Monday, February 25, 2013
Dear Moe (3 Years)
My sweet darling, you’re three now. And what a ride it has been!
Before I write about what we’ve done for the past month, I want to focus a bit on who you are.
You are compassionate and caring. At daycare, when your buddy Ben is having a hard time making something work, you are the first one to console him and help him out. “It’s ok, Ben. Try it this way,” you’ll tell him. And this loving relationship goes both ways. When you hurt yourself at your birthday party, Ben was first in line to try and distract you and get you feeling better. It was lovely to see.
You are great at sharing. We have had wonderful playdates with Lhotse and Koen in the past month, and you did a great job sharing with them. I was very proud of you. You’re also getting very good about sharing with the adults in your life. You’ve clearly been paying attention.
You love cooking and helping in the kitchen. From the simplest tasks, like helping to pour your own milk or putting my tea bag into the hot water, to complex processes like making spaghetti sauce with Daddy, you love being in the kitchen and doing everything you can to help. You’ve made cookies, stew, spaghetti sauce, soup and scones. You spread your own honey and no-nut butter on your toast. You are always so eager to pull your special chair up to the counter and see what we are doing. You’re a better cook than I am. (It isn’t hard.)
You are so very verbal. I love how you can tell me how and what you are feeling. Your vocabulary increases every day. You use words like “actually” and “realize” properly and in context. I think it’s partly because we don’t talk down to you, and partly because you often repeat what we are saying under your breath to learn the words. Your pronunciation is very good, with some hilarious exceptions. You call the computer the “polluter”. And it took us a good five minutes to figure out that “oh-ska-may-skun mark” was “exclamation mark”.
You are potty trained. We are so proud of you. You go weeks at a time without having an accident, you’ll use pretty much any potty anywhere (as long as we have your fold-up seat), and you don’t even ask us for help anymore at home. (This has occasionally resulted in hilarious moments when I come out of the kitchen and you’re playing in the hallway with your pants around your ankles, but generally, you’re great at dressing yourself when you’re done.)
You love museums. An outing at a museum makes you so very happy, and that makes me happy, too. A couple of weeks went by when we didn’t hit a museum, and you actually asked to go to one. I was delighted. We went for a very special visit to the Museum of Nature with Uncle Mark and Aunt Janine. You had a ball showing them all your favourite things. You and Janine had a great time staring at the fish and turtle tanks, looking for fishy and turtle poop. And we had a great date at the Museum of Science and Technology with Lhotse and her mom, Natasha. You showed Lhoste the cars, the trains, and the tunnels. (And you greatly enjoyed their fancy British snacks.)
You have a wonderful imagination. It is fantastic to see the world through your eyes - I thank you for that amazing gift. The things you can do with a box or a piece of styrofoam boggle my mind. Whether you are playing with your stuffies or your cars, you have great conversations with and between them. Your bath water has been tea, juice, coffee, and lava, depending on what you are doing with it. It’s just fantastic to watch and listen to you play. You love to wear the princess dresses from Robin’s dress-up bin. You twirl and dance, and then catapult yourself onto the couch, laughing. I adore that you are so un-self-conscious about gender play. As far as we are concerned, you can wear a princess dress as often as you like.
It has gotten better over the past week or so, but this month you really struggled with hearing “no”. You tried a variety of techniques, including badgering, bargaining, whining, crying, pouting, yelling and asking the other parent. I commend you for your stick-to-it-iveness, but you just about broke us. We had to come down hard, and it wasn’t fun, but as I mentioned, you are getting better about it. Thank you.
You developed a stutter for about three weeks, but it has gone away. Most kids go through a stuttering phase, and it isn’t a big deal, but I’m extra sensitive to this kind of thing. I’ve watched your Grandpa Will struggle with his stutter my entire life. We consulted with him and Grandma Anne, and they reassured us that it was likely a stage, and we were very happy when you proved them right. Just the same, we are very careful not to complete your sentences when you are struggling, and to wait patiently until you are finished speaking. What you have to say is important, even if it can take you a little while to say it.
Thanks in no small part to an iPad app called Endless Alphabet, you now know all your letters. You can also count to 15. It happened really quickly, and we are so impressed. We've started some pre-reading activities with you, and are very excited and proud. I can't wait to get you writing those letters!
