Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy 30 months!

Dear Connor,

This month, you officially turned 2.5. And you introduced me to the proverbial "terrible twos" and as of this writing, I can say "we made it" - and there were a few moments this month when I wasn't sure I would be writing this post.

This month, our au pair moved in and all in all, the transition has gone better than expected. Which is to say, you definitely like her and want to include her in your life, but for at least the first couple of weeks, you ran the show more than she did. Last week, I wised up and called in reinforcements to keep you attended to while your sister learned to drink from a bottle. Vickie brought Teo over and the two of you had a standing playdate which you will continue for two more days this week. After that, I'm hoping the au pair can handle the job. If not, childcare woes will be back in the forefront of my mind.

Our friend Fiona gave you a series of books, one of which is titled "Mr. Bossy" and you have decided to emulate him with force (which is not at all endearing). My mom is probably reading this thinking "you get what you deserve".

Most nights you sleep great (thank you), but this month you have had the occasional disturbance and wow, Connor, has that been hard. To be fair, you were sick, your dad went out of town for a couple of nights, Mod moved in, and I went back to work. That's a lot for you to deal with. But Connor, it's not just that you wake everyone up (except Helen who seems immune to your fire siren wails), but one night this month when your dad went in to see if you were crying because you had a bad dream you wailed "I don't want Mommy to go back to work". Game. Set. Match. I laid there in my room across the hall as my heart broke into two pieces motionless, hoping your dad had some magic answer (he was silent). So there I was at 4AM, holding back tears, wondering if I should really be going to work. And I guess all working moms have this dilemma at one time or another, but I haven't had to seriously work through it yet, so I guess my time is now.

Your memorizing has become a bit freakish at times. One morning this week, you recited "Make Way for Ducklings" which is not a short book - and then you asked me to read it to you backwards, which I did, and then you did the same. That is just weird, dude.

I've been trying to figure out how you will spend your days next year, and being that we live in a place with way too many kids for the spaces available in preschool, I was hit with the stark realization that I had to get you on a list now if I had any hopes of finding you a spot next year. But, your dad and I decided that under no circumstances would we be sending you anywhere 5 days a week, and the good folks that run most preschools around here decided that anything less than 5 days a week was unacceptable. I did find a couple of 'schools' with fewer than 5 day programs but I gotta tell you, Connor, I toured one last week and the experience was nothing less than jarring. You see, when we first started going to the Waldorf parent-child program, I thought it was pretty odd. Everything is made of natural fibers and there are simply no plastic things in the room. There are old tree stumps to move around and climb on, sticks to build with, wooden playstands that turn into houses, and no toy would ever seem right with a battery in it. Coming from teaching at a few traditional pre-schools, I thought "whoa - where is the joy?" but now that I've seen you in the classroom once each week since you turned 2, I get it, and I love it. When I toured this new preschool with all its bright colors and plastic toys, and a COMPUTER!, I thought it was so overstimulating that it could not possibly make for a good environment, and I pivoted right out of there and needless to say, that's not where you'll be spending your days. This is somewhat strange, given that our home is full of brightly colored plastic, but it's not full of lots of kids, so it doesn't seem nearly as chaotic as that traditional classroom. I was even somewhat put off when the tour guide proudly announced that on inclement weather days they have this nice gym you can go to. And so I asked "they don't go outside in the rain?" and she continued proudly "oh never!", as if you would surely melt. And that made me sad, because some of our really fun times at parent-child class this year have been when Mrs. T. spots a worm in a big puddle and when you and Fiona splash so much that water goes flying everywhere. It just doesn't seem right anymore to trap a kid inside when there are puddles to be splashed in just outside the window.

We tossed around the idea of getting you an age exemption and sending you to Waldorf school 3 days a week next year, but after talking it through with the teacher and then your dad, I have finally decided that we will have another year of parent-child next year (one morning each week) and if a spot opens up at a coop run by the county, you can go play there once or twice each week.

You totally threw me for a loop when you accompanied me on our visit to Liz's studio to get Helen's 3 month photos taken. You were such a ham that she ended up taking more photos of you. Now I have to decide which ones to keep!

And, while you have always imitated dogs regularly, you now simply bark "ruff" whenever you don't want to answer a question. I guess if I spoke "dog", I could decipher what you want, but I don't, so I have to repeat my question - sometimes several times until you speak my language.

As always, your eating is up and down. When Mod first arrived, you decided to convince her you didn't need to eat lunch, but I ended that one day. And, I have to give you credit, on three consecutive days you tried a new food (or an old one previously declared "yucky") and added it back into your diet. Way to go, little dude.

Your dad has finally agreed with me that you have some minor mental health issues. Perhaps not more than any other toddler, but they're there. I often tell folks you have OCD - but I think your dad thought I was joking. Until, on several occasions, you have gotten nearly hysterical because there's A PIECE OF FUZZ IN THE WATER and you make your dad fish it out before you would dare to get in the tub. And, oh my god, get everything out of the sink because it might go down the drain. And Mommy, can I see what is in the sink? And can you please reassure me repeatedly that nothing we care about will go down the drain. At one point, your dad asked me "do you think something is wrong with him". My reply "yes!" But your quirkiness is a part of what makes you our beloved little guy.


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