Sometimes I think the title of this letter should be "Nate's Monthly Newsletter, Thirteen Years." You're sassy, independent, needy, an enormous smart-ass - and sometimes you're just pure joy. Just like any good teenager.
I'm writing this from our place in New Hampshire, where yesterday morning you woke us up saying "Let's go outside, guys. It's a bee-yoo-tiful day!" Never mind that it's rained every day for 5 days, any day with your cousins is a good day. We purposly came the week that Simon and Jamie would be here, and I'm so glad we did; you are so happy to be with them.
Yesterday you said to Jamie "I'll run out this door, and then you run out the door, and then you chase me, and I'll run in the other door." Jamie humored you and you guys ran in circles for a while before giving up to play something else. You seem so much older to me when you're playing with them - a glimpse of the future, I guess. You really fit in here, with them, with your other cousins, with your aunts and uncles and their friends.
A few days ago your cousin Will was taking us out for a ride in the motorboat. As we put our life-jackets on, I told you that the boat was noisy and fast, and that if you got scared we'd slow down and you'd be just fine. You made it all the way down the dock, watched me get in, and decided you were not up for a ride. I assured you it was fine and sent you back inside with a friend. I asked Will to hold on for one mintute, and one minute later you popped your head out of the house and wanted to go with us again. We sat in my lap and I distracted you by talking about the color of the clouds and the houses we were driving past, and you sat stoicly and braved it out. No crying, no clutching, just one request to slow down. About halfway through the ride you got pale and quiet, and I feared you were seasick. I tucked you closer to me, looked down, and you were sound asleep.
You are your own man, and I just adore you for it. We were talking about the boat a few days later and I was trying to get you pumped up. I said how much fun I thought it was, and how much I like to go fast. Your immediate response? "I like to go slow." Period. I hear you.
One of the great things about your almost-three-year-old-self is that sleep is almost a non-issue. We made you a little bed in the corner of our room, and you're just fine with it. You tuck yourself in, put your rump up in the air, and all's well. If Jack cries in the night, you just turn yourself over and keep on sleeping. If you fall asleep in the car, I just carry you to bed and you snuggle down in to the pillow and get yourself cozy. I can undress you, diaper you, whatever - when you're tired you want to sleep. It's lovely.
You are starting to understand so many concepts now. You can count to 14, but you actually understand numbers up to about 4 or 5. You tell me you have two cookies, and you do. You tell me you see three dogs, and there really are. When we're reading stories you like to point to the animsl that are in front of Diego, behind him, next to him. You point to characters on a page and ask me "What's that letter, Mama? What's that number?"
One of your favorite new phrases is "Sometimes..." You'll tell me "Sometimes I don't like to go for a nap" (as if sometimes you do.) "Sometimes I like to eat snack before my nap." You still love to try to negotiate with me; I tell you you can do something three more times, and you counter with five. It never works but you keep trying, and I love you for it.
Big stuff is ahead for you now, and I can't wait to watch it all happen for you. I'm so glad to be a part of it all, and I'm cheering for you every second of the way.
I love you,