Wednesday, December 22, 2010

well something happened. they turned four. love letter time!

from a negligent blogger (yet attentive mother!).
dear R,
today you are four. ok. you were actually four 32 days ago. we. have. been. busy. a new busy like we did not know before. and by busy i mean a never ending loop of fun. and now you're four. FOUR!
this year you reached an all new high with your love for being a mommy to your babies. and i know just how you feel. you are a marvel. a precious bundle of happiness and energy and glow. you love to learn and you love to teach. not necessarily in that order. it thrilled me this year to see true love reveal itself when you met your first nutcracker ballet. i had never seen you sit still with this intensity of concentration. you sat for an hour and a half, in your princess belle dress, hands clasped in your lap, eyes glued to the stage, motionless but face full of joy. at intermission i took you to the bathroom and you ran, pulling me back into the theater because you didn't want to miss anything. and you didn't. when we got home, a curtain was born, over your closet. your new "stage." that stage has been busy. you and C often (often) perform in that space. dancing. singing. playing the guitar. playing the drums. playing dress up. immediately the scene from the nutcracker where fritz grabs clara's new nutcracker became a regular reenactment. you bring your hands to your eyes, lower your head and pretend to sob. it's a prize-winning performance.
speaking of performances, you have a gift for dance. before you pull of a big twirl, sometimes you jet your arms out to one side to wind up and better propel the whirling spin. it works. you also came with the internal skill of spotting, a dancer's technique when spinning to focus on a spot while completing multiple turns so you don't fall down. ok sometimes you fall down, but rarely. someone once asked me at a play date shortly after you turned 3 where you took dance. i said you were self-taught. and you are! we did get you to your first dance lessons during the summer. now we have added ballet shoes, leotards, and tap shoes to the dress-up repertoire.
this year you had a big move to a big bed in a new room. you were excited but you also asked about C a lot. and you always ask about C a lot. you melt my heart with how much you love your brother. wherever we go where there is a sample of some sort to be had, you always ask for one for your brother. a balloon at the grocery store. a sticker at the doctor's office. a piece of bread at whole food's. you're always thinking of him. and recently you said you love him because he does sweet things for you. and he can say the same of you. i also watch your empathy and care for others who are upset. you pay special attention and want to know why someone is hurting and that they will be okay. at your first trip to the dentist's office this year, there was a little girl next to you who was very upset and scared. you hopped right out of your seat and brought her your new dora toothbrush the dentist gave you. sweetest.
this year we lost our beloved friend the nap. i knew it would go. people have long warned me it will come to an end and long cursed me that it lasted so long. when you're that special combination of super-tired and super-amped and trying to do anything but sleep, you go into a kind of delirious babble with a thousand different thoughts and words and motions and most people would not understand. but i do. and i love it. for a second. and then i realize you have been babbling/moving for more time than you would have actually slept and i call it. not happening. but then there's the occasional slip. our little lovey the nap comes back. maybe a time or two each month. but it's different now. there's no more "sleep tight," close door, two sleeping kiddos for two hours. there's no more sing R to sleep, now sing C to sleep, close door ever so carefully, two sleeping kiddos for one and a half hours. now there's hang out with, read, maybe sleep now?, sing, maybe now?, ok you can lay on my shoulder. zzzzzzzzz.
one day i found myself saying "my neck really hurts. she slept on my shoulder for her whole hour-long nap." and as the words are coming out of my mouth i think, i wonder if you're still sleepy. maybe you can go back to sleep on my shoulder for just another 30 minutes. even another 15. this neck cramp will be better by the end of the day or tomorrow. but i will forever miss these days of neck cramps when you no longer want me to hold you while you sleep. you look like an angel. a little cherub with sweet rosy cheeks, so peaceful and sweet. and when you wake up groggy and tighten your arms around my neck and say "i want to keep you" i just want to say "OK!" yes, please, please, please, pretty please. please do keep me. this is a freezable moment. and i will treasure it forever. and i will treasure you forever. because when you say you want to "do our prays" (bedtime prayers) and you say "thank you God for my soul" i am thanking God for the same. you are beautiful inside and out. happy birthday. i love you.

