Thursday, July 17, 2014

Letter to (Three Year and Three Month Old) Graves

Dear Graves, 

You are a delight. As always. So much of what you are and do makes me laugh. At times, you frustrate me to no end. But then there's always this- your precious smile, your sweet voice, your charm and your affection for all of us, even on our very worst days. 

I've said for a long time that you were charming. Maybe a better word is charismatic. You have such a personality and your smile is indescribable. 

More and more, you make me laugh. Most of the time it's unintentional. But you also love to tease in a way your sister never really has. This is a trait you most certainly got from your goofy papa. 

You are a MESS- figuratively and literally. You told me the other morning that "We're spitting our milk on our Cheerios and eating them". Of course you were. Because Mean Momma still only lets you have dry cereal. [And if you think that's disgusting, you tell me constantly "I like gross things" and that you'll be a "construction man" when you grows up because they are allowed to pick their nose and eat their boogers.]

Related to eating: you also told Papa that "I just need my high chair back, Papa. So I don't run around while I'm eating." Trying to help you learn a bit of self-control. And it's maybe THE HARDEST JOB OF MY LIFE. 

Related to "gross things": you love to make little collections of used water balloons and plastic and other trash at the playground. Lovely how it's like pulling teeth to get you to pick up a few toys in your own bedroom but you're perfectly happy to do a thorough sweep of all the trash at the city park. 

You are going through a phase where you like to play by yourself rather than other children. When we are at the park, Annie is quick to find a friend. You like to poke around in the dirt alone, play with her, or run over and sweetly rest your head on my leg. 

You are, as you've always been, such an affectionate child. Papa took Annie to the first day of dance camp a few weeks ago and I was home with you. I was trying to fold up the sofa and you grabbed the fitted she and said "wrap me up and hold me in your hands". Sweet little baby boy.

Sometimes, though, you don't like to be touched. When you're in the carrier and I start rubbing your back you like it about half the time and half the time you say "Keep your hands to yourself, Momma!"

You went to Creative Arts Camp at Calvary-Saint George's last month and were in the littlest class- the "sheep". I can't stop thinking about how one of your teachers from camp described you- she said you were one of the most calm, easiest kids. That you stayed in your seat for long periods and was very focused and even when they could get up and play with toys you wanted stay in your seat and talk to a teacher. 

She did say you was pretty stubborn. They had to take you in the hall because you was crying so hard at first and that cleared up quickly, but you didn't NOT want to go back in the room. This was the conversation:
"Teacher: "Baby Graves, let's go back in so we can play and have fun."
Graves: "I play with you out here."
T: "There aren't any toys or anything fun to play with out here."
G: "We can go up and down these stairs."
T: "That's dangerous. We're not doing that."
G: "You hold my hand and I'll be safe."
[You finally wandered in twenty minutes later on your own accord when another kid came out to use the potty.]
That is much more stubborn than I'm used to and way more logical than I give you credit for. Literally everything above sounds like she was describing your sister. 
I feel like I have Annie's personality down (it did take me awhile, but I think it's also easier to understand her temperament/predict her behavior because we're so similar), but you confound me. Most every day.

One thing it does do is make me wonder and wish about a school setting for you. If we were at home, you might very well be doing the same two day a week homeschool program we did with Annie when she was three and four. I wonder how you'd succeed (and struggle) in that environment.

I have been noticing that you are getting more stubborn. you would not help me and Annie clean up their room this morning. I spoke to you sternly, put you in time out, and told you that'd you'd have to clean up by yourself while Annie started lunch (usually the best strategy). NOTHING worked. Annie even had one of her BIG TALKS with you in which she said "This is just like Cinderella. The ugly stepsisters made her do all the work. You don't want to be an ugly step sister, DO YOU, BUD?" That was the most redeeming thing of the whole episode because it was so hilarious.

You are funny in the way you express things now. We were running late for Annie's dance class (Papa wasn't supposed to be working today, but he was). We missed the train and I was sweating so bad pulling Annie along with you in the carrier. I was actually in a pretty good mood, though. But you all of a sudden says "We all so fus-trated!" I asked you why and you said "Because Papa not here." You seemed less frustrated once that we made it to the dance center and I let you air out your hot little feet.

You have such a great imagination, just like your sister! The other day you put MonkMonk in her pink backpack and said you were her papa and you were taking her to an "art festival" in her "carrier". 

You are so funny. So sweet. So endearing. My life is so much more complete because of the sheer joy you bring to it. 

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your jon jon is a 3T. 

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