Sunday, February 28, 2016

Letter to (Four Year and Nine Month Old) Graves

 Dear Graves,

 What fun months December and January were. We celebrated Christmas, of course and enjoyed a visit from Cookie and Conrad.

One other really fun thing was that Papa took off two days over a weekend (he tried for all three but couldn't get one) and because of his weird schedule, he was off nine out of ten days in a row. It was so incredibly wonderful, partly because I had been feeling like the days when he works long shifts feel not just exhausting but particularly lonely. So it came at the perfect time. What a great Christmas gift for all of us!  That said, I have two damn good teammates and I'm so thankful for my time with you and Annie. But four is more fun than three (and I'm counting on five will be more fun than four).

 It was unseasonably warm back in December and we drank pineapple and blueberry smoothies and went on several bike rides, it was so warm!

 Lately, you've really enjoyed wearing some Colonel Rebel boxer shorts that Cookie and I used to wear under our school uniforms. I sort of can't believe the elastic has held up for twenty five years. You say you love having boxers like Papa. You're pretty stinkin' cute in them, too.

Also, your "new" (from your cousin, via the attic) shoes are a different brand, they don't *seem* that much bigger to the eye, and you do have a good bit of room in them. But there's a certain amount of mom guilt inherent when your baby goes from an 8.5 to an 11. I really felt terrible about it and it made me all the more thankful for the manger baby who takes all the guilt away. 

You had a fabulous Christmas and I'm grateful that it takes so little to make you happy. Minnie was so proud of herself with how she did with your presents (you're very laid back but your preferences are near as distinct as Annie's, typically, so you are harder to buy for). She got you a Tinker Toy set, some foam pirate swords, and a super hero cape that you are enamored with. It's become one of your go-to outfits.

DeeDee and Grandpa Randy gave you some money to spend yourself and you chose a dragon that makes noise and spits plastic "ice" as well as a scooter that was on major sale.

The morning after you got it, the first thing you said when you woke up was "e forgot to do my scooter-thing this morning like you said Papa". Papa said there was no forgetting, just enjoying some quiet work whilst everyone else in the house slumbered.

We are always so late decorating but this year is a record. Good thing I've become more liturgical and now have an excuse for keeping it up roughly two weeks into January. With the attic project and having hardly any energy, it took me forever to get to it. However, I was very excited because this is the first year since you've been mobile that we've had a full size tree in the living room. In Brooklyn we didn't even get one, the year before we were trying to move and got a tiny one, and the year before that you were one and everyone assured me I could "tell him no" and gently discipline and you'd stay out of it Yeah, no. THIS year you knocked over two trees in the fifteen minutes we were at the tree stand and there were three adults watching you. We've had a few "look me in the eyes and listen" discussions and knew the rules. Self-control is still not an area you're  super strong in, but you did GREAT. I will say that one of the biggest thing you've taught me is about doing things on your time. Wanna nurse past a year? Fine. Want to have a paci until you're three and a half? Sure. Want to potty train when you're almost four? Okay. Need to wait on the full size living room tree until you're four and a half? I'll survive. You've made me a lot more flexible and gentle and kind. Nearly half a decade without a real living room tree? Small price to pay for that. 

Also, we read aloud The Mouse on the Motorcycle and I don't think you've ever loved a chapter book so.

Minnie had a special present for Annie recently- this beautiful little golden bird was damaged at Batte and she brought it home and repaired it and gave it to AP. At first, Annie decided we'd put it in the shadow box in their room with their other breakable treasures (there are two LARGE shadow boxes in our house, one in the den and one in the master; I've always just ignored them but awhile back we decided to use the one in y'alls room for soccer trophies and such- basically important things that you might break). But then she decided last night she needed her bird closer. I tried to find a safer spot but she insisted her bathroom drawer (which to be fair, is one of a few areas you are not supposed to bother) was the perfect spot.The next morning however she had her out and y'all were both carrying her around. Annie and I both gave you clear instructions on being careful but I also told Annie I would not punish you if the bird accidentally got broken. She gushes to me every few days about what "a good papa" you are to Midnight the Owl and honestly we are going to HAVE to start teaching you some more restraint in just a few months anyway. Hopefully, this will just be the beginning of loving things (and you know, people) GENTLY for you.
Eventually she went in the shadow box, but it was good for y'all both- her to hold things a little more loosely and you to be a bit more careful than usual.

Speaking of Annie, ecently, the kids were cleaning their room and I was redirecting and reminding you of a specific task for the third time. "Annie distracted me" you aid and sighed. And then Annie goes "Gosh momma, it must be SO hard to be Graves and get distracted all the time". And hard to be your momma. And hers, too.

Papa told Annie one night that if she cleaned up her room that night rather than the next day, he'd finish a chapter book y'all were reading. She darted to her room and finished it in less than two minutes. Of course you passively enjoy reading but you mostly enjoy the opportunity to interrupt every few minutes, so you decided to keep playing in a pile of your mess and proclaimed that you'd just clean up tomorrow.

You are certainly excited about the new baby. One night I found you snuggled up in bed asleep holding bath time baby (who was currently dried out and functioning as a regular baby doll). That day had sort of kicked my butt, physically and emotionally. But then I kicked its back. I can't even articulate the place this pregnancy has put me in emotionally- the other night I walked into Mickey and Minnie's house and I teared up and told Minnie "Y'all's food smells so good. I wish I had never had to leave". Um, what??? If I'm super honest sometimes I struggle if this was the right decision- we're so far away from the baby stage and this has been so hard (which is crazy talk because I wanted this baby so desperately). But I know when I hold this sweet baby number three in my arms for the first time, I won't question it at all. In the meantime, I need little reminders and God usually uses you to send them to me. You've been the most wonderful little brother but it would be a cryin' shame for you not to get to be a big brother at least once.

Graves, we love you so very much!

Momma (and Papa)

P.S.  Your little sweater vest outfit is a 4T. And I love how you insisted on the hat and mittens. You are such a ham!

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