Dearest. You are 2 years and 9 months old. You are three feet tall and full of… spunk. Spirit. Sass. Your hair is curly and bleached blonde by the sun. You have no issues with dirt and prefer to be naked at all times.
Still no words, Darlin’. Your verbal apraxia is severe, though you have no clue that you cannot talk. You’ve been vocal since you were born… it’s one of the things that makes you atypical, according to your therapists. You’re also extremely social (atypical), highly gestural (atypical), and content (atypical). You are laid-back, funny, smart, and smart- if you catch my drift. In two weeks, you will start preschool in a class with other boys and girls who have various difficulties. I think you will really like it. I have decided to trust that your teachers (who I know and respect) will love you for those 2.5 hours and give you a chance to explore your voice in ways that I simply cannot. Plus, they have much cooler toys there.
I see big changes in you, Kid, and I know there are more to come. You play outside alone now without fear. You are obsessed with babies, both real and toy. You love rice and beans and anything that is extremely spicy. You nearly have a heart attack of joy when we see a horse. You ‘read’ to yourself, and you are a dancing fool. You have also begun to show some normal signs of toddler frustration. We battle over eating, sleeping, wearing pants, wearing shirts, etc. You and I are no strangers to spankings or time outs. Honestly, I’m a bit worn out. I’ve talked to other mothers and they assure me this is normal. Being a parent is hard.
I want you to know… and hear me here, Child… that no one understands you like I do. Not even your father, God bless him. You and I have been in some tough spots lately. You, shaking your head and yelling through snot and tears because you simply cannot figure out what to do or how to feel. When I see you like this it brings me to my knees. It’s like looking in a mirror. I know exactly how you feel. I know that rage and that panic and that fear. I know it. I understand that feeling and I remember that feeling and I will try not to minimize it. I will address you appropriately… and it may be a serious talk… but never, ever doubt that I understand how you feel. You get that extreme passion- both good and bad– from me. I will be your biggest fan and your toughest ally. Count on me to be honest with you and to cry with you and to keep you safe. It’s my job, and it’s one of the reasons I was chosen to be specifically your mom. I ‘get’ that side of you… that extreme, intense, brilliant, but difficult side of you.
Speaking of keeping you safe: in 20 years when I am telling ‘the battle of the car seat’ story, I want us to have a visual reminder. You have gotten in the bad habit of sneaking out of your arm straps… which, um, voids the safety of the seat and also allows you to pull my hair. You were very sneaky and extremely flexible. BUT. One night I realized I had a college degree and the ability to problem solve. Safety pins under the slider would stop your little arms from wiggling out. I CAN BE SMARTER THAN MY TWO YEAR-OLD. I did it. You HATED. ME. for two days, but you’re over it now… planning your next offense, I’m sure. That’s your father in you, by the way.
I love you so much.