My dear Miles,
Man, we’ve had a rough month. Our whole family has been sick, on and off but mostly on, for pretty much the whole winter. But your dad and I have noticed that despite all the challenges, you have been a really great guy. You’ve been loving and mostly patient with your brother, cooperative when we need you to do things, and you’re even getting pretty good at keeping track of your mittens. This has been not only a sick winter but a terribly, bitterly cold one. You’ve had school cancellations and late-starts at least once a week for months, it seems. Getting thrown off schedule makes everything confusing for our family, but you’ve handled it very well, overall.
There have been challenging moments, but most of the time you’ve done a great job. In order to celebrate that, we had a Miles Appreciation Day the other week. It involved doing some of your favorite things: a morning trip to Daylight Donuts, and later a movie (Frozen, your current favorite), of course with popcorn and Sprite.
We read your first chapter book together recently, Beverly Cleary’s Ramona the Pest. I loved the Ramona books when I was a kid, so it was a lot of fun for me to read it with you. I was surprised by how many scenes and details I remembered from reading it when I was your age. Beverly Cleary is very talented at capturing and not belittling the emotions of being a kid. It can be frustrating to be small, but a lot of things are elating, too (like getting recognition from a beloved teacher). It’s different fare than what you’re used to, with no mad scientists or witches or dragons, but it only took one chapter for you to get hooked. We’ve ordered another Ramona book for you with a bookstore gift card you got for Christmas, and I’m excited to keep reading with you.
Ramona the Pest was a present from your friend James, with whom you shared a small birthday party in January. He’s a new school friend, and you and he and some other friends from your class had fun at the Natural History Museum. It was kind of a low turnout, due to crummy weather (story of our lives lately), but the kids who were there had fun. You even had a cake decorated with the image of the Natural History Museum mascot, the giant sloth.
One of your favorite hobbies right now is making shadow puppets. You read a Curious George book in which George did that, and now you’re always wanting to set up flashlights or position lamps to create a spotlight. Then you twist your fingers into crazy positions, which fortunately you don’t ask anyone to guess. I think there’s a dog in your repertoire, and probably a rabbit, too. There are also a bunch I don’t recognize at all.
You’re a master builder of Lego, K’nex, and Lincoln Log sculptures. We have a family rule: if you didn’t build it, you don’t break it. Not everyone does a great job of adhering to that rule, and that can be hard on you sometimes. You don’t really embrace the ephemeral nature of block structures: you want to keep them forever, and as much as we try to keep Tobin from destroying them, it doesn’t always work. We end up taking a lot of pictures of them.
Photo by Denny
You had a dentist appointment recently, and your dad told me the hygienist said one of your teeth was a tiny bit loose. He qualified it by saying the dentist said it could still be a while, but it won’t be forever. Who knows whether you’ll lose a tooth as a kindergartner like Ramona, but you’ll have a window in your mouth one of these months. I remember when you were a baby and I felt that first tiny tooth poking out of your gums. I cried, and your dad thought I was weird. I was happy you were developing well, of course, but it was such a big step out of babyhood. I don’t know if I’ll cry or not when you lose your first tooth, but it will probably be that very same one that choked me up when you were just a little guy.
A couple of days ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep due to a snoring situation in my bedroom. I decided to crawl into bed with you, and you were so cuddly and warm. It was a really blissful hour until Tobin realized I was gone and demanded my presence again. I don’t think you even knew I was there, as you’re a log-like sleeper these days, but I was happy in any case.
Photo by Denny
I’ve started doing some work from home part-time, and I’m volunteering at your school, and of course there the usual chores of life that pull me away from where I wish I could be. Life is busy, and I’m happy to be busy with you, but there’s something really great about sneaking an hour out of the night just to be quiet with you.
I’ll keep you warm, little Miles. I love you forever.