Dear Ethan and Maya,
This month we continue enjoying the beautiful weather, and spend as much time outside as we can. Why can’t we stay inside the house to play toys, watch TV, read books, take some nap, or fix ourselves some cocktail and just lounge on the couch? Because inside the house I can barely have 5 minutes to regain myself over your constant confrontations. All I do inside the house is to yell STOP PUSHING! DON’T TAKE HER TOY! NO BITING! GO TO GARAGE NOW! or GRAB A KNIFE IN THE KITCHEN AND SEE WHO WILL KILL EACH OTHER FIRST.
I am complaining again. YES! I AM! However under this routine, I have to say I am doing a great job not to curse in front of you because it is incredibly hard. Imagine how you have a bad diarrhea, but you are not allowed to go, and it’s stuck all inside your body including the brain. With a tiny dull needle. POKE! Poop explosion. Right from your head. THIS HARD!
The other day, Ethan, when you had a hard time arranging that box of cards exactly the same way they came out of the box, you went so delirious that you shattered the card all over the floor. I told you to choose between picking them up or spending the night in the garage. Surprisingly you gave it a serious thought before you asked me, “What do I eat in the garage?” I don’t know why, but I spontaneously answered, “NOTHING BUT SHIT!” before tons of other SHITS muttering inside my head.
You: What is SHIT?
Me: (trying to pretend I didn’t say that) What? I said SHOE. You will eat nothing but shoes in the garage.
You: (if I had taken a picture of you at that moment, all you could see in it would be nothing but your giant eyeballs, cause you found it bizarre that I lied) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! You said SHIT! Not SHOE! What is it?
Me: It is poop.
You: (blink…blink blink…) But poop is different.
Me: Well, sometimes you can call a thing with different names. It is still the same thing!
I am glad that you were convinced FINALLY! As much as I wish I didn’t say SHIT, I also hope you will understand that sometimes you are called Ethan, but most of the time you are A TOTAL TURD.
We are all blessed that we don’t have to deal with your eating problem, because you are really eating now. And Maya, you piglet, just tell me what you wouldn’t put in your mouth. You eat everything! What I didn’t expect is how a drama you both can come up with every time at the dining table. Like Ethan, how you order me to grate parmesan cheese in your bowl of pasta. “I want only linguine! No tomato! With lots of parmesan cheese! Don’t mix it!” Your command comes every 10 seconds. So you can dig into that mountain of cheese with your head over and over again. If someone ever have to serve your table at a restaurant, I guarantee you he will pee in your soup.
Maya, your favorite trick over the dining table is something that I believe you picked up from some stray animal – chewing up the food and then spitting it out. Recently you’ve started to spit it out on your palm, mush it up, smear it all over your face, hair and whoever sitting next to you.
I normally tell you to stop and you normally refuse to stop. At some point, I will routinely remove your bowl from your reach and push your chair away from the table, threatening you with a time-out. Most of the time, the rebellious part of you will start to shove the mushed food off to the floor to demonstrate that you are not happy. When I stand up to warn you that I am really going to pull you out of your chair for a time-out, you will yell NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Usually you will stop the spitting, yet you aren’t swallowing either. What do we do then? Throw another TIME-OUT bomb. In fact we do nothing but threatening you with a time-out when you are not behaving because we thought it worked. The other day at the backyard, you had a hard time understanding that you should blow bubble out from a bubble wad instead of licking it like a popsicle. I had no choice but took it away from you. Immediately you lost your mind and rolled over your body on the lawn screaming as if an evil spirit was taking over your body and it got into a fight with all your organs inside. This is the moment that if your brother is around, you will become all psycho and try to bite him. However, the closest thing to you was grass which you were so close to feast on it. Seriously? I didn’t let you kill yourself by drinking soap bubble, and you were going to fill your mouth with a bunch of fertilized grass? “Maya, stop!” I yelled. You then turned around to face me and yell me back, “TIME-OUT!” Since then, whenever you are not behaving that I start to raise my voice, you will throw a cute little TIME-OUT! with that look like you are telling me, “If you ever want to threaten me with a time-out, you’d better considering putting yourself in one first, WOMAN!”
Ethan, national flags have become your new passion, something that you picked up while we were watching Olympics on TV. Before this, you’ve already become a huge fan of Canadian flag. When we drive across some building where the Canadian flag is hoisted, you will be very excited and make sure everyone of us can see that, “Look! Oh Canada! Oh Canada!!!” During Olympics, I didn’t grab the chance to introduce you to the flags because all my focus went to the male swimmers. And I am not lying, we might have told you about a few flags, but we didn’t expect you would be able to recognize Japan, Brazil, Mexico and Germany when we casually glanced over a map with most of the national flags. And all the drawings you showed me when I picked you up at school now are different flags. So we borrowed a national flags book from library, and you spend most of the your day remembering the images inside. You may not be able to recognize all the flags now, but what really amazes me is whenever you see a symbol, shape or sign, you will come up with a flag that associates with it – you will say JAPAN when you see a red dot; you will flip over to the Jamaica flag when you come across a yellow cross, you remember New Zealand and Australia flags look similar, and for some reason, you always recognize Brazil. Am I bragging about how brilliant my son is? NOOOOOOOOOOOO. Sadly, I am more proving that what a nerd you are growing to be like your father.
We recently rearranged your rooms as two new desks came along. All your books that previously placed on the desk were now moved over to a book shelf where both of you can easily access, instead of having me passing out over the scene where either one of you standing on the table with one leg, another one dangling off the edge. Also, the book shelf will help to store the unlimited collection of books that I see you both are building now.
Maya, you’ve started to slow down your superb book flipping skill, and demand us to REEEEEEEEEEEEEAD your favorite duckie books over and over again. I have to admit that at first it’s hard to persuade your brother to share the books as the book shelf is in his room, and he’d become very upset every time you approached to reach them. And that’s totally normal given the fact that sometimes he’d feel harassed even when you just look at him. We constantly hope that you will soon outgrow this phase, where we see ourselves in a sibling battlefield everyday for nine hours straight, where we have a hard time to explain the emotional exhaustion. And I think that phase is really passing now because one morning while I was busy cleaning up after breakfast, I realized it’s abnormally quiet until I saw you both sitting down on a couch together reading and exchanging books.
The other day after a barbecue dinner at the backyard, Ethan, you showed Maya how to draw a stop sign on the floor with chalks. Me and your father watching while finishing our wine. For a long time, I had forgotten how to wind down my day nicely. I used to go out for drinks with coworkers after a long day work. But isn’t it better now? No hangover, less expensive, and definitely more memorable. Am I getting old? Well, it isn’t that bad.