Thursday, November 6, 2014

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

Dear Ann Peyton,

We've been up to more fun in New York City. Last month we visited an urban farm on a rooftop in Queens. You picked and tasted veggies, watched bees and learned about composting. We also found a wonderful nature playground in Prospect Park.

It is very fun to watch you thrive here. You told me awhile back not to call you a Mississippi girl- that you were a "city girl". I asked you what about when we move back and you said you'd be a Mississippi girl again then. You told me you did want to move back, but you'd like to stay three days longer than whenever Papa and I decide it's time to move.

Speaking of Mississippi, you told me that we needed to get your poofy princess dress  from the storage unit and order Bud a Prince Charming costume off eBay for a ball "Cinderella" invited you to. Then you said "You know I'm just being silly, right? I have NO IDEA where the real Cinderella is." I said "Annie, you know she's not real, right?" And you said "Oh, I know. But you can go places where there are people who look just like Disney World!" I asked you how you knew about Disney World because we've never discussed it (not intentionally or anything) and you don't watch TV other than PBS. You told me "Aubrey was telling me about it when we lived in Mississippi." It makes me so happy that conversations with your first best friend still swirl around in your head. I know hardly a day passes that I don't think about Aubrey's momma and on a couple of long days I've cried over missing lunch and life with one of my best friends. I pray, literally, that when we do move back South you and Aubrey can pick off right where they left off.

Back to the city now. You make very interesting observations. Such as "Because ,you know, your floor is somebody's ceiling when you're in an apartment..." and you ask questions like "What borough is the Cloisters in?" I love that this season has brought these ideas and inquiries to you. 

You are such a creative girl. Awhile back you were envisioning an app where "one side is Google Maps and one side's a subway map". The things that fill your ("city girl") mind!

The city doesn't just make you think differently, it makes you different physically, too. The other day, over the course of the day, you walked FOUR miles. Papa and I were both saying our legs were some. You didn't complain once. And you walked every bit as much as we did. 

You are much more observant of things (train, trash, ect.) than people. Your brother is the people watcher. You told us recently, upon noticing garbage on the sidewalk, that "We should just go all around the city, telling people not to litter". Little environmental activist already wanting to go preaching in the streets. Then Graves said "Those people were PROBABLY rude". and you said "We should PROBABLY tell the police this."

You have a very strong conscious and it's very easy to impress our convictions on you.  You told me not to get any more Winter boots a few weeks back. That I have too many shoes already. You've  also been criticizing my diet. Between your passion for environmental stewardship, your zealous calls for more healthy eating, and your anti-consumerist bent, it looks like Papa's batting three for three.

You're still so little. You picked your own outfit the other day. It was a 2T and now the dress is a top, the leggings are shorts, and you're still tiny enough to wear things meant for kids three years younger than you are.

You started your first real ballet class (the class you took this Summer was "creative dance" at another studio and it wasn't near as structured/formal). You have LOVED it and have actually improved a lot. 

One day you were feeling under the weather and we were trying to decide if ballet was a no-go. You told me "Well, I don't feel THAT bad. But I wouldn't want to get any of the other little girls sick....and I don't want my snot dripping everywhere in my class." I thought there was a lot of wisdom in that and we stayed home. 

About school- we finished Level A in Logic of English and we wanted to celebrate you! So we had a giant "alphabet day". I hope you had a sense of how proud we are of her. You can read basically any CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) word you see and are making steady progress with blends. As much as I detest phonics, I'd not trade teaching you to read for anything in the world!

You are so good at making friends. I told you that your "playgroup" in the South Bronx was starting back up several weeks ago. You said "Oh, Papa told me there wouldn't be many children my age there this year...But I don't think age is something that makes any difference. I like making new friends. Of all ages!" And that's very much how you behave. You told me a few days later that you made a new friend who was in the tunnel at the playground. You said "he doesn't really know how to do the tunnel yet, I don't think". I looked and there was a little nine month old boy (he couldn't have been a year!) with his two dads on either end of the tunnel. Another day you told us you had made a friend at the playground and it turned out to be another momma! 

Still another week, at another playground we somehow winded up there during the public school recess. (Lots of playgrounds here are for school use during the day and then become regular city playgrounds when school is out. At this one, apparently the public is allowed to use it all day but the school near it has access.) Anyway, this little girl who was in Kindergarten told us she was a big kid. You said "yeah, we're little kids". Humorous since y'all were the same age. Then she asked Graves "Do you know what big kids do?" He shook his head. "Of course you don't" she said and then "Big kids beat up little kids". A friend mentioned that we probably wouldn't be going back to that playground again, but it was good in a way. I know it might not make sense to most people, but it was really cool to me to be able to have that moment. I don't want to homeschool to shield you guys entirely from the world, but my heart would be sick if you was dealing with that kind of thing ever day for hours without me (I KNOW that's not every public school, by the way). Like I said, though, I don't want to shield you guys entirely and I know you'll experience it one day regardless of it I did try to prevent it. It was neat, I think, for y'all to have that interaction, but for us to be there to guide you through it and help you process it. 

You love your family so dearly. A few weeks ago, after a tense moment between myself and you, you told me "I miss Papa". I asked your if it was because I had hurt your feelings. You said "Oh Momma, I miss him EVERY day he works". The next day he was off and he taught you tally marks this morning and crafted with you and Graves.

You also made a card for Graves at church (he was sick) that said "I miss you, Graves". All this makes me appreciate even more all the time the four of us get together and the choices I'm thankful we've been given- homeschooling, staying home, being a staff pharmacist.

Graves is so smitten with you. I told Graves a song he made up was beautiful. He said "My song just awesome. ANNIE beautiful".

And you him! W were reading your Giant Steps for Little People devotion. We got to question three ("If you get married when you grow up, will you always love your husband or wife?") and you sighed and said "Yes, even if it isn't Graves".

It is fun watching y'all play because you love what he loves and he loves what you love. You (playing with toy dinosaurs): "Some dinosaur was trying to eat "Lemmie's" family, so I gave him some meat from another dinosaur that that ANOTHER dinosaur gave me because he didn't finish it."

You are so serious, deep, and inquisitive. You told me last month that "Jesus died to take away my sin of almost getting hit by that car" AND "I know mommas and daddies can make a baby, but HOW do they do that?" I explained (for the hundredth time) that it wasn't a SIN to almost get hit by a car months ago and as far as the baby making conversation, I redirected until a time when your brother wasn't SCREAMING about crocodiles and dinosaurs while running around the living room in my bra. I can only do so much crazy at one time.

Annie, I love these days with you more than you could ever know. 

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your little pink bishop dress is a 5T. 

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