Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dear Moe (February and March 2014)

There were times in the past few months that I thought I’d never be able to type this, but spring finally seems to have sprung, my dear! It’s been a wonderful two months with you, despite the stubbornness of winter. Let me tell you about some of our adventures. 

In February, we went to Little Ray’s Reptiles with Emma and her mom. We had never been there before, and it was really neat! The show/demo portion was long for you, but you liked walking around and seeing the different animals. You enjoyed the crocodiles, the snakes, and the big tortoises. (Aside – I learned the difference between a turtle and a tortoise at Little Ray’s, and we learned the difference between a snake and a lizard!) We even got to watch a snake eat a rat. But, hilariously enough, the huge highlight for you was watching this pipe in the crocodile enclosure where the water was rushing out. You could have watched that thing for hours. You love running water. What can I say? 

February means Winterlude, and that usually means at least some overtime for me, and this year was no exception! You had a lovely Saturday afternoon with Mark and Janine that included you giving Aunt Janine a ride on your plasma car. 

Hanging at Mark and Janine's house. Uncle Mark likes your brains. 

You and I went to Winterlude together at Confederation Park. Once again this year you loved the coloured blocks and the ice mosaic workshop. The maple taffy candy also went over very well. Then we headed to the Bytown Museum for some warm-up fun. You loved it there, and you especially loved hanging with Stephanie, who came with us for our adventure. 

We don’t have cable, but Granny does, so we spent a few evenings at her house watching the Olympics together. We also watched some online. Considering that you’d rather be watching your own shows, you did pretty darn well with it. I think the sports you enjoyed watching most were the snowboarding and ski jumping. The Winter Olympics brought back all kinds of great memories for me, as the last time they were on, they took place in Vancouver, and you had just been born! I remember watching the gold medal hockey game on the tiny little TV in my hospital room, with you by my side. It is actually one of the moments I have felt the most Canadian. 

We celebrated your fourth birthday in February, with a family dinner (we had pancakes and black forest cake!) and plenty of gifts from all kinds of people who love you. Aunt Janine outdid herself and gave you a Despicable Me Fart Blaster. We were so grateful. Now whenever you get a bit too excited with the fart blaster, we call her up and let you blast her over the phone. Other highlights included your very own Octopod, and a fantastic Bruder cement truck. 

We held your birthday party for friends at the Canadian Agriculture Museum where you took a tour of the barns, made ice cream, and played all kinds of great games. It was a real success, and everyone played well together. 

This birthday has been a great opportunity to increase our collection of board games – and we now have plenty that we can all play together! We’ve been playing I Can Do That (the Cat in the Hat game), Hungry Hungry Hippos, Cariboo, and Froggie Boogie, to name a few. You are a very competitive little soul, sir, and you often ask me to “let you win.” I always refuse, saying that if I let you win you won’t learn anything. Once you replied, “But I don’t need to learn! I know how to play this game!” That wasn’t the kind of learning I was talking about. You’ll get there. 

Although we’ve been anxious to move on from winter, it has afforded us some great times together. I can remember one day there was a light snowfall coming down and you stood outside without your mittens on and exclaimed with delight that the snow was tickling your hands. You love your little red shovel and take great pleasure in helping us clear the driveway. This has also been the first winter where you’ve enjoyed climbing and playing on the snowbank in front of our house. We’ve also been on some great walks around the neighbourhood on the milder days, including a lovely one with Uncle Mark’s parents, Peter and Barbara.

March brought Baconfest, the annual celebration of pig product among our friends. I’m pretty sure you haven’t missed a single one since you were born (you missed that one – you were born on Baconfest morning). You helped me make bacon cheddar scones, and had a great time at the party. You loved playing with the big kids in the basement, and had a blast with Uncle Mark’s new sumo sacks. You were amazing about sharing your Lego with the other kids, and good about expressing when you needed some quiet time. 

You and Grandma had a fantastic adventure at Monkey Around, where apparently you climbed the bouncy castle “rock-climbing” wall all by yourself, and slid down the other side! You are becoming so brave, Bean, and it makes me very proud to see you overcome your fears. 

