The Adventures of Alex

Dear Alex,

Where did my baby go? I think this constantly, just about every time I look at you. You’ve grown into the most kind, creative, brilliant little boy I’ve ever known (perhaps I’m biased…). We’re getting to the point in your childhood where I genuinely enjoy conversations with you, as you always have an interesting perspective to share. Seeing the world through your eyes really does brighten my day & ultimately make me a better person, as cheesy as that sounds. In you Dad & I are starting to reap the benefits of our efforts as parents, and I know it’s just the beginning. I’m so excited what the future holds for you & what you choose to do with your life as you grow. 🙂

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I do see more of the Pacheco in you– as I’ve mentioned before, you are very sensitive. You can have a bit of a temper at times, and most often it’s directed at yourself. I’ve never met such a self-critical, perfectionist child before. You’re also extremely smart, creative and artistically talented, which you get from Dad & Nana. You have a steel-trap memory and impeccable attention to detail. Nothing gets by you these days! All of this has lead to you discovering the concept of dishonesty and “tall tales,” much to my dismay. We are working really hard on that with you right now.

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You started your second year of Pre-K at a new preschool this year, which you’ve really been enjoying. Honestly I think you’re more than ready for kindergarten (you know SO MUCH and are very close to reading/writing independently already!), but since you have a January birthday you’ll have to wait until you’re almost 6 to start. And that’s fine– you have many, many years of school ahead of you & a limited amount of time to just enjoy being a kid. 🙂

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That said, I do see that you have a maturity about you that other kids your age don’t have. You are extremely thoughtful/empathetic and do what you can to help take care of the people you love. Your teachers and classmates adore you (and Lord help me, you’ve already received a marriage proposal. LOL). You’re an attentive and helpful big brother, especially with Emma. You & Charlie are typical brothers who fight hard, love hard and play harder. 😉 Both of them adore you as well, and are incredibly lucky to have you to look up to.

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Dad & I are pretty lucky too. 🙂 We love you so much, and are so very very proud of the amazing kid you’re growing into!

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All my love,
Mom

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Sensitive Souls

Dear Alex,

My how time flies! I can’t believe you’re 4 1/2 now. This fall you will be starting at a more formal “school” for Pre-K, and this time next year we’ll be gearing you up for kindergarten. Where did my baby go? Heck, where did my toddler go? You’ve grown into the most amazing little boy. You are sweet, smart, funny, creative and quite wise/mature for your age… what I like to call an “old soul.” Talking to you is almost like talking to another adult.

One exception to this– you’re not only an old soul, but also a sensitive soul. 🙂  It’s part of what makes you YOU, this amazing insightful kid, but your overactive sense of caution/anxiety makes you scared of LOTS of things. It is hard to get you to try something new, even just to watch a new movie. You’re afraid of getting hurt mostly, but also afraid of failure. I already see that same drive for perfection in all aspects of your life that Dad has…. and your tendency to be very self-critical when things aren’t 100% perfect (your attention to detail is impeccable, also like Dad). Social anxiety is still sometimes an issue for you too, but not as much as it used to be. I have a hard time relating to this side of your personality, and as your mom I wish there was more I could do to help you deal with it. We’re doing the best we can.

Obviously the biggest change in your life since I last wrote was the addition of your little sister, Emma, to the family. You adore her! This wasn’t surprising to me as I already knew how much you love babies. You love to help take care of her, and really to help with just about anything. I often put you in charge of Charlie when I have my hands full with Emma, and consider myself extremely lucky that you are the sort of kid that I can rely on for things like that. For example, Charlie is learning that he must always hold your hand when we’re walking in public places because usually I am carrying Emma (and can trust you to steer him away from the street 😉 ). Charlie and Emma both adore you, too. Charlie wants to be with you all the time, doing everything you do (which annoys the heck out of you sometimes), and Emma just lights up when you talk to her. They are both really lucky to have such an awesome big brother. 😀

Our transition to a family of 5 hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, however. There’s an old saying that goes “When mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy” which very much applies to our life these last few months. I have been struggling with getting my PPD under control, and the whole family has paid the price. This combination of events has led to you acting out more, and it can become a vicious cycle. So I haven’t been the best mom I could be… and I’m terribly sorry for that. The other kids won’t remember this phase of our life, but you might. Whenever you do read these letters, there is one message I want you to understand above all else– although things are never perfect and life can be very messy, DAD & I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH. I don’t think you’ll ever really understand the way we feel about you unless you become a parent yourself someday. We really are trying our best to give you three a fantastic life and raise you well. The trouble is that we don’t really know what the heck we’re doing…. and we’re human. I hope you’ll forgive us that. 😉

Things you love– legos (or any building toys, really), art (still a very talented artist!), super heroes (especially ninja turtles and batman), video games (to Dad’s delight and my dismay), and spending time with your family & friends. Things you hate– animals (if they get too close to you), water in your face/eyes (which has made the pool & such a challenge this summer), kale chips (your reaction when I had you try one recently was PRICELESS, haha!), and disapproval (you’re very much a people-pleaser). You don’t dislike sports, and even tried t-ball this spring, but it doesn’t come naturally to you & therefore you get bored with them quickly. Dad was your t-ball coach and I thought you both did a fabulous job… but as much as I love baseball, it’s kind of a boring sport for a 4 year old to play. Truthfully, your ideal day is spent at home with legos, markers, and something superhero-related on TV.

It’s funny how you & Charlie are so different, yet come from the same gene pool. And thank goodness, you’re both turning out to be amazing human beings. 🙂 It will be interesting to see how Emma’s personality develops. I seriously am the luckiest mom on the planet… you three are the coolest kids and even though handling all three of you can be very challenging and exhausting, I wouldn’t trade a second of it. And to think it all started with you, my sweet Alex. I thank my lucky stars everyday for that!

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All my love,
Mom