Sunday, August 03, 2008

Thirty-Five Months: My Letter to Little Man

I just realized that this is the last monthly letter that I will be writing before your third birthday. And you'll probably roll your eyes when you read this and you're older, because no one likes their mom to get all mushy and sentimental (which means you'll hate most of these letters, I guess), but that thought made my heart tighten and brought tears to my eyes. You're growing up. And with your third birthday looming over our heards, it's hard for me to deny it any longer. This is the part where people pat me on the head and tell me it's ok, that soon your brother will be here and I'll have a baby again. But the truth is, I don't want another baby to replace you. I want you to stay little and be able to pick you up whenever I want to and have you kiss me every time I ask you, even if it's twenty times in a row.



Some people hate the terrible twos. And at this point, I'm baffled by that. Maybe we just got off easy with you, I don't know, because except for the odd tantrum, it's never anything that can't be resolved with a good old time alone. Maybe we're just lucky, or maybe you feel bad for how terrible of an infant you were, when you refused to sleep, ever, and I would sit in front of your bouncy seat crying, begging you to fall asleep, because I had no idea what to do with a blob and couldn't find anything online besides playing peek-a-boo. Do you have any idea how hard it is to play peek-a-boo with a one-month old? It's the most mind-numbing task ever. And I won't even talk about the nights. So maybe, as you got older, you thought to yourself "you know, I almost led my parents to go insane, let me make it up to them by being the coolest toddler ever."



And we are lucky, because you really are the coolest toddler ever. You're funny, you're articulate, you're smart as a whip and you're the sweetest, most gentle person I've ever met. Sure, you're a little bossy and you constantly tell your father and I what to do, like you're the possessed director of your own play and we are simply the puppets in your life, put on this Earth for you to control every second of the day. But you have such a way about you, that you never come off as over-bearing.



Your teachers love you, because no one loves to enforce rules more than you. They've repeatedly told us stories about you firmly telling the rowdy kids to sit down during library time or nudging kids along who aren't cleaning up after painting. I wouldn't be surprised to show up one day to pick you up and find your teachers in the back of the school smoking, while you run the class.

You love rules, in fact, you regularly make up your own, like when you told your Aunt S. that you're not allowed to touch babies, so that you wouldn't have to be slobbered on by her friend's six-month old.

I'm always amused when we're out to eat and a kid at a table nearby won't stay seated or begins to scream. You get this horrified look on your face, like you believe that this single child will give toddlers everywhere a bad reputation. It's a little like I feel when a Canadian news story threatens to damage the perfect image of the country. You always turn to us to tell us why that child's behavior isn't acceptable, and how the child's parents need to put them in time alone. I'm giving you a few months, before you get the courage to get up and tell the child yourself that their behavior is not acceptable for a restaurant. Which is exactly why you will be starting Tae Kwon Do as soon as possible, because being the enforcer of rules also means that you can get your ass kicked on a regular basis. You might as well be a black belt rule enforcer, so that you have a chance to survive middle school.



Earlier this month, you saw your first fireworks display. It was something that your teachers had talked to the class about, and your teacher told me that she hoped we were taking you to a fireworks show for the Fourth of July, because you were apparently the most excited at the idea in your class. You talked about it all day and when it was finally time for the fireworks to start and the "booms" began, you got this uncertain look on your face. You never cried or asked to leave, but instead you kept quietly chanting to yourself "there's no need to be scared," like if it was a personal mantra that your teachers had taught you to get through it.

You love to test my creativity by telling me random statements like "the elephant swims up the tree," followed by the order to "sing it, Mama!" So I've become a lyricist now, adding to my ever-growing resume as a mother, which includes skills like animal sound imitators, storyteller, boo boo remover and recorder of shows that you might suddenly decide you like.



