Tag Archives: letters to alvie

Five Years with Alvie Bean

Dear Alvie,

Tomorrow, you’ll turn five years old. You love your birthday and have been looking forward to this milestone for quite some time. I’m pretty sure your excitement over both mine and the Beer Guy’s birthdays was because that was two less birthday barriers before you turned five.

You are such a wonderful boy. It’s been a hard year, and we’ve had some rough times, but through it all, you’ve stayed affectionate, kind, and oh-so-curious.

April 2016

You’ve grown so much this year–both physically and intellectually. You dress yourself everyday (even socks, which were challenging for a long while). Your style isn’t necessarily my style, but you definitely have one. Thanks be to Thor, though, you’ve moved passed that “all shirts must be blue and all pants must be black or grey.”

May 2016

You are, as always, both the most infuriating and most delightful person I’ve ever known. You’ve figured out that one of the quickest ways to get out of trouble is to give me a hug and tell me you love me. It doesn’t always work, but it melts my heart.

June 2016

We had so much fun this summer. Between the backyard sprinkler and the water  park at the park two blocks away and time spent with your BFFs at the park and the pool, it was some good times.

July 2016

I spent as much time as possible outside with you this summer–complicated by the ridiculous heat Portland experienced. We gardened, we swam, and we got ice cream from the creepy, off-key ice cream van (a first for both of us!).

When it was too hot for outside, we built legos, and you started showing an interest in drawing. You’ve gone from barely drawing in September, to drawing childish square/triangle window-less houses in October, to completely recognizable Tower Bridges (complete with Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben).

This was December – his skills are even more mad now.

In August, we took a trip! We flew on an airplane all the way to South Dakota to visit Grandma and Aunt Liz. You did so well on 3/4 of the airplanes. You were polite, charming, and well-behaved.

August 2016
On the plane!

It was a fantastic trip. You met your great-grandma, several great-aunts and uncles, my good friend Marcy and her family, got to see trains, waterfalls, and swim in the largest natural lake in South Dakota. There was the small incident of air-sickness on the first leg of our return trip, but even barfing on a plane, you managed to maintain your equanimity and charm…those flight attendants were so nice to you.

September 2016

You developed an unholy affection for all things Pokemon. I don’t understand it–although I don’t particularly mind it as a tv show (it’s better than Daniel Tiger, that’s for sure), I don’t get the attraction. But I’m sure it won’t be the last time I don’t understand your interests. Fortunately, I don’t need to understand–I only need to support.

October 2016
Ash Ketchum caught all the candy

Autumn was hard for us. Mama was stressed, you were stressed, no one was sleeping, and our routine was all messed up with the various holidays. You really enjoyed participating in all the pre-election excitement. You helped me drop off our ballots, we painted our finger and toenails in patriotic colors, and we made election party cupcakes. (We’ll not talk about the rest of that.)

November 2016

It was hard on all of us, but your excitement about the winter holidays almost made up for it. It was so fun taking you gift shopping and seeing what crazy things you came up for. (The best? Stopping you from buying grandma a pair of socks that said “I’m a delicate fucking flower.” You liked them because flowers. I almost let you get them. Almost. You really need to learn to read, kiddo.)

December 2016

Post Christmas was also an exciting time. First Grandma came to visit and then it started snowing. And snowing. And snowing.

January 2017

Oh – and we moved again! This time, as I’ve reassured you more than once, for good. Not, however, forever. You may not live with us forever. You’ve got 13 more years, and then you’re out of here, buddy! It’s been fun getting your room set up (you have your own desk for all your drawing!) and getting to know new cats. One of the best parts (for me, anyway) is that we’re two blocks from a huge park with a pool!

February 2017
Rainy walk to the pool

The last month has been a countdown to your birthday. Every day we ask Siri how many days it is until April 8. You’ve planned your cake, addressed all your party invitations, and asked every day if any presents have arrived.

I am so excited to pick you up tonight! I didn’t get to see you on your birthday last year, and I’m delighted that I’m getting you for this one.

