letters to our children | april

Dear Colin,

Last night when we were walking home from the playground, you turned to me, arms stretched out and asked, “Can I hold you?” This, in Colin-speak, actually means that you want me to pick you up and carry you.  And no matter how many times I tell you that what you should say “Can you hold me?” when you want me to pick you up, it doesn’t seem to stick.

But then again, I think that’s just who you are these days.  Stubborn as anything, the older you get, the more you refuse to be told what to do. Anytime your brothers correct you about something, even if it’s something small, you get either 1) mad and throw a tantrum, complete with hitting them in the arm or head (we’re working on finding ways to deal with your frustration in a more productive way :) ), or 2) start crying immediately, complete with streams of tears running down your face.

It’s tough being the youngest sometimes.

You’ve always wanted to do everything your brothers do.  Nothing is worse than being left behind.  The other day, for example, you looked out the window and saw Daddy and your brothers in the backyard.  You went looking for your shoes right away and asked me to open the door.  When you got to the backyard though, Daddy and your brothers had disappeared behind some woods and you couldn’t see them.  And there it was: being left behind again.  And the tears.  Oh, the tears.

On the other hand, there’s nothing better than being a “big boy” and getting to do all the things your brothers do.  When we go to the playground, it means dashing full speed towards the monkey bars, climbing up as high as you can on the “spider web,” and running up the slide like your brothers do.  When we’re at home, it means trying to build the same spaceships and blasters with Legos and blocks, asking for the same snack your brother’s having (even if you’re not hungry), and making all the same pssht and whoosh noises when you play with your superhero action figures.

The funny thing though? As much as you want to be big, you also desperately want to stay little, too. When you can’t or don’t want to do something yourself, you can always get someone to do it for you.  And if I remind you that it’s something you can do yourself, your reply? “No, I’m still little.”  I’m told that this is a classic “the baby of the family” move, and if it is, then you’ve got it down pat.  If asking nicely doesn’t work, you’ll whine and cry until you get your way.  I try hard not to give in, but your brother Toby falls for it every time.

I’ll be honest, though. I don’t mind. You are my baby and I do want you stay little for as long as you can.  You still need me to push you in the swings, though these days it’s always “higher, higher!”  You still have a faint hint of the baby smell left, and you’re still little enough to climb into my lap and hug me tight with your arms and legs. So maybe next time you ask me, “Can I hold you?” I should just remind myself that the days of you being little enough to pick up are quickly disappearing.

I love you so much, buddy.

Love, Mommy

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This letter is part of a monthly series of letters with other photographers and moms. Please click here to read Kellie’s beautiful letter to her boys this month.