Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dear Cadence: Month 22


Dear Cadence,

You are a baffling child. In a good way; don't get me wrong, but the past month has heard us declare that you are a 'confusabug' more than once a day. Most often we say it because you've demanded several contradictory things in rapid succession, but there are also the elements to it that are not at all confusing by design; rather, it's just astounding that what is taking place is real. You are embedded now in the decidedly '2-year-old' behavior of declaring things to be yours. "No, Mine!" you shout at Kelly as she swings your froggy bubbles on it's lanyard, and then you rush over to it and snatch it up...but then, as soon as you have the precious object in your hands, you look over at her and sweetly declare "Thank you!" and continue to play alongside her, even offering to let her play, too.

Or you'll grab Baba's hat , thrust it on your head and declare "Mine hat!"...but then as soon as I point out that it is, in fact, Baba's but he's letting you use it, you take it off, and thrust it on your head once more, this time declaring "Baba hat." and then you'll tromp off to find Baba, and place it on his head. And then there are the times when you'll be in full blown devastation mode, for one reason or another (chances are someone you wanted to play with just left the room), and I'll offer you various distractions to ease the pain. Through your tears, you'll weep "No, thank you." I mean really, how many two year olds are this polite? It'd be downright creepy if you weren't so amazing anyway.

But more about these 'terrible twos"...another '2' behavior you've adopted now is being pissed if you can't do everything yourself. Generally. You seem to have a second sense for detecting when you can fight those battles, and when it's really just best to listen. Granted, there is a certain tone I've noticed both Baba and I taking with you, a calm, respectful, very informative one, which we bring out mostly in situations where your behavior is paramount, but it's still entirely up to you whether to listen or not. And I have to say, most of the time, you do. Which amazes me, especially as I watch many of your peers not taking that calm, calculated, thoughtful approach to being a two year old.

You have several very good friends now, which is wonderful, amazing, and exciting...you'll ask for them by name, and get so excited to see them that you fall off of couches. I shudder to think of what our impending move is going to do to you in many ways, but one of the big ones is that we'll actually be taking away real friendships this time around. I know that you're going to miss Kate, Colin, Hannah and Breannah, and even Ellie and Carly and Ian, Mateo and the rest of the peak-a-book kids. It bothers me a little that I had underestimated the tangibility of friendships among kids in your age group. I had this fantastical notion in my head that you might be sad at first to not see familiar faces, but for some stupid reason I didn't think that it would be a big deal to transplant you into a new social group. You're all so young, it's hard to imagine such deep ties already forming. But as you all grow, so does your understanding, empathy, excitement and sense of community.

When we were in New York this past month, visiting NYU Law and family and friends out there, you frequently asked for Kate, and said you missed her. When we got back, we arranged a playdate, and when you saw her across the field at the park, you guys did that shriek and run towards each other thing you see in movies. No hipster irony here, lady b, neither of you have seen movies like that to know that it's a thing to do...you both just saw a beloved friend and, overcome with joy, frolicked at one another, coming together in sheer glee.

It's amazing how, in so many ways, you are such an amazing, tiny little person. Emphasis on the word person ...you have such a rich, vivid imagination, and can accomplish so much, have such an independent mind...you're just, small. In so many ways I wish you would stay small enough for me to scoop up, hug and protect forever...but I don't want that for you, I want you to grow up, healthy and happy...so go ahead and do that, I'll be here, with you, strong, as an ally all the way. I love you Cadie b.

We've taken the attitude that you can and will rise to the level of responsibility we allow you, as long as we take our cues from you in terms of desire and ambition, and so far you have proven us right. We were talking the other day about how, if we had been focusing on teaching you to forage for food instead of focusing on the ABC's and other such 'first world' privileges, I have no doubt that you, at the level of understanding you have, with the healthy dose of caution you exhibit, and the personality you've developed, would be able to survive on your own in the 'wild'. Obviously, assuming you had to and that there were no other factors like predators or natural disasters, but even then, if we were living in an environment that had such dangers, chances are we would have been teaching you how to deal with those, too. As it is, though, even with the 'economic crisis' the country is in at the moment, we have that profound privilege to teach you about written language instead of how to get clean water. And for that, I am extremely grateful. (...and just for the record, we have no plans or even desires to test this theory, I ain't gunna let you outta my sight just yet little lady. Mama bear isn't ready to let anyone or anything take me away from my little baby bear.)

This past week we all started watching Avatar: The Last Airbender as a family (hooray for watch instantly netflix!) and it's the first serial show that you've been really into. You'll now occasionally ask to watch it, and I have to say, there is something ridiculously endearing about hearing your not-even-two-year-old voice saying "Avatar."

