Oh, you dear, sweet thing

Dear little person:

I am so sorry that the world feels out of your control. I’m sorry it’s so tough to be small.

I’m sorry that people will minimize your frustrations by saying “it’ll only get worse.”

And I’m sorry that it will. Only get worse.

I’m sorry that life moves too slowly when you want adventure.

I’m sorry that life moves too quickly when you need routine.

I’m sorry that not everyone will adore you as much as we do.

I’m sorry that society thinks its job is to beat out of you that which makes you You. I hope we can help you find and hone your strengths so you stay You in the face of Them.

I’m sorry you don’t know yet that you won’t, in fact, spin off into a million pieces when you feel as strongly as you do.

I’m glad I’m here to teach you that it’s okay to have very strong feelings.

I’m sorry not everyone will always be gentle or respectful. I’m also sorry you won’t be, either. I’m glad I’m here to teach you to strive for it, though.

I’m not sorry that you didn’t know what a donut was until today. And I’m not sorry you didn’t like the first one you ever tried.

I’m not sorry that in our family Santa is a story about a person who collects from those who have enough and gives to people who need, rather than bringing rewards if you are “nice.” I’m glad we don’t subscribe to that kind of reward/punishment structure. And I’m glad you know about giving to people and animals who need.

I’m sorry that you have to finish the first portions of fruit, protein, and carbohydrate in each meal before you get seconds. I’m not sorry that you’re always welcome to trade a meal you’ve tasted for hummus and crackers.

I’m sorry we have safety and respect rules about which we are not flexible.

I’m not sorry we’re flexible about everything else.

I’m sorry that, in the midst of all the other changes in your life, I decided to move the furniture in my room. I’m sorry that sent you completely around the bend. I’m not sorry that if you ever need to cry that you *always* get a shoulder on which to do it.

I’m sorry that you cried so hard into my shoulder about me moving my bed that you had huge, salty curls dried to your cheek while you slept.

But I’m not moving the bed back.

I’m sorry if having a new baby upends your world. But I’m not sorry that you will forever have a sibling. From what Daddy and I have found, they’re pretty nice things to have.

21 thoughts on “Oh, you dear, sweet thing

  1. please, please print this out and let Peanut have a copy when he is older. I’m really enjoying your blogs, love the honesty and your perspective.

  2. Ok. I don’t know how you do it. You run a tight ship. It might be because you don’t have parents like mine who like to introduce things like doughnuts. You rock! I’m sure it was as hard on you as it was Peanut.

  3. Oh, kq, thank you. I print out all the Peanut posts to make a book for him. He gets to see all his dirt when he’s older.
    Fae, it was about three thousand times harder on me. Because I’m supposed to keep my cool and it’s his job to lose his shite. I thought of this post today because I said, at snack time at school, “I wish I were three,” and several moms and I almost said in stereo, “actually, not.” But permission to throw tantrums and burst into tears and kick the emotional crap out of the people who love me would be really nice.

  4. Ah, readers, seriously, YOU are why I can’t afford therapy. This is just the best tantrum and ego stroke EVER. I should bottle you and atomize you and bring you in my pocket every day for occasional spritzes.

  5. Just an affirming virtual pat on the back from me. I am pleased that you safety and respect rules aren’t flexible, and that just about everything else is. And I am glad to have your perspective on parenting, which have been indispensable in my quest to understand my own.

    On that note, the Better Half and I have been in something of a pickle about how to address the Santa Issue. I never believed in Santa, and was raised in a house where there was no investment in fomenting that belief. The Better Half had a different upbringing, and is vaguely aghast that I would wish to raise a child in a hard, cold, Santa-free world. I, on the other hand, am really not down with the idea of lying so baldly. This is all preamble to my saying that I may have to steal your approach to Santa.

    • I don’t notice grammatical errors in praise, Dan. It’s just my wont to accept all niceness, regardless of form. (I really didn’t notice. I’ve been awake for 30 hours and I’m kind of loopy.) I am glad Reluctant pointed out that parenting is an art not a science, and one that is continually honed. I just don’t agree with most people’s methods, and am happy to say that on my own blog.
      Totally steal my Santa idea. There’s a longer post about it in the greatest hits list, called Thanksgiving for Santa. We just figured, there is undeniable magic in the idea of Santa. But the original story is based on a saint who gave to the poor. And there’s no reason that can’t be our authentic, no lies story. Making toys my ass. He redistributes wealth. That’s our idea of magic. Still leaves excitement the night before, still allows for the patter of reindeer hooves. And involves a whole month or more engaged in charity.

    • Thank you all for the kind words. I post so many angry, frustrated, “trying to do my best” pieces here that it felt good to articulate the genuine empathy I try to have for my poor, sweet, overwhelmed and overwhelming little person. Glad you liked it.

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  7. Thank you. I found your blog through PhDParenting’s twitter feed. I’ve been wondering how to address the Santa issue with my 2.5 year old and it maybe a good thing for me to remember too.

  8. As I sit here on Thanksgiving, in a home filled with parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, I wholeheartedly agree. Siblings are a wonderful gift.

    Lovely letter, I’m glad to have found it.

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