dear C,
for your fourth birthday, i thought about consulting someone on how i could appropriately express the love that i feel for you, my precious sweet boy. but then i realized the person i should consult is you. you have more love in your little body and more ways of perfectly articulating your feelings than anyone i have ever met. it's astounding. how you can already be a renaissance man at the age of four, i am unsure. but you've got it all. smart, athletic, funny, cultured, handsome, caring, creative. you're a sports fan and a bookworm. you're a smarty and a smart-alec. you like bob the builder and classical music. you liked dance camp with your sister and the fire station with your cousins. valentine's day this year was a testament to your sweetness when i asked you what it meant to love. you said "when you love someone, you hug them in your heart." you also told me that you love me because i'm incredible to you and i make your heart feel happy. well it's hard for me to capture just how much happiness you bring to my heart. i think right now you might understand it as to infinity and beyond. recently one of our friends described you as a build-a-bear. if she went to build-a-bear to build a kid, that kid would be you. and i think it's a perfect way to describe you. you're snugly with a big heart and big smile and bright eyes and big hugs. precious. one day as i was dropping you off at school, i started to walk away and you called to me, "wait, mommy." i stopped and turned around and you said, from a distance, "i'll keep you in my heart." i couldn't leave. you were three and a half and you liked school and you were fine at school and you had your sister at school. but i couldn't leave. i came back to hug you tight, tight enough to try to keep myself from crying. i always keep you in my heart.
shortly after your third birthday, we were in a store where music was playing and you asked me "is this tchaikovsky?" i love your questions and i love the way you think. another day at dinner you asked me "when is the end of the world, anyway?" when i asked where you heard about that, your response was "from myself." so i will call you my epistemological philosopher and i am so grateful for how you help me see and experience the world. pure amazement and appreciation for things often taken for granted.
this year i have really seen you flourish at school. you are so good at concentrating and so proud of your accomplishments. one of my favorite things that you do is make anything into a song. sometimes you'll just start singing about something out of the blue... "we're going to the park. yeah yeah. to the park. do do do do." it. is. awesome. and you have a permanent fan right next door. r is always ready for a duet or a performance. you have established your signature role as announcer "ladieeees aaand gentlemen. preeeesenting..." you love your r. this year, since you were three, was the first year for all of us that i did not participate with you in your activities. when you and r were headed to sports class, where i watched from outside, you made a point to tell r "it's ok. we'll be together. we have each other." i could not have said it better myself.
you are really growing up fast. it's amazing to me how in one single day i can see flashes of the future where you are sixteen years old and also the past where you are one year old. i pick you up from school and ask how your day was and you tell me today you got your driver's license. i laugh at the thought (you are three!) but also think about how fast time has gone by and i bet i will blink and you will really be getting your driver's license. and later that day i give you a drink of water and you say "thank you, mommy" while touching your face to also sign "thank you" and i flash back to you at one and a half years old. half your current age. half your current size. and yes i just blinked and two whole years went by.
c, you are a wonder. recently you said "i think God made me to love blocks." i bet He did. and i know God made me to love you. and i am so grateful for this chance to know you and learn about you and learn from you. happy birthday. i love you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

on why we will never live in the land of nod. sigh.

