Saturday, June 8, 2013

Letter to (Four Year and Two Month Old) Ann Peyton

Dear Ann Peyton,

You are so funny and so full of ideas these days.

And questions. My brain can hardly keep up with all your questions. You thirst for information is not easily quenched. Today you wanted me to name off every single restaurant I could think of in our city. Sort of reminiscent of the time when I was about your age and wanted Mickey to list every animal that a frog is not.

You also ask me the sweetest little innocent questions like if I think turtles have to take their shells off to get out the stuff they brought for their picnic. You asked recently "Why you call me Sweetie...and Baby Graves Sweetie? And why does Papa call you Sweetie? Why we all call each other Sweetie all the time?" 

I know I talk about your imagination every month. But it's one of my favorite things about you. [You clearly get it from Papa; he told a story recently that included an estate sale, Cinderella not being able to afford a dress, and Mulan then taking it out "on credit".]

Your best story to date was quite an elaborate one. It involved you, Snow White, Cinderella, and Bud. They were rolling down a hill near a pond and you made sure to be careful, but (of course) Bud didn't. He rolled into the pond and you were left trying to get him out by "swooshing a stick around". That didn't work so you  called out "Hey little duck, come put Baby Graves on your back and get him". The duck did. The end.

You also sing sweet "bedtime songs" to your little imaginary friends and it's adorable. 

Like your papa, you make me laugh until I cry. The other day you told me "When Papa gets home, he'll think my eyebrows look SO clean.". Well of course he will, Dear, you've been scrubbing them with your toothbrush for half an hour.

You told me the other day that you and your dolls were "playing fairy and Baby Jesus". I asked you how you played that and said "Ummm...someone gets to be the fairy and someone gets to be the Baby Jesus". Obs, Mom.

Another thing that is just like me when I was a little girl is that you love to squeeze yourself into little "nooks". You like to crawl in Graves's armoire or get under tables- anything where you have to curl up tiny to fit in.

The main way I see myself in you, is of course, your emotions. This week we were talking about your "mood-o-meter" (it's a magnetic mood indicator with several Little Miss people and several Mr.'s, as well. You told me you were Mr. Strong because Bud tried to take a toy. Obviously, he didn't get it. I told you about how we use our strength for good and you started bawling and telling me "I meant to say 'Little Miss Chatterbox'." I know it's so hard; I used to feel that same way about disappointing Mickey and Minnie.

You like to dress your bears in your pajamas and tuck them in under the crib duvet. [When it's not in the crib. It never is.] You also told me that you put a little rubberband around your Little People princesses when they ride in Graves's toy cars and they "keep it on all the day". Then you told me that "Snow White, Belle, and Batman are working on being a little family" and that "Belle has to listen to her parents so cars won't bump into her". That same day, I told you not to come out of your room from rest time PERIOD and you got your head stuck under your armoire. It was traumatic. I thought I'd have to call Mickey/the fire department.

You and Graves are at such a good stage with each other. It's been that way for awhile now, but I feel like y'all just keep getting closer and closer and there's less and less conflict.

One particularly funny thing you do with Graves is calling him a "little blockhead". I'm not sure where that came from, but you think it's hysterical and you say it in a very non-insulting way, so we've let you continue. The other day Papa asked you what you were doing with your little wooden fake knife and you told him "cutting off Bud's head". Well then.

You have the sweetest side to you when it comes to him, though. The other day you brought me a book with a baby on the front and told me that we should read it to him when he woke up from his nap. I asked you why and you said "Momma, you KNOW Bud loves babies". I adore how he's always on your mind.

You have a good many books memorized and I heard you get one recently and tell Graves "Let me read this one to you. Here come sit on my lap". You're the best little teacher and you're so diligent about working with him on shapes, colors, and animal sounds. You praise his little achievements so energetically and your patience astounds me. You're so funny sometimes. Now that Graves is talking it's fun to test his knowledge of things. Y'all  leftover red beans one day and I asked him "who cooks your beans?" He said "Mickey" and you immediately followed with "And who plays with us while Mickey cooks our beans...can you say Minnie?" Sometimes, he tries to knock over your block towers, so you just build him one and tell him sweetly "Okay, it's ready for you to knock it down". You also let him fool with your hair now, if he's gentle (he's learning).

Today Papa gave you two blueberries and was about to give Graves two, as well. He usually gives you two things (crackers, fruit, cookies, ect.) and asks you to give one to Graves before you eat yours. Well today, you didn't realize they were both for you and you went and offered Graves one without even being asked.

What else have you been up to?

I painted your fingernails and toenails for Summer and you, of course, ate that up. Sometimes, it's so easy to make you happy. [Of course, sometimes it's so hard.]

We also went to a book signing with the illustrator of the Fancy Nancy books. You listened to her read, practiced balancing a banana on your head, toured her bus, and got a picture. I think you really enjoyed it.

I also taught you how to sew with yarn and a plastic tapestry needle this month. You loved that.

Another big first was riding in Papa's kayak. I think you were nervous, but you had fun!

On the physical front, we have BIG news (no pun intended)- you were in the TWENTY SECOND percentile for weight at your four year appointment. All those worried months of infancy and toddlerhood seem miles away.

I have however kept you in bubbles by convincing you that Belle and Cinderella wore them when they were four. After our initial conversation, you told me that Snow White actually wore them when she was five and six and the dwarfs wore them...when they were two.

As far as homeschooling, I'm loving doing this with you. You are so interested in (almost) all of it. Practicing memory work is a struggle. But you love reading and the activities that go with the books I've chosen (or really any activity) and you love doing your little critical thinking workbooks. Papa is taking a very organic approach and just sort of taking things as they come. The other night he explained to you what a "domesticated" cat was after we saw a wild one near the church. [It went something like this: "Wild means not domesticated. And domesticated means 'brought up under controlled circumstances'. Like our house.] He also very vaguely introduced sex to you when it (sort of came up) due to a potty training conversation about Graves.

Gosh, Annie, typing this all up sort of overwhelms me. So much just happens so fast. You're so big now. I love you more than you can imagine.

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. You dress is a 3T, your sandals are size nines (and on the wrong feet), and you like a side pony much better than a center one but yur really preference is "piggies".

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