You are growing up so fast. Every moment has become more precious to me since we lost your little brother. I want to be present with you, which is both easy and hard at the same time. Easy because you are such a joy to be with. Hard because I miss little Theodore and also need time to grieve for him. Although I do not have my two children here on earth... I still have two children, and somehow I must learn to mother them both in very different ways.
I've always been dedicated to writing down your little life on this blog. These are the things I dreamed of writing for Theodore, too... little milestones and funny sayings. It seems all the more important now. And so I will double my efforts to record your precious life alongside my grief.
I want to remember the funny little things that you do, and the hilarious things that you say. I've been trying to take more videos of you so we can go back and listen to your cute little voice and way of talking.
I want to remember...
- Our little backseat driver (thanks for that, Papa!) - "Papa/Mama, drive with two hands!" "It's raining, turn the swish-swishes on!" "Red light, stop! Green light, go!". You are very safety conscious in general - you will tell us to be careful with sharp knives etc. Whenever I take my vitamins you say emphatically "Those medicines are NOT for Judah! Only for Mama" (you are a good listener!). When you climb up on a chair (you usually do not like heights) you say "I have to be berry berry [very very] careful!".
- You love to be outside and help Papa mow the lawn with your little lawnmower, or help him dig/rake with your own miniature tools. You spent a lot of time this summer in your kiddie pool - you are a little water baby. We took you to swim lessons this summer too, which you loved. You have very sensitive eyes to chlorine so we will have to get you some goggles to help you be more comfortable with going under water.
- You got to go to your first VBS this summer while Momma and Nana helped out!
- The way you say specific words.... little - "luh-dull", firetruck - "fiyah-trrrrruck", vacuum - "veck-yoom" (you sound very South African sometimes!), rescue "rec-skyoo". You don't have the "y" sound down very well yet, especially in words with "l's" - words like wheel come out like "wee-lul", squeal is "skwee-lul", tail is "tay-lul" and yellow is "leh-low"... it's kind of adorable. Sandwich - "swam-ich"
- You picked up Nana's proper British sayings like "Shall we... go outside/have lunch/play toys?"
- Your incredible imagination... you make up entire worlds that you play in. Sometimes it's dinosaurs... sometimes they are chasing you, and other times they are your friends and you run around with them. Or the media cupboard that you like to hide in becomes an airplane or a rocket ship and you go on long trips to visit a far-away grandparent or the moon. It also turns into a firetruck and you go around "rec-skyoo-ing" people. You have little imaginary friends who live in our air vents... you talk to them and give them imaginary food and water (although one time I caught you about to put some real food down the air vent in our living room...). Sometimes you get them out of the air vent and you "carry" them around in your hand. Your toy cars and trucks go on epic journeys across the living room floor. You pretend to be a dog, mouse, elephant, cow, lion, kangaroo etc. You make us coffee with your "coffee machine", and we have to "drink" it. And you make bread with your "bread machine", detailing each ingredient - flour, yeast, water, salt etc. You also make us "pancakes" all the time (and ask for them every meal). Your imagination is limitless... we love listening to you talk to yourself over the video monitor when you wake up in the mornings, or when you are going to bed.
- When you are in an imaginary world, you will only respond to your imaginary name. If you are pretending to be a cow and I call you Judah, you say "No mama! I'm not a Judah. I'm a little cow!" ... and I have to call you "little cow" instead... same goes for pretending to be a fire man, dinosaur, Harry (from your dinosaur show) etc.
- Conversation example: "Mama I brought you a chocolate money [chocolate coin]! Here, eat it!"... "Oh yummy, thanks Judah!"... (I put the imaginary chocolate in my mouth and pretend to chew)... "NO Mama! You have to take the peel [wrapper] off first!"... (so I take the imaginary wrapper off the imaginary coin and eat it)... "Wasn't that delicious, Mama?!"... "Yes, thank you Judah!"
- You love to sing songs, and you have quite the repertoire.... Jesus Loves Me, Old MacDonald, Let it Go (sigh), Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man, Rolled Away, Deep and Wide, The Wise Man
- The way to talk about and remember Theodore is so precious to us. Sometimes you talk about him when you are lying in bed, and we listen over the monitor. You talk about him when you are playing with your toys. You ask about him when you notice I'm sad. You say things like "Baby brother came out of mama's tummy. He died. He went to heaven to live with Jesus"... "I gave him hugs and kisses! He is so cute! He has little tiny hands and little tiny feet"... "I miss baby Theodore, he come play toys?"... "I go to heaven and play with baby brother? They have firetrucks there! They go mee-maw mee-maw!"... "Mama sad, she miss baby Theodore?". When you weaned back in December at 22 months, I told you the milk was all gone, but that when baby brother was born there would be more milk for him. I expressed/pumped and donated milk for two months after Theodore was born, and you would say "Mama got more milk! It's for baby brother. We give it to him?"... and I would explain to you that Theodore doesn't need it because he is in heaven and instead we were giving it to other little babies who needed it. That seemed to comfort you, but you were still puzzled as to why baby brother wasn't getting his milk. I don't blame you... it's all very puzzling to our human minds that Theodore didn't get to come home with us.
- You have grown up so much in the past two+ months since Theodore went to heaven. I wish a million times to infinity that you could be brothers here on earth, but who knows what God has planned for you through the death of your brother. You have had to grasp things that no two-and-a-half year old should have to even think about. But it has been beautiful... you are learning about Jesus. You are learning about sin and about our Savior. You are learning that this world is not our forever home. Your little brother has given you this gift
- You just LOVE babies and want to touch their little hands and feet, give them hugs and kisses, make them smile and laugh etc. Whenever we see a baby anywhere you get so excited and want to go over and see them. "Mama look at that cute little baby! He's so tiny! His Mama loves him, and his Papa loves him! And they are holding him! I want to go see him. He will laugh at Judah!..." (and so on... the kid talks in paragraphs these days!). I am so glad that we have friends with babies that you can love on and interact with. One day, Lord willing, you will be a wonderful big brother to a sibling here on earth.
Judah William, we are so proud of you. Your bright little mind, your sensitive little soul, and your tender little heart. We love you, oh so much. You are a balm to our empty arms and aching hearts.
~ Momma and Papa