Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Letter to (Five Year and Five Month Old) Ann Peyton

Dear Ann Peyton,

It's been another great month in New York. We've had a great month to finish up the Summer. We went to Coney Island a few more times and hit up some other fun stuff. We also took the ferry to Governors Island to meet some friends one weekend. You had a blast! There was a big treehouse, a fabulous slide you loved, yummy treats from food trucks, and a you got to ride on the back of a friend's bicycle. And we went to several themed playgrounds at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Your favorite was "Sandbox Village" but you also loved "Slide Mountain" and the Water Lab. Slide Mountain had some HUGE slides and you went down them like an old pro. The Water Lab was really fun for you, too. There were all kinds of structures and rocks to climb on with sprinklers and water everywhere. It was such a fun, exhausting day. We also went to the neighborhood block party which was such fun. You and Graves played in the spray from an opened fire hydrant and it was so precious. Such a New York thing to do. It'll be a forever memory for me and I hope for you, too.

The HUGE highlight was a visit from Minnie! We don't do huge Christmases, so I've honestly never seen you and Graves act the way ya'll acted the morning she was to arrive. The excitement was priceless. And having Minnie here surely was. One day while she was here, you and I and Minnie left the boys at home and took her waaaaay up to Inwood to see The Cloisters. It was a wonderful, special day. We also showed her Coney Island, the Children's Museum, and the Brooklyn Flea. 

I watched as a lot of Facebook friends sent their babies off to school this past month. Babies that were born around the same time as you were. I couldn't be more happy that the first day of school came gradually over the last few months as I introduced new curriculum, that I get to be your kindergarten teacher, and that your three year old brother gets to be her classmate for part of the school day. On a more superficial level, I'm happy we can wear pjs until lunch if we like. And on the very deepest level, I'm just glad to spend the time with you. I know it's not for everyone, but I've never felt more secure in our schooling decision. 

We read a book about transportation awhile back and I asked you what your favorite form of transportation was. I totally expected you to say the subway, but she said "riding in the carrier". You love being on Papa's back and you like the added perk of not having to hold on. 

One morning awhile back we got off the G and onto an A train going to the Natural History Museum. You  said "Oh, we'll have to change to a C; the A doesn't stop at the museum!". Then you clarified that a B would work, too. Following this, Papa explained to you what an express/local trains are (i.e. express trains run faster by not making as many stops). Without looking at a map, you said "The D is express, too". Sure enough, there it is running along the same line as the B. It's not train we've ever taken and I had to check the map to know myself! You're so obsessed. I'm biased but I don't think you're the most brilliant kid either. I do think it's interesting what a knack you seem to have for reading maps and understanding something so foreign, that you've never really had experience with before. 

You have a little map of the neighborhood and you really do probably know how to navigate Clinton Hill better than I do, embarrassingly.

This makes me laugh so hard. The other night your head was hurting. I mean, I did hate that for you, but it was so funny because you asked for a wet washcloth for your head. It made me think about when I was a senior in COLLEGE and we were planning a family trip to New York and Mickey told me "And nobody better be laying in the hotel with rags on their head ordering grilled cheeses from room service". [I did that at least once every vacation.]

A month ago, we were at a street fair and there was a booth with smocked kids' clothes(?!?). Some of the best prices I've seen for new stuff. There was a blue dress that you loved t was so cute how you were"shopping" along with me. I did NOT love it (I didn't think it's heinous, but I never would have picked it). But Papa was just talking to me about giving you some autonomy in picking out what you wear (like what to buy, not from your closet). So we got it. It was just $10, but it was $10 I really didn't want to spend. But afterwards it felt so good knowing you had picked out your very own dress to buy and take home for the first time.

Your intense love for all things Native American means you love wearing your hair in two braids. A little sidenote: last time at the museum we saw a replica of a house that seven different Native American families would live in. I said "Annie, does that sound like fun to live in a house with SIX other families?" You said "Well, that's one way to make a lot of friends!". I love how much you love making friends. 

You almost always make a friend at the park. For awhile you really gravitated to two and a half year old boys and we assumed it was because they reminded you of Graves. But you've branched out. We were at the playground awhile back and you pointed to your new friend- it was another little girl's mom. Another day you came up to me and said "I made a friend. He's in the tunnel. But I don't think he really knows how to do it yet." I went and looked and there was a baby (probably about nine months, MAYBE a year) in there with his two dads on either end. One thing I really appreciate about homeschooling is that you don't really understand having a peer group. I love that you seem very comfortable with people of all ages. 

You love doing crafts as usual but you've also discovered several apps on the iPad that you're really fond of. Most of them involve drawing or taking pictures. You've drawn some cute family portraits as well a bunch of other fun stuff. 

You've also been creating your own books. One was called "Annie and Graves's Big Adventure". I heard you reading it to him and saying "And every day he'd go outside and look for the magical carpet..."

You told me, regarding Graves, recently, "He's getting close to underwear"  I said "What do you mean?" And you said "He's getting VERY close to underwear IN PUBLIC"

You also told me the other day that "That was kinda a rude way of speaking. Can you apologize to Graves?"

In one of your most generous moments to date, you let Graves sit and watch her beloved jewelry box ballerina spin. I usually discourage it myself, but you've been saying he can if you're "watching him"". I heard you say "We are NOT going to put on this jewelry. It's very special jewelry and I don't want us losing or breaking it". I'll never get tired of watching y'all interact.

I realized this month that four years ago today we announced that you were going to be a big sister. Unlike yourself, who was as unplanned as you can get (Paoa basically threw his pants over the bedpost a couple of times and I turned up pregnant) we had intentionally tried to space you guys two years apart because I wanted to do my best to replicate mine and Cookie's sweet friendship. Your brother was born ten days after you turned two and everything I wanted for y'all has far been exceeded- he is your very dearest friend and the most faithful buddy. So funny to look back on my feelings then and think of how much more of the story I now know. 

I love you so much, sweet girl. You make me laugh without meaning to and you make me think more than I sometimes feel like. You bring me face to face with my own weaknesses and you help me understand the world better. More importantly, you help me to trust Christ more. I owe so much to you, Annie. 

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your pjs are a 4-5. 

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