Dear Ian (2.5 years old)

Dear Ian,

A few weeks ago was your half-birthday. It came and went, and I didn’t think much of it until later, but it seems worth acknowledging. One day, you’ll be 25 years old, and I’m sure 6 month chunks will seem like drops in a big, overflowing bucket. But for now, they help me to acknowledge the ways you have changed and grown, the way time is passing, the way our family continues to grow and meld together.

At two-and-a-half, oh man, you give me a run for my money. Life with you is a roller coaster. It’s amazing to me how quickly you can go from pure joy to fierce anger to complete despondency to great elation…all within about 5 seconds. It’s exhausting, to be honest, but I guess it also makes our days feel full. Very, very full.


Sometimes, two-and-a-half is fun. You have a great imagination, and you love to be silly. Nothing fills you with as much joy as spinning in circles until you fall to the floor. (Your dad and I simply can’t keep up with that.) We make silly faces, sing silly songs. We spin and climb and run. I often tell people that tickles are your love language; you can’t get enough. People often comment on the sweetness of your smile and the infectiousness of your laugh.

Other times, two-and-a-half is hard. You are stubborn as all get out. You want things done your way and on your time table. When a toy doesn’t work as expected or we refuse a snack before dinner, a temper tantrum is sure to follow. When you get hurt, your default response is to yell and throw something. (Forget about kisses to make it better.)

The truth is, you challenge me. I often don’t know how to respond in a helpful manner. I am constantly trying to think about how to phrase things and structure our days in a way that’s going to gel with your own agenda. People often advise moms to “choose our battles,” but some days, I grow tired of having to choose. I pray a lot.


I hope that as you grow, you’ll learn to be more flexible. You’ll learn to set reasonable expectations and be resilient when things don’t go your way. (You are, after all, only a toddler.)

Meanwhile, I also see what your stubbornness can become: loyalty, determination, and passion. I look forward to watching you learn new skills, tackle big problems, and pursue goals.


Our days are filled with both joy and frustration–it’s like every day is a microcosm of what the rest of your life might be like. These block towers and Hot Wheels cars are all you know right now and life will be bigger and wider one day. Joy will be greater and sorrow more profound. But I hope you’ll approach it all with this same fierce determination and wild passion.

(I’ll go back and read this tomorrow when you ask for a snack 100 times.)

Love you to the moon and back,

1 thought on “Dear Ian (2.5 years old)

  1. “I also see what your stubbornness can become: loyalty, determination, and passion.” There is so much wisdom in recognizing that while he’s still so little! E exhibited some of those same behaviors you described, and I’m watching her grow into a young girl who is fiercely loyal and passionate and who cares deeply. All good things! In the meantime… hang in there! 😉

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