you've heard of the land of nod, right? imagine if pottery barn and williams-sonoma mated into little baby neat and tidy gingham chairs. matching adorable alphabet rugs. squeaky clean and organized kid shelves with books in alphabetical order. transitioning seamlessly from robots and outer space to butterflies and peonies. sigh. sighsighsigh. curses. i hate you land of nod. hate. you. but i really love your organization in your fantasy world of make believe. where there are no children. actually there are no adults either. who are you kidding? no one can keep a room that neat. just enough adults and stagers to produce a picture beyond perfect fake playroom where it looks like mr. clean magic erased from top to bottom in one fell swoop.
but i can't get over it.
i have the "rainbow connection" track running in my head (kermit's version. obvi.) while i imagine a land where all the baby doll supplies stay in the baby doll supplies area (p.s. why am i not done with diapers? i'm still diapering. dolls.). all the trucks and machines stay parked on the trucks and machines shelves. it's always a tea party. never missing a spoon or saucer. (and said missing spoon or saucer never ends up in, let's say, mommy's laundry in mommy's closet. random.). a land where train tracks are for enabling trains t0 happily choo-choo along their way. never taken apart. over. and over. and over. so that mommy has to further herniate her disc (L4/L5, not that you wanted to know) spending hours hunched over to produce the most perfect train track configuration. ever. a land where art supplies are at the ready at all times. non-washables abound! spray paint! sharpie markers! and never a stray mark to be found on a table. or a wall. or a white linen curtain, for example. (my fault for doing white, right?).
enter hypocrisy. i don't want those kids in the land of nod catalog. fake little robot kids. who put their stuff away immediately after using it. "i think i am done with the yellow dump truck for the moment. let me return the yellow dump truck immediately to it's yellow dump truck space in the truck parking garage i call shelves. thank you dump truck. it was a fun 30 seconds. i'll take you out for a run again, but only after i attempt to build something with my tools and then return all tools to my neatly organized workbench." really. reeeeeally. come on. i want three-year-olds. footloose and fancifull, fancifree three-year-olds. because really, they can get away with this s now. i am now envisioning a blog post in 2022 when i'm complaining about sweaty sweat socks that are found trickled all over the floor in various rooms of our house and half-eaten hot dogs found stuffed in the cushions of the couch. please no.
so here's to you, land of nod. i am currently living in the land of no. and i am trying to embrace it. (however, if you would like to compensate me for saying your name 6 times on my blog, a blog that coincidentally is read by 6 people, i won't turn it down. it should be, though, for at least $36,832 [roughly] since that's how much it would cost to turn my land of no into the land of nod [7!]).
my land of nod. (took 20 minutes to complete).
my land of no. (took 20 seconds to complete).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

i only have brain space for four thoughts. awesome.

random thoughts of the moment:

1. last night at a movie a stranger thought i was part of a group of high school girls. i was flattered that he thought i looked so young. or. OR. what if he thought i was their mom?

2. a slip n' slide is not nearly as fun when you have boobs. just FYI.

3. go away flatty flat sandals of the season. particularly the ones full of beads and/or bling. i am 5'2". after years and years (and years except for my recent hiatus from stilettos for the safety of the two babies i was likely carrying/pushing/shuffling) and flat shoes are less comfortable to me than stilettos. for real.

4. i am on a quest to find the following items:

a. i really want harem pants. don't judge. i don't want mc hammer harem pants. but i DO want the ones that are tight with the big pockets. those are cute. no silk. no jewel tones. you can't touch this.

b. good exfoliator that does not rank at an 8 (out of 10) on the toxic list. (if you do not know about this, you must.

c. karaoke set list so i can begin preparing for a one-night only appearance in NYC. tickets are going fast.

d. robert downey, jr. you know. just in case someone on the interwebs has a connection. hey, you never know.

don't just talk amongst yourselves (or to yourself) here people. please share.

