Saturday, April 2, 2016

Letter to my son

Dear Son,

Mommy is still playing "catch up" with her letters to you.  Here are a variety of things that have happened....

You found a new molecule ~ deep within the creative space of a child's mind.....  you introduced us too....  The Mickey Mouse Molecule.  It took Mommy and Daddy a few minutes to see what your curious and delightful thoughts had applied to this picture on Daddy's iPad... Introducing the Mickey Mouse Molecule:

One of your favorite toys to play with, right before going to bed, is the fishing pole and fish.  You line them up and "go fishing."  The cutest part of your play is that you make the fish say, one at a time, "Pick me, pick me" in this tiny, squeaky voice.  Then you tell the fish in your regular voice, "okay, blue fishy, I will pick you!"  And you go fishing for the blue one.  The adorable voice you give to the fish and the conversation you have in return makes Mommy smile every time you play.

Mommy will ask you, "Gregory, who loves you?'
You answer, "Mommy does!  And Daddy and kitty cat."
Mommy continues, "And who else?"
You reply, "Oma and Opa and Biscuit and Granny and Grandfather and Uncle Jerry!"
Mommy says, "And all your aunts and uncles and cousins and teachers and class mates.  Do you know what that means?'
You ask, "No Mommy, what that means?"
Mommy explains, "It means you are loved and that makes you very, very lucky."

Daddy, Uncle Rene and you in the Mancave

We are trying to teach you the address where we live.  You will say Hall, but you don't know the numbers yet.  Here you are walking up to the front garden.  Mommy and Daddy were weeding the garden and you helped.  You picked a weed and grunted and pulled and by golly, you pulled up a leaf or part of the weed and exclaim, "Look you guys, look at this!"  You helped put the weeds we pulled into the garbage can.  Occasionally you asked, "I play with rocks too?"

You enjoy going to the grocery store with us.  Sometimes there's a police car cart and sometimes there's a fire truck cart.  In the past, you weren't a huge fan of getting in them, but now, you love it.  If Mommy makes a difficult turn, she tells the other patrons of the grocery store, "Sorry, my son is driving."  Always good for a smile!

On the way to school, Mommy likes to play songs either from a child's song CD or the radio.  One morning, Mommy didn't turn anything on.  You kept saying, "Mu Mu Mu."  I finally realized you were trying to say "Music."  When you heard the song, "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands" you did the hand motions to go with the song.  Once it ended, you said, "Do again, do again!"

You keep us on our toes.  You listen to conversations and when we don't think you are listening, you will suddenly pipe in with a comment of your own, which was clearly regarding the conversation.

You like to be mischievous and get away with things.  Here you are taking home a toy from Oma's house.

You love the poo poo play dough that Oma bought for you - comes with a kit of "play poo corn" too - eww... and then you found a bed pan in your doctor kit and insisted that you use the poo poo play dough to put in the bed pan!

One day when it rained, Oma let you use her umbrella.  If you tilted the umbrella in the wrong way and the rain got on you; you said, "It's not working!"  Then you walked under a covered area (where, of course the rain wasn't falling) and you said, "It's okay, it's working now."

At Granny's birthday party, you helped to blow out the candles.  You kept saying, "Mommy made the cake!"  :)

I don't know what's up with you pulling Grandfather's ears, but you liked doing that

I hope you always enjoy going for a walk in the neighborhood.  I wonder if you will remember the tree like you do right now.  When we see it, you run to it.  Now, you can climb into the tree all by yourself too.

Sometimes there are other cool things to climb into too!

You have taken to picking up sticks and saying, "This is my WallyKazam stick!"  It's a show where the stick creates magical words.

One of your new sayings comes from WallyKazam:  "I have an idea!"

You also picked up on something Mommy tells you.... one day you were playing with your toys and mommy asked, "Can I play with them too?"  You said, "Not yet."  Mommy thought she'd be clever and say a few minutes later, "Can I play with them now?" (Like you would normally do, within seconds) and you said, "Be patient Mommy!"  Oma heard this and busted out laughing.  Yes, you are soaking up what Mommy is saying.  And you are using the words correctly.

Making Mommy's lunch

Giving Kisses (You know what Eskimo kisses are too)

Before we leave Oma and Opa's house, you give hugs and kisses.  Opa says, "I'm a monster.  I need a hug to make this monster happy!"  And you go running and laughing to him.

