By far the best thing to happen this past month was the potty training. Congratulations, Bean, you're now peeing on the big seat! For a few days I wasn't sure if we had made the right choice because you didn't seem ready, treating your underwear as a lighter, more comfortable version of your diaper. There were even a couple of times while you were running around the condo naked that you would stop what you were doing to pee where you stood. But by the start of the second week something clicked and you became aware of your bodily sensations and you began using your newly acquired potty language, the rather urgent "I gah go pee, mama," when you recognized that funny feeling and the happy cries of "Choclate time!" and "Canny cane!" whenever you were done. Can I mention your first time going commando? Your forgetful mama didn't pack a spare pair of underwear in your diaper bag and when you had a smallish accident at school - we were told they didn't get you to the potty fast enough because you basically whisper the request - they didn't have underwear to put back on you. So they just pulled up your pants and introduced you to the commando experience. I didn't notice until you had to go again later that evening so I'd say you were pretty comfortable.Of course, Christmas this year was awesome. I imagine they will continue to be so until you become a disaffected teenager who wants to sleep in even though Santa's visit during the night left a gazillion packages stacked underneath the tree. Probably you'll roll your eyes at me when I talk about Santa and not want to participate in leaving cookies and milk for the big guy in red because doing that is so lame. Bear with me, kid, and I'll continue to make you pie. You are now quite skilled at unwrapping presents but still young enough that the process leaves you rather tired. To go through all of the trouble of removing the paper just to find a box taped shut? It's exhausting.You are reading books to us now. Your pops told me that you took The Carrot Seed board book, held it open on your lap, and began retelling the story in your own toddler language. You pointed out the boy in the book, you mentioned when the mama and papa and brother came into the story, and you celebrated the arrival of the vegetable at the end. Your language is really coming along. It can be a bit of a challenge to figure out what you are saying but once we understand the context, it usually is spot on. My favorite is when you belt out a previously unheard sentence like, "The squirrel has nut." You love dinosaurs and have discovered the joys of surrounding yourself with stuffed animals in bed. You hardly leave enough room for yourself. We are slowly weaning you off the gate that keeps you trapped in your room once we put you down for the night. You have three opportunities to stay in bed before the gate goes up. Usually you sneak out into the kitchen, flip on the light, and then request food. Other times, you sneak out into the dining room and wait for us to notice you. A few times, if we don't acknowledge you're there, you have gone back to bed. But you will also go sprinting past us into our bedroom where we'll find you jumping on our bed and giggling. On the rare occasion, you'll go to bed once we put you down. I'm already thinking of the response I'll give you when, after having your own child, you call me up to complain about lack of sleep, and it goes something like this, "Yeah, well, payback's a bitch, isn't it?" We've started almost daily games of ball throwing - using your plush soccer balls in your bedroom - and your aim is getting quite good. You have a bit of force, which your pops and I have learned to account for when you get ready to toss the ball in our direction. And, on a day when you feel like catching, you do a pretty good job with that, too. You have become more possessive of your toys when friends are over. You get frustrated quickly when something doesn't work the way you know it should. You do this crazy lizard-like tongue flick when you determine something is tasty. You have finally acceded to stroller rides, I think you realize it just preserves your energy for use later. A recent trip to Burgerville yielded you a set of temporary tatoos. You selected the slug for yourself and then asked that I wear the beaver and that pops wear the fish. Once this was accomplished you pointed to me and said, "Mama's a beaver." Someday you'll understand why that is funny. Or "too funny" as you are fond of saying. You sing the ABC song, the X-Y-Z part seems to be your favorite as you'll often repeat it over and over and over again. You know several colors and can identify a little over half of the letters. We're working on counting to 20 but you still leave out number four.There's no better way to put it, kid. You make being a parent the most spectacularly awesome thing ever.