Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Letter to My Son

Dear Son,

Mommy has a tradition of "counting blessings" and saying something she is grateful for during the month of November.  This happens throughout the year, but daily for this month.  I hope you will take this tradition to heart and enjoy it just as much.  Of course, it starts with being thankful for you and Daddy, that is Mommy's world.  Family and friends and so much more, there really aren't enough days in the year for the blessings to count.

Mommy isn't just thankful for you, sweetheart.  We (Daddy and I) are thankful that you are a happy child.  Mommy is thankful that Daddy has such an awesome sense of humor and he shared that joy with you since the day of your birth.  Laughter is a part of your life and THAT is a huge blessing!

Picture is worth a thousand words - Daddy's sense of humor during Halloween!

There are no handbooks, no other parents who can be your parents, no child who can be you.. and it's a scary thing for a first time parent.  We read a lot - articles, blogs, books... asked questions from family, friends (Facebook opens a massive support system)... but the way we learned the most about you... well, it was from you!

Gym Rompers helped with saying that "children learn from children".. and confirmed how body movement in children songs helps to limber up muscles.  But you taught us and continue to teach us the most about you.  By spending time with you, watching you - sure it's fun, we make it fun for you with stories and giggles, but you are learning... we are making memories.  But as parents, we are learning too.  We get to see the world through your eyes, watch your new skills develop and see what you need to learn.

As first time parents, we were told how it's a lot of work and worth all the effort.  Mommy sees it as a two-way street.  Both parent and child are working hard.  The first few months, you are working on all of your basic bodily functions and that's a huge thing to start with.  It's not fun for you as a baby, the colic, the inability to communicate your needs other than through a cry.  It's not easy for the parent either, the "vomit clothing," the sleepless nights, the guessing game for your cries.  But we grow and learn together.

Those are the negatives, but even the positives are work.  Taking time to play with a child IS work.  Learning children's songs (watching You Tube Kids helped!), making sensory bins, rolling on the floor to teach you to roll or crawling on our 40ish and 50ish year old hands and knees to teach you to crawl.  You worked so hard to learn those new skills.  Mommy and Daddy worked hard, right along with you.  We are amazed at your ability to do new things, take in the world, but we know it's work.  I hope one day you understand that we work and play just as hard as you do with you for you.

In three months you will be 3 years old.  Your speech has improved vastly.  You are listening to conversations even when we aren't directly speaking to you.  The other day, Mommy and Daddy talked about getting your hair cut.  Daddy suggested that Mommy make the appointment, so Mommy called the salon.  A little while later, we got into the car.  Mommy asked you in an excited voice, "Gregory, do you know where we are going?"  You said cheerfully, "Hair cut!"  Mommy was shocked and asked, "Smart boy, how did you know that?"  You answered, "Hair too long."  Daddy and Mommy just looked at each other in awe.  You are soaking up the world around you.

Mommy and Daddy want your inner voice to be a positive one.  When you are good, we let you know.  When you are helpful, we say, "You are such a helpful boy."  Are you these things all the time?  Of course not.  But the words we speak today will become your inner voice when you get older.  We want you to have faith in YOU.  It's an active decision on our part to help form your opinion of yourself in a beautiful and encouraging light.

It's not all easy.  Life never is.  There is crying and glass-shattering screams.  You should be on a horror movie for that ability of yours!  The crying gets to me worse though, but as a parent you have to choose when and how and why to react.  Picking you up is needed when you need comfort.  But sometimes you need a calm reaction...

The other night, you didn't want to say prayers with Mommy and Daddy.  Daddy said, "no prayers, no iPad."  You got mad and refused again to say your prayers.  Daddy stayed true to his words and took your iPad away.  You screamed.  Then you cried.  I asked if you wanted to say prayers, you said, "No."  I said, "okay" and walked to my bedroom.  You followed, crying, and stood at my door way.  I said, "If you want your iPad, you need to say your prayers.  Do you want to say your prayers?"  You again replied, "NO!"  I waited a few minutes.  Each time I spoke it was in a calm voice, "You need to say your prayers first and then you can have your iPad."  You swiped your hands in the air, "Daddy took away!"

I said, "We can ask Daddy for your iPad back, but you have to say your prayers first."  You looked at me, no longer crying, and asked, "Why?"  I answered, 'Because God is more important than the iPad."  Though your new word is "Why" for everything, you didn't question me further.  You said you would say your prayers.  Then we went to Daddy, but you said, "No, Daddy mad."  I looked at your Dad and I said, "No, he is not mad.  Right?  Now, let's all go say our prayers together."  We did.  We were all tired, but prayers were said.  Then you got into bed and we turned the iPad on for you.

You started looking around your bed and exclaimed, "Oh no!  Dooh dooh cars (two cars you like to go to sleep with)."  Calmly still, I said, "Mommy will find the cars."

I couldn't.  I went back and told you I couldn't find the cars, then asked, "Do you know where the cars are?"  You said, without hesitation, "Daddy's office."  (It had been a while since you were in Daddy's office and Mommy didn't think she'd find them there.)  But sure enough, that's where the cars were.  I gave them to you and you said in the sweetest voice, 'Thank you, Mommy."  Worth all the headaches, the crying, the explanations, the calm requirements.  That moment, right there.  And in the back of my mind, I was thinking, "Wow, he REMEMBERED where the cars were!"  How many times do adults put things down and can't find them?!

When you work on something, be grateful for the hard work.  No matter the outcome, the effort is the reward and if you are fortunate, it's the smile or hug or sweet words from your child that is truly priceless.