You like watching cartoons.. you did as a toddler, for the colors, but now, you watch the shows and you respond to them.  I love the show Little Einstein (incorporates classical music and math).  Some shows are more geared towards friends and accepting differences as part of nature.  Peppa Pig is a "friends" type of show.  Peppa Pig "loves to jump in muddy puddles" - you saw a puddle during an afternoon walk and you said, "Look Guys, a puddle!"  We knew what was going to happen.

You love music

When you sing, it's not on key.  Mommy tells you, "Keep singing."  You get the off key from Mommy, because Mommy has bad hearing.  Let me share a memory from Mommy's childhood... Opa was driving and Oma was sitting up front.  Mommy and Uncle Rob were kids, sitting in the back.  We were going on a family vacation.  Opa always played music when going on a trip and he turned on the radio.  Mommy started singing.  Uncle Rob complained, saying Mommy was off key and Mommy didn't even sing the right words.  What did Oma say?  

She told Uncle Rob, "Let her sing.  It doesn't matter how she sings.  What matter is that she ENJOYS singing."  I don't know if Oma remembers this split second in time, but it's burned into my brain as an exceptionally wonderful moment.  My heart burst open with joy and I sang and sang.  

Your Daddy doesn't like Mommy's singing, so I try not to sing around him.  But you love my singing and that makes me so happy.  It's something I can share with you and I will tell you, son... SING and don't worry what other people think of your voice, if you are singing on key or even if you don't have the ability to hear the correct words so you fill in what you think the words might be..  SING!  It's a beautiful joy in life.  

(In Daddy's defense, Mommy doesn't like him to sing, because he goes on "broken record mode" where he repeats the songs over and over and over again and Mommy will tell him to stop.  Maybe, my sweet boy, you can bridge the gap between Mommy being off-key and Daddy's repetitional singing and allow music back into our lives again.)

You can never get enough of the parks.... but here's something new.  We asked you, "Do you want to go to Mike Miley Park or do you want to go to Lafreinere Park?"  You started laughing this really loud laugh and respond, "Lafreinere Park" - it took Mommy a few minutes to realize that you were laughing, because you heard the "laugh" in the word, "Lafreinere Park."

One little girl bought her purple ball to the park.  The two of you played with it.  Mommy noticed that you kick the ball with your left foot.

It wasn't long ago that fish in a tank didn't catch your attention, now you love to see the tank at the Chinese restaurant where we go to.

Mommy had to work late when Uncle Al and Aunt Mimi came in town, but you had some quality visiting time with them!

Oma and Opa have two second row, center season tickets to the Jefferson Performing Arts Theater, which just recently opened near us.  They took you to see The Nutcracker, back in December. You enjoyed it, but fell asleep during intermission.  When Opa suggested that Mommy take his ticket and that Oma, Mommy and you go to see the performance of Mary Poppins, Mommy was tickled.  I fully expected you to fall asleep mid-way through....

A few weeks prior to the performance, Mommy and Daddy played the songs, "Let's Go Fly A Kite" and "Spoon Full of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down" - you were starting to sing along with us and learning the words.

The day of the performance... Even though we only had two seats, you could sit in our lap for free.  But as luck would have it, the person next to us didn't show up, so you had your own seat!  You were a little tired, a little antsy, but good.  You really enjoyed it when the children talked and sang.  And when a song ended, your hands couldn't clap fast enough.

At one point, the stage was being set for a new scene and the orchestra played just one small little line of "a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down" but it wasn't time for the actual song... there was a lot of talk/conversation that had to take place between the characters ahead of the song.  

The problem was that you recognized that swift musical introduction and you started singing, (while the actors were talking) "medicine go down... Medicine Go Down... (we shushed you at this point)... MEDICINE GO DOWN.. MEDICINE GO DOWN!"  Each time you got louder and louder and louder.  The actors couldn't get to the song quick enough for you (and us) and when they did, you sang with total abandon right along with them, at full vocal off-key power.  Thankfully, the people behind us laughed.

After that song, you were really getting cranky.  It was minutes before the end of the first half... In order to appease you, I grabbed the Cheerios out of my purse, against the "no food in the theater" rule.  You ate and that helped... for a short period of time.  The singers started the vibrant, rowdy song, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".... you didn't recognize this song and you wanted none of it.

