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,

1 comment:

Deb R said...

Parenting is the hardest job on the planet. It is truly a labor of love. You are definitely on the right track! I see so many parents issuing empty threats, and they don't even see how that is the opposite of disciplining and that it hurts more then helps both now and in the future. So very glad to see when a parent doesn't cave under the pressure of crying and temper tantrums. You have a beautiful family. Staying calm is the key. A daycare provider shared some wisdom with me once I will never forget. Think of yourself as a police officer. As long as the child knows and understands the rules and the consequences of breaking the rules, you are just there to make sure the laws are enforced. :)