Love Always,

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Letter to my son

Dear Son,

When we picked you up from school this week, we asked if you had a good day.  You replied, "Yes! No hit.  No bite.  No kick."  Of course you enjoyed the toys, arts, playground, etc, but we're glad you are learning social skills too.

The other night, you were in bed, holding a Mickey Mouse doll and a Goofy doll.  Mommy picked up the Goofy doll and put it on your lap and then Mommy pretended to be Goofy's voice, saying, "Gregory, tell me a story."

You said, "Three pigs and big bad wolf!"
Goofy (Mommy) replied, "It's a story about three pigs and a wolf?"
You:  "Yes!  Huff and puff and blow house down!"
Mommy:  "Oh no!  Who blew the house down?"
You:  "Big bad wolf!"  (With you hands out as if I should have known this.)
Mommy:  "Can you build the piggies a house that the wolf can't blow down?"
You:  "Yes!"
Mommy:  "Great!  Who do you like the most in the story?"
You:  "Hmmmm (finger to lips).  Big bad wolf!"
Mommy:  "Thank you for sharing the story."
You grabbed the Goofy doll and hugged him.

What Mommy thought was interesting is that Mommy and Daddy have told you this story, without looking at a book or on the iPad or on television... yet when I asked you to tell a story, you shared the one we told you from heart.

Couple of pictures from home and walking in the neighborhood

Daddy told you, "Gregory, this is your bed."  While in your room.  "And this is Gregory's dresser.  (opens the drawers) and these are Gregory's cloths.  This is Gregory's room.  Do you want to sleep in here tonight?"

You said, "Okay, I try."  (You say this in such a cute way!)
Daddy set up your iPad.   You feel asleep in your bed around 9:30pm.  Mommy turned off the iPad.  You slept in your room until 2:26am and then woke up Mommy.

At least we aren't having to fight you to start the night in your room.  Mommy asked you this morning, "It was fun sleeping in your own room, right?"  You nodded your head.  "You'll do that again tonight!"  You nodded your head (hopefully).

You may be ready for Karaoke!

At school, we haven't seen any new projects, maybe the beginning of next week some will be sent home.  It might sound silly but Mommy loves seeing your art projects!  Mommy and Daddy both went to your school to pick you up.  You were asleep, the only child still napping.  We knelt down and woke you up with smiles and hugs.  A little girl stood next to us.  She showed me an alligator she was holding and when you gave me a hug, she gave me a hug too. I said, "Aw, that's so sweet.  Hugs are wonderful!"  She ended up giving me two more hugs before we left, so sweet.  Whenever she gave me a hug, so did you.

Mommy saw a sign on Facebook from Kehoe-France that they had a trunk or treat on Friday.  It was still warm, so we didn't dress you in the outfit from Rene.  (It looks like Halloween night will be cool, so perfect for the outfit then!)  In the meantime, you got the opportunity to wear the Superman shirt from Danny and Kathy.

Daddy teaching his son how to fly!

At the trunk or treat, you said, "TRICK OR TREAT!" quite loudly at times.  Another mom heard you and said, "At least he is talking!"  Her daughter looked terrified and maybe a couple of months younger than you.


Frankenstein outfit, person is on stilts.

Sitting down for popcorn and "witch's brew" for a break to see all the goodies so far

You weren't shy and you didn't want Daddy to empty your bucket and you didn't want anyone else holding your bucket. (Superman strength after all!)   Daddy said there were 45-50 "trunks" to trick or treat from.  It was very family oriented, had characters walking around, music and food and lots of fun.

Saturday was another fun filled day!  It started off with smiles.  When we went to breakfast and you saw a firetruck on the street, Daddy said, "We're going to find a firetruck."  You replied, "Firetruck all gone!"  Daddy promised he would find one for you to see and he made good on his word!

When we got home, you wanted to get on the swing.  Daddy brought Tigger out to enjoy the weather too.

Kisses for Tigger, so cute

We rested at home, then decided the rain was holding out and went to Lafreinere Park for the Halloween Boo at the Park.  I really did want to see how you would handle the haunted house section, but the line was long and by this point, the weather was threatening, so we didn't do the haunted house.  However, we did enjoy a number of things at the park, such as games, character pictures, trick or treating and your first face painting!  As well as a maze.  Here are some pictures from the park:

Ring tossing.  When it didn't work, you just picked it up and tried again.  Everyone was good natured about the games and knew it was for the kids.

The trick or treat section was pretty cool.  It wasn't nearly as large at the Kehoe France trunk or treat, but it was decorated well.  Below are just a few of the decorations.  The person giving the treats handed candy from the other side.

You have the "trick or treat" down pat and no problem holding out your bag for goodies.

You saw kids throwing hay in the "hay ride" and went right at it!

Mommy wondered if you could sit still long enough for face painting.  You did great!

Cute pumpkin on your pumpkin!

From there we went to a maze.  From the outside, it didn't look like it would be much, but it was a lot longer with more turns than you would expect.  You enjoyed it!

Out of the maze!

It was good that we left when we did - rain was falling just as we made it back to the car!

I don't know how Halloween night will compare with these experiences, but I'm tickled that you had them.  When you saw the outfit Rene sent, you said, "Halloween!"  and insisted that Daddy take it out of the packaging.  Can't wait to see you wear it on Halloween night - hoping for cooler, fall weather.

Tomorrow will be a "laundry day/rainy day" - Mommy will think up some fun art projects for you to work on.  Enjoying every moment, sweet son.

Love Always,