My dearest little Miles,
This month, out of nowhere, you started teaching yourself to read.
I think you may have gotten the idea from one of your PBSkids.org games. You hold your hands apart, pronounce the sounds of a word (“P…i…ck”), then smash your hands together and say the whole word. You also have a game that’s probably a little too advanced for you, but part of it involves choosing suspects out of a lineup based on reading a description of their hair color. You do a really good job differentiating between the words brown, blond, black, and grey, even when the photos are ambiguous. And the other day, you found the garlic powder for me in the pantry after I told you it began with g-a-r.
We’ve always been a reading-friendly family, and you’ve always been a curious kid, but I have to say I’m pretty impressed with how well you’ve picked this up with zero drilling or overt instruction.
You have a big month coming up. We’re going on vacation later this week (“Poto WEEEEEEKO!”), and the Monday after we get back, you start preschool at Willowwind. Yesterday I clarified for you that Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t be with you when you started going to school. I wanted to make sure you understood that, because every time so far that we’ve visited Willowwind, we’ve stayed with you. Your eyes filled up with tears and you said, “But I want Mommy to stay with me. But I will miss you!” Of course that made me cry too, but I tried to hide that from you, because I want you to maintain a positive attitude. The first couple of days might be tough, but I think you’ll catch on quickly.
Photo by Gary Clarke
We had a really fun time last weekend at the Grammy and Pop-Pop party, a family reunion where you got to swim, hang out with your cousins, and even do the very first second-generation Cousins’ Play. You, Maxwell, Meredith, and Anna performed a riveting version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. I was especially impressed with the tough voice you used in your role as the Biggest Billy Goat Gruff. Your definition of butting the troll off the bridge involved waving your hand at him and yelling, “Butts!” It was a little unorthodox, but it got the job done.
Photo by Denny Crall
I know it brought Grammy a lot of joy to see all you kids together. Pop-Pop probably liked it too, but he’s harder to read.
Another big event this month was your move to your big bed. I let you choose whichever sheets you wanted for it, and from all the beautiful designs and colors available on the Internet, you chose brown. I thought it was a strange choice for a little kid, but you’ve been happy with it, and you’ve been sleeping better in your new brown bed than you ever did in your crib or toddler bed. From the first night, you decided you were done coming into Mommy and Daddy’s room. You do sometimes holler for me to come join you, but that’s generally zero or one time per night, and I can usually just give you some kisses and snuggles and go back to sleep in my own bed.
I did sleep with you all night a couple of days ago, because you weren’t feeling well and kept thrashing around and waking yourself up. You’ve had a low fever and a runny nose and cough the last few days, but you got a good night’s sleep last night (and so did I, mercifully). Your temperature was normal when I checked it this morning, and when I congratulated you on that fact, you said, “No, I still have a little fever.” I think that was a ploy for more snuggles, which I was happy to provide.
This week marks your last Beanie and Daddy mornings, which made your dad sad when he realized it. I reassured him that once you start going to school, you’ll probably get sick a lot and he and I will need to divide our time staying home with you. I think Beanie’s sad too, though we plan to keep using her as a babysitter. You’d miss her too much if you never got to play with her again. Today, in fact, you’re wearing a really cool shirt the two of you designed together. I think playing with Beanie really helped foster your love of art.
We went to Arts Fest last weekend, and your favorite part was painting the cardboard castle, even when a little girl made a quick turn and got a brush full of white paint in your hair. You also enjoyed the fresh-squeezed lemonade. I’m glad you like it too, because that’s one of my favorites, and it’s fun to share with you. I thought you would like the dress-up area, but when I suggested it to you, you said, “Not at an arts festival.” I think we need to help you broaden your definition of art.
I realize it’s a mommy cliché to marvel at how big you’ve gotten, but seriously, this has been a huge month. Sleeping in your own bed all night long? Getting ready to start preschool? Reading? Mastering the potty (I hadn’t mentioned that yet because you’re so good at it now that we barely think about it)? Something tells me you’re ready to be a big brother.
You make me laugh every day.
Photo by Gary Clarke
I love you.