Monday, April 27, 2009

River News: Month Twenty-Four

Dear River,

I've known for a while that this would be your last River News, and I think that's why I've put off writing it for so long. You really are becoming a big boy now and though you still learn something new everyday, the milestones you reach are definitely fewer and further between. It doesn't make sense to collect funny anecdotes about you in my head for a month and not just write them down immediately. Twenty-four months - TWO YEARS! - also just feels like a nice round number to wrap this up. So though I plan to meticulously chronicle your ever-changing self (at least until you're teenager and tell me to knock it off), I won't be doing it in a monthly newsletter.

I want to start with some of my favorite moments from these past two months, mostly revolving around bedtime. We have had a pretty solid bedtime routine since you were six months old (bath, stories, songs), but you always like to add a new twist to the evening. Mostly these additions last a week or two (like hiding under the sheets or reading stories in your crib), sometimes they turn into permanent fixtures (ONLY daddy can dry you off after bath and bear HAS to sit with you through stories and songs). Lately you've been testing out some words to add to the bedtime routine. One night you asked daddy for "extra kisses" before we walked out of your room. The other night you MELTED MY HEART when you said for the first time, unprompted, "Wuv you." Mostly, though, the phrase that has stuck is, "Goo night, mommy. Goo night, daddy."

I love hearing you say these things because it shows how secure you are with bedtime, how all of our work to build a consistent routine these past two years has paid off. But mostly I just love hearing your sweet voice say happy things before you drift off to sleep.

As you get older, you become more aware of some of the dangers around you. You're careful in parking lots, saying, "Watch out. Cars," you don't attempt to go down the stairs on your own, and you know that ovens are hot. While it certainly makes life easier that you're not constantly attempting to do yourself physical harm, I'm a little sad to see some of your innocence go. Some of these dangers are trickling into your dreams and imaginary life as a way for you to process it all. The biggest way it's manifested lately is in monsters. You've had a growing fascination with them for the past two months, largely in a friendly, happy capacity. You crave monster books (they all turn out to be big, silly, and not that scary) and you created a couple monster imaginary friends you could carry around with you.

But after a couple weeks of seeing only happy monsters, you started to discover some scary monsters. You play games where monsters are coming up the stairs, hiding under the bed, or waiting for us behind a door. I know it's a healthy way for you to express your fears, and instead of telling you they're not real, I try to give you the means to get rid of them (mommy escorts the unwanted monsters out of the house or you tell them to leave). You have such a huge imagination which delights me to no end. I don't want to quell that, but I don't want you to powerless against your fears either.

March is a big month for birthdays (uncle Nelse, daddy, Finn, mommy, and you all celebrate March birthdays). So you got lots of practice with the birthday song and candles before it was your turn. We went to Las Vegas for a long weekend and had a great party with Nanu, Dadu, Oma, Opa, Nelse, and Sydney. You were showered with presents and knew just what to do when presented with a flaming bunny cake (blow out the candles and make everyone sing again, of course).

Back at home we had a huge party with all of your friends, and your auntie Melissa came to help mommy celebrate her 30th birthday. Your party was held a day early to coincide with the normal playgroup day, so on your actual birthday, mommy took you for a long train ride. We got on the subway in Central Square and just rode and rode. We switched cars, rode an above-ground line, and spent some time in the Boston Commons playground. We had a fantastic time and you were just thrilled with everything you saw.

Since then we've done a couple more train trips to nowhere and though they haven't inspired quite the same level of glee, I'm pretty sure they're becoming a regular fixture for us. I like just being with you, having no agenda, riding wherever the train takes us, and people watching.

Every weekend for this past month your father and I have been diligently working to finish your play structure. We finished last weekend, and though there's new grass seed in the yard (which means we can't really run around on it for a month) there has been no keeping you from your "orange playground." You love the sandbox, the climbing wall, the fort from which you can spray mommy with water and say "no girls!" You love the steering wheel and telescope, the swings and picnic table. You love the time outdoors with your dad, picking up worms and snails, and soaking in the sun. All of the work to put it up has been more than paid for with your happiness.

Your cousin Finn also loves following you around on your playground and burying himself in sand. You two are having great adventures together these days, and when you're not putting him into a choke hold or attempting to stuff him in the kitchen cabinets you seem to get along great. But if you had asked your uncle and aunt how things were going a month ago, they might have said something else entirely. Finn was still having a hard time standing on his own, so he would often use something - like your arm - to pull himself up. When he did this you complained, pointing at him and saying, "Finn pinch." Of course, that's not how it sounded to the grownups who burst into laughter and kept wondering why you were calling Finn a female dog.

As I write this your dad has taken you out to the playground and I am still in my pajamas recovering from a couple visits to the porcelain bowl last night. I was afraid I had caught this horrible bug going around which would have me wedded to the bed and the bathroom for a week. But I've managed to keep half a glass of water and piece of toast down, so I'm optimistic.

I'm still wary of giving you any illness, so I'm trying to keep my distance. It's incredibly difficult for me, since hugging and kissing you are highlights of my day and make me feel like nothing in this world could go wrong. I know there's a million more things to report, I'm leaving out telling about how intuitive you've become, how your language is growing, your compassion. I could talk about the great friendships you're developing, or some more of the fun places we've been together, but there will be more time for all of that.

As I close this last letter, I want you to know that I love you more than I ever imagined I could love someone, and that love is growing more each day. I am so proud of the little man you are becoming and so happy that I am lucky enough to be a part of your life. You are amazing, my River.

I love you love you love you,

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