Ethan (23 months)

Dear Ethan,

You turned 23 months old yesterday.

One of your favorite exercises is referring anything followed by “Ah Boo”. We have no idea where you learned this term from, you constantly call us “Mommy Ah Boo”, “Daddy Ah Boo”, “Elmo Ah Boo” and yourself “Etan Ah Boo”, like your father’s last name never interests you at all.

The first time you pointed at my belly and said BABY, then you kissed it as I told you to, seriously I couldn’t even imagine what else in the whole universe could possibly be more adorable than that. And both your father and I just kept asking you to do that over and over again tirelessly. All along we thought you understood the whole “new baby is coming, and you will love her dearly” thing. Until one day you automatically flipped open your father’s shirt, looked at his belly and said BABY. Then I told you, “No, Ethan, it’s daddy’s tummy. There is no baby inside. The bumpy part is called FAT. Baby is here.” I pointed at my belly. But you just rolled your eyes before you threw your head to kiss his tummy and said “Baby Ah Boo”.


Recently you’ve been experiencing a phase of separation anxiety, and I’m not able to be apart from you without a Shakespearean tragedy unfolding at my feet. You constantly slouch on the floor beneath my feet when I’m cooking or changing, and cling to my ankle like a parasite fish whining “I’m dying.” You follow me into the bathroom every time I go there, whether to brush my teeth or wash my face or sit on the big potty. I can’t pee without another human being in the room, and rarely are you not there to hand me a wad of toilet paper or to flush the potty for me, sometimes offering to do the wiping. Ethan, thanks, how nice of you, but that’s not really a task I like to outsource. Though the whole situation may sound crippling, it is also something I’m trying to enjoy for what it is. You always request to have my comb after I’m done. You try to comb your hair like I do. But every time it just looks like you are pounding your head with it. Even so, I still bully you into thinking that you’ve done a great job grooming yourself and say, “Aw! Great job, Ethan, you look so handsome!” And I can assure you that when you have your own child you are going to do the same – spending hours and hours trying to get her to imitate your every move, not because you are trying to teach her anything, but because it’s fun and it’s evil.

In other news of our impaired parenting, this month you have been introduced to television. Undeniably you are a huge fan of “Sesame Street”, but since you learned to walk, the amount of time you were willing to sit still to watch it has been drastically diminished. And this made me terribly sad for a couple of reasons. One, I really started to worry that we were missing out on what was going down on the Street. What if Elmo dumped Zoe because he’d attracted to Grover who had been having crush on him. You never know. Two, since you don’t want to sit still, we all stopped sitting still. Well, it’s fine for you because you have energy. But, all of mine for the next 20 years has been drained by you. My body is ravaged from having handed it over to Satan. So your father came up with this great idea of buying you lots of Disney cartoon books before introducing you to the movies. Our initial experiment by using “Monsters Inc” completely BLEW YOUR MIND! For several hours on the first day you watched it on our 52-inch HDTV, you barely requested to move from the couch. And while I had time to balance my blood circulation after your previous sucking, your father did consider to call up a couple friends for golfing. Yet, we also realized what a huge mistake we’d made by doing all these. Now, you asked for “Mon-See Inc” every five seconds. And that really upsets your father, because we have only one TV in our house, and that’s where your father has been approaching to attempt to become a golf pro.


This month, after thorough consideration and planning, we decided to move you from your crib to a toddler bed. The reason behind was, IDEALLY, you would sleep in a new big boy bed, and the new baby will take your crib, so we wouldn’t need to buy another one which is more expensive than a bed. And for you, it means your ultimate dream of being barrier-free came true! You could get off your bed and run around the house in the middle of the night playing hide-and-seek with Elmo Ah Boo, which we were totally fine with cause we thought we could still stay in bed and leave you with Elmo for this mid-night adventure.

The first night, you let us tuck you in your no-bar bed peacefully, and you only got up and ran out of your room twice before you fell asleep. That morning after you woke up at 5am, we heard you running around the dining room before heading to our room. We tried to put you back to bed with 12 attempts in 90 minutes. But then you wanted to start the day after another hour’s sleep. Honestly, we thought it could be worse. So, we took it as a tremendous success, and we crowned ourselves with “the most superior parents in the Earth” as we thought you’d easily accomplished this particular milestone.

Again, HOW IDIOTIC WE ARE! The next day, you didn’t go to bed until you tried to run out of your room 5 times. Every time we had to convince you, “Ethan, go back to bed. There’s nothing interesting out there. Mommy and daddy are just praying silently.” Since you are a light sleeper, with this special arrangement taken place, the whole evening we were just tip-toeing in the house hoping the sound my eyelash would make if it drifted to the ground would not wake you up. But then you still woke up at 2am, rushed straight to my side of the bed calling “Mommy! Mommy!” Then I walked you to your room, tucked you in putting you back to bed before I went back to my room and fell lifeless into my bed. Within 20 seconds, you raised and came to me AGAIN! Anytime I heard the sound of you jumping down from your bed and opening the door, I squeezed your father’s hand hoping that sound actually came from the part of my psychic mind. But within seconds your face poked through the darkness, came inches to mine so I could smell you. I had difficulty keeping track of how many times both your father and I took turn to put you back to your bed, but the last time I checked the clock, it was close to 4am. That went on for the next couple nights, and the ending was usually either you fell asleep in your bed for merely another hour or we brought you up to sleep with us.

Before we became real zombies, we decided to put you back to your crib. And we realized just because of the built-in restraining mechanism, you will be sleeping in your crib until you are eight. The first night you returned to your crib, you struggled so hard refusing to let me put you in. The Hitler of me just closed the door and let your cry and scream “Mommy! Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuppppp! Mommy!” for 20 minutes. That 20 minutes, I felt like my heart was tore out, tossed onto the driveway and ran over with a car. Then your screams slowly subsided, fading into an agonizing whimpering with a few bawls of “Mommy Ah Boooooooooooo”.

Over that crucifying week, most mornings were tough because once you woke up you wanted to start the day right away even before we had a chance to figure out what day it was. However, there’s one morning that you acted unusually calm when you were brought to our bed. You snuggled right up into my neck, your arm wrapped around my chest. I rubbed your forehead while you had your eyes closed. “Night Night,” you said and then you reached your face over to mine trying to kiss me. As much as I’ve asked you to kiss me from my end, I’d never expected that you would initiate to kiss me all by yourself SO SOON. It actually paralyzed me, the way you gave back to me. and I had a hard time breathing because that’s the type of thing you spend your whole life hoping for.


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