Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dear Mack - Two & 1/2

Dear Mack,

Today you, your brother and I spent a morning at an indoor play zone with friends trying to escape the relentless Indian Summer heat that arrived this weekend. You are such a social kid that seeing friends is always high on your priority list, but usually if we're on a playground, or anywhere for that matter, you are content to go off and entertain yourself and explore everything on your own whether or not your friends want to join you or not.

In general, you are a very inquisitive and physically active child. You aren't a very physically aggressive child but you love lots and lots of activity to keep you moving and stimulated.

You love to climb furniture or jump off of stairs or balance on narrow beams or swing from anything like a little monkey-man, and you generally want to try new activities in whatever form they come in with little regard for what may cause pain or injury.

That doesn't surprise me much, since I was a pretty adventurous kid too with a broken arm at preschool to prove it. And although there may be times your sense of adventure is challenging and exhausting, however, at the end of it all, I absolutely love that you are so brave.

Today, I could barely keep track of your bright yellow shorts in the maze of the habitrail play gym and other kids.

You were climbing up the many levels and squealing your way down slides like you owned the place.

It's great to see you have so much fun. And at the same time, like almost everything this fall, it makes me a little sad, because you're getting to be such a big boy, less and less of a baby every day.

I knew that the change I would see in you between two and three would be pretty significant, but obviously I wasn't prepared enough. You're a totally different kid than you were even six months ago. Then you were two. Now you are two and a half. It is a big difference. My imagination fails me when I try to picture you at three.

Frankly, I don't think you've been prepared for all the change of the last 6 months or so either, and that has made the last three months or so an interesting study in how hard it really is to grow up. Your two most frequent verbal phrases these days best express to me the contradictory emotions I think you're feeling. Those phrases are "Me do it myself!" and "Help me, mommy!" For a while now, no one but me could do anything for you without you having a fit. At the same time, you were so difficult and so frustrated that you couldn't do everything yourself that our every interaction was a series of conflicts, or at least it started to feel that way to me after a while which was not fun at all. It's striking to me how often in parenting my job isn't really to do something to fix you when you're having a hard time as much as it is to be patient with you and love you through it. I never thought it was that way, and finding that it is makes me look at the good parents I know as masters of some kind of higher level of patience I can only dream about. I hope I'm becoming more patient, but in the meantime I know I'm becoming better at apologizing. And you're getting good at forgiving me. So that's a start.

However it seems that your persistence is paying off, and you can do so many things by yourself these days. Some of them are really coming in handy. I was kind of annoyed when you started insisting on climbing into your car seat by yourself because it just took so gosh darn long, but now that your brother is also needing more of my attention, I am thrilled that you can save me the trouble and get yourself loaded and ready to go. You brush your teeth really well, although this also goes down on the list of things you can make last for a small eternity. You also can heat up Radley and your milk bottles in the microwave (as long as I double check the time you entered) which is also really really helpful while I get other things done around the kitchen.

Perhaps not surprisingly, you are getting to be a great talker, and that is letting me hear more and more of your perspective on the world. You are currently fascinated with stop lights, and every time we get to one, you tell me if it's green, yellow or red, and what those colors mean. ("Green mean go, mama. Go go! Red mean stop! Yellow slow DOWN!") I might have been about to forget those vital pieces of information, so it's extremely helpful of you to share them with me. At every stop light in Southern California. Every day. Every time. Without fail. Green means go. Check.

It seems that in recent months you have finally gotten used to having a baby brother. You now wake up in the morning looking for him and he you. Or you wonder where he has gone when out of sight. And sometimes you even share your toys and snacks without a suggestion from me. A few times you have found that if you talk to him when he is upset, you can make him laugh. And the baby belly laughs only you can get when you poke his tummy are classic. And a few times you have even encouraged him to "come pway wif me Ra-lley!" which is just heart melting to your momma.

You love to have others join you in your fun. "Dance wif me, mama!" or "Sing wif me, mama!" are phrases I hear daily as well as "Mama! I miss you all day!" even when I have only been out of your sight for no more than 5 minutes. It is simply precious and I miss you all day, too, my love.

I just think you're the funniest, most adorable and best kid ever and you have given my memories of the last two and a half years with you such a special place in my heart forever.

I love you so much and I love watching you become more of who you are as we forge on in this year of wonder. I can't wait to see what else you have in store.

I love you,

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