Sunday, September 28, 2008

Newsletter:July and August 2008 - M Edition

My Beautiful M,
I've struggled with what to write about our summer and have started this post many times in my head, only to be exhausted by the time I have uninterrupted computer time. Also, July and August seemed like such a slog at times that it seems there's little good things to say. Things are smoothing out, though, and I'd like to be sure to accurately recap our lives together, so here goes the good and the ugly.

As I said, July and August were long months of arguing, negotiating, disciplining, having tantrums, etc. We took you out of daycare early in July because you were going to miss two weeks of it (one for Safety City where you learned the Fire Song, and one for vacation) and then it was a few short weeks until school. I, stupidly, had romanticized this time as being one of endless fun and adventure - a last hurrah before you started Kindergarten. It didn't quite turn out like I'd intended, but I think that it's been a good lesson for both of us. And lest you think this was a horrible period or that, we did have some really great days that full of fun, laughter, joy, and silliness.

Our Battles, if you will, come because, at 5, you think you're ready for everything; while I, at almost 40, know that you're still my baby, also, I've been 5 too, so you're attempts to pull one over on dad and I have failed miserably. For instance, one day you were tasked with cleaning your room and blithely assured me that it wasn't going to take any time. I verified this with you because I knew how much of your stuff is squirreled away in various places in your room. Given this was not a normal, just pick up the walk spaces area of your room, I was dubious. Sure enough, when I went in and started checking, I looked under your bed. Lo and behold! Most of the mess in your room magically transported itself under the bed. Busted! Little did I tell you that I am a past master of the under-the-bed-hiding trick.

You want so much to be a grown up. Once, during an argument I told you that you were smart, but that because Mommy is older and has lived longer, that I am smarter.* You came back with, "but I'm a Mom, too!" In the moment, this is phenomenally frustrating, but also so poignant. Your heart is so big and you love your dolls so much, that it's inconceivable to you that you're not their mom in the way I am yours. I have to take heart, too, that some (not all) of your behavior is your attempt to be me, which if you were an adult parent, would make me proud. However, as you're only 5, I will stay as the Mommy if you please.

This summer, we went on vacation to Mackinac Island and Traverse City to see family. You wanted to spend time with anyone other than your parents, blithely going off with the Kids Program on Mackinac and playing with your older cousins (D, D, and M). Since we've been home, there have been numerous conversations about how we wished D & M lived closer and plaintive queries as to when we'd see them again. We've also had endless discussions about Hannah Montana (who we don't watch) because D likes her. Your conversations usually goes like this:

M: I love Hannah Montana
Me: Really, why?
M: Because D does.

I've tried to explain that there is nothing inherently great about Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, but because D loves her; so do you.

In August, we were able to take one of our girls-only trips to Mackinac Island. This time, Sissy went with us and we stayed with Nana. Last year, you and I went three times (twice together and once with dad), so this was our first one with Sissy. We had such a good time, having chocolate shakes at the Jockey Club, going to Turtle Park, helping drive the taxi on the way to Nana's, playing chase at the playground (where I hurt my ankle), going really fast on the way to the docks, missing dad. It was questionable whether we'd go since we'd been arguing, but I didn't want to miss out on our trips. I'm so glad we went. It reminded me how much fun we have together when I relax.

One thing that was different for both of our trips was that you didn't want to watch DVDs the entire way. Instead, especially when you, Sissy and I went, you wanted to talk; and so we did for about half of the way. You are endlessly curious and we discussed Coast Guard cutters, freighters, etc. which was very taxing at times because you ask very specific and detailed questions to which Mommy doesn't always know the answer. I try my best, though, and what I don't know, we try to ask Daddy, or someone else.

Starting kindergarten, I think, has really helped give us both some needed breathing space. I wrote a separate post about your first day, but it bears saying here, that despite all our challenges in the past few weeks, I missed you all day. I worked in the kitchen and kept looking out at the water tower and wondering what you were doing and how it was going. The hug you gave me when I saw you (I met you on the way home) was more because you had had so much fun than just to see me (although I know you were happy to see me too). You positively glowed with excitement. Although I knew you'd love Kindergarten, it was so good to see you again.

As I wrote earlier, we had some pretty hard days, but they seem to be smoothing out. You still have days where you don't listen and I have days where I ride you on everything, but I think we're learning how to better coexist. I'm trying to spend more one-on-one time with you and I think it helps both of us. In caring for E, I've missed you so much. I am greedy and want all your infancy and toddlerhood back, but I would also miss who you are now. It's one of the major downfalls of parenthood - that the more I fall in love with you at various times, my heart is breaking for what came before. Sometimes, I can't wait until you are a mother so that you know how completely I love you and so that we can talk about what it means to be a mother, woman, etc.this. Of course, I'll be falling in love with you and eagerly awaiting to see who you'd next become, which only proves that this process will be for my lifetime and that figuring out how to live with one another now is so worth it.

I love you.


chicagoRED said...

what a cool gift to give to your girls. I love your letters. :)

KOJ said...

So I just got caught up on your blog after many delinquent weeks. You have no idea just how good of a mom you are...and the fact that M. can be a bit willful at times, that just speaks to the wonderful independence and self-of-sense her mom and dad have instilled in her.