Thursday, September 27, 2012

Forty-Seven Months

Dear Peeper:
You are forty-seven months old today. Which, of course, means that you will be turning four years old in one month. How the hell did that happen?

Of course, your biggest news of the past month is that you've now been attending preschool for three weeks. It's going . . . well, it's going.

The mornings are awful. The crying starts as soon as you get out of bed (or yesterday, while still in bed!) and doesn't stop until after Mommy and I leave the classroom.

But, your teachers say that you pull yourself together right after we leave, and mostly have fun. You've had trouble at transition times, but yesterday, they said you only "got a little worried" around lunch time, and the teacher talked you down, and I don't think you actually cried.

Even when you wet your pants. The teacher thought it was hilarious that when you pee-peed you were sitting on the letter "P" on the circle time rug. Of course, you thought it was hilarious, too.

I was more amused by the fact that the old lady teacher thought that was funny than by the fact that you peed your pants or where it happened.

I think the part about actually being at school is okay. You seem to like it and have fun, but you're really struggling with worrying about missing us, and the actual bye-bye part.

We're hearing a lot of "I'm gonna miss you! I don't want to be far from you! I want to be near you! I want to stay here with you!" in the mornings, then once you get past actually saying good-bye, you seem to do okay.

Of course, we have lots of people telling us things that "She's just doing that for your benefit," but I think that's bullshit. Have these people never said good-bye to anyone before?

Just because you're not sad forever, or that you pull yourself together once it's over, doesn't mean that it wasn't hard to actually say good-bye.

When we go to Texas (as we will be doing on Monday), I'm always sad when we kiss Mommy good-bye at the airport, and again when we tell everyone down there good-bye. By the time we're through security, I'm in full-on let's-catch-a-plane mode, but that doesn't negate how I felt a few minutes before, or make that feeling any less valid or legitimate.

And the fact that you're having fun a few minutes after we leave your classroom doesn't make your distress in the mornings any less valid or legitimate.

The other thing that people keep telling us is that, "Maybe she's sensing your anxiety about it," but I don't know what we're supposed to do differently. I don't know how we could do any better a job at faking the calm confidence that we're trying to project for you in the mornings.

We just keep repeating, "Yes, baby, you will miss us a little bit, and then you'll have fun, and then Mama will come back and get you. I know you can do this."

It seems that the at-school part has gotten easier for you each day, so hopefully the before-school part will start getting easier soon, too.

In other news, we haven't really been doing our "tot school" in a very official way (even before you started preschool) but we have been working a tiny bit on some site words - mostly words that are important to you, like family names - and you can actually read a few of them!

We've also been checking out lots and lots of books at the library, on whatever topics seem to be interesting you at the moment. Recently, we've had books on Greek mythology, comparative mythology, presidents and, of course, starting preschool.

Tonight, we checked out our first chapter book - The Adventures of Laura & Jack, (one of the Little House Chapter Books adaptations), featuring stories about the Ingalls' dog Jack. We read most of it tonight. Actually, I read it all, but you fell asleep during the penultimate chapter. Which is fine, because as often is the case with books about animals, it ends with Jacks' death. I'll have to think about how to handle that tomorrow. I think I'll warn you about it, and ask if you want me to read it or not.

I don't know which way you'll go with it, because a couple of weeks ago, you suddenly declared that "I miss BoyCat!" and we had a good cry together over that. You were really distraught, and we had to talk quite a bit about why he died, and the fact that he didn't die because we took him to the vet, but she helped him to not hurt, and yes, Baby, we're all sad about it. We all miss BoyCat.

Since then, you've gone back to that many, many times. You mostly talk about missing him, and sometimes GirlCat as well, but oddly enough, you talk more about how much you "miss" MamaCat than her. I say it's odd, because you never actually knew her.

The night that you were so upset about it, I showed you the video that I took of BoyCat and GirlCat (and AuntieKay's kitties) when they were born, and as kittens. (We just got a tv/vhs set up in the sunroom.) You really enjoyed that.

And now, Peeper's greatest hits of August-September:

You, Mommy and I were at the McDonald's play area last weekend, and you were pretending that your Happy Meal toy was Perseus. Mommy's key and key fob were his sword and "shiny shield." Of course, we needed a Medusa, so I held up my right hand, and wiggled my fingers in a serpentine manner, and said, "Here's Medusa!"

You said, "No! That can't be Medusa! You can't write with your left hand!"

