Breath held, eyes closed

When I ask you to do something and you’re willing, you sing back to me, “Oak-kay, Mommy Day!” A nicer song was never sung.

When I ask you to do something and you’re unwilling, you brace yourself, and enunciate each word, “Mommy, I heer jew. One meedee.” And usually, after that minute you comply.

You think it’s funny to say that your stuffed alligator says, “Meow.” And that your stuffed elephant says, “Meow.” And that your baby doll says, “Meow.” But you named them all “Poe.” I don’t understand you, kiddo. And I dig that about you.

When you want something right now, you tell me, “Mommy. Look me eye, Mommy.” It’s nice of you to tolerate me and to use such compelling ways to get my attention.

You spend a week or so screaming in desperate frustration any time your hands didn’t do what you wanted them to. I taught you to ask for help instead of screaming, and now you cheerfully bellow, “HELP, EVEEBODY!” when your train won’t work. Luckily for you, everybody hears you and everybody helps. Nice world, eh, buddy?

You ruin even the best jokes, friend, with your own favorite punchline. “Knock knock,” your brother and I begin. “Who’s there?” someone replies. “POOP!” you shout. Very funny. Very, very funny.

When your brother is mean you pull his hair. When he ignores you, you hit. When he yells at you, you bite. These are not okay, things, Butterbean. Angry is okay, hurting is not okay. That nonsense has to stop.

Thank you for saying “soddy.” It feels nice to hear a sorry.

It’s very nice of you to thank me for the things I do. It’s wonderful of you to use words and ask gently to have a turn. And yes, it’s kind of funny that you insist on locking me out of the car every chance you get.

I don’t know how I’m going to leave you at school tomorrow, sweet cream Butterbug. I know you’ll have fun and you’ll learn new things about how people are different but all like gentleness and kindness. I know you’ll be happy to see me when I come after lunch.

I just don’t know how I’ll do. Aside from the whole “allowing a thought to proceed to completion” thing I vaguely remember from before you and your brother were born.

I think I’ll be pretty much demolished without you. I’ve wanted some space from you since those days at three months that you just screamed yourself purple. But I’ve never followed through with it for more than an hour every six months because I just can’t take it. You’re too little, too sweet, too attached, too new.

You’re my guy. I love love love you. And I’ll come get you after lunch.

Okay, Butter Day?