Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dear Moe (July and August)

Oh, my darling, we have had such a wonderful summer. I can hardly believe it’s almost over. 

We have had some wonderful get-togethers with friends at various parks. Your summer has been filled with park play and picnics and wading pools and splash pads. Your legs are so tanned that your knees look permanently stained. I’m surprised you don’t sweat sunscreen. And you so rarely use your sand toys anymore – you are quite content to climb on the play structures, especially if you’re playing with bigger kids.

You have really come into your own over the past month or so. Robin reports that you often befriend other kids at the park, and that you are now standing up for yourself when someone treats you in a way that you perceive to be unfair. This is so encouraging, and it tells me that you are more than ready for whatever the next few months bring.

We have really limited your screen time this summer, and we’re pretty happy with the results. You get an hour of screen time each day – that includes the tablet, your DS, TV, etc. We bought a digital kitchen timer which keeps track of your time, and it’s great. It can be paused and restarted as often as necessary, and we aren’t constantly watching the clock. You speak less obsessively about your various games, and we are all spending less time in front of the TV.

We went on quite the holiday in July! We flew to Halifax and stayed with Grandpa Will and Grandma Anne for a week. It was absolutely wonderful. You had the time of your life – at times, there were as many as six adults giving you their full attention, and you discovered that your Uncle David can play soccer with you AND NEVER GET TIRED. We spent a morning at a 1940s heritage village, where you checked out the school house, ground up chicken feed, and fed some chickens. You also got a kick out of the water pump. We spent that afternoon at Clam Harbour Beach. It was a somewhat cool and cloudy day, but that didn’t stop you from getting soaked in the waves and playing happily in the sand. David took you out in a K2 at the Maskwa paddling club, and had a great time playing at that beach, too. We ate pretty much all our meals outdoors on Grandpa’s wonderful deck, and there were always plenty of cookies. It was your idea of heaven.

You did a day trip to Upper Clements Park with me, Grandma Anne, Grandpa Will and Heather.  It’s a lovely amusement park with lots of trees and fun rides for people your age and size. You impressed us all with your fearlessness. You climbed up this huge wooden tower with Heather, and I never thought you’d do it, but you crossed over a rope bridge to the other side. You adored the rides – the carousel, the airplanes, the truck convoy and especially the kiddy bumper boats. (Grandpa Will found it fascinating to watch you learn how to steer them.) I was amazed and delighted that you were willing to try the flume ride – you loved it! And it involved two BIG drops!

You and Daddy and I spent a lot of time in downtown Halifax. We had a wonderful time at the Discovery Centre, and history repeated itself when you fell asleep in the stroller as we wandered through the Public Gardens. (You did that with me when you were three months old – the last time you visited Halifax.) We checked out the Maritime History Museum, took a ferry ride, and did a lot of walking.

Mostly, though, I think you loved hanging out with your grandparents. You and Grandma Anne share an especially sweet bond. It was wonderful to watch you with them. And you have asked, pretty much every day for the last six weeks, when we’re going back to see them again.

You are just about done your first session of Super Starrs at gymnastics. This is a more advanced class, for kids who are 4.5 to 6 years old. It is certainly more challenging! You are the smallest and youngest in the class, but you amaze me every week with how hard you work to keep up, and how much you have improved over the session. Your coach, Widget, is really pleased.

We have signed you up for swimming lessons, starting in September. It’s a low-ratio class, so there will only be three or four kids. I’m hoping this session goes better than the last one did (you were about 2 years old – it was an unmitigated disaster) and that by the end of the session, you will have more confidence in the water. Having said that, you are doing pretty darn well. You love being in the water, and you have made great strides swimming with a life jacket. But it’s time for you to start getting comfortable without one.

We have had all kinds of interesting conversations lately. The Magic Treehouse books have raised all kinds of questions about topics like war, slavery, and natural disasters. Conversations at daycare with Alex have led to discussions at home about religion. The conversation on religion led to a discussion about human conception, which led to me trying to find a not-terribly-traumatic video on Youtube that would show how a woman’s vagina can stretch to accommodate a baby’s head. (Found one that was done as a 3-D render. Phew.)

We had a conversation about appropriate nudity. It wasn’t a conversation I particularly wanted to have with you yet, but something forced my hand. You and the other daycare kids were playing on Robin’s lawn in the sprinkler, and you were naked. We don’t have a problem with you being naked in a setting like that (it was 30 degrees out and you were the oldest child at 4 and a half years old!), but one of her neighbours clearly had an issue and instead of sharing their concerns with Robin, they called the police. Long story short, we ended up talking about how it is fine to be naked with people you love and trust, but that we probably shouldn’t be naked where strangers can see us.

And you love being naked. I think your favourite part of the day is after your bath, when you can run around without your clothes, and cuddle up with your blanket on the big bed. You love wiggling your bare bum at us, and just seem so relaxed and innocent, running around without your clothes. Enjoy it while you can… it is already getting cooler in the evenings.

We had a really remarkable playdate last weekend with our friends Tash and Lhotse. They live in Almonte, so we went up for the better part of the day. You played so well with Lhotse and her neighbour, Tommy, both of whom are four years old. And then Tash set up her backyard zip line! What a treat! You were your usual cautious self, not wanting to go too fast, but you had a wonderful time, and all three of you were really good about taking turns. We’ll have to get out there again soon.

A big change that happened recently was that your Daddy got a new job! I know you’ll miss visiting his store (that was always a very special time for both of you), but this new job means that Daddy is home with us on weekends. We haven’t quite digested what this means yet, but I’m really excited about it. He’s even going to take you to your swimming lessons!

And of course, the biggest change happens in the next week. Tomorrow is your last day at Robin’s. On Tuesday, you and I are going shoe shopping, then to your intake interview to meet your teacher, and then for a haircut. Wednesday, you get to determine the agenda, and then on Thursday, you start kindergarten.

I know you are going to do great. I know you are going to make friends. I know you are going to be fine. And hopefully I will be, too.

I love you so much that I don’t even know how to express it to you. I am so proud of the person you are becoming. You have your moments, but overall, you make the right choices: you are friendly and helpful and fun. Thank you being so wonderful. 

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