“So the next day…”

Dear Alex,

OY. I’m so sorry that I haven’t been as on top of writing you as I once was! I called this letter “So the next day…” because when you are reading me a story (basically telling me your interpretation of the story based on pictures in the book), every time you turn the page you start it with “So the next day…” no matter how much time has actually passed in the story. LOL. We’ll call this “the next day” even though it’s actually been quite awhile since I wrote you a full letter. 😉

Hopefully someday if/when you have small children yourself, you’ll understand. I never knew the true meaning of busy, nor the true meaning of EXHAUSTED, until becoming a parent. And not just that but the parent of two young toddlers.

It is so much more challenging than I could have possibly anticipated. Especially given how difficult of a toddler Charlie is turning out to be. It makes me that much more thankful that you are such a good kid. Seriously, I hardly ever have to worry about you getting in trouble or even throwing tantrums. You are the sweetest, most thoughtful and caring 3 year old I’ve ever met. Although of course you have your moments….

… and those moments are especially tough when Charlie is also having a “moment,” LOL, overall you are a really good kid and we’ve been truly enjoying this phase of life with you. The last few months I’ve been working really hard on bringing more balance to our lives and taking better care of myself as an individual, which has helped a lot as well. As the saying goes, when Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy! 😉

One of the biggest changes we’ve made in that vein is the new tradition of having you & Charlie visit your grandparents one weekend per month. The two sets of grandparents alternate each month– so one month you go to Nana & Grump’s (which is where you are as I write this), the next you go to Papa & Grandma’s. I think this has been a great thing for you & Charlie (as well as for me & Dad).We’re really lucky that both sets of grandparents live close enough that we’re able to have this arrangement.  Having a good relationship with your grandparents is so important, and something that I’m sad to have missed out on (as most of my grandparents passed away when I was very young). 

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That being said, you’ve also bonded with Dad quite a bit more these last few months. I think part of that is out of necessity because I have to chase Charlie around so much (LOL), but also I think you’re coming to an age where Dad has an easier time relating to you. Your personality really shines through now, and OMG you are so like your father!

In addition to being fairly shy, you also love making people laugh (but you seem to have more of my goofy sense of humor vs. Dad’s dry sense of humor).

You struggle a bit with social anxiety and have a hard time adapting to change. You hate getting messy or wet (but do love swimming in the pool, despite this!).

Just like Dad, you are extremely smart and have amazing attention to detail. You are a true perfectionist– very harsh on yourself when you make even the smallest mistake (this is Dad to the life!), or if you think you’ve upset someone.

You really enjoy things that combine this analytical side of your brain with your creative side– you LOVE to draw, and are actually an extremely talented artist for your age, in my non-biased opinion. 😉

You also enjoy building things with legos (but moreso with Dad’s choking hazard legos. :-\ ) as well as with clay or playdoh.

You also love music and making up songs (which is something Dad does a lot too!).

Your feelings and emotions run deep– all in all I would say the biggest challenge with you at this age is working with you on handling your emotions, which is a pretty common issue for a 3 year old. But I also think you have a keener sense of other people’s emotions then most kids your age do. When you see that someone is upset you want to help them feel better.

I think this, combined with your ridiculously handsome looks, has made you a bit of a lady-killer already. 😉 The perfectionist side of you makes you fairly bossy, which probably comes more from me than from Dad (LOL). Still, in group scenarios I don’t see you taking charge as much as I did when I was a kid, so I think you prefer observing from the background in team situations.

Dad and I have talked many times about what we think you might end up being when you grow up, based on these interests and personality traits. And really we have no idea. But if I were going to hazard a guess right now, I think you would be a great engineer or architect. 🙂 We will of course be proud of you no matter what you choose to do with your life!

As far as developmental things go, you are pretty much potty trained except for the occasional night time accident…. but we have had several regressions since we first started the potty training process over 6 months ago. Your fine motor skills are really great– gross motor skills are… okay. You’re a little bit of a klutz and I don’t imagine you being big on sports/athletics when you get older. We opted not to do any group sports/activities this year because (1) we’re too busy/tired, (2) they’re so expensive and (3) at this age I don’t think you really enjoy them enough for it to be worth the time/money/weekly commitment. You do seem to like baseball (Thank God!) and are pretty good at swinging the bat, so I daresay we’ll have you in t-ball within the next year or two.

Earlier I noted that you tend to be really hard on yourself, which at such a young age makes me really sad to see. You get frustrated and say “I can’t do it!” a lot when you aren’t able to complete a task to your standards. So, one thing we’ve been trying to instill in you in the fact that you can do ANYTHING with enough practice and hard work. We tell you when you’re frustrated to stop, take a deep breath, take a break for a bit and say “What can I do to fix this?” So far that technique seems to be working well for you. This self-criticism and frustration is something I’ve seen in Dad a lot too, and it hurts my heart to see you both go through that. I’m not sure how else I can help you with it. When you read this as an adult someday, please know that I’m trying my best and  have always thought, from day 1, that you are an amazing little guy who can accomplish anything he puts his mind to! 🙂

I also mentioned earlier that you are obviously very smart– in my last letter I wrote about how far ahead you are academically, and that has only gotten better during these last few months going to preschool. You talk really well for a kid your age, and have started learning to write already. You pick up on things– academically or otherwise– VERY quickly, so Dad & I have to be very careful what we say and do around you (well, we should be but it doesn’t always work out that way. We are human, after all!). Dad & I both love having conversations with you and hearing about your “toddler logic” views on things. You make everyone in this family smile & laugh on a daily basis.

Speaking of family, you are Charlie are still best buddies, although there definitely is a lot more fighting over toys these days. You’ve started trying to hide things from Charlie in places you think he can’t reach, but he’s able to thwart your efforts more & more now that he’s getting pretty good at climbing. Nevertheless, you’ve asked me many times why Charlie can’t go to school with you. And when the time came to move you & Charlie into the same bedroom, you were overjoyed at the idea of getting to share a room with Charlie.

You play together a fair amount, but also have very distinctly different personalities and separate interests. For example, Charlie LOVES animals (especially Annie), and you do not. He really loves balls and cars, anything moving really, and you do not (but you do indulge him in these activities from time to time!). You love to read books, he does not. That being said, you also have a lot in common– you both love building with blocks/legos, you both love playing pretend/dress-up, and Charlie is starting to pick up on your love of art/drawing. And above all else, you both love EACH OTHER to pieces. 🙂 Giving you two the gift of one another is without a doubt the greatest thing I’ve done with my life.

Our little family is my greatest treasure and blessing. I’m getting emotional just typing that… it’s so true and despite all the emotional wringers and mindf*cks it’s put me/Dad through these last few years, I have no doubts whatsoever that this is what I was born to do. God made me to be your mom, and I am so incredibly thankful. 🙂

All my love,
Mom

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2 thoughts on ““So the next day…”

  1. You’re an awesome mom, laura and Shane is a great dad! Your little one are wonderful little guys, and I knew Charlie was going to be your animal lover/hunter. Alex is like a little professor! You all are blessed as a family! You just need that little girl 😉💕 or at least a girl’s night out every few weeks!

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