Friday, January 3, 2014

Dear Moe (46th Month)

Hi, sweetie. I’m pretty darn late with your letter; sorry about that. This past month has just gotten away from me in so many ways. 

I have been very tired and sad, but it hasn’t had anything to do with you. I hope you can understand that. I certainly haven’t been the happy, smiling Mommy you’re used to having around. But through it all, you have been a shining light. Thank you. 

It’s hard to believe that when I wrote your last letter, there was no snow on the ground. We have had so much snow in the past four weeks that our snowbanks are almost as tall as I am. The day of the first snowfall, you and I went for a lovely walk in the snow. You brought your little red shovel with you and shoveled up all the pathways as we walked. I remember that you asked if we could go to O’Grady’s, and I said we couldn’t because I didn’t have any money for O’Grady’s, and you said that was okay and offered to pay with the money in your piggy bank. It was very sweet of you to offer to treat us. You and I have been to O’Grady’s since then, my treat.  

You are a great little snow shoveler, and it is so nice that you finally understand that I want you to put the snow onto the snowbank and not pull the snow off the snowbanks and dump it onto the driveway. Snow shoveling is much more pleasant now that we understand each other. There were a few times last year when I nearly resorted to sticking YOU in the snowbank! 

It has been a month of Christmas preparations and getting excited about Santa Claus. Robin overheard some wonderful and thoughtful discussions between you and Gemma about Santa. You were concerned and hopeful about being on the nice list. You were also worried about Santa (and the presents) getting dirty if he came down the chimney. Santa sent you a video message from the North Pole, and you enjoyed confirmation that you would be on the nice list. Several times throughout the month you have asked to write a letter to Santa to make sure he knows you are on the nice list. 

You delighted in seeing the Christmas lights outside on houses on our street. There’s one house two doors down that has these great little light-up snowmen stakes that look like lollipops. You are enraptured by them, and love to recite the colours as they change. “Red…orange... green… blue… red… orange…” You still pronounce them “yollypops” and I love it. Our neighbour across the street put lights up in their tree and you immediately saw a horse shape in the way they had arranged them. I love seeing the world through your eyes. 

Aunt Janine and Uncle Mark came over to help us decorate the Christmas tree this year. You did a wonderful job, helping us. For one thing, we asked you to make sure that only non-breakable ornaments would be within reach of your cousin Caspian, and you took your job very seriously and ensured that the bottom third of the three was Caspian-friendly. The funniest thing, though, was what happened when you found an ornament that you really liked. You had no interest in putting your favourites on the tree - you just wanted to hold them and look at them for as long as you could. It makes sense - once they are on the tree, they are mostly out of your reach! I also brought out the Christmas village for the first time in years, and lit up a lot of the village pieces for the first time. You could not get enough of looking at the different little buildings, and peering through the windows at the scenes inside. It was wonderful to watch you. 

You have enjoyed helping us wrap and label gifts as Christmas grew closer. It was your job to pick the wrapping paper for each gift, hold the paper down with your feet while we measured it and cut it, and put your finger down to hold the folds in place. You also stuck the adhesive gift tags on each gift, which explains why they were all crooked and kind of randomly placed. (Nobody minded.) 

Our wooden advent calendar came out again this year, and you have greatly enjoyed the daily ritual of opening a little box and pulling out a tiny ornament to hang on the wooden tree. I’m going to enjoy this while it lasts - I’m sure it won’t be long until you figure out that there are chocolate advent calendars out there. 

You have been playing a lot with language in the past month or so. You like to create spoonerisms, or repeat a series of words with the wrong starting consonants. For example, if I say, “Please put on your coat,” you’ll say back to me, “No, I’m going to sput on my bloat!” and laugh at how silly it sounds. Unfortunately, these playful sessions often begin with name calling, “Mommy, you’re a (insert silly words here).” I keep trying to shift your energies away from the name calling and toward silly spoonerisms. You don’t even know what names you are using - most of them are nonsensical - but when I ask you if you would like to be called that name, you say no, which tells me that I don’t want to be called that name either. It’s a slow process, but we’re getting there. 

This past month, you completed your first sessions as a Komet Kid at gymnastics, and started your second session. You have a new coach, Galaga, who you like, but you don’t seem to have the same bond with her that you did with Pepe. It’s possible that it will come in time. One lovely thing about this new session is that Emma is in your class! Granted, we haven’t seen much of her because you have both been sick, but hopefully things will get back to normal in the new year. 

At the end of your first session, we were treated to a “gymnastics showcase” where we could bring guests to watch your class. You had a whole cheering section, with Aunt Janine, Uncle Mark, Granny and me. We were allowed to take photos, which was wonderful. It was so lovely to see how your confidence has grown in the past weeks. I look forward to marking the same kinds of changes at the end of this second session.    

Thanks to a special uncle with magical technical abilities, we’ve been watching a lot of Mike the Knight in the past month, and you have really finally gotten into the knightly Playmobil set that you got from Robin last Christmas. You love playing with the knights and the dragon. I really like the show, and much prefer it to your other current TV obsession, Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Having said that, though, it is awesome listening to you sing along to the Jake theme songs.

You enjoy singing, and in the last month, have really started to get earworms and show more interest in the songs you hear on the radio or on the iPad. You’ll ask who is singing the song, and what the song is called. We recently rediscovered our wedding CD and you love the song Storybook Love. 

You are also learning how to use a mouse, thanks to the Dinosaur Train website and its great series of games. I’m going to have to get you a nice little mouse that is a bit simpler to use than mine. I think it would help you to have defined buttons to push and a mouse that fits better in your small hand. 

We have had some lovely moments in the past month, darling. But it has been a very hard time for me due to Grandpa Reg’s illness. His health has been in decline for the last month or so, but this month it declined very quickly. He entered palliative care in early December, and I spent most of my time at his bedside. That meant that you didn’t see much of me in the evenings and that Daddy did dinner, bath and bedtime on his own with you most days. I tried to keep things balanced and not be away too often by spending time at the Perley during the day while you were at daycare, and not being away too many evenings in a row. 

It was very difficult for me to explain to you that Grandpa Reg was dying, but I did my best to make you understand what that means. Of course, you are not even four years old, and while you understand the words, it will likely be a while before you understand their meaning. I did my best to prepare you and explain things to you in a way that was realistic without being traumatizing and comforting without being untruthful -- Grandpa Reg was such a big part of your reality that it seemed unfair to keep it from you. 

At bedtime on December 18, I gave you the little red cardinal stuffie that you gave Grandpa Reg last year. You asked me why it was yours, and I said because Grandpa Reg didn’t need it anymore because he died. We talked about it a bit - you asked some really great questions and I did my best to answer them. I told you that we could talk more in the morning, if you wanted. 

The next morning, you told your Daddy, “You know, Daddy, Grandpa Reg died.” 

“I know, buddy,” said your Daddy sadly. 

I asked you how you felt about that. 

“Good,” you said laconically. “Because we can still visit Grandma Joan. She didn’t die.” 

And that weekend, you asked again, so we went. And you asked to see Grandpa Reg’s empty room, so I showed it to you. And when I asked you how the empty room made you feel, you said, “Not good, Mom.” And we went and visited Grandma Joan and you insisted on staying until the PSW came to take her for a bath. And you gave her a lovely hug when we left. 

As I left the Perley that day, walking hand in hand with you, I was very sad, but also so very proud of my wonderful little boy. 

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