Dear Holly: You Love to Perform Concerts, Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

2 years, 4 months.

Dear Holly,

For a solid three weeks now, you have been filling any quiet space with an eternal loop of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Because it happens to have the same exact melody as “The ABC Song”, you often interchange the lyrics.

Not to mention, you pronounce “twinkle” as twunkle.

You weren’t shy one bit when I decided to press record on my camera, so I could show Mommy your performance, once she got back from the grocery store.

Perhaps this is the beginning of your singing career…

Love,

Daddy

 

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Dear Holly: You Wore a Poop Emoji Band-Aid On Your Forehead to Church, While Your Parents Never Questioned It

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Holly,

The funniest part of this story is that it wasn’t until Mommy was making dinner last Sunday evening, around 5:30, that I even bothered bringing it up:

“So Holly’s been wearing a poop emoji Band-Aid on her forehead since I woke up this morning. We went to church, and then went to the doughnut shop, and the rest of the afternoon has now passed. Up until this point we haven’t talked about it.”

Mommy’s answer was everything I knew it would be. It was the explanation I didn’t need, since I already knew the answer because I know you that well. It was the very reason I never mentioned it all day:

“Yeah, Holly saw that I bought new Band-Aids and she wanted one on her forehead- so I let her. It wasn’t worth the fight.”

Needless to say, you’re going through that “wears Band-Aids excessively and unnecessarily” stage.

Earlier last week, I came downstairs from vacuuming, and you had two on each arm and two on each leg. You looked up at me in an attempt to earn all my sympathy:

“Daddy, I got boo-boos!”

You were the equivalent of a cartoon kitten who went skateboarding for the first time.

To you right now, Band-Aids are a fashion accessory. But you are also able to understand that in order to somewhat justify wasting them, you have to write a loose narrative as to why you’ve earned the right to wear the Band-Aids.

But you know good and well I’ll immediately settle for, “Daddy, I got boo-boos!”

Like Mommy said, it’s just not worth the fight.

In your psychological and social development right now, this is important to you.

Not to mention, I can’t deny it’s giving me access to being able to take some pretty funny and eventually embarrassing pictures of you these days.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Learned How to Jump This Week… While Wearing Your Brother’s Pokemon Underwear!

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

You’ve been on a mission this week. I’m not sure what inspired it. Maybe you’ve been seeing your friends do it at school, or maybe you’ve just simply developed your muscles to the point you can.

But after just a few days of practice, you finally taught yourself how to jump!

You’ve been leaping across our living room like a frog. You’ve even been making the sound: “Ribb-ribb-ribb-ribb…”

I had been noticing for the past couple of weeks that it looked like you were practicing. You just couldn’t figure out how to actually get your feet off the ground; as if it were supposed to be an automatic thing that happened after you squatted.

Your newly learned jumping skill just happened to be the same week that your brother talked you into wearing same of his old Pokemon underwear over your clothes.

Of all the cute clothes you have in your closet, you have decided that your brother’s old underwear are better choice.

Actually though, it reminds me of a conversation I was having with Mommy this week, how I myself have cool newer t-shirts that I never wear enough; as if I’m saving them for some special occasion that never happens.

Instead, I tend to wear only my old faded clothes when we’re home.

The irony is that for the people I love the most, I wear the worst clothes; and for the rest of the world, I have to put on a fashion show that no one is paying attention to.

So maybe you have inspired me to just start wearing what I really want to wear, even when it’s just our family at our house.

As for now, I have a feeling that it will just be the new norm to be seeing you jumping around the house in boys’ Pokemon underwear.

 

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: It’s Hard to Take a Normal Picture of You These Days

7 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

As I began looking through the more than a thousand pictures I took of our family’s recent trip to northern California, it didn’t take me long to notice a pattern: It was rare to see you just smiling normally in a photo.

Instead, the majority of the pictures show you making some kind of silly face.

Whether it’s a scary monster face, or an over-the-top smile, or just you simply photo-bombing someone else’s photo, you are all about being silly in photos.

Granted, I was able to get some normal pictures of you during our vacation. And that’s good enough for me.

I accept you, as you are, as a 7 and a half year-old boy. I want you to be able to express yourself that way.

So I accept that at this point in your life, you’ve had your picture taken enough to where it’s become a bit of a joke to you.

I don’t mind this. I completely realize that in a matter of about 5 years, I’ll be lucky to even get you to pose for a picture where you’re smiling- in any form. Because you’ll be in that teenage phrase where you are embarrassed by me.

This is actually something I’ve always wondered about: At what point will I no longer be able to include new photos of you in my letters to you? At what point can I no longer get away with including you in my blog?

I recognize that at some point, your need for privacy may override the fact that I love celebrating and documenting whatever is going on in your life each week.