You got UP from your seat... (keep in mind, two rows from the center of the stage!)... walked to the Exit door and sat down.  We heard the giggles coming from behind us.  Oma's mouth dropped open and she quickly covered her face between her hands, saying, "Wait.  Let's see if he comes back to us when he realizes we aren't getting up too."  Did this happen, darling son?  Are you stubborn?  Just like your Momma!

Not only did you stay where you were... but... now... remember, Mommy has horrible hearing and the singers were belting out that fast pace song... drowning out all sounds around them... except... for your voice.. screaming at the top of your lungs, "I WANT TO GO HOME!  I WANT TO GO HOME!  I WANT TO GO HOME!"  People still laughed behind us and I told Oma, "We have to go NOW!"  We jumped out of our seats and took you out of the Exit door.

There was a little sitting area and when we asked if you liked the performance, you said you liked the kids singing, then you belted out, "Medicine Goes Down!"

Mommy was slightly less mortified by the experience when I saw other parents in the lobby with their children.  One mom had a boy who was taller than you.  She asked how old you were and then she replied, "My son is one year older, 4.  There just isn't enough action in this performance for a boy."

Opa arrived to pick us up.  You ran to the car, fast.  Mommy told you that you were in time out for letting go of her hand and running to a car near a parking lot.  When Opa said he wanted to get ice-cream, Mommy said you were in time out for running in a parking lot.  You pouted.  

Recently you had a hearing test and speech evaluation.  The Jefferson Parish School System offers free speech therapy to children in need, but only after a hearing test is conducted.  Oma and Opa took you to the testing and evaluation, as Mommy and Daddy both had to work late.  

When Oma told Mommy, "His hearing test came back with perfect hearing," Mommy got teary-eyed.  I worried you would face Mommy's quiet world and miss out on so much and have people think you aren't telling the truth about not hearing things and not being able to comprehend this world of missed words, putting together sentences like a puzzle and stumbling through hearing the difference between letters such as "b, d, e" etc.  The embarrassment of knowing what a word means, but not knowing how it sounds, because you haven't heard it spoken before.  I was thrilled that you wouldn't have these problems, this hindrance that many don't understand.

But.... you do need speech therapy.  The evaluation came back that you are consistently dropping sounds at the end of a word and sometimes in the middle of a word.  The consistency of the problem is the reason for the recommended speech therapy.  Out of context, it's difficult to understand you.  A second evaluation will be conducted later this month.  It's a shame you have to go through a follow-up eval, but it's part of the system.

The lady who tested you for language also said that you are very curious, you are quick to respond (when she said most children hesitate with their answers, whereas if you know something, you are fast with your answers).  She also said that your cognitive intelligence test came back with results of a five year old.  Considering the test was given to you just a few weeks after you turned 3.... wow... Honestly though, not super surprising.  We knew you were smart, but it's a nice confirmation.

Towards the end of the testing, you were getting antsy and tired and hungry.  Oma wondered how you were doing, because you had been with the therapist for a number of hours.  Oma walked to where you were..  The therapist was trying to get you to do a memory/matching game, but you were ignoring her.  The therapist told Oma that it was the last test.  Oma told you, "We will buy a toy truck after you complete the matching game."  Lickity split - within seconds you flew through the test with flying colors!    The therapist said, "You knew the right way to inspire him."

But... Oma made a mistake.  After leaving, Oma and Opa stopped at the house to use the bathroom and knew you needed to go to.  You pitched a huge fit, because you were PROMISED a toy truck RIGHT AFTER the test!  You don't forget things, son.  Excellent memory, especially when it comes to getting a toy or going to the park.

Potty Update.  You are potty trained at home and elsewhere except at school (other than at night time, you wear a diaper).  Your school insists that you continue to wear diapers (in case of an accident).  You get so upset in the morning when you are put in a diaper for school.  You fight Mommy about it, but Mommy has spoken to your teachers and they are set in their methods that you will have an accident.  Sometimes when you sleep, you will have accident, so I could understand them putting a diaper on your for nap time, but otherwise, you tell us when you have to go.  It feels like we are taking steps forward with you, but then you get untrained because of going to school.  It's frustrating on all levels.  Next year, you will have to be potty trained, from the start of school.  That's a good thing!