Ah! Cadence! this month has been so busy! there were trips to nashville and new york, seeing family and friends, (some NYC friends even came here to visit!) backyard adventures, park adventures and so much growing and learning that my head is spinning as I try to think of what's new, or even what's happened...You've learned to bargain, you've OH! You DRAW. and I don't mean scribbles. yes, you scribble, but the other day you were drawing and you told me it was a picture of me and Papa. And when I looked, there were STICK FIGURES. Stick figures!! Granted, they had no legs, but they had clear, distinct, spherical heads, each with a line for the body and two separate lines for arms. I was astounded. And I had simultaneous instincts to hug you and scan the picture to post here...I opted for the hug, which I can't really regret, but I am sad that I didn't snatch the picture up right then, because you then resused the paper which, yes, did end up looking like scribbles...

Then today, you were helping me to clean out my Stage Manager's Kit, and each item I allowed you to draw on provided new insights into your sense of aesthetic. One was a postcard from a show I worked on in college, which featured a photograph of a supermarket aisle, in an exaggerated perspective, and you made a series of intricate squiggles, but only on the floor and cieling. The shelves you left entirely untouched, save an 'x' on one side and an 'o' on the other. Another was a picture of a yellow lab, and I'm not sure how to describe the resulting image; in the margin on the bottom, you essentially made messy polka dots, small, separate bundles of scribble, and then over the dog, you drew small circles over each of it's eyes and nose, and an oblong patch over it's panting tongue. Then you tapped me on the shoulder and said "Mama, dog tongue."

Your language continues to exponentially explode...you use sentences almost all the time now, albeit broken ones, or very simple ones. The other day, we were going to take you to see the dance concert at WKU, but when Baba told you about it, you decided "I stay home. Nana." (Which meant you wanted to stay home with Nana. Which you got to do. ) Smart boo.

You're even more maternal now...you rediscovered your baby while we were cleaning and rearranging the bedroom, and you'll carry her around all day, making sure she does everything you do. Eat, sleep, wash, change, play... everything's fair, she doesn't miss out on anything that you get to do. (Gee, sounds awfully similar to someone else's parenting style...like mother, like daughter? Though you don't have occasional exceptions the way I do, like a glass of wine with dinner now and then...I guess you're trying to improve upon my methodology.)

Today was a true childhood abandon day...I am going to miss letting you frolick, buck naked, through the grass, running back and forth to your little hearts' content. But there will be new opportunities in New York that you don't have here, and at least now you have had the chance to feel dewy grass under your bare feet, and the freedom to zoom to and fro without running into cars or people, and perhaps someday it will feel familiar instead of foreign.

Which brings me to an important thing: We are definitely moving back to New York City. This is terrifying and wonderful, and it is not going to be easy at all...I've talked about this before, and I know I'll talk about it again as the moving day draws closer, so I will let the issue rest for now. But we have to prepare, and we're taking steps to do so. We talk about it a lot, and the biggest change is happening now: I'm going back to work.

I've been gleefully embracing my role as a stay at home mother since the day I went into labor...this is hard even to talk about: spending hours every day away from my baby. But this is ultimately a good thing...Baba is in a position to stay home with you now, and I got a really good job, it's short, it pays well, it'll set us up a little better for the move, and it'll give you a chance to adjust to me not being around 100% of the time before we disrupt the rest of your world, too. And it's not a desk job! My soul will not be wasted, and I'll be able to come home and cover you in kisses and be a whole person, continue to be the best mom that I can be. Bedtime routines are going to have to change...working in a theater an hour away, I won't be home for bedtimes. This is going to be tough, my lady, but you are resilient, and you have a Mama and a Baba who love you SO much, and are SO devoted to you and doing the best by you...we are in this together, this is an adventure we are all embarking on, and we will be just fine. And you can rest assured that when you wake me up in the mornings, you're in for a big, huge, gleeful squeeze.

I love you so much Cadence.

You're the best little girl anyone could ever hope to have.

(I just asked Baba what the most important things to put in here are, and he responded by saying "she's done pretty much everything now! there's too much! she talks, she counts, she says sorry, she says thank you and no thank you, she says 'baby hungry' when she wants to eat, she matches pitch, she cleans! She's gained a more assured sense of self, she's started cooking for us...Basically she understands the meaning behind things a lot more now."...so there you have it. Leave it to Baba to say everything I was trying to say in a single sentence, when I keep rambling on for pages. :-P

Cadence, know what?

YOU STILL ROCK!!


XOXOXO

Love Always,

Mama