Dear Ethan and Maya,
I think I’ve learned long time ago that kids are supposed to take naps during the day if you want to live a thing called life. What I’ve truly realized this month is that even though I give up living my life, even though I find it easier to leave you both awake than paying utmost effort to put you to nap, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to nap. Because when you don’t nap, you switch from beauty to beast instantly. And there is nothing we can do to console the raging beast from its screaming and limbs striking. Eventually we have no choice but throwing you out the window. So we stick straightly with your nap schedules. And once we notice that you start to get tired, we take action right away and put you to nap. Because if there is any deviation, the PARTY IS TOTALLY OVER.
Now it comes to how to get you tired for a nap. Maya, once you wake up in the morning or from a nap I have to come up with distracting activities to fill the time until you go down for your next nap. If there is no new activity with new toy that you haven’t seen before, you will groan with the most annoying noise ever uttered in the universe. Sometimes you even keep on bawling complaining about being left all alone in the room, except I’m in fact RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU two feet away explaining how I’m washing the dishes. So we read books, play with rattles, sing and dance, go on walk, go to grocery store and that’s just the first 15 minutes. After hours of non-stop “distraction”, when I assume you should be getting tired as I’m ready to collapse, you look up at me being slightly amused as if you want to say, “What? Me tired? No! See how wide awake I am. By the way, is this the best that you can do?”
Ethan, you are pretty good about following your nap schedule, except you request us to sing you a new song every time we put you to bed. Most of time I will just belt out the same phrase like “Eating is not going to kill you” over and over again with a tune. And you are completely satisfied! Your real problem is that you constantly put up a big fuss after you wake up. You seem like you don’t want to wake up yet, but you also don’t want to sleep. And I wish I could explain to you why those are your only two choices. Sometimes you wouldn’t stop crying for no-body-knows-what-the-hell-you-want thing. You are just so irritable that for a moment I can see your toes through the opening of your mouth. Our strategy to handle this situation is to distract you with something you are interested in, like give you a candy or go see outside the window to find out if “the doggy is out walk walk now”. One time, I made a huge mistake when I told you to stop crying or we would not go to grandpa’s house tomorrow. Immediately you stopped breathing after you heard GRANDPA and wasn’t able to hear the rest of the sentence. The disappointment over the fact that we were not heading to grandpa’s house that very instant was so massive that the grunting lion tore its way out of your chest and bit off my head. We’ve already had to start spelling words in front of you because certain ones can trigger dangerous fits of hyperventilation, words like GRANDPA and TOY STORY. Recently, we are spelling names of all kinds of Apple products.
Being a two-year-old has also cultivated your zeal for independence. All the time you want to do things on your own, like making your bed, putting on a jacket, eating by yourself. Except it takes FOREVER for you to get the job done. And the fact that you want things done in a certain way stubbornly just makes that FOREVER even longer. The other day you threw a volcanic fit after you realized that you couldn’t get a stack of playing cards arranged exactly as they had came out of the box, I had no choice but ate all of them. Over dinner the other evening, your father nicely peeled you a tangerine. And you wouldn’t stop screaming Daddy Fix! DADDY FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIX! You wanted your father to UN-PEEL that specific tangerine, so you could peel it on your own. We tried to convince you to forget about that one, and focus on the other six bigger and brighter all-you-can-peel tangerines on the plate. But you kept on pounding your arms and legs in a whirlwind thrashing of anger, all because we wouldn’t be able to FIX THAT DAMN TANGERINE! Eventually I had to distract you by letting you gouge out my eyeballs while your father pretended to FIX THAT DAMN TANGERINE under the table by exchanging it to another unpeel one.
In an effort to offset some of the bad habits that you might learn from us, like scratching your parts in public, we are trying to teach you to ask things nicely. Whenever you demand something which isn’t outlandish, like non-stop cheese supply 24/7, we ask you to say, “May I have some cheese, please?” And you always wait until we reply you with a hearty “Of course, you may!” before you go ahead to take that slice of cheese. Sometimes we reply you with something else like, “yes, go ahead” or “sure”. You will correct us and say, “you may!” Now when we tell you to ask nicely, you always tack “you may!” on to your request: “May I have more cheese, please? You may!”
Maya, this month as you hit the 6-month old mark, I’ve decided to stop pumping and convert you to take formula. Your grandmother thinks this is the worst decision and keeps accusing me of not giving you the best nutrition you ever need — meaning, unloving mother. Honestly, I’ve seriously weighed my options and tried to make sure I’m not weaning unnecessarily. And you have to believe me this is such a crucial step I have to take. Over these 6 months where I’m facing the challenge of taking care of two children plus tons of house works, without anyone telling me, I know how much turnaround it has done to me physically and emotionally, and how much these changes have affected my relationship with your father. I’m not blaming you both, because without either one of you, this relationship would never be meaningful. And I believe that weaning will help offload my burden, get me better and remain alive, and most importantly, not leaving you both mother-less, or leaving your father companion-less.
My boob-lockdown adventure wasn’t going so well. For almost three weeks, I had carried a pair of rock hard concrete boobs on my chest ready to spray milk 20 feet away, like a gushing fire hydrant. And oh, the pain! The pain that would never go away if you didn’t take formula way better than I expected you would — no fuss, no tantrums, my eating-whatever-I-offer WONDERBABY.
Yet, recently you’ve become so easily distracted while eating. You will stop sucking your bottle to see who else is in the room making noise. And who else could that be except your brother, who has the sole power to take away your attention from one of your favorite activities — EATING. The moment you hear your brother’s voice, your eyes get so big and you stop eating, whip your head around, bend your body like a dying fish, make an utmost effort to locate your brother. I will then ask him to stand beside you, get you back in the right position and finish your bottle. And all along, your eyes are unblinkingly locked on your brother’s face as if you want to ask him to marry you.
Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with the feeling of wanting to tell you how beautiful you both are. Yet I’m often told that I shouldn’t use such quantifier because you will grow up thinking that beauty is more important that anything else in life. And all I hope for is to let you understand that no matter what, you will always be good enough.
Yet, that’s all about parents, who believe their children are the most beautiful children in the world. I was always reminded by the rational part of me that this is completely subjective, we believe that only because you are our children. But Ethan, when I look at your brimming round eyes, and Maya, your porcelain soft cheeks, even the clear-headed part of me can’t help but feel that it’s hard to hold back the truth, that you both take my breath away.