I once got into a huge fight with one of your aunts, because she had the gall to tell me that you shouldn't change your life for your kids. To some degree, I believe that, as we've dragged you to all sorts of places, on trips, to restaurants, since practically the day you were born. What made me mad, was that she insisted that any sacrifice made for your kids was something to scoff at. She obviously has no children, which is partly why I wanted to beat the crap out of her. Because really? You have changed our lives, and we've had to adapt. Although you allow us to skip the occasional nap, we do have to ensure that you get your sleep. I don't consider it to be a "sacrifice," but rather it's my responsibility as your parent to make sure that you get the rest you need to be at your best and be able to suck in all of the knowledge you can.



But as I was thinking about this again, the other day, I came to a realization. As much as I try to teach you things, complex language, French, counting, addition, why yelling "BUNNY!" while chasing one is not the best way to approach one, I've come to the realization that you have taught me so much more. Because of you, I try to be a better person. I try to keep the house a little tidier, knowing that you like everything in its place. I laugh more, and I'm happier when you're around. Earlier this month, we were playing outside and you asked me "do we have to hurry?", a heartwrenching reminder that it's ok to slow down and just enjoy life, that showing up for work five minutes late is better than making you rush constantly. You've taught me that the quickest way to turn around the worst day is a cuddle on the couch with a bowl of ice cream.

Most of all, you've taught me unconditional love. The kind of love that I didn't think my heart was capable of feeling. The kind of love that engrosses your every thought, your every fiber, your every being. No longer can I watch shows about people who lose children, because they literally shake me to my core. The very thought of losing you is so unbearable that it leaves me unable to breathe. And this is when I know that no matter where life takes you, no matter what decisions you make, I will always support you and do my best to understand you. Because nothing, I mean absolutely nothing you do would make me want to not have you in my life.



I loved you the day you were born. But every day for the past 1,064 days, that love has grown exponentially. Have you changed my life? Absolutely. And I can never be grateful enough to you for doing so.

I love you my Little Man,

Maman.

14 comments:

Susan said...

That is so beautiful, I'm teary and I can't breathe! I could eat Little Man with a spoon...

I've nominated you for a Kick Ass Blogger Award because - well, I think you're a Kick-Ass Blogger. Come on over to claim.

Marmarbug said...

I LOVE your letters to the kids. LOVE THEM! And what an awesome way to capture lifes little moments. LM is so freaking cute BTW. Oh and I am loving his Gymboree bathing suit. We have the same one.

Bren said...

Beautiful letter, as always.

That bow on the dog is hilarious!

Sassafrass said...

Little Man may not appreciate all of your gushiness when he's 15, but I'm postive he will by the time he's 30!

Kellie said...

God, when will I remember that these monthly letters make me all teary and crap?!

He's entirely too cute for words. I totally think we should arrange a marriage between Little Man and Morgan :)

Karin's Korner said...

That letter brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful mother you are. Your family is very blessed.

Haphazardkat said...

Beautiful, Catwoman. Just, beautiful :)

Julie said...

I have to say, while your letters are lovely, they always make me feel like crap for not writing ones to my girls.

Julie said...

(And I don't mean that as a knock on you! After reading it my comment looked funny.)

Rachel said...

You have GOT to stop making me look like a blubbering idiot at work!!

Sweet sweet sweet post. Of course, it made me cry. I cannot believe he is almost 3 and that, geez, 4 months later, I will also have a 3 year old. Time passes too quickly.

Sandy said...

What a treasure y'all have in each other. Thank you for letting us share.

Burgh Baby said...

I swear to God Little Man and Alexis share a brain cell or two. They just might run this country together some day, scary as that is.

I love your letters, just for the record. You are a kick-ass writer and never fail to make me smile, laugh, get all sobby, and generally wish I could write half as well as you do.

Sandi said...

Even after 3 years old, there are new things about them that make your heart swell to bursting....

Colleen said...

Beautiful letter!

we have the same bike, although no cool July 4th garland. ;)


(and I totally don't want to scare you, but uh Gavin was awfully good at 2 but became a little creep at 3. just sayin'.)