It was Winterlude this past month, and we had some very exciting outings. Granny and I took you downtown to Crystal Gardens (Confederation Park) one Saturday morning to see the ice sculptures. We took the city bus, and you had a wonderful time at the park. You sat in a laavu (a Norweigian teepee), listened to the start of a story about the 3 billy-goats gruff and the troll, and loved the music that was playing through the park. The best part, though, was watching you make beautiful art at the workshops run by the Ottawa Art Gallery. You helped build a gorgeous ice mosaic, and then you built wonderful sculptures with blocks of coloured ice. What a great opportunity to make ephemeral art! It was magical to watch you.
We went from Confederation Park to Starbucks for a snack, some cocoa, and the chance to warm up, then met up with Aunt Janine at a craft show at a nearby church. We went to support Stephanie, who was selling her lovely things. I bought you a little sculpture made of wooden alphabet blocks - it says “My Love,” which is what I call you a lot, so I was happy to find it. It sits on your shelf in your bedroom now. You often ask to look at it. We had one snafu at the craft show when you asked if you could have a button from one of the tables, and I said no. Granny saw you take it anyway and hide it in your snowpants. You may not have understood what you were doing when you did it, but we have now talked about it enough that I think you get it now.
I also took you to Snowflake Kingdom. I had to go there on my compressed day for a work-related site visit. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wasn’t prepared for a 40-minute production meeting in a trailer! I was so sorry that I hadn’t brought any of the things I usually bring to keep you entertained. But you did beautifully, and kept yourself busy colouring my scenario and other documents with lovely highlighters.
I had to apologize to you after that meeting. You had asked to use the potty, and I took you out to the porta-potty. You were so interested in everything in there, and I was trying hard not to lose my mind. You peed, and I brought you back into the trailer for the rest of the meeting. But about 20 minutes later, you asked to go again. I assumed it was because the porta-potty was (not so) shiny and new, and you were so bored. I put you off. A few times. You kept asking. I may have gotten cross. Finally, I brought you out there... and you peed like a racehorse. I felt so terrible. In my defence, the potty has been used quite a bit this month as a dilly-dallying tactic, not to mention a distraction from time outs. I assumed you were crying wolf. So, again and for the record, I’m sorry I didn’t believe you. I made it up to you later on the snow slides, and with lunch at O’Grady’s.
With February comes the annual Baconfest Potluck at Uncle Ted’s, and you behaved so beautifully there, especially given the number of people who attended! You fell in love with Aunt Jen’s bearded dragon lizard named B. A. Baracus. You sat next to his tank for about 20 minutes, chatting with him. (You did mention you were a bit sad that he wouldn’t say anything back, but I assured you it wasn’t because he was rude.) You helped me make bacon-chocolate-chip cookies to bring, and they were a big hit! I’m sure their popularity was due to your help.
We had a few different birthday celebrations for you, and each of them went very well. Daddy and I took your actual birthday off work to spend with you. We took you to see Sonia for a dinosaur haircut (with special birthday colour - green!), and then you got to choose a museum. You went with “cars and trains,” and we spent a lovely morning at the Museum of Science and Technology. After lunch and a nap, we had a family dinner at our place with Granny, Grandma, Aunt Janine and Uncle Mark. You had a wonderful time opening gifts, but were just too distracted to eat the shrimp alfredo Daddy made for you. (All good, the rest of us ate it all happily.) You were gracious and grateful about each gift, and I was really proud of you.
On Sunday, we had a birthday party for you with your friends. It was at Monkey Around, which is one of your favourite places to play! Our birthday gift to you this year is a membership there, so anyone can take you to play whenever you like. I think it will be great for those cold and rainy spring days, and those super hot summer days when everyone wants to stay in the a/c. Your party was lovely, you behaved beautifully, and I think everyone had a great time. It was wonderful to see you off on your own with your friends, on the trikes or up in the play structure. We didn’t have enough time at the end to open gifts, but I didn’t have a problem with that. We brought the gifts home, and have been opening them slowly, one or two a day. You are enjoying them more this way.
We also celebrated your birthday by going for family portraits. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but had problems justifying the expense when I take reasonably good photos of you myself. But it is just so rare to have a photo of all three of us, and one that we all really love. So we went to see Sara, who was fantastic. She made you laugh and smile, and you were so patient and well-behaved. We’ve seen the proofs and are very excited. Thank you for helping us create this wonderful keepsake, celebrating our third anniversary as a family of three.
You are just so much fun, Moe. You make us laugh. You warm our hearts. Your cuddles are like gold, and your kisses are so sweet, even when they also taste like your breakfast because it’s all over your face. We are so proud of how lovely and polite you are, and how generally good-natured you are. We are so grateful to have you in our lives. I know your Daddy and I aren’t the only people who feel that way about you. You’re a very special little boy, Moe, and we simply adore you. Thank you for three amazing years.