Dear Ethan and Maya,
Two weeks ago, we took you to a birthday party of one of your second cousins. Party means an event filled with kids engaging fun activities. I have to pay sincere respect to the parents who are willing to take on this project even when their kids are still too young to remember this, and what will ONLY be remember is how exhausting it is for parents to watch their kids. Especially when the party happens to be held at a gym filled with equipment for kids who LISTEN TO INSTRUCTIONS. So for some of them who are not up to listen to their parents and follow their instructions, or NEVER, just like you both, all I could do was to convince myself to let go and pray. Pray for the day that you get yourselves killed to come later. And by the way, if you are expecting this kind of party for your birthday, you will have it when you are 30.
Maya, I have to say this party really opened my eyes though. We thought we might have to carry you around the gym. But you didn’t seem to like the idea, and you just kept fighting us off. At one point your father and I just let you go. We both tagged along to see how well you would take to those bumpy mats and the trampoline, feeling stunned with the fact that you weren’t intimated at all. Once you took your first step off that trampoline, you started flying and wanted to stay there for the rest of your life. When we finally got you to come down, you kicked off and ran to each different station to climb and tumble without slight hesitation. Bewilderment emerged from your face when you saw those crazed kids flying through the balance beams. Your mouth agape at their advanced skills. You turned your head to me hinting that you were so ready to trust those two pieces of wood with your life.
The last thing that I had expected from you is your being rebellious. At home, you love to open things. Drawers, cabinets, DVD cases, cereal boxes. If you encounter something that is not open-able, you just shove it away like that thing doesn’t worth your time at all. Every time we ask you not to throw things away, you seem to hear “Keep throwing, Maya, throwing things makes you look sexy.” And you will just fling that bowl of pasta with tomato sauce 2 miles further. That simply makes every meal with you look like a disaster, like we are sharing a table with a raccoon, a vengeful yet very cute raccoon. Every time you drop something you will watch it drop as if you are waiting for an explosion. And you will reach for something else if that sound is not noisy enough. Sometimes I am lucky to be able to hold onto you filthy arms to stop further damage. Just then you will try to use you forehead to knock off the table. Because the sound that makes is really amusing too.
I have to say I felt utterly tragic about your behavior. Because all along my pregnancy with you, I thought that having a girl meant I wouldn’t have to go through what I had with your brother. Everyone told me girls are supposed to be more manageable than boys. No more chasing and yelling around as boys would never listen. But girls! Tell them to sit down and read, they would just sit there for the rest of their lives. Mothers can be blindly dumb! Now I’ve started to question myself why would I even listen to this shit? I ran away from home when I was 19. Shouldn’t I have stayed home quilting? So, I’ve realized that you are exactly what I should have – an independent creature who, at the age of 16 months, knows certain directions to go to and certain toys to play with. You no longer cry when we leave you with grandparents. In fact, you start to get excited when we are almost there driving to your grandparents’ house. You know which way we are going, you know you are about to have a good time and a good feast of food ALL DAY LONG.
Ethan, this month you continue to delight us with your overflowing dialogues, and often your father and I have to check with each other to see if we have heard you correctly. One evening over dinner time, your father asked you to eat some mushroom because that is one of your rare favorites, and you refused, “No, I don’t want mushroom.” Honestly it sounded really absurd. You used to like mushroom so much that you could only eat mushroom but nothing for a week. We could smell mushroom from your poop. Your father tried again and asked you to eat some. This time you raised your voice, “No, I don’t want it. I AM SERIOUS!” So serious that all the mushroom for the grocery stores across North America would have to be pulled off.
One morning I told you we were going to the gas station and you said, “Gas station! That sounds like a great idea!” Generally you are this perky when we are ready to leave the house. You get excited even for somewhere that you haven’t been before. Sometimes I’ll push back and ask what you know about the gas station. And your eyes will get impossibly huge as you say something about it being really big, the big gas station with big truck.
This is how you talk about things now, how you outspeak everyone. You always want to make sure that we understand how determined you are when you like or dislike something. It’s a square toast, a big square toast. You do not want a big square toast, because today only a triangle toast gets the right to go into your mouth. You want a triangle toast, a small triangle toast and two rectangle toasts. You don’t like the square toast. Usually we have to cut short because you have way too many things that you dislike, that you can go on and on to detail exactly how unacceptable they are. A SQUARE TOAST? Nononononononono. Don’t you know toast with right angels will pierce through my throat, and THERE WILL BE BLOOD. You don’t want to see blood yet at 8am, do you?
We were asked to fill out a form updating your attendance schedule for daycare. When we came to a question “How would you describe your child’s personality?”, I realized over these years we had been asked this question over and over again whenever we had to fill out application for your skating lesson, music group or to see a pediatrician. Every time your father and I had to come up with a way to sum it all up because there were only three lines for the answer. THREE LINES. Apparently someone is trying to mess with all the parents. Because I know I am not the only one who felt like they were trying to describe a rainbow to someone who has been blind for the whole life. How could it possible to do this with three lines? And when I look back to every moment I have lived with you, the moment when Ethan, you utter the Whoa! Whoa! guitar sound from a Pink Floyd song, where Maya, you then get very excited, swing your body and Whoa with your brother. The moment that we didn’t realize would be this amazingly fun. All I want to give out as a perfect answer would be: You will not be disappointed.