hate you

love you

Thursday, April 22, 2010

and now i am my mother

clue #1:
you know. there have been plenty of days that i return home after attempting to leave my neighborhood because i have a not-fleeting feeling i left the garage door open (it was closed). but what if it was open? what if then the door from the garage to the house opened and my dog escaped and he's not street smart because he's a maniac and not allowed on a leash and so he ran right smack in between two headlights of an oncoming car because he thought he smelled peanut butter? what IF? that could happen. but it didn't. or one time my fear was rationalized because i came home after several hours when i had left the straightening iron on. ON. OMG it no fire. no burns. but justified my somewhat frequent returns to the scenes of the not crimes. just to make sure. this does not make me my mother. but i have been told more than a few times to unplug EVERYTHING. and not to put wooden spoons in dishwashers. and i still cannot walk over those holes in the street with metal fence-like barricades over them. what are those exactly? regardless. what do i think i'm going to fall in there? i would have to pry my tiptoes down in there. pretty sure my entire body is not going to fit. or is it going to break? it's not aluminum foil. am i maximum capacity? now i am sure i'm going to pass this worry wartness onto my offspring. hello. their feet COULD actually fit in there. and maybe their whole leg. now i maneuvered a little C leg out of the crib rails once or twice. but a gutter? not interested in that rescue mission. and not saving it for the wonder pets. we'll just walk around.
clue #2:
why am i lecturing the friendly gymboree employee about why toddler girls' skirts are made SO SO SHORT and why can't someone just make some moderately short skirts that have shorts attached? why? WHY? especially when i am purchasing a gymboree skirt at that exact moment that does in fact have shorts attached. not this lady's problem. leave her alone. but seriously. first of all, let's put some length in the skirts and/or shorts. i don't care if it's hot. 2 more inches is not going to up the already too hotness. it's not possible to up the already too hotness unless the extra 2 inches are made of fleece. second of all, even if it's moderately short, let's throw some little shorts under there. i'm not talking about a skort. no. no. no. NO. i don't want the mullets of clothing on my child. i just want her bootie covered. is that too much to ask? i know it's a little tiny bootie and i know it's cute. but it's not for public viewing. there's a reason dora doesn't make it to any shirts. only suitable for undies. maybe pj's. all of a sudden i'm remembering my first fight with my bff, holliday, when we were in 4th grade and made our classmates pick their first teams. you know, you're on team holliday or team betty. choose. choose if you think it was ok for someone to tell a little girl that she shouldn't be flipping over the monkey bars showing everyone her business in her short skirt and hello kitty undies (team betty) or if you think it's fine for a 6-year-old to dangle while onlookers laugh and point and mock (team holliday). if i had to choose a team today, i don't know what i'd do. except. except i'd suggest to the girl's mother that she put some damn shorts under the skirt so she can act like a little 6-year-old nadia comaneci wannabe and uneven monkey bars her little heart out. because that's what my mama told me. i would have been in shorts. and now my R will be in shorts under her skirts. thankyouverymuch.
clue #3:
what preschool in their right mind would have painting at preschool, done by preschoolers, with NOT washable paint. i'm sorry, that's NOT washable BLACK paint. that makes sense right? oh. no smocks either. nope. just go for it! i have encountered many an art stain by the washable paints. me and my oxyclean. we've tackled some trickiness. but non-washable paint. really? and how was i to know? i didn't see it coming. i let her wear her new favorite shirt. it was from target. it was $8. what can she do to it at school? a little apple juice? no prob. a little scuff of dirt from the playground? thank everything i didn't send her in the oilily dress. washwashwashwash. no prob. washwashwashwash. but blacknon-washablepaint. damn. it. scarred forever. blemished forever. darling bright pink shirt with sweet yellow flowers. maysherestinpeace. i'll just go get a new one. hello it was $8. no biggie. oopsie. not there anymore. cripes. now what. that shirt is gone baby gone. OR. wait a minute. i think i can. yes. i can. i will remove said sweet yellow flowers from the non-washable black paint stained shirt and i will attach (sew. i'm sewing. i'm a sewer. no no not a sewer. i'm not anthony from project runway making my big finish dress out of polyester. heart you anthony! what's the word? seamstress? bygones. i'm exhausted.) the flowers to a brand new non non-washable black paint stained shirt. yes i will. yes i did. i'm excited! how exciting! "Loooook, R! you're non-washable black paint stained shirt has been reinvented! better than christina aguilara! what? you don't want to wear it? what? you don't care? are you sure you don't care? are you sure you're not still devastated from the black non-washable paint stain incident? are you sure? really? it was pretty awful. i mean. i've seen stains before but. that one was bad. and you were so sad. don't you remember how sad you were? you were sad. depressed really. you wouldn't even eat (for 10 minutes. 2 actually.)." this is just like when my sister (older, wiser, more mature, less likely to hurl herself off of the top bunk) and i got bunk beds and i was relegated to the bottom bunk. obvi. it was good (woohoo! exciting! bunk beds!). it was bad (why oh why must i be the occupant of the bottom bunk where it's only possible to hurl myself from 10 inches in the air? what a waste.). so my most amazing mother crafted. serious crafting. a blue sky scene with the most eightiestastic rainbow with white puffy clouds. it was like looking up into a giant lisa frank sticker. sigh. i might still love it. a lot.
so, friends and anonymous counting crows fans (ok i don't get many comments so i better thank folks when i get them), i can only hope/wish on my lisa frank rainbow that i am actually becoming my mother. i still get care packages. not just for her grandkids either. sometimes some things just for me. she's the best. not to mention that she gave me genes which resulted in zero stretch marks even after carrying and delivering two biggish bouncing babyloves at the same time.
she would kill me if i ever posted a photo of her but this is basically what she looks like.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

