Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Year in Sam

Sam, my sweet.  This letter is late. I'm sorry.  We went to Austin for Thanksgiving and your birthday and then you got a stomach virus and John got strep and I got a cold and it just didn't work out.  But in the grand scheme of my life, baby, YOU are working out like everything I always imagined.

Except for the part about you hating your preschool teacher and hitting her more than 7x in one day.

Did that really happen, love?

Sam, you are THREE.  There have been 3 years of sweet baby Sam, but now the real YOU is coming out.  Not that it's anti-sweet ... it's just you and your youness, but it's not your baby self, or your toddler self ... it's  really YOU that is showing through now, as is normal for a 36 month old child.  I am almost 36 myself, and there are days when I think that we are equal in terms of patience and self-control.

Sam, you are definitely teaching me some lessons.  Like ...

  • Really, really, FOLLOW the golden rule, don't just talk about it.  
  • Make a counting lesson out of cutting fingernails.  Only 3 more ... !
  • Do something good after you've hurt the ones you love (like, poop in the potty for the first time after spitting at your preschool teacher, urinating on the floor, and telling her, "Shut your mouth.").  

Did that really happen, love?

  • Tell people when you did NOT do something bad (especially when your brother did).  
  • Explain all the "whys" away by saying, "Because I did."  
  • Hug everybody when you wake up.  
  • Notice when you look good and say, "Oh yeah, bay-beh."  
  • Say "Merry Christmas" everytime you see Christmas lights, just because they remind you of the season.  

I always wanted a Sam, and you are everything that I had in mind (and more). Way more, actually.  Which I think is what most people discover about their children, but we are not talking about other people's children. We are talking about YOU.

Here are some things that you say, ritually, that I think are grand:
  • "I don't know." (An answer to all sorts of philosophical questions.)
  • "Because I did." (A response to most questions that start with "why did you...")
  • "Ackshwawee."  (translation:  actually)
  • "You're my best." (see below)
  • "I wuvs you." (You can't say L's and you mark all verbs as if they are paired with a 3rd person subject)
  • "Mom, I didn't do dat."  (You always make note of things that you don't do, which usually your brother HAS done)
  • "I not a bad boe-ee."  (translation: "I'm not a bad boy.")
  • "Mom, you're my best." (translation. not. needed.)

Sam, you love to tell people that you like donuts and cheese.  And honestly, I think you could live off of just that.  Occasionally you will stomach applesauce, hummus, rice, pasta with dad's sauce, or some turkey, but otherwise, you just don't eat.  

Tonight I discovered that perhaps you are an introvert.  We talked for 30 minutes about your day today, which was better than yesterday, but still lacking in the successful-preschool-day department.  Finally, after half an hour, you began to really open up.  You told me that your teachers get mad.  That you get in trouble. That Cooper tells you all sorts of bad things (like, "Shut your mouth."). And then you hugged me and hugged me and hugged me in that way that only working moms can translate into, "You don't spend enough time with me."

So there it is.  That ugly bit of us or me or whatever.  That part that I want to hide under the couch cushions like mismatched socks.  

We working moms can find blame for ourselves around every corner (as can outsiders).  But tonight I felt like our 30 minutes of snuggle time before bed was more important and better, somehow, than 8 hours in a good day of would-be stay-home Mommydom with ME.  (This is where you say, "PHEW!  Thank goodness I never had to deal with that."  Really, Sam.  Trust me on this one.)

Or maybe I'm just humoring myself.

There is so much to love about you, Sam.  And so much to wonder about.  I wish that I could always just be curious instead of judgmental.  And I'm sorry about that last bit.  If it makes you feel better, please know that I do it to myself too.

Last year, I wrote all these similes and metaphors about you, and likened you to an algebraic equation.  This year, I think I'll compare you to a grammatical structure that is at the top level of acquisition.  The kind of structure that both first and second language learners grasp only in their very advanced stages.  I wish I was in that advance stage of motherhood, but I fear that I'm not. 

The problem is that I feel like I'm grasping it all AFTER the test.  Because I learn so much from the exams!  It's just ... can they please not all be pop quizzes?  

And so I'll end this letter with the same words that I end every night:

I wuvs you, Bams. And nothing you can ever say or do will stop that.  I hope you have sweet and long dreams.  I'll see you when you need me.  If you need me, call me, and I'll be right here.  


p.s.  You're my best too.
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Tuesday, December 04, 2012