Dear Ethan and Maya,
People ask me why I count your ages in months. Well, I don’t have a good answer. Maybe because it’s easier than counting in days? One thing I am pretty sure though is that if I wrote these letters only once a year I would forget all the little things and end up saying something like YOU GOT SO MUCH BIGGER. THE END. The idea of these monthly letters was to keep track of time as it passes, and to tell you about you at the end of every month. It’s not like your father and I will look back and go, do you remember month 41? That one was mind-blowing. How about month 23? I still haven’t recovered from that one! You could look at it as a way of counting out the prison sentence of parenthood, that we are 62 months into a 305-month term, only 243 more months until we get to start charging you rent.
Summer seemed to sneak in a bit in the past month. And that allowed us to wear short pants and tank tops enjoying the sun in the outdoors. Except the day after I had to dig out the fleece that I put away because I stupidly believed that the most annoying Vancouver weather was gone. We went to a bird sanctuary on a warm Saturday. I was a little skeptical when your father threw out this idea because the activities there are limited – fishing, trail-walking and bird-watching. The only entertainment for kids might be bird-feeding, but that’s all. And Ethan, you couldn’t have care less of animals. What do I say if you go like, “Feed the birdies? And then what?” Hmmmmmmm……scratch our butts, maybe?
Maya, I wasn’t surprised that you were thrilled when we told you that you were going to feed the ducks, because you adore animals. When Koby is around, you are always running to give him hugs and kisses. You will call out for him all the time – KOOOOOOBY! – and continue doing so until he reluctantly crawls into the room with the face, like, THIS IS SO ANNOYING! I AM DONE! WHY IS SHE STILL HERE???
The morning after we told you about going to see the ducks, you woke up and started asking about it, “Feed the duckie? After nap nap? Maya woke up! I want to feed the duckie!” As if you couldn’t sleep all night long because millions of ducks were quacking for food, and if you didn’t get to them right this moment, they would be dead from hunger. It was a long drive to the bird sanctuary. As usual, you both were yelling, kicking, nagging and asking WHERE IS THE BIRDIE? all along the road. And I started to get nervous and think about which side of my butt to scratch first.
Turned out you both enjoyed the trip. Once we got off the car, you started to look for anything that you could possibly feed. Your father showed you how to get the ducks to eat out of your hands. And Ethan, you totally amazed me by how patient you were. Maybe the ducks were full or you were a little aggressive at the beginning, it wasn’t easy for you. However, you kept looking for another hungry bird, and were very eager to follow what your father taught you. Every time you called out Maya to join you when you spotted a duck. You made your every move slowly and gently leaned your hand to the bird. You would say, “Maya, this duck is full. Let’s go find another one.” Then you two left us behind and ran on searching again, although, Maya, you would routinely stop and lie on the rocky ground and pretend to be dead.
I felt like we had achieved one of the goals as a parent – to expose you to the pure of nature. My childhood was a dense and high-rise inhabited skyline where everything was packed and breathless. And I want you to know that yours will be totally different. Yours will be a canopy of wild animals, rocks, forest, beaches and FUN!
So, Maya, something happened this month, and all of a sudden you are obsessed with gory things. Weird gory things, like crushed inserts and bleeding wounds. If I cut my finger, your first response is not, hey, are you okay? It’s I WANT TO SEEEEEEEEEEEE. And you won’t let me bandage the wound until you have thoroughly inspected it and determined that IT.IS.VERY.GROSS. Before I throw away any garbage, you have to examine it. The other day when I was using the bathroom, you were clinging to my leg, barraging me with questions, pointing to the walk-in shower with the curtain closed. I stupidly told you, “No, you can’t go in there because of all the spiders inside.” I might as well have said BEHIND THAT CURTAIN ARE A MILLION OF CANDIES. Because you wouldn’t stop talking about the spiders. I WANT TO SEE THE SPIDERS. NOW. I LIKE SPIDERS. ETHAN, COME! SPIDERMAN!
Ethan, recently your obsession with junk has become almost unmanageable, and your room has become a landfill. You collect everything – tissue, junk mail, candy wrapper, pine cone, rock, scrap paper. And many times I have to clear the tissue or rocks from the pocket of your pants before putting them in the washing machine. When you see a paper, you draw on it, and you will make sure we take it home. Because you can’t live without that spectacular drawing on a greasy tissue. So when I go and do the logical thing, like GED RID OF YOUR JUNK, we have to listen to your screams for days about how you can’t find THE WEAPON! THE WEAPON! And we are all, the weapon? And then you stop breathing, and we have to call the paramedics, and when they show up and ask what happened, I have to explain that you start to get paralyzed because I THREW AWAY A ROCK THAT YOU PICKED UP FROM THE YARD.
I had a long conversation with my mom on the phone the other day, most of it about you both. She said she goes to my website every day to see a new picture of you, especially recently because it seems like you both are getting older and taller by the minute. She said that seeing the pictures here is watching you grow up. Sometimes I have to stop and step back from the idea that I have kept this record of your lives, and wonder how long I will do this for. I have no idea. Maybe until you start to hate the fact that I talk too much about your poop here? But right now I have to remind myself how blessed I am to do this. How blessed I am to watch you grow.