Dear Ethan and Maya,
Here came June, meaning spring was over and we are heading into summer. But wait! Haven’t we been having summer for the past month already? And that’s right! The weather has been so nice and warm that it felt like spring wasn’t here at all. Over the past weekend, we couldn’t wait and put out the water slide and you both with our neighbour’s kids spent the whole afternoon in the backyard soaking in the sun. And I’ve started to worry about how we keep it up until September because by next week you will start to get bored. And we will all die!
That’s true. The thing about boredom! An incurable disease that hits kids especially hard. “Do we have to drive for a long time to get there?” This question pretty much sums up why a year ago your father decided to put an iPad in the car so you could watch shows on the road. There were “Are we there yet?” and “How much longer?” and more “Are we there yet?” and then “I’M SO BORED!” and then more “How much longer?” and more “Why is it taking so long?” And it was just before we started the car.
As adults we have lived enough life to understand that having a long ride is pretty low on the level of devastating circumstances. But kids? Staying in the car for more than 5 MINUTES is worse than dying in a shark attack.
But last month I decided to take that damn thing out of the car after you finished all the episodes that your father had uploaded. So what do you do now? Kick! Kicking has become one of your major activities in the car. And it makes sense considered when strapped in car seats, you can probably only maneuver your legs to reach and destroy things when arms are not long enough. After weeks of kick fighting and having my seat kicked at the back, we’ve started to be able to talk about the buildings and people on the road, take a nap or listen to some music.
Before summer started, I hoped we could have a chance to pause and put ourselves back together after a busy spring. Hockey, dance, swimming, golfing, skating, baseball, all these activities that filled up your time when you were not in school. A lot of “I don’t wanna go!”, “I don’t wanna play in the rain!”, “It’s too sweaty!”, “Why I never get to be the goalie, mom?!” Yes, complains! Complains about five-minute drive to the gas station. About too sunny outside. About not sunny outside. About too bored staying home but too much fun doing activities. Plain complains that don’t do us any justice considered the amount of pick-ups and drop-offs that we have to do.
I never like to hear you whine. No parents do! But sometimes it also comes with “Mom, I can’t sleep. I wanna go to the tournament now!”, “TWO GOALS! I scored two goals today!” “Whoa! I had my first home run!” “Yeah! Baseball tomorrow! I love baseball! I wish it’s tomorrow now!!!” And then every minute Maya, you would ask, “Is now tomorrow?” And when I’d tell you that it wasn’t until you sleep and wake up again, you’d let out a huge sigh, one so dramatic that I would think that you’d just been spared a death sentence. And then I know I have to feel gratified that we were able to give you that feeling.
Ethan, you lost your first tooth over the past few months. A lot of your friends have lost a multitude of teeth by this age. Like they have already had their grown-up teeth, and your baby teeth were still around not wanting to go anywhere soon. Except sometimes you would come up with some imaginary tooth wiggling scenarios hoping this was actually happening. And then we would all go, “No! It’s not going to happen until you’re twenty.”
Therefore when I picked you up at spring camp the other day, you came running to me with your mouth open, and I saw a big hole between your teeth, I didn’t know how to react. Did you finally tie a string to that tooth and give the other end to Maya and let nature takes it course? Because you simply could not wait! Turned out that tooth magically fell out when you were playing basketball. I am glad that you didn’t swallow it because as far as I know tooth fairy doesn’t visit toilet.
A few days after basketball played its magic, another tooth started to take its action. One night over dinner your father noticed that you were fiddling with your loose tooth. The same loose tooth that he has threatened to yank for the past few days. So TEETH PULLING, an activity that I would happily turn down if given the choice between that and fighting a shark attack. Only the thought of a tooth root tearing out of the gum…OH MY GOD! So when your father asked me to feel your tooth to see how loose it was, I was all I TRUST YOUR JUDGEMENT. You are in charge of this one!
