Thursday, November 6, 2014

Letter to (Three Year and Six Month Old) Graves

Dear Graves, 

September was a fun month that included a visit to an urban farm on a rooftop in Queens. You were fascinated by the bees they had and loved the delicious (dirt covered) raw carrots you got to sample. 

You love being outdoors and we also found a great nature playground here in Brooklyn. It's mostly made of wood and it seems like it's in a forest, but it's right here in the city. You had the best time.  In fact, you were feeling so wild and free you shucked yourself (you were wearing some comfy pants with an elastic waist). We quickly re-panted you, of course. (And FTR, you're in underwear at home, even at night, but I just haven't gotten brave enough when I know finding a restroom will be difficult and unpredictable).

Another playground tale- when Papa and I were here looking at neighborhoods last August, I teared up little when we saw a playground with some equipment that was painted and shaped like animals because I know you would love the farm theme. It took us this long to get back there, but some things haven't changed a bit with you, sweet Bud. You had a delightful time climbing on those animals and playing. 

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. 

I've probably mentioned this in your last couple of letters, but you have a dance class you go to each week. You're taking at Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance. I LOVE that. Such a neat exposure to another culture, one that intrigues me so much, for some reason. 

The other day "And this kinda silly, but maybe make mama sad. But I wore my Crocs today to Cumbe". You are still so funny in your little nonsensical way sometimes. For what it's worth, I don't like you to wear Crocs only because you have a hard time running in them and they fall off (or you kick them off) in the stroller. 

You've gotten ever more into dinosaurs than ever. We brought a dino library book to Annie's ballet class one week when Papa was working and I had to take you by myslef. You did so great because of those dinosaurs. 

You also did a great job on the flight back to Mississippi for Cookie's thanks to a very densely packed and incredibly gory book I've bought like a year ago after after a friend shared it on her blog.  I had been saving it for a special occasion and I figured your dino obsession may be at its peak. You devoured it. Pun intended :)

Speaking of, I'll share more in your next letter, but we all had such a special time being "home" in Mississippi. You were no exception. 

I will say this-- I was so sure I packed your "green blankie" the morning of our flight after you woke up. I couldn't find it in our carry ons at the airport and was really hoping it was under the plane. It didn't turn out to be. You told us "I'm just so sleepy. I want my green blanket." And Papa said "we don't have it, Bud." And you said "then I'm not sleeping". I had a tiny stuffed dino, a WELL loved duck lovey, and no less than five baa's. But I still felt horrible. I know how much that stuff means to you. BUT, you did GREAT. We found a stand-in blanket from Minnie's that was super soft and you loved it, too. 

You're OBSESSED with "Crocodila" from your favorite show, The Wild Kratts. DeeDee had sent you some pjs awhile back and I was so excited when I unpacked your Fall stuff and found some with crocodiles on them. You and Annie each get to pick a show in the morning and I finally had to say we're only watching the "Mom of a Croc" episode every other day. Oh, and you like to go in the closet to "lay eggs". 

You also told me recently that a play dough snake I made for you was "an incredible mother". Too much Wild Kratts right there. 

On the trip home, you played with some of Papa and his brother's old action figures. We heard you making one talk and saying "because is not a reason" and then you said "Wolverine is talking to his mom". 

You had a tiny bought of sickness- just a cold really. It took a few days to recover and thankfully it happened well before the wedding. Sometimes you miss church service number one because you wake up and say "I don't feel bery good" and you look (and sound) pretty pitiful. But then you get some one on one time with your momma and you take a three hour nap per your own request and you power up and rally for church number two. Also church one involved childcare, church two involved having your germs supervised by me and Peyton and your militant sister who insists on scrubbing with soap after every cough. So it's a different dynamic. Still, I reminded you that we dip, don't sip the blood of Christ. 

I'm glad we made it that night because you kept giving us imaginary food tonight and saying "Take this bread. It tells you that Jesus loves you very much". This is because every single time you've been to church at Calvary-Saint George's, Jacob, the priest, has looked right into your little eyes and told you just that as you took the Body of Christ. It means everything to me to be in a place that not only welcomes them, but finds three year olds valuable enough for a concise explanation every week at the table.

You've been wearing your Converse to church some. It started with wearing your Chucks with a smocked bubble right before it got cool. And then I started putting them with jon jons. It looks surprisingly cute! 

One of our church services had been on Summer hiatus the month of August and so I sort of got out of the habit of wearing you in the toddler carrier. We're back to it and it's a bit of a hassle but I LOVE the extra snuggles it forces you (and me!) to slow down for.

You told me at lunch the other day "I'm ready for my nap now". You also found some (I thought too small) truck footies when I was changing over their closet and you loves the trucks more than he did at 2.5. Sweetest guy.

The other day you got so frustrated and disappointed with yourself (I think that's the theme of three year old "preschool" for my children). I told you that Annie had a hard time tracing at first (her fine motor skills were actually much poorer than yours). I heard you say "Annie, this was bery hard for you too when you a baby". I said "Bud, do you *really* think you're a baby? You're a big three year old!" And you said "Yep, three a baby, Momma". I'll take it. I will certainly take it. 

You and Annie constantly amaze me with your friendship. We were reading y'alls devotion, "Giant Steps for Little People". Got to question three ("If you get married when you grow up, will you always love your husband or wife?") and Annie sighed and said "Yes, even if it isn't Graves".

It is very interesting to compare you guys' personalities and how you perceive things. For example, though Papa and I haven't changed the way we talk about it, your perception of race has come earlier and is much stronger. I think it's partly a very different cultural environment and is partly just that you just have a very different personality and notice physical attributes a lot more than Annie does even now. Annie also still says "dark" or "light" skin. You say things like (as you look out the window) "I see a black man coming in the building"..."that probably not Papa". Probably not, Dude. So neat to see their different perceptions and how they articulate them.

Also, the other night Annie asked about how babies are made. I redirected until a time when you weren'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. It's so fascinating how very different you two are. 

You have so much spunk Graves and you are such a fun, sweet, happy guy. I'm so glad you are ours! 

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your leggings are actually an old pair of Annie's. You wear them in the Winter in lieu of long underwear. They are a 3T. 

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