Your dad and I have noticed lately that you’ve been growing in more than one way. Your shirts and pants are getting too short. Moreover, you’ve been a pretty chill and fun guy these days. You still have your moments, like when you need to get out of bed and don’t want to, or when your brother is thwarting you in one way or another. But your emotional meltdowns have been fewer, and you seem confident and capable in most ways.
Your jokes make sense sometimes.
“What day is April Fool’s Day?” [pause] “January seventh?”
January seventh is your birthday, so I more or less get that one. This next one, not so much:
“What day is Christmas?” [pause] “Inside my eyeball?”
After you told that one, I said something about needing to work on the structure of jokes. That seemed to hurt your feelings, so I quickly assured you that absurdity has comic value in its own right.
As we head to school to pick you up, your brother often says, “Bubby hug,” which means he’s excited to see you and hug you. Now, every day, as soon as you burst out of your classroom, you ask, “Did Tobin ask for a Bubby hug?” I think you’re proud that he’s so happy to see you. Lots of your classmates like to crowd around him and hug and kiss him, but the big kid he most wants to see is you.
You’ve been doing great in school. One big accomplishment recently was that you wrote your numbers on a long strip of adding-machine paper all the way to one hundred. You were so proud when you came out of your classroom and showed it to me, and your teacher mentioned that you’d been dedicated to that project all day, even asking for (and receiving) special dispensation from Line Time to continue working on it.
You continue to enjoy music. At our choir practices, you don’t have a lot of interest in singing with the group. I hope I can convince you to stand with the other kids and sing during the concert. During the adult rehearsal time, you usually sit by yourself and play with my phone. While you do that, you sing as loud as you please. The adults often look over and smile. You know some of the grownup-only songs better than I do.
We got a new car yesterday, and your one requirement through the whole protracted car-seeking process was that you and your dad be able to play our choir song playlist while he drives you to school. You liked the “robotic doors” on the minivan we test drove, but those were not as important to you as the music. Luckily, the Subaru Outback we settled on has a USB port for easy iPod integration. We’ve tested “Country Roads,” “Paradise,” and “Yellow Submarine,” among others, and they all work well for singing.
You’ve made a friend through the choir, a fellow video-game enthusiast who likes to watch you play games and show off his own. He’s a little older than you, so I hope he’ll be a good role model for the group-singing aspect of the activity as well. Another older kid you like a lot is your cousin Maxwell. We visited Max and his family recently, and you guys had a great time working on a Lego project. That visit also included your cousin Meredith’s birthday party, which was at a bouncy house complex. I was so proud of how brave you were. You were a little hesitant at first, but Max helped you get started, and soon you were scrambling around with the whole gang.
The biggest event of the last month was our Disney Cruise. It seems to have made a big impression on you, because you bring up one element or another from it almost every day. One of your favorite parts was our waiter, Claudius. He did magic tricks for you every night at dinner, and you’ve been attempting to reenact them (with mixed results). You loved the arcade, the beach, and especially the theatrical entertainment. We saw two different plays, Toy Story: The Musical and Disney Dreams, which was a loosely-plotted song and dance extravaganza. It featured a flying Peter Pan, and you still like to talk about the “theater tricks” Peter Pan used to fly. Your hypothesis: invisible wires.
At one point, your dad was trying to impress upon you that going on a cruise was a very special privilege you should appreciate, and that most kids don’t get to go on cruises. You looked around and said, “I think most kids are here.” I’m sure it seemed that way to you, since the ship was teeming with short people. You really did love it. You haven’t stopped asking when we’re going on our next one. I don’t know for sure when that will be, but considering what a great time you had, we should probably start saving.
In the meantime, spring is coming, and we’re going to be having a lot of fun in the coming months. Your uncle Tyler is getting married, and you’re super psyched about that. You found some of last summer’s water toys downstairs and were ready to go outside and use them, despite the snow that remains on the ground. You’ve been asking when the Flavor Ice stand will open.
It was a tough winter, Miles. We all felt the strain. But we’re nearly through it now.
Have heart, little one.
You’re my heart, little one.