Your father wiggled the tooth back and forth. At first it seemed like it wasn’t time, maybe it needed a few more days to loosen up a bit more. We waited to see if dinner would move things along, and twenty minutes after your usual bedtime we were all in the bathroom – me, you sitting on the bathroom countertop facing your father, Maya there as our cheering squad. You winced and grimaced and my dinner danced in my throat as your father feverishly twisted and pushed and pulled and coaxed. Finally, one last tug… BOOM! A tiny tooth sat in his hand. It was over! And you looked in the mirror in disbelief. You mouth was full of blood. Your breathing was so heavy as if you were on the verge of crying.
“Ethan, are you okay?” I asked, worried you were freaking out at the sight of blood. You didn’t answer me for a few second, then you finally turned your head to look at me. “What? Me? I’m totally fine!” Like what did you do today, Mom? I just lost a tooth AND I’M STILL STANDING!
It was forty-five minutes later – I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING, FORTY PLUS FIVE MINUTES OF MY LIFE LOST TO THAT DAMN TOOTH! Also, I was thinking…would it be tacky to collect all your teeth so that eventually I could arrange them in a neat little pattern and then glue them to a mirror like seashells? Because think how you would be convinced to have children if you knew that you had something like that to look forward to.
I’ve said it here many times that, Maya, you are at your happiest when allowed to change outfits at least four times a day. A four-year-old who is very picky about which pants she wants to wear with which shirt. And it’d better be a dress because DRESSES ARE AWESOME! Every day you ask, “Where am I going tomorrow?” And when I tell you that I haven’t figured it out yet, you will go, “Okay, phew! I haven’t picked out what I’m going to wear yet!”
Over the past month I was cleaning out your closet for summer. You were pretty excited when you saw your collection of summer dresses. Except you started to get frustrated after you tried them on because all the dresses I bought last summer are now hitting you about three to four inches above your knees. You pointed toward your almost fully exposed thighs and ask, “Why is it so short?!”
Why is it so short?! Oh god. You weren’t ever supposed to reach this stage in your life. You were going to be a little girl and I’d never have to explain what an “underwire” is. This makes me want to call my mom and ask her how in the hell she survived it when I first had my period.
“Maya,” I answered. “It’s called ‘growing’ and it happens to everyone. That’s why you’ve grown so much taller now.”
“Are you sure? That’s A LOT!!!”
“I don’t know. Maybe not,’ I said as I closed my eyes. “Actually I’ve been secretly shrinking your clothes because getting both of you ready and out of the house in the morning wasn’t chaotic enough.”
Yeah! You’re right! Maya, that’s A LOT!!! A lot longer legs and arms. I’ve always wondered why it looks like you are growing your brother’s growth because you both are almost the same size. And people who first met you both would ask me, “So who’s older again?”
And the truth is that you both are getting along more like best friends than siblings. You both hang out a lot. A LOT! You play together, eat together, do things together. You simply enjoy being together. One fantastic thing about it is that you both seem to look forward to going to school together which is happening very soon. And I simply cannot stop dreaming about one pick-up and one drop-off. JUST ONE! ONE! And Maya, you will stop asking me “Am I going to Ethan’s school today?” and just be there as long as your childhood takes you. Since the day we pulled you out from daycare, you haven’t stopped assuming that you are going to school with Ethan right after. You can’t wait! You know all the teachers, kids and parents. When we pick up Ethan together, you run through the school hallway, playground, class rooms. You know the school. You are ready and excited to know what’s going on inside.
We are two weeks away from school being out and ready to enjoy the early arrival of this summer. Camping, biking, swimming, BBQ parties, more biking and more swimming. Wrinkle toes, tan lines, sunscreen, damp beach towels, wet feet, dripping pony tails…another break before school starts again.
The other day I asked your brother if he would take care of you at school, he said he would play with you if he couldn’t find his friends. And in fact you’ve told me the same thing. I take it as at the end you know who to look for when no one is there for you.