, but i let it go.  his little brain is creating memories, and synapses, that help him to learn about colors, flying, butterflies, and birth, and change. and again, every day out of the blue, he will tell me how cool it was to see those butterflies “fly way high in the sky!”
for boston, it was magical.

how easy it is to forget that these littles,
though crazy independent, though screamers, and poopers, and ipad breakers, and toilet flushers, are also young minds. learning and accepting lots and lots of new information and trying to learn how they fit in it all. and even if he forgets everything we do together through his young childhood, at very least he will remember that we did things. i will remember he was there, and his family will. and if he remembers anything, it will at least be that we were trying to make memories, and they’ll be happy.

so after church on sunday, chris took some pictures of me with my kids because i desperately want to remember my life right now. this instant. i want to remember what the smell of little sweaty boys is like, and a baby covered in sweet sweet white vomit. i want to remember all of the kisses and the throat-squeezing hugs/back tackles, and the incessant repetition and regurgitation of every word he’s ever heard while we drive. i want to remember our conversations when it’s just us, when he gives me the play-by-play of what his sister is doing, or what his toys are doing. i don’t want to forget what his little voice sounds like when he sings “lets go fwy a kite” at the top of his lungs or asks “will you dance wif me, mommy?”

i want to remember the morning scene of him comforting her – talking to her in bed.
i want to remember the conversations he has with his toys, and every inanimate object that he chooses to personify
i want to remember the little girl who looks at her brother like he is there just for her entertainment.
i don’t want to forget how he loves to spend time with me, doing anything. how much he loves just being with me. right now. {i realize this will change someday soon…}

i want to remember what he remembers, because to him, it means everything. 


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About Meg

I am Meg, a photographer and designer and a wish-i-owned-a-house-er. My husband and I are self-declared foodies and LOVE projects. We blog about food and DIY adventures from sunny San Diego with our two cutie kids and have an apparel line at colormeapparel.com to keep us busy. Email me at colormemegblog@gmail.com to work with me!

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