Another example is how well you have been doing in the pool. I asked you if you might be interested in doing swimming lessons, but you said you’d rather do “Graham and Mommy” lessons in Bambi’s pool. So we have been trying to get there a couple of times a month, and each time we go, the more confident you become. You have gone from not wanting to leave the stairs to demanding to be held like superman while I run laps through the shallow end. You love to kick and were even getting the hang of doing some arm movements, too. It has been amazing to watch, and I’m confident that you’ll be in good shape for our big travel adventure later this month. 

Because at the end of April, darling, we’re going to Disney World. Your Daddy and I reached our limit with Ottawa winter and challenges at work and we’re running away to hang out with Mickey for a week. And we’re bringing you and Granny with us. We are super excited and your excitement is increasing, too, which is wonderful. I can’t wait to share our favourite place with you. 

You are still enjoying your Saturday gymnastics class. We had a hiccup at the start of last session when Pépé (your coach from the first session) was no longer working at the gym. But you got used to Galaga (just like you are getting used to Blink, your coach for this session), and you and Pépé exchanged some very nice letters where you told her how much you missed her and she told you how proud she was of you. Watching your first crush was pretty awesome. It was also incredible to see your second gymnastics showcase and marvel at how much you have improved over the past months! 

Four years old means that you’re a big boy, and that means an increase in various privileges and responsibilities. You have a DS now, but your screen time is carefully rationed (some days more successfully than others). You are expected to get yourself into and out of your car seat by yourself. You go to the bathroom on your own, flush and wash your hands (although you always ask for company, and sometimes I comply because I worry that if I don’t, it will lead to a long discussion and you’ll end up having an accident). You can play much more independently than you used to, but we also have good and bad days for that. But it has been wonderful to see you develop and mature and become more self-reliant. Keep it up! 

The DS (with Super Mario Brothers 2 and Mario Cart 7) and “older” tablet games, like Plants vs Zombies, have given rise to some interesting challenges. It can sometimes be very difficult to get you to stop playing without a big fuss (although, you’ve gotten better about it now that we have laid down the law and set timers, etc.) Also, these games demand so much of your focus that you often have an accident. I don’t want to punish you for peeing in your pants at these times because I think the problem is that you’re not quite mature enough to handle the intensity of the games and the focus they require (or, I guess, the lack of focus on other things that they inspire!) So we’re really curtailing when and how you play them, but hopefully in a way that you don’t feel punished. 

You’re surrounded by pregnant women, darling. Gemma and Margot’s mommy is expecting a baby (hilarious comment by you: “Why does she need another baby? She has Margot!”), and there are others people in our chosen family who are expecting their own additions. This has led to some great questions on your part, including when we were getting our baby.  When I explained that we were not going to get a baby, you wanted to know why. I explained that for some people, it’s is very easy to have a baby, and for others it is more difficult. I told you that I can’t have any more babies. And you wanted to know why. So I explained that the part of my body that makes babies doesn’t work. And you wanted to know why. And I couldn’t tell you. But you had some great suggestions, like perhaps we could take a baby from someone who didn’t want theirs, or get one at a store. I look forward to telling you about why you are so special and what was involved in getting you here. I have never shied away from telling you those stories, but you are also not quite at a point where you will understand the details.

You’re adorable and hilarious. At one point, I was getting really frustrated trying to do something and I was making all these angry, frustrated grunts. You looked at me solemnly and said, “You can say ‘sucks.’” I must have stared at you in confusion because you continued, “When something is really hard, it’s ok to say it sucks. It’s not a bad word.” I declared that the offending task did in fact suck, and was much comforted – thank you! 

We have so much fun with you. I love our weekend adventures and our bedtime chats and our frequent hugs and cuddles and the way you call my name when you come into the house after day care. You’ve started calling me Momma, and I actually really like it. You generally seem to enjoy our company, and we really enjoy yours. I can’t wait to see what spring and summer bring. 

Keep being awesome. I love you. 

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