Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dear Kid Saturday

I approach this week's "Dear Kid" letter with a little bit of trepidation as the last few weeks have been kind of a blur. The Monday following our trip to Seattle found me battling an unexpectedly aggressive illness that ultimately left me couch-bound for the rest of the week. It wasn't really until Saturday that I was able to sit up for a few hours at a time. Then, by Sunday, was finally feeling a bit more like myself.

So, given my relative absence the week before, this week was all about re-entry. I was back to processing orders, back to babysitting, and back to being the head honcho around the house. Things were a little wonky, but I suppose I wouldn't have expected otherwise.

As of this writing, I've not checked the Cutest Kid Ever blog to see if this week's letter from Christina to TJ is up, but please take a second to check out her blog and say, "hi." I owe her one 'cause I flaked on her earlier this week and didn't put together the guest post I promised for her LOST blog, Uncharted Island. I desperately hope to get past my crippling fear of writing for someone else and get something together for her this week.

Without further ado....

Dear sweet girl,

I just realized you've not been naming yourself so much anymore. I kind of miss that. Lately, you are very concerned about accuracy and completeness, and you tend to introduce yourself to everyone with your first, middle and last name. You have a little bit of trouble with the "L" at the end, and you get a little testy when people don't understand your whole name the first time. Don't worry - we'll work on it. You may not like it (in fact, you keep insisting that you're five), but you're only three, after all.

This month has been a little crazy so far, huh? All last week, Dad was in charge while Mommy was sick. You guys took great care of me - thank you. You kept asking if I was "STILL not feeling well?!" Several times a day, every day, actually. I think it must have been a little scary to see your mom all helpless and tired. You were also pretty exasperated by how difficult it was to get the things that you wanted when Mom was asleep and Dad was trying to work. You got quite a lesson in self-sufficiency, which, I have to admit, was in order. We're going to have to work together to identify more things you can do for yourself, even if you may prefer to have help. Until I wasn't able to do it all, I didn't realize how much I still do for you.

On Monday, we got to see your little cousin for the first time in two weeks! You were so excited. Our friends came over for a playdate and you guys did great. Ms. Twinkle wasn't feeling well, and sometimes that makes you feel like you need to play "sick" too, but this time you were sweet and sympathetic. You didn't take a nap that afternoon, and were grumbly later that evening. At one point you said, "Hey, Mom? I don't always love you. Sorry, Charlie." Ouch. But then we had a really good conversation about what it means to love somebody, like Daddy and I love you and love each other, and how, even when we disagree or get upset with you, we will always love each other, and that's the great thing about being a family. You seemed to think it was pretty cool that Daddy and I would love you no matter what, but you insisted that you only plan to love me as long as I let you have treats and don't "give any consequences." Hmmm... I think this whole "consequence" thing is really starting to set in.

Tuesday was a preschool day. When you left with Dad, you were happy, but when I went to pick you up, your teacher had some bad news for me. She told me you'd been given a time-out because you hit two other children, evidently for no reason other than the fact that you were in a grumpy mood and they were in your general vicinity. We tried to talk to you about it together, but you wouldn't make eye contact and kept trying to change the subject. I told your teacher we'd talk about it as a family, and that there definitely would be a consequence for your behavior. I usually bring a treat for after school, and you asked if you could still have it, but you knew better. I let you know that there would be no treats and that, since you'd misbehaved at school, there would be no TV for the rest of the day. You were very, VERY mad at me (mostly because you REALLY wanted that lollipop), but I stuck to my guns. Later, we had a family meeting to talk about what happened. Daddy and I were a little thrown off by this one - hitting isn't like you at all, not even when you were younger - so we were a little lost as to how we should address the issue. We asked you why you'd done it, and you really didn't have an answer, but you did seem to understand that it wasn't OK and that we wouldn't tolerate it in the future. I wasn't convinced that we'd really solved the problem, but we didn't know what else to do.

The first words out of your mouth Wednesday morning were, "Mom, I'm sorry I hit people at school." You promised not to do it again, and we had a big hug. Later we went to a playdate with some friends from my parenting group. Everything was going well until you suddenly you came down from the play structure to tell me you'd hit someone - a little boy who, according to your friend L, had apparently threatened to hit you. At least you told me, which showed me that you knew you'd done something wrong. But, once again, I was so surprised that you'd done it, I felt completely unprepared. Ultimately we had to leave, and I told you in the car that, as we'd discussed with Daddy, there would be a consequence at home for your behavior. You played it cool for a while, but later you were really angry when you didn't get to watch "Little Bill." I just hoped you'd get the picture this time and that we wouldn't be going through the same thing the next day.

Thursday was another school day, and we had another big talk about hitting before you left. You were all smiles and gave me a big in-advance high five for good behavior at school. I have to admit - I was a little nervous when I came to pick you up later, but you got a great report! You were so proud of yourself, you couldn't wait to tell me what a good day you'd had. In addition to good behavior, you also wrote your whole name, all by yourself, for the very first time! I knew you could write the letters, but I'd not been able to interest you in putting them together before. Nice job, girlie! We had Twinkle with us, so we headed home for some lunch and play time before naps. You guys were cracking me up. Twinkle likes to follow you around and "talk" to you, which you tolerate, but are not entirely thrilled with. You were working on a puzzle when she crawled up and started saying her version of your name, over and over. Finally, you smiled at her sweetly and said, "Do you have an actual question or are you just wasting my time?" A little later, you decided to pretend we were all in a storybook, and you started "narrating" everything Twinkle and I did. You said things like "Suddenly, the beautiful princess baby jumped out from behind the chalkboard!" and "But then, the queen Mom had to change the princess's poopy diaper, and everyone was sad." You put yourself into a hysterical fit of giggles. For a while there, anytime I said something, you followed it with "said the man with the nice socks." You sure do know how to make me laugh!

On Fridays we have your new dance class. You love your teacher because she plays great music, and because this class is all about being creative with your movement. I love watching you figure out how to make your body do what you want it to do. You are getting more and more coordinated every day. You can do super fast forward rolls now, and hop on one foot, and do awesome leaps. You've got those pretty "beach ball" ballet arms mastered, and can even do a pretty good curtsy! The look you get on your face when you're dancing is priceless - so serious, so expressive. I still can't get through an entire dance class without getting teary. Isn't that silly? I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the fact that you're growing up so fast? Or that it's so cool to see things in you that remind me of being a little girl myself? Maybe I'm just really proud of who you're becoming. The other moms don't seem to think dance class is such an emotional experience, so, as usual, I just grabbed a tissue and pretended to be allergic to something. Kiddo, your mom might be a sappy mess, but at least you'll always know how much she loves you.

We learned a lot this week, chickadee, just like we do every week. Looking forward to a weekend of family fun (swimming today and bowling tonight - woohoo!), and can't wait to see what next week has in store for us.



Christina @ Cutest Kid Ever said...

It's so hard when kids inexplicably get violent with other kids. It's not like we hit them, so where do they get it from? TJ went through a pushing phase a few months ago at the McDonald's PlayPlace, so I understand where you're coming from.

Think you can do 150 words about LOST before Wednesday? It doesn't have to be anything huge. ;-)

Sarah@Thoughts of a 30ish said...

Aww that was so sweet. I have 4 girls so it really isn't as fun to try and think back on all the things they have done over the week. My head might actually explode if I attempt that..... I respect the love you have for your little one, reminds me of my sister. :)