Ethan (2 years old)

Dear Ethan,

You turned two years old yesterday.


People ask me all the time how long I plan to continue writing these letters to you. And to tell you the truth, I have no idea. When I started doing this I thought I’d just do it through your first year of life. But then you keep on growing and changing, strangely, given that you don’t eat at all. It makes sense to keep doing it because every month there are so many new things to tell you about, things you won’t remember, things I want you to hold over your head, just in case you need to sue us one day.

Sometimes I go back and read what I wrote to you in the early months, I realize that I’ve already forgotten half of what happened. If it weren’t for what I’ve written here I could have lost certain memories forever. These letters, in fact, are more for me, and I will keep writing these as long as my memory continues to deteriorate. You can blame it on my getting older, but it definitely has something to do with the amount of Sesame Street I watch with you, and the amount of my brain cells eaten by Elmo.

Speaking of Elmo, it’s undeniable that you love him more than anything. Sadly, as much as I love you as your mom, I don’t feel upset about the whole thing at all. Instead, we think it’s considered as “Quality Child Rearing” by indulging you into what you have passion for. That’s what parents do – they enrol their children in some hobby class when they realize they are interested into it. So, we let you watch tons of Sesame Street, and Pixar animations, and Disney cartoons, just to broaden the varieties. And the result is phenomenal. Now, other than Elmo, you ask for either “Buzz Yeeeeear” or “Monsee Inc” every five seconds in such determined and desperate tone like you need the drugs bad enough that you are willing to inject the needle under the nail of your big toe.


So, for your birthday, I made you an Elmo cake, and your father bought you a noise-making and wing-flinging Buzz Lightyear. Such terrible and idiotic things we’ve ever done. I didn’t expect I would ever give in to that vast commercial conspiracy called “Children’s Toys”, the one marketed to perpetuate fascination with television characters which in turn perpetuates fascination with toys created from those television characters, BUT! YOUR FACE!!! After you saw us bring in these Gods in front of you, you almost passed out from flapping your arms and gulping for air. Your face looked as if you had seen the real God, and you were going to fly away with Him under the guard of His wide-spreading wings. When I was wondering how can something so wrong feel so right, I realized it’s probably because you are my own child, and I never knew that your display of utter joy would catch my heart so forcefully.

So, happy birthday number two, my boy! To celebrate, we gave you a real gift, a baby sister, whether you like it or not. As planned, your grandparents took care of you when your father and I were staying in the hospital with the new baby. And I’m sure this is what you feel more excited than becoming a big brother. Like, “Mom, while you are pushing that baby out of the your body, I will be going on a “vacation” with grandma. You should get pregnant more often!”

After having not seen you a day, I missed you terribly, achingly. When you were brought to visit us in the hospital, I was shocked at just how big you were when you walked in the ward. You were implausibly big! My vibrant, skipping, handsome two-year-old boy. All along, we had been contemplating how you would react after seeing your little sister. Interestingly, you were more curious about my ugly hospital gown and the uncomfortable bed. You demanded to be taken up to me. I hugged you a little too tightly and buried my head into your hair so that I could smell the back of your ears, a scent very different than the one emanating from a newborn’s head, a bit rough, sweaty and full of life. I told you I had missed the smell of your hair, and you just rolled your eyes, like this is why you needed to spend some time away from you people.

Then we showed you the new baby, and told you she’s your little sister named Maya. You kissed her as we told you to. Before we were amazed how adorable it was, you started to take on to crash the room. Then you asked to watch Monsee Inc again, we told you there’s no television, and you just kept asking for it like, “Why is this related to this conversation?”

I knew that it would take some time for you to understand the entire sibling relationship thing, I also knew that you would not be able to fix me a hotdog when I was busy taking care of your sister. I was 100% prepared to see you ignore her like a boring doll. What I didn’t expect though was the complexity of the first feeling that both of you triggered to me – with your sister sleeping next to me, I felt like I had never been so alive, and yet, so on the verge of collapse when you kissed me goodbye and walked out that door.


This month, I would say, is probably one of the most memorable months I have with you. I am not sure what has made this last month so special, but I’ve started to feel that this age of you has so far been the best one. Before now, when I came across the conversation between parents talking about the age they liked best, usually I wouldn’t be able to jump in with much enthusiasm. Some like it best when the baby is still very tiny and chubby and edible, others like it when they are old enough to pay their own rent, preferably in another city. Not that I haven’t had fun until now, in fact I’ve had more than I can ask for. Just now you are a perfect blend of baby and person, not too much of either. You’re old enough now that you are more a companion than an immobile bundle of digestive processes. We can make conversation although most of the time I have a hard time understanding your alien language. You’ve become so independent that you will dig your head to build something logical out of a set of blocks. Yet you are still a baby that we can throw you around and wrestle, and we can all get drunk with your giggles. You can still lie on my chest when you are upset, rub your nose and face on my shirt, and I will smoother you with kisses. And most importantly, you can still call me Mommy Ah Boo!


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