Sunday, February 8, 2015

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

Dear Ann Peyton,

December was a great month with you! We had so much fun around the city! You and Graves had the best time at the Children's Tableau at Calvary church. You can be anything you want in the impromptu live nativity- even a mystical creature and a tie clad fox (which is what you and Graves chose, respectively). "Revend Jake" as Graves calls him shared the Christmas story so beautifully and we had communion. It was a wonderful night. We also went to the candlelight service, which was just amazing. We saw the big tree at Rockefeller Center and we went to a little holiday train show at Grand Central. We went to an extremely late service on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was very low key, which was was really nice. We had a scavengar hunt for the Baby Jesus from the nativity and you made penguins with potatoes and pant because I told you that you could choose any craft you wanted from a book we have. 

Sweet Annie, you are so special. I think you wants to be a minimalist about as bad as your papa does. Several weeks before Christmas I was asking you what you wanted for Christmas. You said you wanted two things (you had told me previously that you wanted to put your toys in the attic and rotate them when we move home)- and you wanted one to be for later (like a bike for when you're older). You thought awhile and them said "I don't really mind if y'all get me a present that's not something I really want. I'll like whatever y'all pick out". Then you had an idea that we could look through some of your catalogs (you keep your beloved collection under her bed and LOVE to look at toy/costume/doll/ect. catalogs, and though we've worried about it making you more consumerist, you've *never* asked for anything). We looked through it and Graves keep saying "we need that" and you'd reply by saying how similar it was to something y'all already had or saying it was too big and would take up a lot of space or something like that. You said you guessed there really wasn't a present she you wanted and you didn't seem too phased by it. I was so proud of you, because being honest- that's very different from me. And truthfully, I was also a little sad. Letting go of the big magical Christmases I had growing up was hard for me even though Papa and I deeply desire something much simpler for you and your brother. Like I said, though, you're so special. And I try to celebrate that every day.

We got this Advent book and I am LOVED it. To be honest it was little to "metaphorical" and literary even for you. I asked you a question about God helping you in a flood and you asked me to explain what it meant a little more. I told you it was just a very deep pain, a strong sadness. You looked at me very seriously and said "I have felt that way before....when I had to say goodbye to Aubrey when we visited Mississippi". It sort of broke my heart and at the same time it was the sweetest thing. 

You are such a sweet and patient teacher. Y'all were looking at a "Find Curious George" book Minnie sent you guys awhile back and I heard you say "Yeeees! Very good job, Graaaaaves!" 

You are so grown and so smart. Recently your were perched next to me while I was working on school with Graves (all day, you never gets as close to me as you do when it's time to teach her brother). I was trying to be very patient and cheerful and keep saying "Hey, Bud, look at this. Graves? Hey, BudBud- can you turn around?" and you go "Um..if you'd take that flashlight away from him, he could probably concentrate a lot better". 

Awhile back, I started singing to Graves at the beginning of rest time like I did when he was tiny. I was trying to preserve his nap, which was an exercise in futility, but now he (and I) love it so. Then you started requesting to sing him one song (usually about dinosaurs and composed in the moment). Then last week he started asking for you to rock him during her part of the ritual. Then a bit later y'all decided to move to snuggling in his bed, which is very reasonable since y'all are practically the same size. You did switch it up and "worked on" carols with him. (In the interest of full disclosure this beautiful moment also included you saying "He smells like salad dressing. I'm going to call you 'salad face".) Such sweethearts. Also? I asked you if you'd like to move to a new room when we got back to MS. You said "Um, that'd be okay, I guess. As long as Graves can come with me". I asked you about what we should do if we happen to have another baby and you said "oh, I think our room is big enough for three children". 

You may have heard people say that they are guilty of using the TV as a babysitter (we've been at times). But I think we're guilty of using the bathtub as a babysitter. Awhile back it was a dreary day in Brooklyn and y and Graves passed the two hour mark of playing with dinos in the tub. We recently stopped joint baths, but y'all wanted one so bad today. I was going to suggest swimsuits, but Papa insisted underwear would be sufficient (he used to bathe with you in his boxers for funsies when you were about Graves's age). After that, we just decided bathing in underwear would be par for the course for a bit and it's worked well mostly. 

You are so funny. You told me recently that "Tonight Hippo and Lion are going to have a special night party where they get in a group with other aggressive animals and play games." You also told me that (pretend princess) Snow White made a necklace but (pretend princess) Pocahontas wanted to make it more beautiful so she strangled some berries onto it.

You are also learning a lot about your emotions. Awhile back your favorite high heel dress up shoe broke while I was cooking supper. You cried for maybe ten minutes, then went to your room came back with a huge smile and said "There's only one thing that will fix this. I'm going to have to be Cinderella tonight". You are making huge strides in learning to manage her emotions. Six months ago this would have been an hour in tears and me having to give you a lot of assistance with coming up with possible solutions. I am SO proud of you! (And proud of me for not punishing you for things I knew of didn't want to punish you for.)

And you're so creative. You love to sit around a pretend fire and all tell stories. Recently you told this great one. Truly, yours was the best that day. It had to do with a momma and baby monkey getting separated and another momma monkey who lost her baby. The monkey mommas found each other's babies and then a bear tried to get one pair. An owl found that pair and a kind human found the other pair and somehow they were all reunited and the owl flew them to safety at the very top of the trees where the bear could never climb. You then told me "well we know three stories about orphans now- "Clown of God", "Papa Piccolo", and this one". Had to clarify a little about what it actually means to be an orphan, but I thought it was a great story. 

Sweet girl, I'm so glad you're part of our lives. Every beautiful and interesting thing here is more beautiful and interesting through your eyes. I'm so thankful that the Lord had a much greater plan for our NYC adventure than we did!


Momma (and Papa)

P.S. I looked back at your Four Year and One Month post and it said I didn't even know if your Cinderella dress had a size but you had lots of room in it. Clearly that was the case! It's also interesting that you have the iPad in your hand. You love doing art on it and you have a "plant app" that's relatively boring but you ADORE. 

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