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Dear kiddos, at whatever month you're at these days

Dear Kaylee and Robbie, 

It’s time to admit defeat here and give Robbie another reason to have a complex about being the second child. Just 18 months in to writing these letters for each of you, I’ve decided this is something you’re just going to have to share.  No more individual letters, because Mommy just isn’t getting it done.  And Kaylee, I don’t want to hear any dramatic soliloquies about how you don’t want Robbie to share your letter and how now you’ll never get a letter of your own again and how I obviously just don’t like you anymore.  And Robbie, for god’s sake, please don’t hit your sister because she’s trying to share your letter, either.

If you couldn’t tell from that introductory paragraph, the volume of the shrieking in our household has gone up significantly in the last month or so.  Robbie, you’ve finally realized that you’re almost your sister’s physical equal now – in power, if not height,– and you have learned to wield it.  You will attempt to push her off her chair at breakfast in your never-ending pursuit of Things Other People Have, and you’re willing to fight back when she tries to play the Big Sister card and take things away from you.  Kaylee, you haven’t yet figured out that your brother has learned to push your buttons. Here’s a hint, sweetie: If you yell “STOP!” every time he screams at you in the car, he’ll just keep screaming because he thinks it’s funny.  The sooner you learn these sorts of tips for dealing with an obnoxious brother, the better.

Despite all the screaming, you two do really like each other. My favorite moments as your mother usually involve watching the two of you chase each other around the living room, laughing uproariously every time one of you almost catches the other. You’ve learned to give each other hugs, which usually causes me to melt into a puddle on the floor.  You give each other goodnight kisses.  You are friends, even when you’re screeching at each other.

Kaylee, you’ve developed an amazing gift for hyperbole over the past month. (I suspect you get it partly from your cousin Hope.)  Whenever you are denied something you want – say, a Happy Meal – you’ll sob and whine and ask, “Why can I never ever have a Happy Meal?” or “Can I never have a Happy Meal again?”  Sometimes you will ask me, completely out of the blue, why I don’t love you.  If I need to accomplish a chore – or, you know, finish peeing – before joining you in yet another re-enactment of “Tangled,” you’ll ask me why I don’t want to be your friend. You know how to take the most innocuous slight and turn it into the end of the world.  It is … not cute.  It’s a little funny, what with all the histrionics involved, but I’d really rather you cut it out.  It’s not an adorable way to get what you want.

Robbie, you are now the proud owner of a t-shirt that says “stuntman” across the front, and it is a truly accurate garment.  I cannot believe the level of your fearlessness.  If I weren’t afraid of the looks I’d get in public, I’d probably dress you in bubble wrap.  A couple of weeks ago, Daddy and I made the mistake of lying in bed for half an hour and allowing you and Kaylee to wander the upstairs freely while we drifted in and out of naps. Once we decided to get up and assess the damage your freedom had wrought, we discovered that you’ve learned to climb up onto your dresser and get back down without any help.  That’s the only explanation for the fact that all of the belongings that usually live on top of the dresser had made their way to the floor during those 30 minutes. You also rifled through my desk drawers, climbed into my desk chair and banged on my computer.  Your other nifty trick is standing on the seat of the giraffe bike and balancing precariously while you reach for things on top of your bookshelf.  I hope you make it to your next birthday concussion-free.

Next week starts a new chapter in our family, one that’s causing me a significant amount of maternal guilt.  You’re both going to start daycare full-time on Monday, in an effort to get everything in place before I start school.  I think this is the best thing for us all, because in the long run we’ll be better off after I get the new degree and start the new career.  But in the short run, I’m a little panicky about how much I’m going to miss seeing my babies all the time.  Our current schedule allows me to spend Mondays with you and to hang out with you much of the morning on Wednesdays and Fridays. Much of the time we just putz around, but the point is that we putz around together.  Starting next week, I’ll only see you in the mornings, at night and on weekends. Today was your last day at your current daycares, and every time I remembered that fact throughout the day I’d feel anxiety flooding in, as if Monday is the day I start missing out on your childhoods.

I’ve fretted over this decision so much, particularly regarding you, Kaylee. As I’ve documented many, many times, you can be a pretty darn shy child. You often hide your face in my shoulder at the mere suggestion that you might need to speak to another person sometime in the next hour. But then there are the moments when your personality shines. Yesterday you and Robbie spent the day with Grandma and Uncle Tim, who set about spoiling you with a Chuck E. Cheese visit because you won’t be spending Wednesdays at Grandma’s house anymore, and when I arrived to pick you up I saw a wonderful thing. You and Grandma were sitting on a garden wall in front of the neighbor’s house, and you were watching the neighbor’s 4-year-old boy ride his tricycle up and down the sidewalk. Every time he passed you’d yell, “What’s your name?” until his older brother finally answered you. Within half an hour, you were playing with the trio of brothers, running up and down the sidewalk and venturing into their garage to see the dog.  You may be shy sometimes, but you know how to charm the masses when it suits you.  I think you’ll do just fine in your new school.