i am not the next american idol

holy hell i haven't posted on here since the end of january and i just checked my google analytics and like 3 people have been checking this blog at least once a year and i had like 2 unmoderated comments and i am a blogger. fail.

with no good reason because i'm still holding on to those beloved naps. i could blog during naps right? wait a second. don't even think about jinxing this one, universe. you cannot take the naps away. you. can. not. period. double period. i really mean it. so what if i have to sing my pre-schoolers to sleep every single day? so what if it sometimes takes THIRTY minutes? so what? so what. i get at least an hour of peace and quiet and aloneness. and you know what? i'm not a particularly talented singer so when else will i have the stage and have requests thrown at my feet. true story. somewhat recently R heard cat power on the radio and asked "Is that mommy singing?" i sound nothing like cat power. nothing. i couldn't even sneeze like cat power. but. but someone (two someones) wants to hear me sing. and someone (two someones) want me to hang out with them until they are asleep. and that someone (two someones) soon enough is going to think i am categorically destroying their cool. or their game. or their fun. or their something else that children think their parents destroy for them. and so i'm hanging on. i'm enjoying my 10 maybe 25 minutes of auditioning for fake ellen degeneres', making the wrong song choices of "goodnight sweetheart" (didn't bring anything new to it) and "you've got a friend" (didn't engage the audience).

so i've also been planning an overprogrammed summer since we will not have school. omg we won't have school. and i do mean we. because we all benefit from school. first of all C and R are in big time LOVE with school. i mean big. i mean they don't want to leave. today i bribed them out of school with fruit snacks. mom of the year. but it was the first truly successful, seamless departure from school EVER. so cost-benefit analysis is win. i keep telling myself this is a good problem to have. lots of kids hate school. they cry when parents drop them off. who wants to leave a crying, sappy sad puddle of mush, crying "moommmmyyyyy! please don't le-eave me-eee." i know because i had a few of those (one or two or twenty) in the early days. but hey, it's great when they're all "why can't we go to school every single day? it's more fun at school. school is more fun than home. school is more fun than you. school is better than you. we hate you." those aren't direct quotes but i'm pretty sure that's what they said. and that's why they run away from me when i go to pick them up. and sometimes there are tears (happened this week). and sometimes there are parking booties down on the asphault in the school parking lot (happened this week. different kid. not the crying kid.). so, hey a whole summer of no school. should be delightful! so i'm intentionally overprogramming them. hey, apple doesn't fall far. they'll be able to keep up. they'll get color-coded planners. correction: they'll design and craft and utilize color-coded planners. or they'll just run amok and be so happy they're not stuck in the clink. i mean our house. because you know it is only nice outside for 2 weeks where we live. and we're on week two right now. so we have to seize the opportunity for outdoor fun before the sun's scorchy rays seize and singe and make us slather sunscreen so we can walk to the mailbox to get the mail. cross fingers. please be something good. make it worth the sunscreen and heat. maybe anthropologie catalog? or dsw reward? or a nice bottle of pinot noir?

