Thursday, March 12, 2015

Letter to (Three Year and Ten Month Old) Graves

Dear Graves,

We're finally here on the tail end of Winter. You had a lot of fun lately- more good snows and a trip to the Transit Museum. Honestly, I think you liked the train museum in Long Island better, but you enjoyed the transit museum. 

I love your little quirks and mannerisms. You're pretty sensitive to sound and you often put your hands over your ears when a train is coming. 

I've been saying this for years, but the line between my sweet "Baby Graves" and a true big boy is getting so, so blurry. I saw you walking up to me from a distance after Sunday school the other day and you looked like such a baby. You also looked super fluffy, I'm sure because of your leggings under your jon jon. In moments like this, you don't seem big enough to be FOUR soon. You are so special and I'll let you take your babyness completely when you're ready, but I'm going to cherish every minute until you do.

You, in fact, want to be called "Big Boy Baby Graves" now. When we do memory work and practice your whole name, you say  it's "Big Boy Baby Graves Crocodila Jackson Herrington" but you remind me that "that's kinda hard for some people to me".

By the way, your leggings? Sister's too small leggings were all dirty recently and we started resorting to pajama pants as long johns and never turned back. 

For some reason, I think these little rain cloud warm ups you have look so cute tucked in your snow boots. If you had told me two years ago that I'd be taking my little boy in public in sweat pants and a solid long sleeve t-shirt from Urban Outfitter I'd of stroked out. But it's all fair trade and you seem so much more warm and cozy than you did in your paper thin gingham pants last year. Priorities had to be adjusted (notice I did NOT say changed). And plus, you're even more Mick's "Bud" in this get up. (Mickey wears warm up pants in May in Mississippi. He wears his warm up suit from October to May. It's his uniform.)

You love to wear your Crocs on the wrong feet and you told me that it's because they make you faster that way.

You make *the* best faces, especially when you really gets to talking about something. Your expressions are ridiculous and also so adorable. I need to get a video.

Also, I'll be so sad when you grow out of occasionally still talking in words salads when you get super excited. For example: "I'm not a gentleman. I'm Baby Graves. I Baby Graves Gentleman Taking Care of General. Until he gets surprise lost." You know what you're trying to say. I think.

You saw a poster at Annie's ballet studio and told me it was your uncle, Conrad. I told you that I could see how you thought that, but I really didn't think it was. You said "that really, really the REAL Conrad, Momma". You've been pretty fascinated with the Reynauds lately (maybe since he found out they are coming to visit?). You and Annie love to say when they grow up y'all will be me and Papa and we'll be Mickey and Minnie. The other day you told me "I have another idea. Annie will grow up to be Cookie- but a momma- and I'll grow up to be that big boy Conrad". Annie was telling her ballet teacher about all her family she was excited about living close to again (Mickey and Minnie, DeeDee and Grandpa Randy) and you said "and Cookie and Coney!". She said "Nooooow Bud, you KNOW they live in Nashville".

You are clearly very observant about advertisements and such. You saw this ad on the train with two women, one wearing a wedding dress, and asked "why there not a Papa?". I figured this question would somehow come up living here (although, I Googled the television show it was advertising and if think they are actually just friends). The interesting thing to me is that I would have bet a hundred dollars it would be you to notice that other families look different from ours and not his sister.

I'd been letting y'all play with these long felt scraps in their room because you guys were having so much fun being creative with junk and because you are almost four and at some point you just have to trust them. You'd done really well for weeks but a few weeks ago you yelled to me "I was just trying to die". Good Lord. I came to the gate and you said "I wrapped it around my neck, but don't worry. I'm okay". I took it away and told you that was not funny and we NEVER "try to die". And I did tell you thank you for being honest with me. You also blatantly splashed water all over the bathroom while I told you no more splashing very calmly several times. The consequence for that was having to be soaped up while you stood outside the tub shivering and then being rushed through the rinsing way more than you'd like. I sure hope you can gain a little impulse control in the next ten to fifteen years before the consequences are like actual death and herpes, not shivering tub side or having your trash toy taken away.

We showed y'all The Land Before Time for the first time and I cried just like every time I struggled through it in elementary school. When Little Foot's momma dies she tells him she'll be with him even thought he can't see her. You said "will we always be able to see?" And seemed worried. Annie, who was totally zoned in, goes "we can't always see the movie; we have to send it back to Netflix". And you said "No, see each other". She has some Big Feelings, but in certain ways you're MUCH more sensitive. You also said later that being mean could "break someone's heart". Annie said "well, Graaaaves, I don't think that would really break someone's heart". She's so literal. 

We also read Sarah, Plain and Tall recently. I forgot what a tear jerker the first chapter is. I cried in front of y'all, but that's no big deal here. Per usual, you were concerned and empathetic. Annie told me that "it doesn't really bother her" when characters' mommas die in the books we read. You and I are both going to need a Xanax when we get to Bridge to Terabithia.

Annie is so sweet to you. The other night you got upset because Annie had told us a story in lieu of us telling her one. But you were sad you missed your "dragon story". So Annie hopped in bed with you and started telling you this dragon story.

And you are just as sweet to her. She dropped a pretty heavy toy dino on her toe and by the time I got there to see what was wrong you had a frozen strawberry off your own supper plate and was holding it on her toe saying "What about this?". As soon as she started laughing and confirmed she was okay you popped it in his mouth. Awe and eww, simultaneously. Which is pretty much the story of your life.

I kind of dread the days when Papa and Sister go to the South Bronx to help with homework because it's SO hard for you. A couple of times back, you told me "I hope I get to play with Annie tomorrow" and you asked me to play hide and seek but then told me "we need Papa here-- he's the best hider". Your Moose Caboose jams and mirror distracted him from the pain for just a minute.

I also decided to introduce you to some Bruce videos (you've been listening to him since infancy). you told me that Bruce and Stevie were pirates and then rocked out with his computer mouse as your microphone. You pouted so hard when I told you that Live in Barcelona was over and we needed to go put up laundry in your room. Proud moment for your momma

You're so sweet and special. 90% of the time if someone wakes up crying it's because one of y'all need to teetee. The other night you woke up WAILING and said "I need...I need...I NEED...a lovey!".

The other day you felt really bad. You almost fell asleep in the nursery at church and then DID fall asleep in the carrier. I LOVE that you'll still do that. You told the nursery workers your head was hurting and I said "Oh Bud are you just tired?" You said "Hurt and tired" and then you told me it all the stairs in the subway station hurt your head more when you bounced. I said "Are you okay?" when we got on the L train and you said "I'm not okay" and then fell right to sleep. It rained the next day and I truly think it was a weather headache. You are convinced it was from "taking too big of a bite" of your sandwich and you talk about it every so often. 

My FAVORITE recent quote from you recently was "He just wants to embrace you"- speaking on the desire of Christ. You are a fan of church music. A big fan. 

We love you so much, Graves. I am thankful for the many, many smiles you bring to my face each day. Live is such a joy with you.

Momma (and Papa) 

P.S. Your striped pants are a 2T/3T and your hammer shirt is a 3T. 

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