Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dear Cadence: Month 31

Oh Cadence this month has just gotten away from us!
I can't believe time is going so'll have your little brother or sister before we know it. Luckily, this seems to be ok with you, you actually seem excited, and the idea of having babies has thoroughly engrained itself in your play - often times in surprisingly realistic ways.

Like the game you played the other day where you were the mama and I was the kid, (something you often do these days, these role reversals, and sometimes you'll go so far as to include details: "I'm the mama so my name's Kate and I have green eyes!") and you went to the hospital to have a new baby (the baby came out by hopping, by the way, which totally goes against my point but was really cute), and when the baby arrived you declared: "Now I'll never sleep again!"

Later on in the same game, after you'd brought the baby home and I was now the big sister, you said you were going to go to bed, so I started to go to bed stopped me with a grand "what are you thinking" flair, saying that you were going to bed but I have to stay up to play with the new baby.

Should I take this as you volunteering to watch the new baby while I sleep?? You're so thoughtful!

You are very into everything about the new baby, and we're trying to keep you as involved as possible in the whole process. After all, this is a new addition to our family, not just another kid for Baba and I. You've certainly been a big help as we prepare, and you've even contributed to our discussions of what to name the baby. We have a girl's name that we really like, but we've been struggling a little bit to find a boy's name that we can agree on. Baba and I finally did find one name that we could both get behind, and the other day on our way to work you and I had a very serious conversation about what to name the baby if it is a boy.

Imagine my surprise when I told you the name we were considering...and you burst out laughing, and declared "No, that's a silly word." and told me it was not a good name for the baby. You might be surprised to hear how much that effected my opinion, since you are from the same generation, and represent this kid's peers. You may have just saved your younger brother from a childhood full of being made fun of.

After that we had a very lengthy conversation about boy's names, and you rejected every single name I suggested. I then started suggesting any boy's name I could think of, whether I liked them or not, just trying to get a feel for what you thought, and you summarily rejected each one of those, too. Finally, I suggested that we just name the baby James. That elicited laughter, too. "But that's my Baba's name!" Ok, fine then... "What do you think would be a good name for the baby if it's a boy? "

"Um...Colin. Only Colin."

Colin, of course, is the name of one of your very good friends from Bowling Green...and evidently you've deemed him the only worthy namesake on the planet. You've stuck fast to this choice...only Colin. Every other name out there is either silly, not a good name, or reminds you of someone else...Colin is the only name you are willing to bestow on a possible brother. You even told the photographer I worked with that you thought the baby should be named Colin when you came to pick me fact you've told just about everyone that has asked for your opinion that it "should only be Colin."

Everything lately ends up relating to families and you being increasingly feed, clothe, diaper, play with, protect, and put down for naps and bedtime - even discipline- pretty much all of your toys. Even craft materials are subject to being grouped into family units - for instance, you have a family made up entirely of yellow colored pencils. (The mama and baba are full size, the baby is a half-size.)

You'll sometimes pretend to be the baby, too, which usually involves you crawling into the nearest lap and narrating how you can't talk or walk or do anything for yourself, you'll coo, snuggle, and smile sweetly at us when we talk to you, before you remind us that you can't talk 'cause you're a baby. This, and the game when you become a kitty, results in an awful lot of affection...nudges, hugs, kisses...I certainly can't complain about that, even if you are sometimes a demanding kitty, turning our heads to face you with your paws while meowing loudly. Silly girl!

You also talk about how you can't wait to be a mama yourself. It's quite the motivating factor, really, you'll often mention that you're going to eat or sleep or work hard so that you can grow up to be a mommy before you run off to do whatever it is that needs doing.

You think a lot about growing up these days. When we get dressed in the mornings, you'll often mention that "when I get so big I won't even be able to wear these pants!" And you'll lament not being able to wear your shoes or coat or favorite dress...but you seem excited by the prospect of growing up, nonetheless.