please, universe dear universe, let us keep our sacred naps through the summer. if not for me. for my people. my fans. p.s. will this fit in my mailbox?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

round here

we always stand up straight

well, maybe not "we" as in people. but definitely "we" as in our belongings. this is how things show up in our house. yes, someone has an affinity for order. and i don't just mean me. makes me feel warm inside though. no snuggie necessary.
of course, also round here we talk just like lions (or monsters. roar.). ohmygosh. maybe we are a counting crows song. thank everything we don't stay up very, very, very, very late.
wait. a. second.
ok i'm back.
i had to check out some more counting crows lyrics. scratch that. ever paid attention to counting crows lyrics? depressing. not childlike footloose fancy free at all. at. all. more like i'm alone. i've been laying on the floor. i love someone who left me. i'm depressed. i'm trying to get sober. blah blah blah. this is not what we are about. at all. and don't go thinking mrs. potter's lullaby is any better. or anything lullaby. crying, sorrow, rejection. nothankyou. this makes tori amos seem cheerful. anyhoot, it is pretty entertaining to enter a room and see that the order fairy has paid a visit.
that's the yin.
here's the yang:
shoetastrophe. clearly the catastrophe fairy has paid a visit.
ok i'm not over this counting crows thing. i know. so 90's. but how did i not know that every song was deeeeepressing. seriously. i challenge you, dear reader to come up with a happy counting crows song. or line of a song. it's hard. and i must now drown myself in carebears and "these are days" by 10,000 maniacs to make myself feel better. OMG i said drown myself! see? see?! depressing. what am i talking about? i'll play candyland too. that will help. candyland. carebears. happy music. and i'll organize something.
enter smiley emoticon here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

barium is the new lead

so melissa and doug has become my go-to. when the lead paint freakout of 2008 started and every plastic everything started getting recalled, i went wooden. even though wood still gets painted. with paint with lead in it. bygones. plus i like the way wooden toys look. i came across a recall notice in canada for a melissa and doug toy we have. stackable train. i called the number. here is my best recollection of the conversation that followed.
let's call her "melissa."

melissa: melissa and doug greeting blahdity blah blah
me: hi. i'm calling about a recall notice on the stackable train.
melissa: oh. that is like a year old.
me: well my kids have been playing with it for the last year and i just found out about the recall.
melissa: what's the blahdity blah blah number.
me: number.
melissa: well your train was not in the bad batch. so it's fine.
me: well what was wrong with the other ones? something toxic in the paint?
melissa: barium. it's totally fine. they actually give it to people [me thinking: um yeah. if your going to get an xray. not if you're going to a playdate]. and your kid would have to eat 45 trains in order for it to be a problem.
me: ok. well that's a lot of trains to eat.
melissa: yeah. so i would say, you know, if you're kid is hungry, try a cookie.
me thinking: not a melissa and doug cookie. those will help you in an xray situation but otherwise will kill you.
me actually: nervous laugh.
end scene.

this is not normal. this is not a normal interaction. right? what do i do? ban melissa and doug toys from my home? they're kind of taking over the joint. what's worse? the barium paint or the customer snarkice?

