I do not love you the same.

Dear James,

As Maria said earlier as you spit on Bailey and sat on his head, for the past 10 days you seem to be “back to the old James.” Since you are three and too young to be old, she is referring to your Bailey’s #1 terrorist days of 10 months old when you would crawl/walk across any amount of space to mercilessly tackle his 11 month old unsuspecting and terrified baby-self. The two of you are best friends almost every day, except for the last 10. It’s been rough, James. There has been a lot of spit and use of the word “hate” because the 6 and 8 year old boys next door sometimes say that word and you are a fast repeater of things I never would ever want you to say.

You are a rules man- so long as the rules are yours and not Josie’s, or mine, or dad’s. You are very sure, however, to make sure Josie is following all of the rules that you decide do not pertain to you and offer well thought out explanations as to why such rules are not for you and only for her. Dad has to continually coach me in not caving to your knack for persuasion. It’s difficult though, because you are usually hugging me as you explain because you know I like it, and its an effective way to get quickly out of timeout.

Cheese is still the only food your really like.You will settle for Frosted Flakes and carmel greek yogurt. Tonight’s massaman curry was definitely not either of those so I think maybe you are going to wake up at 5am because you are “so hungy.”

We toured a new preschool and you were more adorable while touring than the very adorable stuffed fox you received for being a prospective student. There are turtles in the science room at the school. Based on your zealous hold/death grip of their rock hard shell, they might not be as enthusiastic as you are about attending next year. I hope you are understanding in their likely decision to keep their soft little heads tucked tightly away whenever you enter the room. You are eager to learn and explore every single item of every single classroom, especially the ones with a million-billion puzzle pieces. You shook each and every hand of each and every teacher and your ear to ear smile revealed all of your chipped teeth. Four teachers asked me, “what happened to his face?” when they noticed the 47 bloody boo-boos that have been there since you started crawling and getting into fights. When I replied, “oh that’s what it always looks like,” I looked like a really bad mom.

As of late, every time I pick you up from school you are wearing a different outfit than the one you put on by yourself inside out and backwards, and then refused, under any circumstances, to change in the morning, because you play with the water and sand just like you do with the turtle. Your choice to pull up the navy tube socks past your knees is just as much as a fashion cringe. I know that Daddy does the same thing because he thinks its funny when I burrow my brow and squint my eyes at the way he dresses, so I understand why you think its cool.

You are totally and completely under Rita’s adorable baby spell. You wake up in the middle of the night to check on her if she cries. You climb into her bed to pat her bum so she will fall back to sleep. You feed her, kiss her, and she even thinks its funny if you lick her, but its really gross and I hope the phase ends soon. If you are upset, she smiles at you and all is right and happy again.

Dear Josie,

With every day that goes by, I become more convinced that the only appropriate career in your future is Ninja. Your quiet, skillful determination makes a mess at least 500 times a day, but you are really good at climbing on the counter to get the entire roll of paper towels to clean it. You grunt and put a lot of muscle into your cleaning. I’m beginning to wonder if I, unknowingly and hopefully not, do the same thing and that your scrubbing style is one of imitation.

These are things you currently believe:
All of the shoes in the entire house are yours.
It is not an all an issue for me to carry you and Rita anywhere you want to go.
If you don’t like what you are eating, spitting it out wherever you are, whenever you want, is perfectly acceptable.
Spitting is hysterical.
Books without pop-ups are not worth reading.
If you can’t reach it, you climb until you can.
Mom’s makeup and jewelry and fancy clothes are the greatest toys of all next to a soccer ball and hockey stick.
Ice skates should be worn, even when its hot and we are not going ice skating.
No request is too small if it earns ice cream.
Rita and baby brendan need to have their blankets at all times, and if not, your world will crumble.
All other children in this house and the one next door are wrong: stink bugs are not scary and are fun to play with.
Holding hands is for losers, especially in parking lots or close to streets.

Dear Rita,

Your skin is different than that of the older two. You definitely need sunblock. Your name indicates italian blood, yet your skin is more of an Irish Bridget or Shannon.

Two weeks ago you got your hands on a graham cracker. Your mouth, now, refuses to open for anything but a graham cracker.

9 people called you a “he” at Target today. I’m sorry, you don’t actually look like a boy. I think maybe the genderless baby has made things confusing for everyone. You were wearing a black and white color blocked onsie with red accents. Its a very stylishly feminine color concept and pattern. And your cheeks are the rosiest known to baby. Maybe its your lack of knees and several chins? Or your peach fuzz hair? I’ll be sure to put a bow in it to clear up the confusion next week.

“Peace be with you,” is what you say everywhere you go, not out loud, just by your presence. James is particularly sensitive to you and your smile. Keep it up, baby. Just please, open your mouth for green beans.

You had a really high fever for 5 days. When I took you to the doctor 7 people said, “how is she still so pleasant?”

Dad learned that you are obsessed with the spinning, singing, light up mobile. In an effort to comfort you while I was out, he took it off of the crib, holding it in one arm, and you in the other so that you could continue enjoying it while being held by him. When I came home to see it, I thought “marrying him was a good choice,” and also, “this is a great picture.” As I tried to capture the moment with my iPhone, he begged me not to “ruin it with media.” Hopefully, my description in words is enough for you to know how much he loves you because your dad is really weird about cameras, among other things.

Dear Jim,

I don’t usually include you in these letters because you are my husband and not my child. But since you think that I should email you my posts, or deliver them to you on Gold paper, I’m choosing to write about you to the 10 people on the internet that may or may not read this one day.

Every morning you eat two waffles with nutella and a banana. You try to hide it from the kids by wrapping it in a paper towel and taking it in the car to eat on the way to work because you know as soon as its spotted by them, it will no longer be yours. I’m really proud of you for making yourself breakfast, because that one time when we were on the way to deliver Josie and you said, “but, i haven’t had breakfast yet,” I almost killed you.

You had another concussion and haven’t been able to play ice hockey, so you picked up video games instead. You’ve somehow managed to trick James into thinking that he is playing with you by handing him the broken controller with no cord and telling him he’s the “player with the arrow on his head.”

You went to bed at 2 am because you were working on a speech to give to a group of high school kids about the sacrament of marriage. I’m hoping you had to stay up so late because you wanted your speech to be perfect, and not because it was difficult to come up with reasons why you like being married.

5 thoughts on “I do not love you the same.

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