Dear Ethan and Maya,
Mornings in our house are wars. Sometimes they are sweet if you both are not waking up at the same time, or Ethan, if you don’t have a meltdown, or Maya, if you don’t have a poop explosion, or if your father gets out the damn bed and help.
Ethan, usually you wake up yelling for me, then you want to turn on the light. No, you want it off. I open the curtain. No, you want me to let you open it. Then, you pick a pile of books and toys to go with you to the bathroom to brush teeth. But, you don’t want to brush teeth today. I beg you letting you squeeze as much toothpaste as you want on your toothbrush. Then you eat the toothpaste for breakfast, while I take over the toothbrush and force-brush your teeth. You run over to kitchen screaming for milk, WARM MILK! When I am about to put that glass of milk in microwave, you want it cold, VERY COLD MILK! You grab a chair and stand on it in front of the kitchen counter demanding to put butter and jam on your toast. Except that you take only one bite of that toast. Maya, you are starting to nag but not screaming yet. So, I can leave you there a bit because I’m busy jabbing that butter knife into my thigh as your brother is still mushing that bite of bread in his mouth while he’s finishing the third set of puzzles. Maya, your cry is getting intense. Your father is still sound asleep. I put your brother on his potty while I come get you, to clean up your poop mess. But you are hungry, you want to eat even though you feces is all over your back from neck to bottom. What about some poop water as appetizer cause you need a bath. Ethan, you get up leaving nothing in the potty. I chase you around the house with my poopy fingers. Oh, don’t peep on carpet!……THE WAR! THE WAR IN YOUR FATHER’S DREAM!
I’ve mentioned before that your father’s sense of urgency with which he does things is different than mine, which is NONE. But why he needs to develop that when he ALWAYS has in me as a back-up mechanism. Kids, if you can’t tell already I’m grumpy, massively grumpy. And I will keep complaining until your father pays real attention to what I say. But, I’m going to tell you that I enjoy our war mornings. Like I am dodging bullets every single morning, but I AM LOVING IT! Just because of your unbeatable smile, Maya, and your big morning kisses, Ethan. I can’t wait to hold you up and feel your body warmth. It goes into my skin right away making my spine twitch.
Maya, some mornings when your brother was not at home as he slept over at your grandparents, we would take you to our room laying you between your father and me. The first time we did that, you probably thought your life would never be that satisfying. You kept turning your head left and right to check out our faces. Not only that you stopped wailing as you completely forgot the fact that you were hungry, you became so silent that I had to half open my sleepy eyes constantly to check if you were still breathing. And every time you saw me open my eyes, you went ecstatic! You would then turn to your father to see if he could also do this open-eye magic. When he gave you that funny face, you giggled so delightfully. And that’s the moment I had to resist myself from putting you between a sandwich and gobbling you up in one bite.
Ethan, one morning two weeks ago, you woke up with a light fever. When I came to your room to pick you up, the war soldier in you was collapsed. You aren’t normally a cuddly kid. In fact, trying to hug you is like trying to hug a raging bulldog. But the moment that fever hit you, you clung to my neck with the weight of an anchor. For a full hour, we sat together on the couch sharing a blanket, dozing and cuddling, your body draped across my chest, pasting your body heat through your hair to my neck. And when your father finally woke up wondering if the long silent morning was real, he couldn’t believe what he saw. Usually when we are on the couch, you love to either kick his chest or strike him on his crotch. You never sit calmly. As much as I enjoyed that surreal moment between you and me as mother and son, I love how you got him to share the pain since he didn’t have to push you out of his vagina.
Maya, we’ve already talked about your ability of chewing your hands. You suck on your fingers and fist, and sometimes I look over and you have all your fingers on your right hand in you mouth. When I’m dressing you, I have to pull your shirt over your arms, and you are separated from your hands for all of five seconds. And the look of panic on your face is telling me that you are worried that you will never see them again. Then, when you are reunited with them, your long lost friends, you get so excited that you stick both fists into you mouth so violently that you almost choke.
We’ve been being asked about the relationship between you both. And honestly before this month I did’t think I would be able to make any conversations over this topic. Because you both were like two tenants renting two separate rooms in our house. You definitely know the existence of each other, but there’s no bondage I could see. I’d seen siblings younger than you both who are so affectionate to each other. The big brother hugs his little sister all the time. And I was so close to accept that, yes, I did give birth to two tenants to our house, who happen to be not paying any rent but creating damages, not to the house yet, but to the property owners.
Ethan, sometimes when you were interacting with Maya, it only meant that you pull away her pacifier or you turn on and off of her swing chair when she’s sitting in it. It’s sweet to see you kiss her when we asked you to. Except all you did was to bang your head over to her cheek. When we told you to be gentle, all you heard was apparently MAKE HER CRY THE HELL OUT IT. And you would lean over to her and say WAH WAH WAH to scare her.
But this month, something magical happened. It started with one day after you came back home from daycare looking for Maya. You got down on your knee showing her the candy that you had and asked her, “Want it?” Then you shoved it over to her hand. Sometimes when you saw your baby toys which we played with Maya now, you would say, ‘Ethan toy.” Then I asked you if you could share with Maya, you took the toy over to her and said, “Maya play” like you are so ready to share everything with her.
Last week, the family gang came to our house for dinner. Before they took off, they witnessed one of the beautiful moments. You were sitting on the couch watching TV, your father sitting next to you carrying Maya. You automatically reached your hand to hold Maya’s, brother and sister being side-by-side in an informal truce. Everybody in the house was looking at each other feeling amazed and wondering who was going to cry first.
Maya, your father thinks he’s your favorite person in the world because he can make you giggle. And you may call out for me when you are hungry or tired. But when your brother is around, you LOCK YOUR EYES ONTO HIM. You throw your head all the way back when you know he’s behind you. You don’t feel upset anymore when he comes over to pat your feet.
I think you love him more than anything. Because Ethan, you are Maya’s hero.