So despite me having written about you at least once every week since Mommy and I knew you were going to be born, that may need to come to an end, some time in the future; or at least, maybe I’ll need to do it less frequently.

It’s very clear to me: Silly, happy pictures of you are much better than no pictures at all.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Lost Your Other Front Tooth This Week While Getting Your Teeth Brushed

7 and half years old.

Dear Jack,

You managed to accidentally lose yet another tooth this week; your other front tooth. This one came with the least anticipation. Tuesday night as I was putting you to bed you briefly mentioned that another tooth felt sort of wiggly.

My response was to tell you to leave it alone so it didn’t keep you up too late.

The next morning, as I was brushing your teeth, I kept this in mind. I was very careful not to even brush that one tooth.

But as I was pulling your toothbrush from the back of your upper teeth and attempted to pull it around to the other side, apparently I unknowingly barely grazed the edges of the bristles of your toothbrush against the edge of your lose tooth.

That’s all it took.

I saw your tooth hit the bathroom sink and fall into the stream of running water. It was like I had the ability to move very quickly as time passed by extra slowly, like Quicksilver of X-Men.

Amazingly, I was able to snatch your tooth up with my pointer finger and my thumb, on the first try, saving it from being washed down the drain.

If I had the chance to try it a second time, I probably wouldn’t have been successful. It was that moment in time I wasn’t prepared for, yet I still managed to accomplish the mission.

Minutes later, as I took a picture of you with your tooth, and also a close-up of your mouth, your sister assumed that she was supposed to pose as well.

So I got a picture of her pretending to show up her missing tooth, even though she’s still several years from even losing her first one.

As for you, I told you to take a break from losing anymore teeth for now.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Hitting and Hugging Your Brother “Jackie” Within a 5 Second Time Frame

2 years.

Dear Holly,

You are really having fun these days as you are learning the art of forming short, yet complete, sentences. Over this past week especially, I have noticed you are even finding a comfort level when communicating with your family.

So now, whenever you’re hanging out and playing with your brother Jack, you love to call him by his nickname you gave him: Jackie.

“You coming, Jackie?”

“Let’s go, Jackie!”

“Hold you, Jackie?”

By the way, “hold you” is one of my favorite things you say these days.

It’s of course the result of Mommy and me asking you, “Do you want me to hold you?”, when we see you are getting tired walking outside in the cul-de-sac or at a store.

So when you want Mommy or me or pick you up, you just say, “Hold you?”

Most recently, my favorite story about you and Jack playing happened this past weekend when Mommy was working on dinner and I was working on the dishes.

You and your brother were playing, when all of the sudden, you just approached him and slapped him in the chest, declaring, “No!”

He had done nothing to earn this. He was being nice to you. It was completely random that you did that. It was so random.

But immediately, before Mommy or I could address the issue, you looked up at Jack and asked, “Hold you?”

I guess it’s just proof of how well the two of you play together.

Because Jack wasn’t upset that you hit him for no reason, anyway. But then you immediately, and softly, asked him to “hold you”, which meant you wanted him to hug you, he gladly obliged.

The logic is just hilarious to me:

Approach your brother who is being kind to you, angrily slap him in the chest while shouting “No!, then immediately and meekly ask him for a hug.

I love watching you learn to communicate and interact with other human beings.

Love,

Daddy

 

When As Parents, You Decide to Keep Driving for 2 More Hours After Your Kid Makes a Poopy Diaper in the Back Seat

We were an hour into a 3 hour trek back to our home in Tennessee when my wife and I noticed the smell: Our 2 year-old daughter, who had finally just fallen asleep after desperately needing to, had also just “dropped a load” in her diaper.

My wife and I barely had a verbal discussion about our immediate, yet difficult, decision:

We were not going to pull over the car and wake her up to change her diaper. Instead, we were going to drive 2 more hours while having to experience a permeating barnyard odor.

In life, it’s important to choose your battles.

And as somewhat seasoned parents, as we also have a 7 year-old son who also had to be trapped in the car with us, we decided the battle of losing time on our trip back home and having to deal with getting an extremely tired little girl back to sleep just wasn’t worth it.

For two hours, we only breathed through our mouths; yet still our eyes watered.

It wasn’t worth even attempting conversation. Normally, my wife and I would appreciate being able to have a normal conversation without being interrupted by our kids.

Yeah, not worth it this time.

It was just about powering through.

We tried rolling the windows down a little bit, but then we were in danger of the noise waking our daughter up.

To make it up to our son who was sitting next to his sister, we bargained with him: If you don’t complain about the smell, you can keep playing DinoCraft on the Kindle.

Since he is accustomed to not being able to play his game for more than an hour each day, he took the deal.

We survived. We made it home. It was brutal.

But we are family. We do what it takes to move forward together.

Poopy diapers and all.