It took me a minute to figure that one out, but you were saying that if Perseus cut off Medusa's head - my right hand - I'd be stuck with only my left hand, and I don't know how to write with it, so that was a bad plan.

I made a Medusa out of a napkin instead.

Tuesday evening, after we got home from dance class, you were eating the world's slowest snack and your bath and bed times were getting later and later. I was really starting to get frustrated, and raised my voice more than a little bit.

You said, "Mama. You need to calm down and take a deep breath. Just calm down. Take a deep breath. Sit down on this chair right here and take a deep breath."

So, of course, I sat and I breathed.

"Now, tell me calmly."

This evening, when I was trying to get your hair braided or teeth brushed or some such nightly ritual, you said, "Mama, wait a minute. Just wait one minute. Good night o'living."

After a conversation about Franklin Roosevelt, you started pretending to be a baby cow with polio who uses a wheelchair, and asking me for money for March of Dimes.

It seemed more age-appropriate than "He defeated the Nazis."

One school morning, you were wailing, "I don't wanna go to schooool! No thank you! No thank you!"

A couple of weeks ago, we spent Sunday afternoon at a Fall Farm Fun Fest, where you went on two hay rides and a barrel train, pet chickens, saw baby cows and mama cows being milked, ate two hotdogs, a brownie and a bowl of ice cream, and drank about a quart of chocolate and strawberry milk.

When we got home, I asked you, "What was the best part of the Farm Fest?"

You said, "The corn! Because it's a vegetable!"

The first week of preschool, all you ate of your lunches was the yogurt and veggies: Spinach (your request) on the first day, and spinach, carrot "coins" (requests) and black olives (surprise) the second day. Thank you, Today I Ate A Rainbow!

Mama (reading): Hands Are Not For Hitting
Peeper: Except your Mama!

You were chanting "Flappa, flappa, toot, toot, chicken, chicken, soldier." Is this something you learned at school?

"Mama, will you help me set the bed?"

The night after your first day of school, while flopping and flipping and tossing and turning and not going to sleep, you said, "Mama, one thing. That proves it. Compared to nothing. One thing makes it true. Some books make it true. I'm gonna be right here, reading books. No worries. I'll be right here if you need me, reading a book. Hmmm, Hungry Caterpillar. . . ."

What the hell are they teaching you there?

Full volume in the middle of Baskin/Dunkin:

Peeper: You're a poop! (giggle giggle).
Mommy/Mama: Shhh!
Peeper: You're a toot! (giggle giggle)
Mommy/Mama: Shhh!
Peeper: You're a VULVA!

You were holding red, blue and green markers, and colored with the red and blue markers to make purple.

The red marker "said" about the purple color, "Oh, it's our baby!" and I said, "Oh, are they the parents?"

"Yes," you said, and then the red marker said, "I'm your Mama, and this (the blue marker) is your doctor, he got my eggs out!"

 When I stopped laughing, I asked who everyone was, and found out that the red one was the Mama, the green one was the Mommy and the blue one was the doctor.

 We are so going to get a phone call from the preschool.

You declared that you were a "handsome young dog" named Rufus.

One day, you looked at my collection of colored bottles on the window sill above the kitchen sink, and said, "Nice bottles ya got there!"

 Later, Mommy told me, "Thanks for lunch. And nice bottles," so you added, "Thanks for lunch. [you didn't eat a bite] You have great bottles!" It's nice to be appreciated for something!

As far as you're is concerned, I am persona non grata these days, unless you want goody. You've even let Mommy tuck you in a few times, all the way to sleep, with me in the next room.

A couple of weeks ago, you went roller skating without me, because, "It's not allowed for Mama to go!"

Mama: Don't climb on there, it's going to fall over on you.
Peeper : It's not gonna fall. It's stable!

You and I went to Staples for their $0.01 back-to-school-sale. I was looking for the "pencils that are a penny" and you said, "Pencils aren't a penny!" I said, "Well, not usually, but they're on sale, so they're a penny today."

 (Because, evidently, I thought my not-quite-four-year-old had a grasp on the typical price of a package of pencils.)

Peeper : No, pencils aren't a penny! They're pencils!

 Mama: Oh. No, I mean they cost a penny.

Peeper: Oh, they coooost a penny. I gotcha.

While putting on some new panties, you told me: "When these get too big for me, I'm gonna give 'em to you."

You seem to think that you're starring in an educational video. Quite often, your reason for something is, "But I'm trying to teach everybody about . . . ."

You really are something else, kiddo.

And soon, you will be a four year old something else.

Happy almost birthday, I love you!

Love, Mama

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