And growing up you are, my lady B, no doubt about that. You've made leaps and bounds recently, which is evidenced by your ability to sit through movies that scare you because you know that the resolution in the end will make it less scary, in your extremely helpful aid in the kitchen while I'm baking (you are SO GOOD at helping me in the kitchen, I can't even tell you! More often than not, it's genuine help, not constructs I make for your amusement.), in how you've adopted my habit of responding to people by saying "huh?" (and then making it your own by repeating it several times without really leaving any room for the other person to respond: "Huh? Hm? huh? huh? what?")...the list goes on.

One big thing that is different about this month is that I have, for the first time since you were born, returned to a desk job. Wonderfully, though, this has actually not meant huge changes for you...really it is an unbelievably ideal's technically full time, but Theresa, my boss, knows my work ethic and is an extremely understanding soul who lets me not only work kinda whatever hours I want to, but also loves having you around and lets me keep you with me in my office all day. You seem to love it, really - we get up in the mornings, eat breakfast, do whatever chores need doing, then head into the office, armed with plenty of toys, my laptop and some movies for you to watch, and we camp out in the office with the door closed so we don't bother anyone else...I do my work, you play, we chat...and when it comes time for nap, you have learned how to go down for a nap on your own, and I couldn't be more proud. Even if you don't want to, you'll climb under my desk into the little bed we've made for you there (stealing cushions from big comfy chairs that are seldom used, and covering them in our sweaters and using your froggy backpack as a pillow & covering you up with the froggy blanket from it) and lay quietly until you fall asleep, sometimes having me just sing to you, sometimes listening to music, sometimes playing quietly until you drift off...but I can continue to work during the whole process, which has been almost unheard of before now.

Another thing that has grown out of our time at work (other than you constantly melting my co-workers brains and impressing everyone with your stellar appetite and culinary adventurousness when you ask to look through the menu book at lunchtime, and your intelligence and understanding overall) is that you've come to understand "quiet sad." We've talked a lot about the fact that it's very special that you get to come with me, and that we have to be very respectful of everyone else in the office, which means no screaming or loud crying. About how it is perfectly ok to feel sad, and its good to let yourself feel sad if you need to, but that sometimes we have to feel sad quietly, without wailing...and both to my surprise and utter lack thereof, you seem to totally get it, and almost always find a way to deal with or express your sadness in ways that do not involve much sound. That is just SO grown up of you, and I almost worry that it's too much...then again, we've been trying to reemphasize that, when we're at home, you are welcome to be as loud as you need to be in your despair, as long as you're being safe and listening, to let it all out...It's so important to experience and release all these feelings, but it's also important to be able to function in I hope that you can take away from all this an understanding of how to behave in public settings without sacrificing yourself, and being true to what you need and how you feel. I guess only time will tell how successful we are.

Though, you have also begun to scheme more seriously and exercise a much more dubious bit of behavior...which I think is an important developmental step, but is also not something I can exactly proclaim extreme pride over. You've started to figure out this whole "lying" thing...lying about needing to use the potty to get out of naptime, saying you did things when you didn' don't do it often and it has not yet involved anything particularly harmful or dangerous, which is good, but it is one sign of you growing up that is bittersweet, and I am probably more aware than I should be that how we deal with this now could end up having a major effect down the road, when it involves much higher stakes. You seem to understand why we get very stern when you do this, and we always talk about it when it happens-why it happened, why it was bad, what else you could have's sometimes exhausting, but I hope that it will pay off in the end.

And really, I'm not desperately worried about it yet...its one small aspect of what you've been exploring this month, and as I said, I think it's actually a very important developmental step. So, while we can't ignore or just let you get away with it every time, I'd rather deal with the incidents as they arise and then move on to focus on the many wonderful things you've picked up. Like the way you've taken to hugging and kissing my big ole baby belly while declaring " I looooooooove you SOOOOOOO much baby!" and "oh, the baby is just so sweet and adorable!"

Or the way that, when Baba bought a stepladder on his way to pick us up from the office, you had him set it up and then take turns climbing up and down, and whenever he was at the top you'd call up to him "Be very careful, Baba! Don't fall down! If you fall down, don't fall down!" And then you'd switch, and you'd instruct him to tell you the same thing.

All in all, it has been a very busy month, and you, as usual, have totally been rolling with the punches, and really, we're having a pretty grand time. I love you Cadence. Thank you for being such a wonderful awesome kid.

Love Always,