Before I ever became a parent, I would never have guessed that I’d still be so fascinated by my children four years into the adventure. Every single day – and I do mean every one – I stare at each of you with wonder and amazement. How did you get so freakin’ cute? How did I have a role in creating two such wonderful people?  How did I get so lucky?




I can't "think" of a "title" for this

Last week, Kaylee learned how to do finger quotes.  I don’t know where she got it, but all of a sudden at dinner one night, she started talking about her day at “school” and how she was all “done” with her “dinner” and wanted to be “excused.”

The kid did not, of course, have any idea when use of finger quotes is appropriate or that they often connote sarcasm, so she used them whenever it popped into her head to do so.

Rob thinks this is hilarious, given the way inappropriately placed quote marks make me all itchy.

By the end of dinner, we were all using finger quotes just to play along – Kaylee being sincere and Rob and I just trying to make each other laugh.

I’m not sure Kaylee realizes that when I said I’d “buy” her a “cat” “someday,” that I mean I’ll probably adopt a used hamster from the Humane Society for her – after she’s grown and moved out.


Visits from the past

At least once a week, I dream about an old love interest.  Not the same one each time – it’s a pretty even split between all of them, I think.

You’re probably thinking, “Whoa, this post is about to get steamy!”

Don’t get too excited there, because you’ll only be disappointed.

The dream I had last night involved someone I sort-of dated after college and might have labeled “the one that got away” if it weren’t for his tendency to be a dickhead.  Being that I was absolutely crazy about him at the time, you’d think our dream reunion would have been at least a little romantical.  (Yes, I know that’s not a word.)

In my dream, this guy showed up at my house with a very specific purpose in mind … to mow my lawn.

That is not a euphemism.  He went into my garage, got out the lawnmower and cut the grass in our front yard.

Another frequent dream visitor – this one a crush from elementary school – comes by sometimes to go shoe shopping or introduce me to his wife and kids.

These are people I never see in real life; they have no role in my current reality.  I can’t figure out why my brain is obsessed with them.

Maybe it’s to get my attention so I’ll finally realize that we really need to mow the goddamn lawn.  And also I need new tennis shoes.


Dear Kaylee, at 49 months

Dear Kaylee,

You are such a Mama’s girl right now. In some ways it’s very flattering, and I love it when you put your hand on my cheek and say, “Mommy, you’re my best friend.” On the other hand, I do wish you’d let me use the bathroom alone and that you’d let your dad hold you once in a while. Yesterday there was a meltdown because you wanted to give me the Father’s Day present you made at school, and were devastated when I suggested you give it to Daddy instead. This morning you cried because I had to leave you at Gram and Papa’s so I could go to work – this despite yelling, “Can we go to Gram and Papa’s now?” at me all morning.

That’s not to say you aren’t occasionally a Daddy’s girl, too. You have your moments when he’s the only parent you want to hang out with – often involving Lord of the Rings chess – but generally speaking you’re all about me. Again, it’s nice sometimes. But kiddo, I need you to figure out how to exist in the world when I’m in another room or in another building on the other side of town. The thing is, I know you’re perfectly capable of being a shiny, happy little social butterfly when I’m not around. When I picked you up from school yesterday, you ran to give me a hug, but then started yelling, “I have to go!” to your friends on the playground before running back to hug them. This terror you seem to feel at being left to your own devices is so unnecessary, and I wish I could get you to see that. But it took me three decades to get over a fraction of that terror, so I don’t know how to do that for you.

Despite these frustrations, you are a fun, smart, inquisitive little girl who wants what she wants, and wants it now. Every time we ride in the car, we must play the “Tangled” soundtrack on the stereo, and I have to sing the Flynn Rider parts while you sing the Rapunzel parts. (Robbie is sometimes Mother Gothel and sometimes a bad guy. Daddy is usually a horse.) After dinner, you must have ice cream. When I put you in the car to go somewhere, I must not go back into the house for any reason, because you don’t want to be left alone in the car. That has everything to do with this incident, plus another one in which the light on the garage door opener turned itself off while you were strapped in the seat and I ran back inside to get my purse. You don’t forget anything. Two years later, and you’re still afraid the car’s going to roll away with you in it.

You’re so smart and wonderful and funny that I can’t really put your awesomeness into words. You make me laugh all the time, you make silly faces just for me, and you have this one cute facial expression that you always use when you’ve just made a joke. Some days I can’t believe you’re old enough to think the complex thoughts that you share with me, and other days I can’t believe you’ve only been in my life for four years. What did I do with my time before I was singing songs to you and cuddling you when you’re scared?

I really don’t remember.




I know not what you speak of...

There’s this post on my blog, dated June 14, 2010, and I have no idea how it got there.  It says something about an idea? For a book? And giving myself a year to write it?

Someone clearly hacked into my account and start posting random bullshit, because of course I would never ever commit to that amount of productivity.

Here, I’ll even post a picture of my office wall to show that no such “deadline” sign exists.

Because the Goonies are way, way cooler than hard work. 

(Please don’t hit me.)

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