Mommy wanted to take a selfie with you.  You see Mommy's camera/iPhone come out and now you make silly faces.  

You took these selfies

Walk with me for a few minutes... Mommy remembers when she was a little girl... Mommy asked Oma, "There were times when money was really tight in our family.  But you and Dad always had the Theater tickets.  Why would you buy those tickets when money was so tight?"  Oma replied, "Your Dad and I agreed that we wanted our children to experience things that we didn't have as kids.  We wanted you and your brother to have a taste and joy of culture, so we always bought the Saenger Theater tickets.  It was a part of the budget we had, because we had our children in mind before our own wants.  Same thing with the piano and piano lessons, those were expenses things.  We didn't have musical instruments to play when we were kids.  As parents, we bought the piano, not for us to learn, but for you and your brother to have what we didn't have as kids."

As a child, I appreciated what my parents did and I understood.  But now, as a parent and thinking back on my mother's words of wisdom, I truly want to offer you the same.  I look back on my childhood and I know love and culture and music.  I want these for you and more.  As adults, we can find it easy to buy for ourselves, but as parents, the child is the focus.... the child's education, experiences, joy, needs, growth, culture... it's in our hands and hearts and should be the focal point, instead of greed and selfishness.  I'm sure some people will say that my parents spoiled us by giving us piano lessons and theater tickets and so much more, but they also taught us respect, responsibility, kindness and generosity and love.  There's a balance to giving and receiving; to teaching both aspects of life in a good, positive way.    I want to be that parent for you, son.  I pray I never fall short.

I don't know how long I have on this earth.  I pray these letters share with you what you need when you need it.... thank you for walking with me for this brief moment..  back to fun pictures!

Easter this year was filled with a variety of activities.  We went to the Lakeside Mall and did the Easter Egg hunt - it was an experience that I never want to repeat.  Too many children, candy just thrown on the floor and you took off and I lost you for a few seconds that felt like an eternity within the wave of parents and kids - never again.  Afterwards, we took Easter pictures with a scary looking bunny.

Before you school Easter party, Oma and Mommy practiced with you on finding eggs.  You thought the Easter bunny would come get the eggs if you didn't find them quickly.  Your hunting skills became quick indeed!

Oma taught you how to dye Easter eggs.  She did one and you took over, not letting her dye any more.  You and your painted finger tips were very proud of the accomplishment.

The Saturday before Easter, we went to your cousin's home in Mississippi.  It was wonderful, best family gathering thus far!  They live on 40 acres of pine land and have a real log cabin home.  You were thrilled to run with your cousins, playing ball and Easter egg hunting.  You were taken for a ride while the eggs were hidden, then we had an awesome visit from the Easter Bunny, arriving in style.  Of course, we had the traditional egg popping.  Couldn't ask for better weather, wonderful family, lots of fun things to do, great food and just a joyful fun day!  It was a well planned Easter Party - best yet!  (Below are a lot of Easter pictures and following that - just a few more stories)

Mommy made another cross cake for the Easter Party.  Mommy decorated it with small roses, inspired by how the church community invites the children to put flowers on the cross to celebration life/rebirth.

You totally loved the hammock 

They have a pool, but it was too cold to get into

Isaac brought his car to the party!

Funny thing is that you knew what the hula hoop was supposed to do, but didn't know how

You loved the pond on the property.  Their dog, Scarlett, ran into the water and you wanted to run into the water with the puppy dog too.

It wasn't turned on, but scary thing is that you were truly reaching for the gas pedal!

Ride with Daddy, you and Great Uncle Ralph

Now that is a cool soccer ball

Lots to eat and a great variety of food - crawfish was the big hit, but Mommy liked the roast too!

Love this picture with your cousin, playing ball.

Throughout the day you would grab a ball and yell out, "Hey guys, come play with me"

I don't think you stopped

unless you saw the hammock 

Izzy showing off her superb hula hooping skills!

Taking a ride, while Easter eggs are hidden!

Lori brought out the hand boiled eggs to later be used in the egg popping

Even Biscuit strutted her stuff

After a ride around, you grabbed a basket and went egg hunting!

