We knew we wanted the box of little Sesame Street books to be on the kitchen table when he came out for breakfast. Beyond that we had no plan, but very quickly ended up with an unspoken agreement that we'd do our best to honor Walter's reasonable requests--we'd try to say yes whenever we could. Here's what Walter asked for today:
- Doot Doot cake for breakfast. It has zucchini in it. And antioxidants from the chocolate. Request: approved.
- Reading his new books during breakfast: done and done.
- Orange coat: denied. It's too cold out for the orange coat. Choo choo train hat? Approved.
- *I don't know if this agreement to agree carried over to his teachers at day care, but Walter reportedly had a good day and the pretzels he brought in for snack were a big hit*
- Hold baby Sally. He asked for this in the morning but the timing wasn't right. When I offered it to him as an option after day care he was thrilled. I was worried because it was Sally's crabby time and she'd just fallen into an uneasy snooze. Walter climbed into the green chair, the one I nested and nursed him in when he was a little baby, and with nervous excitement held out his arms as we reminded him not to try to hold her around her neck or face. I leaned Sally up against him and held onto her head; he wrapped his arms around her torso. She woke up immediately ... and smiled. Huge smile. Walter rubbed his cheek on her fuzzy noggin and sighed with contentment. All he wants is what we all want: to hold a warm, snuggly baby. And, more importantly, to be allowed to hold his sister. I picked her up at the first sign of crankiness emerging on her part, and Walter was sad for the moment to end but moved on quickly.
- At first he asked for "I've got everything that I need" (meaning he wanted to watch The Muppets.) But then he changed his mind and went on a Woody Guthrie kick. We denied the weird animated "Take You Riding in My Car Car" but watched many other good folksy favorites on YouTube.
- Leftover Culver's chicken tenders and fries instead of casserole? Sure. Ketchup? Absolutely.
- After watching several versions of "This Land is Your Land," Walter asked for a guitar. Sean brought out his guitar and cut through the packing tape that held his beat up old case together through our last three moves. After some brief tuning, he handed it over to an over-the-moon Walter. So happy. And tuneful! He played it like an upright bass, singing and strumming with great enthusiasm ... too much enthusiasm. It should probably go without saying that sensitive baby skin and metal guitar strings don't mix, but we both figured if it hurt he'd yell "owie!" and stop. He did eventually yell "owie," but by then he had blisters on three of his fingers on one hand and an open blister on the other ... and he still wouldn't stop. When Sean realized Walter was hurt he made him stop playing and went into First Aid mode. Walter was more upset by this than by the owies on his fingers.
- Walter then started in on a series of very reasonable requests that we nonetheless had to deny because they were attempts to delay bedtime or attempts to do more damage to his strumming fingers. The unspoken agreement to agree with our toddler was finally breaking down.
- After a tearful bedtime ritual, Walter told Sean that there was a dinosaur in his room trying to bite his fingers. He asked if Hank would chase the dinosaur away. Yes. Approved.
Sean feels bad about the guitar, but while I wish we'd stopped him sooner and he hadn't hurt his fingers on the strings, I am still very glad he got to play the guitar today. And while I think we all wish bedtime had been earlier and less tearful, I don't think that changes the fact that today was a happy birthday and a good day indeed.
Two years ago, Walter Paul Edison-Albright came into the world wearing the exact same sad/angry face he made tonight when we put away the guitar. When I see that face I feel all sorts of things--sad that my boy is sad, certainly, but also filled with love, and filled with joy that he is my Walter and he is here in my life. Walter is officially two today ... Halle halle hallelujah!