after over a month of being time out-free, you’ve been needing them again. they are nowhere near as frequent as they were back in november, but you’ve been bucking hard against established boundaries once more. and i get it: you’ve had a steady stream of snot flowing from your nose for a month. you’ve got another molar poking through. you’re growing taller and taller. you don’t feel so well. and your world just shifted–again. we were all just settling into a routine as a family of four when BOOM i went back to work. suddenly, you are no longer given undivided attention. you have to share with your needy little brother. for the first time in your life, you say, “mama, i need…” and the reply is, “hold on sweetie, your brother needs…”
i can’t imagine how weird that is for you. and how much it hurts.
the other day, as mama put you in time out, you asked, “do you love me, mama?”
at two and a half, you have articulated my worst parenting fear: that something i am/not doing makes you feel unloved. mama engaged the question beautifully, i think. she told you that of COURSE she loves you. she gives you timeouts BECAUSE she loves you. she does not love X behavior, but she loves you unequivocally. and because she loves you, she shows you how to do better, and she clearly explains what is expected of you. since that day, we have both tried to remind you how much we love you. i hope our words and our snuggles are getting through. my darling daughter, you are our beloved.
right now, i don’t get to see you much during the week. mornings are a whirlwind of getting everyone up and ready for the day. i dash out the door after kissing you repeatedly on the head. (i still love the way your head smells. you are still very much my baby.) when i return home every evening, we often have a small amount of time to play before you get ready for bed. you and i have a daily bedtime routine: you brush teeth, go potty (i need pie-seats–ahem, privacy–you say, and i leave the room till you’ve flushed), and put on your jammies. then, we read books before i tuck you in. i’ve taken to lying down with you for awhile after i turn out the light.
inspired by the conversations your uncle steve and big jude have with their kids at bedtime, i ask you about the highs and lows of your day. and for the most part, you can tell me now.
it’s impossible not to go all sentimental mommy on you, and i’m sorry. but i love these quiet moments with you. i rub your back–you ask for it by saying “i want a tickle”–and we sing every.single.verse of “hush little baby”, followed by two rounds of “you are my sunshine”, with the occasional encore of “if you’re happy and you know it (close your eyes, say night night, go to sleep)”. and since you gave up your nap for good THIS WEEK, you are snoring within five minutes.
jude, as you become more verbal, it is becoming abundantly clear that you understand comic timing and clever wordplay. as a word-geek and pun-isher (see how i did that right there?), i couldn’t be more excited. here are two examples of your budding sense of humor:
1. we often play off of when someone says “me too!” predictably it goes me three! me four! me five! etc. one time, you and i had gotten to me thirteen! when you were done. instead of “me fourteen” you replied, “me…ow!”, got down on all fours and scurried away like a cat.
2. your pronunciation of the word ‘snow’ is ‘d’oh’. the other day, i asked you to say it with me slowly: SSSS-now. you replied, SSSS-yes.
ok, it doesn’t read in a funny way. but your timing. your timing is perfect.
another development as of late is more abstract thinking. it’s so interesting to watch your concept of “why” develop. most of the time, you confuse “why” with “what are the consequences of X”, and i suppose that’s a developmental thing too. you are obsessed with consequences. also, you live a barter system life. (ahem: tv privileges and chocolate rewards for using the potty? that’s your currency.) anyway, every once in awhile, you understand “why”, and it usually has to do with why someone is feeling a certain way. you are very intuitive with emotions. in fact, you are obsessed with them. over and over all day, you look your mama and me in the eye and ask, “are you happy?” you especially do this when we are frustrated with you.
you’re also working out the subtle differences between “like”, “want”, and “need”. right now, you use them interchangeably–especially when you’re being adamant about NOT liking, wanting, or needing something.
oh kiddo, i could go on and on about the wonder of you. but this letter would be quite the tome, and i’d bore the whole internet. so let me end with your favorite things right now:
tigerbaby. oh.my.god. so, yeah. everyone has told me that you would attach yourself to a security item at some point, and though you’ve had fleeting relationships with various stuffed animals and baby dolls, you’ve been reluctant to commit. enter: tigerbaby. tigerbaby is an anne geddes beanie baby sort of hybrid. basically, she’s a baby in a tiger suit. and she came in an egg.
tigerbaby was a gift from your aunt helen. and she is your favorite. she goes everywhere with you, including the bathroom. you now refer to tigers as people, and you’re convinced that babies come from eggs. yes yes, they do, but not that kind of egg. aunt helen will be in charge of the birds and bees talk, your mama and i have decided. but i digress.
your favorite shows are shaun the sheep and pee wee’s playhouse.
you love to eat sausage. sausage is the new cheese.
your favorite activities are: playing thomastrains (your phrase), playing with playdoh, various pretending games wherein you are either a cat, a dog, or a person going in a spaceship to the moon, and playing on your dome climber. girl, you are a monkey on that thing. an agile, brave monkey.
i love you, jude.
i love you i love you i love you.