My dear Miles,
Here we are, solidly into your fourth year.
You’ve been feeling frustrated by things a lot lately. I can’t blame you—we’ve all been really sick, and your dad and I have it the worst of anyone, so you haven’t been getting as much fun time as you’re accustomed to getting. You’ve been a trooper, though. You’ve mostly been very well-behaved, at least since you got over your cold. Even when you get grumpy, it’s cute. Lately you’ve taken to saying, “Aw, MAAAAAN!” You also cross your arms, furrow your brow, and stomp your foot. I think I told you that foot-stomping is an acceptable outlet for frustration (as opposed to throwing things or hitting people), and you’ve dearly embraced it.
I’m so proud to say that you remain a wonderful big brother. You love to snuggle and kiss Tobin, and when I ask you to watch him for a minute, you take the responsibility very seriously. This morning, you had your face up against his head, and I asked you to take care of him while I went to the bathroom. A couple of moments later, I heard you say to him, “Boy, Mommy’s sure taking a long time.” When I came back, your face was still directly on his. I told him that I appreciated how nicely you snuggled him, but you didn’t have to do it every single second. You very assuredly told me that you did, in fact.
That’s probably why Tobin has a cold now too. So it goes.
We’ve managed to get outside a little bit, mostly because you really wanted to use the snow dinosaur kit you got for your birthday. You ended up with a pretty cool-looking snow creature. A couple of days later the weather warmed up and reduced it to a pile of accessories (which are still sitting out in the yard, because neither your dad nor I can work up the energy to go get them). This winter has been so mild you’ve hardly gotten any snow play at all. In fact, it’s been so warm we’ve even had a chance to go out on some walking errands. That’s nice to do, but it doesn’t really seem very wintery.
Another of your favorite things to do right now is play “Real Life Cyberchase.” Cyberchase is a show on PBS with a corresponding website with lots of games. Often when your dad gets home from work in the evening, after you’re d0ne hiding from him, you play elaborate games involving the characters from Cyberchase. Sometimes you have to click on something to proceed.
You’ve also been doing a great job practicing your math and writing skills with your dad. The other night I went to check on you guys, and on your white board in your room I saw a picture of a hill with some characters on it, and in your shaky handwriting, the words JACK, JILL, HILL, PAIL. You’ve done similar experiments with Humpty Dumpty and WALL, FALL, HORSE, MEN. You’re getting so good at sounding out words and writing your letters, and I also appreciate your imaginative depictions of Jack’s crown and Jill’s crazy hair.
At bedtime lately, you’ve been wanting me to tell the story of “Jack’s Doctor’s Appointment.” The plot is pretty much identical to the events of your doctor’s appointment, but I think it’s interesting that you enjoy hearing the traumatic event rehashed. Fortunately, Jack (and you) got to round out the day with not one but two helpings of Monster Mash ice cream at Heyn’s after the appointment. Other stories you’ve requested are “Jack’s First School Day” and “Jack’s Three Halloweens.” I think in that last one, Jack wore a bat costume and he could fly over all the other trick-or-treaters. That was cool.
I’m proud of you every day, Miles, but as I watch you lately, I feel so happy that I get to watch you grow up. I love seeing you learn to manage your emotions, how to keep trying when you don’t succeed immediately. When you were writing JACK and JILL, you kept making the bottom swoop of the J go to the right instead of the left. My inclination was to ignore it so you wouldn’t get discouraged, but your dad kept erasing it and telling you to make it go the other way (he said it nicely, of course). I was probably remembering the Miles from six months ago, the one who would have thrown down the marker and not wanted to work on it anymore. But you just listened and tried again, and soon you were doing your J perfectly.
You still get frustrated and upset, for sure. In fact, I can hear you getting grumpy right now because your dad wants to you do something else for fifteen minutes before you start playing with his phone. It sounds like you managed to rein it in, though, because I don’t hear any crying or yelling. Nice work, Miles.
You’re really getting it together.