Thursday, May 7, 2009

Nate's Monthly Newsletter, Three Years Eight Months

Dear Nate,

Life with you these days is amazing. Mostly the good kind of amazing.

I'm reminded of those months when babies start to blossom and reach for toys, sit up, crawl, walk, and run in such a short time-frame. You are bursting out all over in your own big-boy way.

You've started to pretend a lot - we often have Diego over for lunch, and I make a little plate of food for him at the chair next to yours. We have some fuzzy purple monkeys, a Mama and a baby, and you've taken them on as your babies. You bundle them up in blankets to keep them warm, carry them around your neck, and a few days ago when it was time for your TV show you sat them on the red couch and turned the TV to face them so that they could watch with you. You take yourself, and your friends, on adventures: a few days ago you and Mara built a "beach" in the corner with pillows (and you both stripped down naked to make the experience more realistic)! Instead of just smacking the play-doh around, you used it to build your first ever figure - you call him "Moley."

You have real friends now, too; today when I picked you up you told me that you'd invited Mara to go to Aruba with us. Her Mom and I got quite a kick out of that one. A few days ago when we walked out of school with Mara, you and she held hands for two blocks. You were very pleased with yourself. Today while I'm writing this you're over at Sophia's house; you've reached that age when I can just drop you off to play for a while. (When we were heading to her house you told me "I'll act politely. I'll say thank you politely!") And of course you still have your special friend Bumper. A few nights ago I brought you Bumper while Daddy was putting you to bed. I reminded Daddy the story of when you said that you took care of Bumper and protected him. You liked the story, and reaching for Bumper confirmed "He's my best friend." I had to clench my chest, it hurt so much from the sweetness. You really are so sweet, Nate. It just pours out of you.

You take great care of Jack these days, often ordering me around to make sure his needs are met. If he's in his booster seat and seems restless, you bring him bites of your meal to try to make him happy. If he's crying, you'll tell me "Jack wants to get out!" When you guys are playing on the floor together and he gets sad, you'll run to tell me and order me to go get him and pick him up. "He wants you, Mama! Pick him up, he wants you!" Yesterday you two rolled a ball back and forth for a while, and you still have your favorite "train" game of walking around with Jack holding on to your shirt. You love to sit on the recliner with Jack standing next to it and play "peek a boo" over the arm of the chair, and you recently started that game where you blow your cheeks up and then slap them - Jack adores that one. You make him laugh more than anyone else can. You are very proud of what a good brother you are, smiling when we heap on the compliments for your good behavior.

Just like your Daddy, you're becoming quite a charmer. A few weeks ago I put on some music during lunch and after listening for a while you told me "That's a pretty song!" I was wearing a red t-shirt under a wrap a few days ago; when I took off the wrap you said "You look so cute in your fire shirt!" One of your favorite phrases is "That's a great idea!" when I propose a snack or a game or a craft.

You still want to be involve in everything which makes life a little tough these days. I want so badly to just get through my chores for the day, but there you are forcing me to slow down, let you participate, involve you at almost every turn. I'm not great at it, but I'm really trying.

I've never been one to brag on my kids being geniuses; frankly you've both been pretty average at moving through the milestones. But all of a sudden I'm starting to wonder. You know the numbers up to 39, and you know almost all of the capital letters (you get a little confused on V, W, and Y). At Grandma's house you knew every letter in Froot Loops and today you knew all of the letters in Dinosaur. Today you used a purple crayon to write out your name on your dinosaur drawing, and then wanted to write my name (Mama) and Jack's. We do some schoolwork sometimes, and preschool tries to teach you a bit, but I'm honestly not sure how you're picking it all up so fast. Good thing we're working so hard to get you into a good school next year! You seriously need some professionals helping you out before Daddy and I waste all of your brain power.

We had preschool at Elliott's house yesterday and you were particularly tired and had a full-blown meltdown when it was time to leave. I had to carry you, flailing wildly, through the house to get to our car. The other Moms, and the nannies too, were shocked: they all commented that they'd never seen you cry before. These are women who see you every morning and teach you once a week - but you are normally so good, so even-tempered, that they never have to think twice about your behavior.

You and Jack are hugging, not fighting, in this picture - I promise:

I worry so much that I'm not doing enough for you, not doing right by you. I focus on the mistakes I'm making, the times I'm short with you, the opportunities I've failed to give you. But I look at how sweet you are with Jack, how good you are at school and with your friends, how loving you can be with me when the mood strikes you, and it's clear to me that something is right. I'll hold onto that, and keep working as hard as I can to be a good Mom to you.

I love you so much,

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