p.s. customer snarkice is the new buzz phrase. feel free to use it but make sure you cite me.
bring your train!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

aw freak out

not fabulous. not fierce.
this is what freaked me out today.
i know. it's sweet. someone tucked him in. IN MY BED. unbeknownst to me.
freaked. me. out.
and in case you were singing...
aw, freak out
le freak, c'est chic
freak out
le freak, c'est chic
here i am, gonna stand my ground
nothin' in the world's gonna bring me down
hear me yell and hear me roar
i am somethin' that you can't ignore
i am here for all of us
i am fierce and we're all fabulous
freak out
so fabulous, so fierce
freak out
so beautiful, so freaky
freak out
so fabulous
so fabulous, so fierce
freak out
so beautiful, so freaky
freak out
le freak, c'est chic

Sunday, November 22, 2009

they stayed in their seats

in the movie theater for curious george.
will they stay in their seats in the theater for the nutcracker?
R: "can i wear my tutu?"
me: "yes, of course."
R: "and i can dance?"
me: "well, the ballet dancers will dance. and we will all watch."
R: "and i can dance?"
me: "um. they will be on stage. and we will be sitting in our seats. on our booties. watching them."
R: "and i can wear my tutu?"
me: "yes"
R: "and i can dance?"
me: "you can watch them dance, learn the moves, and then dance when we get home."
R: "but i already have moves."


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

three. is the magic number.

dear r,
today you are three. three years old! three! years! old! for the last three months you have been asking me pretty regularly "today is my birthday?" "it's my birthday today?" is your birthday! it's your birthday today! you love birthdays. and not just your own. sometimes it's your baby stella's birthday (recently renamed baby ivy). sometimes it's mommy's birthday. sometimes it's baby elmo's birthday. and there's always cake involved. and usually candles. this year i have fallen more in love with you, my baby. and you have fallen more in love with your babies. you have a lot of babies. you take such good care of them. and one of your favorite all time things are real live babies. which our friends have been gracious to share with you. and you are a very good mama. you push your dolls in the stroller. you take them to "the park." you rock them. you feed them. you change their diapers. you read books to them. you sing to them. repeat. you put them down for naps. you even put me down for a nap a time or two. you dress them too. but you also love to dress yourself. it started with dress up. shoes, tutus, hats, beads, singlasses. every accessory possible. and then you started really having opinions about your own clothes. so in the mornings you will tell me what color you want to wear. or what outfit you want to wear. sometimes you really have a strong opinion. of what you. must. wear. you really know what you want. and you really know how to get it. you make things happen. and then you tell everyone about it. in great detail. you had a way with words early on. people are often amazed by your vocabulary and how well you speak. what really amazes me is when you use words like "actually" and "in fact" in sentences. correctly. when you were about two and a half you almost knocked me over when you put your hand gently on my shoulder, looked into my eyes, and said "sweetie. it's ok." "well the thing is" is how you start many sentences. and you also thanked God for delivering your papa's birthday card. to florida. you are also very good at speaking spanish. and let me not forget the singing. oh the singing. i have never heard a more touching rendition of "this little light of mine" than yours. it brings joy to my heart and a smile to my face every time i hear you singing. and that's often. because not a day goes by that you don't burst into song. in fact, you kind of sing more than you talk. and shortly after your second birthday you busted out full choruses of songs. some of your favorites include indigo girls, stevie wonder, james taylor, and sha na na. sorry about that last one. your memory astounds me. you are still talking about the day at baby yoga when you were one and a half (exactly one and a half years ago) that a block fell on a baby and the baby got hurt. sometimes months will go by and we're on our normal errand to the grocery store, close to yoga, and you repeat the story. you really remember. especially people. you love to talk about people. names. kids. mommies. where they live. you could go on and on. but your favorite person is C. you always want to know what he is doing. where he is. sometimes you want to stand by his seat and feed him his food or give him his drink. or put on his shoes. you want to take care of him. the other day you and i went out to exchange one of your birthday gifts you received that you already had. you chose a cool new book. for C. you are a very good sister. plus you are lots of fun. you are a total firecracker. you can dance like nobody's business. and you have the best expressions. of. all. time. you are so animated. you have these beautiful daddy blue eyes. but i think you must actually have a light switch too because they can sparkle up a room. this year you got your first official haircut. you hair has gotten so long. it has the slightest most perfect amount of curl. you naturally look like you are wearing mascara and lipstick and have curled your hair but i promise i have not done any of those things. much to your disappointment. one day. sometimes you will walk over to me and crawl into my lap and say "i love you mama." and as i hold you, even though you're leggy and dangly now, it reminds me of when you were a teeny tiny 5 lbs making sweet baby cooooooo sounds. but this is better because now you say "i love you mama." and you can put your arms around me and hug me sooo tightly. and really who could ask for more than that? happy birthday. i love you.

