You are one tough cookie these days. You seem to be enjoying finding out just where the edges of the envelope are, and regularly, you cross the line. This is not very endearing. I know you're going through a completely age appropriate stage, and psychologists have lots of reasons why this happens, but that doesn't make it easy or fun for me. Your throw-downs appear minor compared to what others tell me about, but still Connor, give us a break next month.
This properly belongs in last month's newsletter, but I forgot about it when I was scrambling to write your very late letter, so I'll include it here. For a long time, I worried that you had inherited your father's musicality, which is to say, a performance at Carnegie Hall was not in your future. Once, many years ago, your dad and I were walking down the street in Adams Morgan. Your dad was singing a little tune quietly, and I recognized the words of the song, but the notes were nowhere close to how I had heard it performed. As in, sometimes your dad's voice got higher when it should've gotten lower and vice versa - not just the normal version of not quite right which involves being a little high or a little low. I paused and asked "is that what that song sounds like to you?" and your dad looked at me as if I had just asked him "do you have two ears?" - because the answer was that obvious to him. Yes, that is exactly what the song sounds like, and what are you questioning? OK.
You have never been terribly interested in music classes, though you took a few with a companion of yours. But recently, you have taken a keen interest in songs. A few months ago, you properly identifed that "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "ABC" are sung to the same tune. You also became fascinated with the idea of a round, whereby I start singing "row, row, row your boat" and then your dad would start after I finished the first line of the song. For a few weeks, you would attempt to sing, too. You would always start, but as soon as I entered, you would start singing my line. No more. You sing your own line now. And...and...your voice goes up at the right time, it goes down at the right time, it stays the same pitch at the right time. When I sing you questions, you sing a response to me. You will sit in the backseat of the car and sing a tune, filling in different words, which are almost always very funny. You will also sing questions to me in cute little tunes. This thrills me.
We visited the dentist for the second time. I sat in my chair, you sat in yours. At first, the hygenists were very nervous about the thought of a three year old being unaccompanied, but you were a champ. I think the secret is that since you do not watch television at home, you are fascinated by the television at the dentist's office. The dentist's report is that you clearly take after your father in the tooth department - and that is a very, very good thing for my pocketbook. The only issue he sees is that your teeth may be a little bit crowded. That is a phrase my parents never heard.
You have decided that tormenting your teacher is among your favorite activities, which resulted in me getting called in for a special parenting meeting. Seriously, Connor? Are you going to be the trouble maker in class? I think not, because I am not prepared to deal with that.
You brought home a book about two pets that stuck together during Hurricane Katrina and I almost cried when you started asking questions about why the owners of the pets had to leave them behind, and I did my very best to answer without freaking you out, and finally I told you "it was a really hard time". And Connor, I remember those days all too well. You were a tiny baby. I would go down in the basement to feed you and turn on the television. During the morning shows, the only news that was being reported was about all the devastation of the storm and every bone in my body wanted to do something to make things better, but I was helpless. And I would look at this tiny baby in my arms - you - and wonder if the government was forever going to be an embarrassment to me. I would wonder if you would ever find yourself displaced, with nowhere to turn, because all your neighbors and family members lost everything they had, too. I would contemplate how unfair the world is when I would realize that realistically, you are very unlikely to face the circumstances that many people in New Orleans and other areas in the Gulf Coast faced simply by virtue of being born to your dad and me - while an equally deserving child faced the possibility of life ending all too early, because there was no one to take care of them. And you know what, Connor? Someone loves those kids as much as I love you and Helen, but for a variety of reasons, some babies just weren't and aren't protected. And I am very sad about that. And I think that we, as a nation, can do better. The show I remember most? I remember when Oprah Winfrey took her crew into New Orleans. After hearing the government make excuses for not sending in supplies to a city that was LEVELED, saying that it was bedlam, and there was no way they could get in, and they were stopping trucks of supplies saying it was too dangerous--there was Oprah, reporting that she was in the middle of it, she didn't feel like she was in danger, and people needed help. I have not read that book again, Connor, because I don't want to answer more questions about it. When you're older, you bet, but not now.
You enjoy putting on puppet plays at school and building houses with two friends of yours at school, and a third friend of yours insists to her mother that you and her play Mommy, Daddy, and baby with another friend of yours, but you refuse to acknowledge it. One day, she came home telling her mom that the two of you and two other girls were playing the "Obamas" and you, as the man of the group, were Barack. When I asked you about this, you flatly said "no I wasn't". I think this is because you are trying very hard to be the lone Republican in the house. What, with your stance on refusing to go to Spanish storytime any more because you like English!
You play dress-up regularly these days as well as trains, and trucks, and sand, and water. Your favorite games appear to be those that cause the most mess.
You provide able assistance in the garden, dumping the buckets of weeds into the trashcan after I pull them. You also can identify weeds and pull them on your own, and always, always, you love the worms.
When you're not intentionally trying to annoy us, you're still pretty fun to have around. But really, Connor, we hope the annoying phase passes quickly.