Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Letter to (Twenty Eight Month Old) Ann Peyton

Dear Ann Peyton,

You are twenty eight months old today.  Your Papa figured out that that is equal to two and a third years.  That's not a typical thing for him to do to be concerned with stuff like that, but I think he's figuring out finally how fast you are growing up.

You are a bird these days!  We love all the funny things you say and just recently you've started to talk in more complete sentences and even hold full conversations with us.  The other day you told Papa you were looking for the kitty.  He asked you where he was and you said "He out there" and pointed outside.  We took you outside to look and you said "I don't see him".  It was neat to get a glimpse at your thought process.  You are such a good little buddy and a sweet companion. 

You adore Graves more and more.  I know I say that every month, but I am so thankful for your love for him, given your initial response.  The other night we were leaving Mickey and Minnie's house and Cookie was carrying him and you looked around and asked nervously "Where Baby Graves???" as I was buckling you in the car.

Speaking of Mickey and Minnie's....you love it there and sometimes you call it "home".  You say you want "go home" when you talk about it on occasion.  You love running up and down their hill and sitting on the peir or swinging in the big swing with Minnie and Graves.  Sometimes when I tell you we're going to their house for supper, your face lights up and you say "BEANS?!?!", acknowledging your favorite Friday night tradition. For a couple of months now, your handiman grandfather Mickey, has been taking you into his workroom and showing you things from his tool box.  You can identify tools (ratchet, wrench, lever, ect) that I actually do not know the correct names for.  This week you made Mickey BEAM when you reached a special milestone- "picking up an object with pliers".  He was so excited and announced with pride that you were going to be a "great little engineer".

You enjoy spending time with your other grandparents, as well and we have a card with a picture on it that looks a lot like DeeDee.  You like to run around the house and shove it in our laps and giggling, exclaiming "DeeDee!!! THat DeeDee!!".

One person you have sadly developed a bit of an aversion to is your godfather.  For some reason, the last two times you've seen Ellis you've become hysterical.  In fact, even mentioning his name upsets you to the point of tears sometimes.  I have NO IDEA what happened, but we will be working on it because he's a very important person and he loves you so very much.

The discipline issue has gotten so much better and I feel like we've reached a turning point with the "terrible twos".  I'm sure we'll be revisiting that struggle, time and time again as little children are sinful creatures and it's in your nature to want to push buttons and bust boundaries.  That said, you are spending less and less time in time out and I am so pleased.  The biggest struggle these days is naptime and bedtime.  You have always been a great sleeper and you are still very dependent on your nap, but sometimes it takes so long for you to settle down.  Some days it's easy and your are content to play and read yourself to sleep in the solitude of your bed.  I guess I'd even say the majority of your days you enjoy that time alone. Other times, though, especially when you're overly tired, you do not want to be in there and you cry and fuss and get out and go to time out and we start all over.

Papa is actually reading a parenting advice book, which is something he typically leaves to me.  He really isn't too into all the pop psychology that surrounds parenting these days and I think he figures we have enough common sense to figure most things out.  And he realizes that I intend to read each an every book regarding parenting you that I can get my hands on because that is my obsessive nature.  The book is called Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters and he loves it.  I'm planning on reading it, too.  Through this book he is learning even more of his importance in your life and that his interactions with you will effect so many things- your self worth, your involvement with boys, and even, in many ways, the kind of woman you will grow up to be.   Annie, I have to say that I love what you have made him.  You are our baby that turned him into a father and seeing him in that role brings tears to my eyes.  He is everything I imagined and more.  He loves you so much and you are finally at the age where he has stopped saying "I can't wait until she....".  He love being in this moment with you more than anything. 

Another occurrence, I will mention for posterity's sake is that you really shook me at a birthday party a few weeks ago.  You ran away from me, told me no, and spit in my face; rude behavior I would have never imagined you would be capable of six months ago.  Mommy can be self conscious and insecure anyway (something I have recently been praying is never a problem for you) and it has taken me a good two weeks to commit to putting you and Brother in a social situation by myself again.  Thankfully, this happened at the home of some of our dearest friends and they love me and care for you so much, regardless of your behavior.   You are still a little angel most of the time and regardless of whether you were or not, I hope that you know our love for you is unconditional.  No amount of disrespect or misbehavior could ever change how much Papa and I love and cherish you.  On your worst day and in our hardest hour, we would give our lives for you without hesitance.  And that is a powerful reminder that brings me near the foot of the cross, again and again.  

I keep thinking of that quote that says, in reference to raising small children, that "the days are long, but the years are short".  With you and Graves, there are many long days now.  I feel such a tension that I didn't feel when it was only you.  It seems I'm being pulled in so many directions and stretched so thin.  And yet, almost four months, we have been doing this.  Four months that seem very, almost painfully, short. I am reminded that this is only a season.  A beautiful one at that.  And one that I will never get back again.  Last night, I wrote on my blog describing this stage of our lives.  I said that my plate is full and my cup is overflowing and I can describe it no better than this.  These days are crazy and it seems like the list of things to do never ends, even on days when I only aspire to accomplish the bare minimum. And yet, I have to force myself to slow down and just sit and look at you and your brother and take you in my arms and love you so hard because of my cup.  It runneth over. 

I can't wait to see what the next months and years bring for you and for us!

Love, Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your t-shirt really doesn't have a traditional size and your shorts are um, 6-12 mo.  You're still our little peanut!


Anonymous said...

I love reading these letters, but in this one, the line "as little children are sinful creatures" just stood out to me and was so sad. I am a Christian and I understand that all humans sin and are sinners even children, but I just had a strong reaction against the wording of this.

Sarah Denley said...

Do you know what it is about the wording that bothers you? I think that I understand your feelings. I used to feel the same way about phrases like this when Annie was a baby and I even do now to a certain extent, depending on the delivery. I guess these last few months I've really been able to see her sin nature. Even a few months ago, it hurt my heart so much to hear people or read books that called children sinful, because to me she was so perfect and such a little angel. It's hard to find the balance between recognizing their sin and not being overly harsh or punitive. I definitely think that going too far in EITHER direction is harmful. My friend, Ann Lowry, wrote an EXCELLENT post of the subject (http://www.thankfulhouse.com/2011/07/all-that-bound-up-foolishness.html

Amy said...

SD - just wanted to say that I thought you responded very well to anon. it was informative, yet full of grace. i too used to hate to hear children referred to as sinners, because we are always talking about their "innocence" ...how can they be sinful, yet innocent all at the same time?
but, like you said in your response - the past few months of parenting a two year old have definitely opened my eyes to the sinful nature of a child. i agree with anon that saying a child has a sinful nature can border on sounding harsh, BUT, the cruel reality is, sin is ugly. regardless of if it is displayed in a 40 year old philandering man or in a sweet two year old child.
i'm sending you an email, a) because i don't want to leave and five paragraph essay in your comment section and b) because i just had an experience similar to your bday one.... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sarah Denley,

I think it is the harshness of it. I know my dislike of it isn't really rational, but it just strikes me as so much harsher than saying AP was disobedient or has been acting out. I hope I didn't offend you-- thanks for replying with your thoughts on it.