Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dear Gwen: Month Thirty-Seven

Dear Gwen,
Today, you are thirty-seven months old.

Your imagination has surprised me so much this month. Just about every night, you tell me the following story:

"I saw something in the air tonight! It was a rainbow. And a giant potato. The giant potato was crying because the rainbow was eating all its popsicle treat."

I have nothing at all to say in response. It’s a weird story, and it doesn’t vary at all from one night to the next. And when Dada puts you to bed, you don’t tell him the story. Just me. I have no explanation whatsoever.

Another excellent example of your imagination is your recent decision that “Mama is going to go to the hospital and get me a baby brother.” Oh, my dear girl. This is just the first of many, many dreams that your parents are going to crush for you. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t actually like having a little brother all that much. You would have to share all your stuff, and there’s no guarantee that your brother would take kindly to your endless bossy ways. I don’t know where you got the idea that I was going to get you a brother (perhaps the giant potato told you?) but it is just not going to happen, despite your starry-eyed exclamation that you just can’t WAIT to see him!

Despite the uncertainty of life, and the fact that I can never be sure if I’m doing a good job of being your Mama, there is one thing I know I am doing right. I tell you all the time how much I love you, how important you are, and how glad I am that you’re my daughter. I know that these messages are being received, because last week you snuggled into my lap and said, “Mama, you are my amazing girl.” Just like I say to you! It was such a lovely moment. And by the way, I do love how very snuggly you’ve become lately. Every morning starts with you crawling into “the big bed” for a snuggle, and you are often cuddly throughout the day and evening depending on what we are doing. Our snuggles before bed are the best, as we talk about what we liked best about the day – you actually answer questions like that now, even though you often tell me something that we did on a different day. It’s neat to see what memories stick in your mind.

Also sticking, at last, are your manners. You still need reminding, but the reminders are getting more and more subtle. A few days ago, we had the following exchange:
Gwen: I want some milk, Mama!
Mama: (stands patiently and quietly, looking intently at you)
Mama: Do you know what I'm waiting for?

Gwen: For Dada?

Mama: No.
Gwen: For manners?

Mama: Yup.
Gwen: Can I please have some milk please?

You knew what was expected, and all it took was a look to get you to do it. Perhaps there is hope for your little lizard brain after all.

We’ve had some very challenging moments lately, in addition to the lovely ones. One night after dinner, I asked you if you wanted to have a shower with Mama or if you wanted to play for a while before bed. (Now that you are potty trained, you don’t bathe every single night like you used to.) You chose to play. I reiterated that this would mean no shower, and you agreed. However, twenty minutes later when it was time to start our bedtime routine, you were absolutely devastated to realize that you would not, in fact, be having a shower. There was simply no explaining to you that the time in which you _could_ have showered was now over, that you had made a different choice and had to live with it. It took probably another hour to get you into bed, what with all the theatrics and tantrums. NOT my favourite night. Next time some parenting expert tells me to “just give your children choices”, this is the incident I’m going to remember.

Another unlovely moment came just a few days ago, when I was shopping with you at a large store. You ran away from me and I lost sight of you. When I got to the end of the aisle where I’d last seen you, you were nowhere to be found. I started walking all around the store, looking up every aisle, calling your name. You were gone. At first I was sure you were just around the corner. Then I started to get annoyed. Then, very suddenly – like a switch being flipped – it was time for the cold terror. I approached a salesperson and asked for help, describing you and your clothes. It was only a moment later that we were reunited. From what I understand from you and the other salespeople, you had asked someone for help finding me. You did tell me that you were a little bit scared when you couldn’t find me. I’m grateful for that fear, and hope that it will help you remember not to run away from me. I’ve certainly drilled that lesson into you a number of times since then, but sometimes it’s like talking to a brick wall.

Speaking of a brick wall – a few days ago I said the following:
“Gwen, please don’t blow the dandelion seeds. Mama and Dada and Gramma are working really really hard to make the yard look nice, and when you blow the dandelions, they make a big mess all over the yard and it’s really hard for us to clean up. So when you see a dandelion, just leave it alone, okay? That way our yard will stay nice.”


So, yeah. Sometimes I don’t know why I talk to you.

Every time I sit down to write this newsletter, it gets more challenging to capture just what life with you is like. But I keep trying, and I hope at least it brings you some laughter and joy when you look back on these letters in the future.

I love you a million, billion, kajillion and three, and I always will. Thank you for being my amazing girl.



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