Friday, May 23, 2014

Letter to (Five Year and One Month Old) Ann Peytone

Dear Ann Peyton, 

I can't believe you are five. FIVE. It sounds so grown. 

I cannot believe it's been FIVE years since Pap and I got to hold the best wedding present we could have ever given each other in our arms for the first time. It's been an amazing surprise, a blessed adventure, and a huge testament to God's goodness in spite of, and especially, when we question His plan. The past half decade with you has been full of the best days of my life. God was gracious to give me a kind and gentle teacher (our "play baby" as Minnie called you) for the first couple of years in the classroom of unexpected motherhood. These days it's pretty much little girl SD all over again with you- you're incredibly stubborn, sensitive to a fault, you feel things deeply, exude a bit spunk and sass I never would have guessed you would as an infant, and you ask the kind of questions only a child who truly loves learning can. You're eager to do things on her own; you adore books and words and dolls and families; and you're a best friend, a teacher, a protector, and a second mother to your little brother. God has used you to teach me great things, to soften my heart, and to heal the broken places in mine and Papa's marriage. There will never be another moment like that glorious one five years ago, when we heard your first cry and Papa and I both looked at each other with tears in our eyes, so overcome with love for a baby we had felt wholly unprepared for. Thankfully, there are so many beautiful ones and every day with you is a priceless treasure.

Whenever anyone asks you guys how old y'all are you respond with "I'm five....a little five". You've heard people guess a couple of years too young and then I  correct them and state how small you still are for your age. I do feel like you're more comparable in size with your peers than when your were a baby/toddler, but you're still pretty little. 

You and Graves love to "play family". The other night I heard y'all start your little charade. Graves was furiously running around a dark room giving "medicine" to stuffed animals. And you told me "I stay at home. I take care of Rose and Baby Huggums and during nap time I do things on the computer". Obviously. You've also been calling Graves "little one" and being even more attentive to him than usual. 

You have also really gotten fixated on "Baby Kitty", one of your stuffed animals. You feed her often and just dote on her a good bit. It's adorable. 

Another night you dressed Graves up in a monkey costume. He decided his name was "Cugo" and after a bit you "called the zoo". You told them "Y'all sent the wrong monkey. This one is wild. Come get him". You two are hysterical. 

It rained a few weeks ago and you and Graves pretended to have a circus inside. Your "tricks" were hilarious. You told me to "Please say 'The amazing Annie will now jump over this mess'". That same night, you called me SCREAMING into your room after your bath to look at something. I thought you were  bleeding until you said "I think its...WATERY EARWAX".

Graves was chasing you around the apartment the other day and you shouted "This is absolutely like in Cinderella when it was midnight and the Prince ran after her". Another time, you hid in your gingerbread house while Graves fought off some pretend witches. He cut the mouths off about eight so they wouldn't eat you! 

You said to me recently-- "Cinderella (pretend princess) decided to mail some of her toys to boys and girls who don't have toys. Cinderella is so proud of herself when she does a good thing. Snow White is proud, too. She gets so excited and is all jumpy". [Then you made sure to say they would not be mailing Monk Monk.]

You also told me "Me and Papa are kind of alike. We both love cities". Upon further discussion, you said "I heard you tell someone he wanted to move here." In other words, what we all know: YOU GUYS ABSORB EVERYTHING.

Papa got you to start feeding the cats. Aside from really basic stuff like cleaning up your own messes, it's your one and only chore. You kept asking me what Bud's chore should be. Then one morning you  said "Oh, I know what Bud's chore could be...teeteeing in the potty". Perfect. Now we've got to get to work on it. 

It's so funny to watch what you have picked up about city living. The other day (Pretend Princess) Snow White said to (Pretend Princess) Cinderella: "Don't worry about your phone you dropped on the tracks. Just leave it. ...we can buy you a new one."-- or so you told me. I'm glad the things we've taught you about subway platforms are sticking. 

We had a little public transit fail a few weeks ago: you dropped something and I was holding uour hand and pulling you along so we'd make it onto the bus and I dragged you right into the pole at the bus stop. Bless your heart. I seriously feel terrible, but you made it onto the bus with all your stuff and I know you- that's worth a mild concussion.

This city is so special. I hope and pray you'll remember so much of it. We've done so much that has captivated you- the castle at Central Park, The Met and the Museum of Natural History (you are obsessed with the Native American exhibits), and lots of trips to the huge Central Library in Brooklyn. A few weeks ago a random guy on the train held your hand because it was super crowded and my one hand wasn't doing enough to keep her stable. I hope you remember both, sweet girl, the experiences you have and the people you met, in this great city. 

We did have one really big scare a couple of weeks ago. You were with Papa and walking a few yards ahead and he called for you to stop as you approached a parking garage. You didn't hear him and a car started to turn in. He yelled and you froze, paralyzed in the headlights. Of course it was fine, but it's been a struggle to help you process it. It's mainly been about how guilty you felt. You got so upset I told Minnie about "the scary thing" and asked her if I ever did anything "bad" when I was little. Minnie told you of course, but that it was a mistake and really wasn't her being bad. Then Minnie asked you if you thought Graves was being bad when he fell in the lake and you said no, that wasn't like running in front of a parking garage. Then, most heartbreaking of all, you told Minnie (and me, multiple times all day) that you were going to cut your hair and wanted us to call you by a different name so we wouldn't know she was the one who did the bad thing. Honestly, I would think you had some major issues, if I hadn't felt/didn't feel things the exact same way you do.

You love school stuff so much. You've seemed to have missed the memo that you don't have to do homeschool work on the weekends. I don't take my little eager beaver for granted! 

You are so curious about EVERYTHING. You asked me recently "Momma, why my ankle the part that is kind of rolly in my body?"
  • We were talking about career paths again a while back. You told me that "Papa grew up to be a Papa-Pharmacist". I love that Papa came first.
  • Papa has got y'all eating kiwis with the skin on. Graves didn't want his last week. You told me that "maybe he just doesn't like the little fur".
I have to share this story from a few weeks ago because it's the epitome of all of y'all right now. So we were at a museum and Graves asked "What is a booty?" in the elevator (a question he definitely knows the answer to- he loves to ask those). Papa responded with a very Peyton-esque answer about how it's where muscles connect and such and then you gave him this LOOK and said "We don't talk about THAT on crowded elevators".

Another day, you wouldn't clean her room and I told you no night party tonight if you didn't do it. You said "Hmm...that sounds really nice. I actually like that idea". I said "You won't have toys on your bed, either". You said "Oh, that's fine, I'll just play with my quilt". I said "You won't even have a quilt, I'll take that away, too" (clearly I was going a little strong). And you just smiled and started doing some Itsy Bitsy Spider thing and said "I'll just play with my little hands. You can't get rid of those." In other words, you're getting way too smart for me.

Actually, it turns out you're smarter than both of us. You told papa we were on the wrong train about a month ago. You were right.

Annie, there's no way for me to fit this into words, but sometimes there is just something about you that almost breaks my heart it's so sweet. You told me the other day that if you had one wish it would be that the characters in her books would come alive. I know I'm biased, but you're such a special kid. We were talking on a different day and you said "You know...the pretty time, when the sunset comes. That's why I love evening." Tears welled up in my eyes. You are such a poet and your soul is so old. I don't know what to make of you some days. I'm so, so grateful you are mine. 

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your sweet little watermelon outfit is a 4T. You insisted on wearing a "cape" for the picture. 

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