Dear Ethan and Maya,
Yesterday, your father’s sister Kathy in Toronto gave birth to a baby girl. We can’t be more thrilled, not only because she swore determinedly that she’s not going to have children before she met you, but also I’m sure her whole family will move back to Vancouver only to enjoy the days with her girl screaming and running around with you both. Oh yeah, moms love to be tortured!
This month, Ethan, because you have transitioned to a regular bed, your don’t have to sleep until how late we want you to sleep. Your new sense of freedom let you start your morning at around 6am, sometimes 5am unfortunately, and that’s when the peaceful world became chaotic. So, we took the suggestion of your father’s friend who also has a toddler — we bought a table lamp for your room, plugged it into a timer, set the time for a reasonable 7am. We asked you that until the light comes on in the morning, you can play, read, sing or ideally SLEEP in your room. But under no circumstances you are not allowed to leave the room. We made you say ten times “Don’t leave the room until the light is on” before your bedtime that night, hoping you would have a bad dream about the whole experiment, and you would be too frightened to come out of your room at all. However, except the first morning that you completely forgot about the lamp, it has been working pretty well. Most of the mornings, you come to our bed cheering “The light is on!”, meaning “Get the hell up and entertain me!” We are now thinking about gradually set the time for a more reasonable hour, like 11am.
Before this lamp, we used to worry if you would wake up your sister — meaning we would start operating as a feeding and diaper change factory when everybody in the planet is still sound asleep. But Maya, you usually just wake up with a little babbles, murmurs and sighs. You never scream or yell. Sometimes you stay in bed talking to yourself for almost an hour before you start to grunt, “Come get me now because I’m wide awake and very cute!” When I come into your room, the peaceful world comes back again. Because YOU ARE ALWAYS SMILING! I can’t help but hold you up smothering you with kisses before I start to nibble your chubby cheeks. You now constantly move your hands and feet when I am feeding you. You will use whichever hand is free to pound the bottle, or to grab my shirt, or to scratch my chest, or to seek out my face. Sometimes you even try to pinch my nose. And I always love to put your hand in my mouth to chew on your fat fingers.
This month, you have spent most of your waking hours grabbing things and shoving them into your mouth. There is nothing off your limits. You’ve gobbled my hair, the TV remote, your high-chair table, and YOUR FEET. Sometimes you have problem aiming your mouth, and one time when you tried to bring that teething ring to your tongue, you missed it and sticked it into your ear, then into your forehead, once into your nose. And when your father and I were pinching each other’s thigh to stop our laughs, Da-Da, you brought the teething ring to your mouth! Then you took it out to look at it admiring how delicious it was and put it back in your mouth, over and over again. And that’s when I said hello to my new life that would be consumed with running around to grab harmful things out of your hands before they make it to the inside of your eager jaws.
Ethan, your passion for music has grown to an obsession. None of your car rides is lack of your favorite songs. And we have to oblige to play the same albums over and over again, otherwise the cannibal inside your body will come out, tear our heads off and drink our blood. The annoyance that comes along with this obligation has completely destroyed the beauty of some of those albums. Your father and I are like two prisoners being tortured by those insufferable songs at an unbeatable volume, and we only wish you could instead just bite off our ears and suck our brains out.
One of your favorites is Pink Floyd, thanks to your father who used to be in a rock band, and his music collection is all about musicians with down-the-back long hair, glam make-up, black leather jeans, tattoos, chains, metal studs, skulls and crosses, which I’m considering to dress you for the coming Halloween. For weeks, you cried out PINK FLOYD!!!!!! once you got in the car. As much as I admire your ability to remember those songs line by line, I’m also amazed how remarkable it is for you to remember every detail of plays by different musical instruments. You’d preempt with a little CHAAAA! or DUMMMM! before a drum or a bass jams in. You are totally hooked by their extraordinary mind-altering psychedelic style of music that I have to turn my head to check on you constantly and make sure you are still breathing. Except that you look so satisfied smoking weed with a glass of vodka.
When you are in the mood for a little sing and dance, the whole family just can’t ask for a better entertainment. One time you sang your ABC’s and danced to imaginary music, swirling into the middle of the room with manic head jerking as if a spirit had taken control of your body. Because we are watching too much hockey games, your recent favorite is O Canada. Except you always sing it in a violently off-key version with so much gusto that even though you don’t have any of the words right, we all know that you are singing the national anthem.
Last week, you both were introduced to the zoo. This experience has proven that zoos are completely overrated. One, it’s stinky. Two, kids may love animals, but may not react as happily as they see the animated ones on television. Ethan, the one animal that we had most success with in terms of capturing your attention was ostrich. You followed it closely outside the fence bawling “Okitch, where are you going?” All we could do was to pay our condolence to that poor ostrich, wishing it would understand that human world is no less cruel. During the whole trip, you only wanted to walk on your own. And that’s all you want to do all the time. You hate being strapped in your stroller, car seat, shopping cart. You love to explore holes in the sidewalk with your fingers, or run through a puddle, or jump into that group of ducks and scare the shit out of them.
Ethan, sometimes it reminds me of the moment when you took your first step. I know there is nothing that could make me feel as blessed as I first saw you take off on your own feet. I know I can’t go back to that day which seems like a day ago. And Maya, you may not have the desire to jump off your stroller yet, but you’ve already shown your interest to pull on your legs and bounce. As much as I refuse to let you grow so fast, I also hope that you both can slow down a bit and take your time to appreciate those very small and simple things as you bend down to examine your world.