dear c,
today you are three years old. and all those parents of the past who have said things like "I don't know where the time goes." or "it goes so fast." or "you blink and they're grown up." are now making sense to me. oh my gosh you are three years old. and let me tell you something. you are wise beyond your years, mister. you started putting words together early. two word sentences well before two years old. but this year. i could barely keep up with your vocab. of all the words you were able to fire back at me, including "predicament," the ones that i can most easily recall occurred back in february. i don't know if you were feeling the valentine's spirit of love. but as i rocked you in my arms one night, you said "love you so much." and i think i am still melting. you are one of the sweetest little people i have ever met. you melt my heart on a daily basis. the melting also occurs due to your astounding what color do i call them-stop you in your tracks amazing eyes. we call them hazel. but i think they are grey. blue. green. specks of brown. specks of yellow. i'm talking about the most amazing color i have ever seen. and your lashes flap. and if you smile really big i can see your dimple in your right cheek. melt. lately i have been staying in your room while you and R fall asleep. you look at me with your heavy eyelids and you smile. you smile yourself to sleep. i haven't been able to regularly watch you fall asleep since you were a baby so i am savoring this time. i get to sing you songs. lately you've been requesting "you've got a friend" known to you as "the seasons." people are immediately taken with your stronghold on the english language. but they're also taken by your sweetness and your manners. you don't let a good deed go unthanked. and are happy to have added appropriate use of "you're welcome" to your repertoire. you are willing to share everything. and i mean everything. with everyone. a true democrat. speaking of democrats, you somewhat frequently mention that obama lives in washington d.c. and "we would have to take an airplane to get there." back to sharing. this year during our potty training adventure, you and r got to celebrate success with mini-cupcakes. you even offered your beloved cupcake to R sometimes when you received one and she did not. that's love. this year you were pretty excited to get your own sandbox. speaking of love. you would play in the sand for hours on end. you love the stuff. so imagine your excitement (well, i'm sure you can. it's your excitement after all) when you stepped foot on a beach for the first time. a whole land of sand! what to do?! the sand love was followed by the movie love. in a movie theater. the woman sitting next to us cracked up at you cracking up at curious george. and i did too. you totally got it and you totally loved it. i think curious george really inspired you because you really figured out sometimes you can do things that make people laugh. and that. is. awesome. sometimes i don't think it's funny. and i tell you it's not funny. and you say "well it's funny to me." touche. you have never met a tool you didn't like. lately you have been making up games which you teach me. and also making up rhymes. you are so excited when you have something new and cool you have come up with. you use your hands to express your excitement "tofu and zabu is a rhyme!" you really get focused when you are doing something you enjoy like golf or art. focus. focus. you're intense. last month you picked up your paining to move paint around the paper making "paths" with the paint. it was awesome. and beautiful. you are so creative. you love your tools and sports and art and you also love your sister. this year you, though we don't call her this, added a Y on to the end of her name. and it is so darn cute. sometimes she will put on her tutu and start to dance and you will start a lovely rendition of "ballerina girl" by lionel richie. "ballerina girl, you are so lovely." what a lucky girl to have you as her brother. and what a lucky mommy to have you as my son. happy birthday. i love you.