Dear Ethan and Maya,
Happy summer! After the most pathetic June ever in Vancouver, I can’t be more pleased that we have the best summery July. Because we can finally throw you both out at the backyard before you kill each other over being too bored stuck in the house.
I know I am saying this again, but the truth is attempting to kill each other is what you both love to do most of the time. The situation is so BEASTLY that it looks like I just gave birth to two cannibals who are imprisoned in our house, fighting all day long to see who gets eaten first. I thought I had prepared myself with the knowledge that siblings fight over everything all the time. But Ethan, if I knew you would be freaked out because Maya wore another pair of sandals instead of the ones she wore yesterday, if I knew it would upset you as she chose to sit on a chair without her booster, if I knew it would ruin your day because she didn’t lick the popsicle before she decided to take a bite out of it, and Maya, if I knew you were a natural born vampire that all the time you chase after your brother to bite him for no reason, if I knew you would accuse him for hitting you even when he was miles away from you, if I knew you had to touch whatever he’s touching even though he explicitly and deafeningly announced that he wanted to play by himself…..if I knew all of these, I think I would be a very famous author who has ever written a parenthood manual which addresses all of the shit about kids. Because the ones that we have nowadays don’t even cover half of the shit that we encounter with you both.
What can we do except separating you! So Ethan, when you are offered a sleepover, no matter from whom, the first thing that we start thinking is how many years of your belongings we should pack for you. And when you were younger, anytime you heard the word SLEEPOVER, GRANDMA’S HOUSE, your mind would be blown away. You would become so ecstatic and keep asking, “Where is my pajamas, mommy?” The following day when we brought you home, it’s like a doomsday to you. You never wanted your away-home time to end, because here at home we regularly beat you and never let you watch Cars 600 times in a row. Or never let you eat Oreo for breakfast. All along your way home in the car, you would be brawling so hysterically demanding I DON’T WANT TO GO HOME. I WANT SLEEPOVER. More than once your father and I had to struggle if we should drop you off at the nearby dumpster. Just now you ask for it, how about a real life experience sleepover!
Last weekend your father’s sister Karin kindly offered you to sleepover at her house. Honestly, half way through she finished saying the offer, I already came up with tons of ideas of how to spend the next day without you – one of them was to leave your sister to your father and fly off to Palm Springs. The excitement! Just then, you said, “No. I want to go home. I don’t want a sleepover.” My heart almost stopped beating. I think your father repeatedly asked you like 700 times to confirm what he heard was true.
And that is the interesting thing – the older you get the more your energy level begins to mirror our own. Our favorite is to relax at home cooking and watching movies. And recently you’ve started to express your desire to “stay home and play puzzles and sit next to mommy” instead of going to the grocery store. I’m not sure whether that is because you are our child or because of all the drugs I put into your water.
Maya, during the past month we have had a hard time keeping up with your vocabulary. You seem to pick up a new word or a new sound every day. Just the other day your father had a bad flu that all day long we could only hear him sneezing, and every time he did that you tried your hardest to imitate the sound except it came out sounding more like a lion. Recently you’ve started to say POPLISA for popsicle, NUMMY for yummy, BITBALL for meatball, BLANPLET for blanket, OREE for orange, GIM for ice cream. I know people will start to accuse me for being such a bad parent to not teaching my child how to pronounce English properly. But you know how much fun we have at home only listening to all these alien language? So fun that after you spoke the same word over 50 times, your father and I would still try to lure you with a cookie to say it again, for another 10 times. Oh, speaking of cookie, you happen to be able to say COOKIE perfectly whenever you want a cookie, a muffin or a piece of cake.
You love to say OLAP for olive as much as you love to eat it. Surprisingly, both you and your brother have the same addiction. Every time I have to put a lot of olive and cheese in the salad because the race usually starts after that salad bowl hits the dinning table, and you both will shovel through the salad leaves, cherry-pick and eat all the olive and cheese. When you realize no more olive is left, you will raise both arms over your head as if signaling a successful field goal and yelled “MORE”!
A very close friend’s 10-year-old nephew Damian has come from Hong Kong to stay with us for three weeks for summer school. All polite and gentle, he’s gained all our love, especially you both. Ethan, you wake up every day asking for Damien. You run to his room to make sure he hasn’t escaped from you yet cause all he’s thinking about is how to not be annoyed by you anymore. And Maya, if all the kissing and hugging is not indicating that you want to sleep with him, I don’t know what that is.
Damien loves nature that he will challenge you with tons of knowledge that he learned from Discovery Channel. And in fact it perfectly reflects how beneficiary it is for you to grow up here surrounded by nature that you can touch by your hands and feet, but not via TV images. He was intrigued yet terrified by how we spend a summer afternoon running on fresh grass bare feet, splashing around in chilly hose water, exploring bugs inches to our bodies. And that is exactly what I hope for – you will remember you have so much fun in our own backyard, when the sun warms you up, when your laughter breaks the quietness. I hope you will remember your father and I lounging on the beach chairs watching you with big dumb smiles. And I hope when you see the photos of our backyard summer when you are older, you will still love it, you will remember how a plain backyard or a tiny pool holds big memories for all of us.