Izzy had eggs higher up to find, but you and Isaac, any egg was up for grabs and ya'll did a fun dash to gather as many as possible.

Love how ya'll had so much fun

The eggs were like jewels on the pine needles

The Easter bunny is coming... you were SO afraid the bunny would take back your eggs... you started backing away and wanted to hide from the bunny.

So we quickly explained that if you gave the bunny a hug and thanked the bunny for the eggs, that the Easter bunny would let you keep the eggs.

This is a friendly bunny, arriving in style

After this day, you weren't afraid of the Easter bunny.

Egg popping time!

New generation sharing an old tradition

Egg popping with your great-grandmother

Unfortunately, Easter Sunday was a rainy day.  When you woke up, you jumped out of bed to see if the Easter bunny came to the house the night before.  Sure enough, there were some toys and Easter eggs.  Afterwards we went to visit with Granny and Grandfather and Daddy's side of the family.

Hopping like a bunny.  I remember when, not long ago, you couldn't jump.  How quickly you learn!

 Cheerios and Chocolate Milk - that was your Easter lunch.  You didn't want to share with Alivia, so she ended up with her own bowl of Cheerios.  I'm pretty sure if Granny and Grandfather move the furniture, they will find some.

You told Alivia, "No, don't go outside.  It's wet."

You played well with your cousin, but you were also getting tired, because you woke up so early that morning.  It was a good visit.  Mommy noticed something interesting about you.... when you are with children your own age or children older, you are yourself.  But when you are around kids younger than you (such as Alivia), you do a lot of baby babbling talk.  I think you are trying to relate to the kids around you and adjust your behavior to their level.  It's interesting, but it does make it more difficult for Mommy to communicate with you when necessary with behavioral issues.

You are also realizing the difference between babies and big boys.  You found the football that turns into a bird, gift from your Uncle Rene.  You held the bird and said, "My baby."  You said, "oh no, he poo'd in his diaper."  Then you brought the baby bird to the changing station and gave the baby a diaper.  You don't want to be the baby.  You want to be the big boy and I am thrilled that you are seeing the difference and enjoying where you are in life and your accomplishments.

Speaking of accomplishments.... The week that you were on spring break from school, Oma and Opa watched you while Mommy worked mostly half days (one long day at the end of the week).  Mommy found an event at the local library and shared it with Oma and Opa.  Oma brought you to the story telling and craft making time, then she told me what happened...

The lady who read the story would encourage the children to participate by saying when to stand up and sit and jump, all with the storyline.  Oma said that she felt sorry for you, sweet boy.  I asked Oma why... she explained, "Gregory was so well behaved!  I was proud of him, but part of me wanted to tell him, GO RUN with the other kids.  Instead he sat and stood and clapped and did exactly as he was instructed to do, while so many children ran around.  In fact, one mother, who had a son exactly Gregory's age, had to take her child and leave because he was misbehaving so much... but really he wasn't acting much differently than the other kids.  Gregory was just too well behaved!"  

Oh and though you favor your left hand for many things (and your left foot for ball kicking) you are more interested in using your right hand for scissors.  

At one point, the story teller said, "I have to turn the book upside down" - you heard this and turned yourself to look upside down.  

Mommy tries to encourage you to draw.  I asked you to draw a picture.  You said, "Monster.  But I don't know how."  Mommy held the napkin.  You took the pen and I semi-guided the pen.  You said what you wanted, the head, the hair, the hands, the feet and shoes and eyes.  Mommy steadied the pen, but you did the artwork.

Outside fun with Oma and Ava (neighborhood friend) - using the parachute they bought for Easter for you.

Loving to build and stack

Mommy is thinking that maybe for your next birthday party we can do a super heroes theme.  You are gravitating to spider man, batman and superman.

This past Friday was a super rainy day and Mommy had to work a full day.  Oma said, "What better way to spend a rainy day than dress up in a costume and be Superman!"

Every time that you say, "I love you Mommy" - you are my Super hero, because your words, smiles, hugs and kisses can make any rainy day a beautiful day.

I love you, Son.  

Love Always,

1 comment:

Shaivi said...

This is such a treasure you are creating for your son! He will be so proud of u when he grows up enough to understand this! These are emotions straight out of a mom's heart. A big hug from one mom to another!