Thursday, October 24, 2013

Letter to (Four Year and Six Mont Old) Ann Peyton

Dear Ann Peyton,

I can't believe we're half way to FIVE. That seems so old to me. Sometimes you still look like a bit of a baby to me and other times you look SO grown up. I know the day is coming (soon) when there won't be any baby left in you.

You are, as always, so in love with your little brother. Grandpa Randy was watching y'all one day for me and Graves fell asleep in his lap. He handed him off to me and after I held him for a bit you said "Can I just hold him a little too, please?" I let you, and even though he's about as big as you are, it was the sweetest thing. You kept kept rubbing his back, tracing his features, and touching his toes and saying "sweet little feet". 

The other day I was working on teaching Graves to say his whole name and you told him "It's BUD Graves Jackson Herrington". You also explained to him that "relaxing is when you go off by yourself and you don't do anything at all".

Minnie and Cookie got some great costumes at Marshalls. You've  been wearing yours (a princess costume) nonstop, but Graves wears his a bit less often. It's pretty hot and a tiny bit snug- considering it's a SIX MONTH Everyday you ask about it though: "I think he's about to take a nap. The frog prince costume would be just like a little blanket" and "I felt some very cold air come through (I turned on the ceiling fan), I don't think it would really make him hot at all". He finally put it on one day and you spent the morning kissing all over his little face. 

Everything isn't always rosy between y'all, though. The other night y'all were fighting and Papa told you that y'all couldn't have a "night party" (when y'all stay up and play with the lights off after we put you two to bed) and you pleaded "Please don't make that decision". You told me one night that "I just opened my mouth to yawn and then before the yawn could come out, my mouth just closed on his accident." I tried really hard not to laugh and we had a conversation about telling the truth. I also stopped allowing y'all to call each other a "boppit" (your made up insult) and you asked me if you could say it "if I just say it goofy". 

During one of the night parties I heard "Tickle soft, Bud"...followed by gurggly, paci suppressed laughter. {I snuck over to the door and Graves had your foot in his hand.}

It's so funny when I catch you talking to yourself. One day awhile back I heard you talking to yourself (or maybe your imaginary princess friends) and you said jiberishly: "Annie's tutu was sixty six dollars. Annie's leotard was four dollars" Pretty big discrepancy on dance apparel right there.

Your imaginary princesses are hilarious. "Cinderella" apparently told you about "grains of wheat" and "Belle" taught you the word "damn". You win some, you lose some. 

You also told me randomly one night "This piece of toilet paper is so's about the size of a baby kangaroo". You're actually sort of infatuated with baby things right now. You told me 
"I saw a little baby (in a picture)". SD: "Oh, yeah?" AP: "I think it was a baby Annie. It was wearing pink."

You started back to school and you love it. But you are really, really tired on those two afternoons. One of the first days you got in the car so tired and cranky-- "I almost was about to eat my sandwich and they just put me on the rope and bringed me in" annnnd cue waterworks. I put Graves to bed and spent snack time visiting about your day. I was JUST like this ("performing" all day is hard, especially when you neglect to feed yourself) and Minnie knew food and her ears were the magic medicine. Think that's the case for you, too, chickadee. Because after a bit you said "I just love school. I had a great day".

I will say that we're really working with you on your fear of failure. You so, so don't ever want to be wrong. You came home with a picture with two round-ish circular things on it. You told me that "I thought I was going to cry. The teacher told me to draw something round and I thought I was just drawing something OVAL." To clarify she didn't misunderstand the instructions she was just beside herself because she physically couldn't draw a more circular shape.

The other day you said to me "I'm going to miss my little school in New York". I know you are and we're going to try to find a dance class or something for you to do. I know it won't be the same, but you're going to experience some other amazing things, too!

You also love church and I'm so thankful. The other morning we were late and missed Sunday school and you just cried and cried over it. 

 I *love* hearing about your little conversations with your friends and thinking about y'alls days together. As I was unpackjng your lunch one day, you told me "I gave Aubrey some of my crackers and she just wiped her dirty little hands on my box. I told her 'That's not something to laugh at. It's just not very funny at all'". Oh my. Four year old best friends are hysterical. 

You've been up to some other fun, too. Minnie also took you on a special shopping trip and to lunch. Y'all ate pizza at Newks and then went to Target and you picked out a toy for yourself and also one for Graves. You had the BEST time. I was nervous because when Minnie called to invite you to go you acted so strange- like doing that weird little embarrassed smile where you're about to cry. You'd hardly say anything and your little hands even started shaking. Not sure if you were nervous or overwhelmed by emotion or what, but you had a magical time and still tell me about little details from the day a month later. 

Speaking of Minnie, you've gotten a little scared of thunder and lightening and I really think it's because Mickey instilled his weather fear in you when you stayed with him and Minnie while we were in New York a couple of months ago. 

We've had a few hard conversations lately. One being when you found the story where Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac in a (more mature) children's Bible that we don't really read much yet. I did my best to explain that God wanted Abraham to trust Him and that Abraham was being obedient and God spared Isaac. Hard stuff. We also read something in a little devotional book that had men on TV shooting guns. You are so my child because you told me "I want to talk more about the people with guns now. You said we could discuss it again in the morning". The conversation finally reached it's logical conclusion after I answered "Do animals taste good when we use our guns to kill them and eat them?". Oh my word.

You have such amazing questions.  As exhausting as it is, I absolutely love how inquisitive you are right now.You asked me "why Hobby Lobby has a hobby in it". I explained what a hobby is and told you some of ours. Then you wanted to know "what are the other part of the family's hobbies". I asked you what you meant by "the other part of the family" and you started naming members of our extended family ("What is Simeon's hobby?" "Does Aunt Elizabeth have a hobby?" "What is Minnie's hobby?" and my favorite "I think DeeDee's hobby is reading Berenstain Bears books with me".) Some questions have easy answers..."Can someone please stay up all of the case my CD player turns off?" No. Just no. 

I watched you really process race for the first time: "Jasmine has dark skin. Cinderella has bright skin. Beast doesn't really have skin...that's more like fur. I think I'll line them all up and compare their skins". My opinion is that I don't believe children are colorblind and I don't think we should tell ourselves they are. I love that I get to be the one to have these conversations with you first. 

I also realized I'm going to have to screen your library books better. I know, duh. I'd honestly not steered you away from books about slavery, discrimination, and that sort of thing  but we read one last month that was just too graphic. We skipped a good chunk. It was beautiful, well written, and a wonderful (and heartbreaking) story. But not appropriate for a four year old.  I skipped the parts where the little girl's momma had gotten whipped and her back was bleeding. But I couldn't skip the ending where she sent her on the Underground Railroad, but stayed behind to help others. The author's note at end said that while it may seem unimaginable, our modern day equivalent is birth mothers who give up their baby for adoption. I explained to you that some mommas can't take care of their babies and need another family to help. "But the baby's papa could help??" I told you not always and you said "But couldn't other people just HELP the momma, but she could keep the baby?" You are so wise, little one. 

I read this qoute by C.S. Lewis recently: "Girls grow quicker than books... you are already too old for fairy tales. Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again." It had me in literal tears. And saying literal prayers that the time between the readings will be short for you, sweet girl. I don't want you growing up as quickly as girls today are expected to. It's happening so fast and I just want to cling to you the way you are right now. At the same time, I love watching this process and the way you're thinking so many original thoughts and saying such insightful things. 

Ann Peyton, we love you so, so very much and are so thankful for you.

Momma (and Papa) 

P.S. You are wearing a pj top that's a 2T and a little ballet tutu that's the same size. I know, I know. You're such a peanut!

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