Ethan (17 months)

Dear Ethan,

You will turn 17 months old tomorrow. Tragically, you’ve already had the furry attitude of a 17-year-old.


I was told that it’s normal for children your age to show signs of temper tantrums, and this is supposed to be short-lived. But it’s been WEEKS, and it seems your temper is aroused more easily every minute. Introduce your perfect trainer/partner – grandpa! The only activity that fills up your day is having your grandpa holding you while you instruct him to go to any places or corners where you can touch things fatal. When grandpa is not here, you will become a raging creature wreaking havoc all over the house, because both your father and me pay no sympathy to any single-armed kid whose sole purpose in life is to kill himself.

One classic scenario is when we are changing you. We’ve talked about how you take it as you are in a cactus hell when you are put on the changing mat. Now, since you refuse to sit on your potty, changing your soiled diapers has become our daily mud wrestle which is always messy, adventurous and neck-breaking. It brings to my memory that once you called 911, and RCMP called us back to checked things out. I should’ve kept them on the line saying, “Please. Help. I have a baby, and I can’t beat him over a mud wrestle.” Oh, and if you end up having children willing to eat without being assaulted like what we are now experiencing, I will sue you for permanently emotional distress.


 “Sesame Street” is now one of your favorite videos. When we are urged to maintain world peace by restraining you to scream your lung out, we will put you to watch “Sesame Street”. You will get all excited sitting extremely upright when you see we are loading it on the laptop. When it’s on, you will lounge on your highchair like it’s the end of a really rough day at work. Oh, and when you move your body left and right along with the songs, we will dance with you automatically like the whole family is in a prom party. Now, your father and I know the entire skits by heart, sometimes we will ask each other, be it driving, grocery shopping, watching TV, cooking… if we are humming along the same song.

Your vocabulary has exploded in the last few weeks. You say “mo mo” when you see Elmo on the video, “na na” when you want to eat a banana, “car” when you want to play with your toy car, “gir” when you see squirrels running around at our backyard, “tick tock tick tock” when you point at a clock, “fa wa” when you see a flower. One time, when we were sitting on the den floor reading an animal book, I read “elephant” when we turned to a page with an elephant on. You suddenly pulled yourself up and held my hand to walk with you to your room like something urgent happened. Entered your room, YOU POINTED AT THE BABY-BLUE ELEPHANT STENCIL ATTACHED ON THE WALL! All along, I didn’t expect to raise an outstanding kid like those from Spelling Bee. Honestly they really freak me out. So, if what happened that day was some kind of proof that you might be a genius when you grow up, please don’t refuse to talk to me just because I’m not capable to manage that 700-button TV remote.

Though I have no idea if you really know who I am, there is nothing you like saying better than Mommy. Sometimes when I go all frustrated trying to put that tiny piece of food into your mouth, or go exhausted running after you all over the house, or go annoyed by your sharp-to-my-ear screams, this is that heart-warming “Mommy” which turns my mother switch back on. My exhaustion  will become a unbelievable mix of love and adrenaline right away. Ethan, you have no idea how many years of my life you have healed with this one gesture.

You’re now in the stage of life where a teenager giving hard time to his parents trying to figure out exactly what you want. One day you will eat a full bowl of meatball spaghetti for dinner, the next day nothing. One day you want to play with your toy trumpet, the next day you find the sound of the trumpet extremely head-exploding. You want to be picked up, you want to be put down. You want that book, no, THAT book, NO THAT BOOK! GOD! THHHHAAAAAAAT BOOK! I imagine this is what it’s like to take care of your father when he’s 70.


But you know what? I’m loving any moment of this. Over these few weeks, though you are having a heavy cast on your arm, you are just as chaotic but cheerful. We play hide-and-seek running around the house for hours. You  crawl over my body as your jungle gym looking for my belly-botton. And when we do find a book that you can agree on, you will hand it to me, sit on my lap and listen. As I read every page you will look up to my face to see how the words come out of my mouth. Ethan, you are having your cast removed in a few days. And I can’t wait to see you able to use both of your arms. As I look back to what happened last month, though traumatizing and heart-breaking, I can’t be more thankful for my health, your father’s health, and for the screaming, whiny, grumpy health of you.


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