Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy Month 53, Helen!

Dear Helen,

Someday, I suspect you will start going through this blog, and realize that I used to be quite good at writing monthly updates. I loved those, Helen. It was my moment to sit back and reflect on your development. Sadly, I haven't prioritized that, so there are many, many missing months. I'm sorry. But I promise you, I was doing the best I could. If you ever become a mom, you'll totally get this.

Helen can now reach the window control in the car. That is most fantastic, in case you couldn't tell.

The last time I drafted one of these notes, you turned 4. I must say, you came through in spades with my wish to have an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy six months with you. By the book, my friend, you have spent the past 5 months embracing everything you do, smiling, laughing, and generally being a pleasure to be around. I realize I might be cheating the fates, but just to put it out there, I am totally cool with you spending the whole year like this, rather than deciding to struggle into 5 for six months.

Of course, you have also shown your stubborn streak, are becoming a master story-crafter (and not always in a good way), and can stomp your feet with the best of them.

You still find yourself incapable of walking anywhere. You skip. You jump. Sometimes, you hop on one foot and point out that you are doing something "really amazing". I think your feet might have grown though, because you seem to be constantly stubbing your toes. You also seem somewhat accident prone in general. A few days ago, after calling your Uncle Bill for advice on whether I should take you seriously when you were screaming about your head hurting from a rather dramatic fall earlier in the day, I told you that you'd be wearing a helmet from here on out if you had one more accident. You thought I was kidding.

Helen was surprised by something at my office children's holiday party.
Mostly, you're a pretty independent little gal. We moved a bunch of cups to a drawer so that you could get your own water and in the morning when I'm with you, you're happy to pour juice for you and Connor. So long as the container isn't too full, the juice lands mostly in the cup. BONUS!

Everything you do seems to be exaggerated. When you sob, you sob loudly. When you are excited, you cheer. You choose outfits with pop and on the rare day that your clothes do match, you don a crazy hat before you head out of the door. You love the attention it all brings.

Just chasing pigeons in New York City.
Troubling to me recently is your insistence these days that you can't do certain things because they are "too hard". What? From my child who can tackle anything? I don't believe it. Not for a minute.

A few months ago, I decided that I needed to run again. Rather than leaving you with your babysitter, you insisted I bring you along with me. I dusted off the jogging stroller, inflated the tires, and set off. Although you only weigh about 27 pounds, that's a lot uphill. At the start of our jog, you insisted I was going too fast and you had to put your notebook away because it was too bumpy. By the time we got to a hill, you shouted several times "are you sure you're still running back there?". Yes, Helen, I was still running - or at least not letting you cruise unassisted to the bottom of the big hill.

You occasionally declare that you will be a meat eater when you grow up and that may well be true. For the most part, you still embrace food - except for sauce on pasta. You have decided that you do not like sauce on your pasta, and let me know regularly. You do, however, still like kale chips, so you get a pass on several other items.

Why yes, that is a balloon taped to Helen's head. And yes, she is the only one on the mountain that looks like this.
 You still adore school, and that's such a treat. On my drop-off day, you sometimes don't even hang out long enough to tell me good-bye. You've got pirate adventures and police and babies and oh so much more to attend to.

You have taken on the task of answering the phone. As soon as it starts ringing, you dash to it and ask "who are you" and then, if you know the person. you'll chat with them for a bit before bringing me the phone. Several times, a telemarketer has called, and I will hear you say "Do you KNOW my mom? Are you her friend?". By the time I get the phone, they seem as confused about calling me as you are about them calling me.

You've recently gone back to your insistence that you need a "real person" to sleep with. One night, I gave in, and this turned out to be one of my more brilliant parenting moves. You fell ill with some nasty virus in the middle of the night. You pretty much puked all over me, which I realize sounds like a bad thing. But the alternative? Way worse, I guarantee, so I gave myself a pat on the back and ran to the bathroom with you several times that night. The next day, you were not in very good shape, but after about 24 hours of keeping not even a few swallows of water down, the pox left our house. I credit my constant hand washing and sanitizing that day for saving the rest of the family from your fate.

Just taking a swig of pickle juice.
You love your ballet class, and it's caused me to learn one of your more freaky talents. At the age of not quite 4.5, when most children do not have a proper "r" sound, you can imitate many french ballet terms perfectly. You can also tell me how every child in your class says your name. It's pretty funny. Given your love for talking, I should be putting you in child theatre. But I think we both know that's not going to happen.

You have suddenly become aware of your size, and you check your clothes each day to make sure you are wearing a 4T. On the days when you put on a shirt that's a smaller size, you will remark with amazement that it still fits. Your underpants are 2T, and you regularly say in disbelief "Are you serious? I'm wearing a 2T?". Trust me, friend, someday you'll appreciate you small sized bottom.
If I'd known how much joy you would bring into my life, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been so nervous about you coming into it, Helen.



  1. I love calling when she answers the phone !

  2. This is a beautiful post. I have never done the monthly updates because I just can't seem to get my act together. Maybe I will make it a goal to do one post on each child before I go back to work. Thanks for the inspiration.