You have become such a delightful child and I am so pleased that you’re my kid. You are smart, funny, talented, challenging, and kind. The last five years are beyond anything I could’ve anticipated and I know the next five will continue to surprise and challenge and delight me. Most of the time.

March 2017

You’re my favorite, kid. I will love you to the sun and the moon and all the planets and back.

Love,

Mommy

Our super serious “Mom’s taking me away from Pokemon” faces

 

Fifty-four (54!) months with Alvie Bean

Dearest Bean,

I kinda think I might need to demand a maternity test. Although there are times when I’m positive you’re my kid (your favorite food is a grilled cheese sandwich and you tripped and did a header into a shelf of wine, breaking 11 bottles with your skull), there are other times I’m just not so sure.

Last weekend, we were cleaning your room and I said you needed to pick five things to put in the give away box.

You chose five books. Four of which were Caldecott Medal winners (I would’ve chosen the airplane book clearly written for a much younger child or the random book on Greek festivals that is not only for someone much older, but also extremely out of date and poorly written). You also told me you’re not going to learn how to read because “it takes too much time.”

It's no wonder when these are the books I give him, right? (Oct 2014)

It’s no wonder when these are the books I give him, right? (Oct 2014)

This is deeply disturbing. You may not know this about me, but I read. I like reading. It’s my favorite hobby. I’ve been reading to you since before you were born, and every night before bed we read a story. (We used to read three, but your books are much longer now that we’ve graduated from Boynton.) The only nights you don’t get stories are the nights you either fall asleep unexpectedly soon or the nights you’re possessed by sloth demons and can’t get yourself ready for bed in a reasonable amount of time. (That second happens so seldomly – I think only when you forgets that mama never makes threats she doesn’t intend to keep and story skipping is definitely my last resort.)

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The only thing in the universe that matters now is Pokemon. I know a lot more about Pokemon than I ever thought possible.

 

This morning, you disowned me because I wouldn’t let you watch Pokemon before going to school. You seemed shocked that I didn’t immediately capitulate. I told you that since I was no longer your mother, that meant I didn’t have to share my tv, or my internet, or my cheese with you anymore. There were tears. I won ex-mom of the year. (I have since been brought back into the family.)

Weirdest family ever.

Weirdest family ever.

You are four and a half. Other than the reading part (and the part where you’re four and a half, which OMG! Why doesn’t the quest for independence and the strong personality development happen the second you leave for college? Can’t you just be agreeable and pliable and do everything I ask until you move out and need to think for yourself?) you’re really a great kid. You’re so kind to others – especially those smaller than yourself and you love helping.

He is a shockingly good carrot peeler.

He is a shockingly good carrot peeler.

You’re affectionate and smart and funny (although maybe not quite as funny as you think you are). You never, ever stop talking. Ever. EVER.

Well, maybe occasionally.

Well, maybe occasionally.

You’re stubborn and charming and determined. You are easily frustrated when things aren’t easy and I fear this will be the biggest challenge you face as a developing human, because DUDE! I feel you. (And seriously, socks can be difficult.)

You have the capability of making me seethe with anger like no one else and can make my heart feel too full seconds later when you look at me and say, “I love you to the sun and the moon and back, mommy. I will love you until you die. And then I will still love you when you’re dead.”

"I'm dead, mommy. I don't have to go to bed tonight."

“I’m dead, mommy. I don’t have to go to bed tonight.”

You’ve been waking up in the middle of the night and wanting to crawl into bed with me. I probably allow it more often than I should, because I’m tired, too, and it’s the path of least resistance. I’d like you to start sleeping through the night again, though. Every night. That would be great.

I document a lot of sleeping to remind myself that it really does happen.

I document a lot of sleeping to remind myself that it really does happen.

You are a bundle of heart and feelings (and dirt) and I am so thankful that you’re mine. You challenge me constantly (and sometimes literally – we have a lot of weaponry about). You make me want to be a better person so I can be the best mom for you.

"I will take our selfie, Mommy."

“I will take our selfie, Mommy.”

Love you to the sun and the moon and back forever and two days.

Mommy.

Four Years with Alvie Bean

My dearest Alvie Bean (“I am NOT a bean, I am a BOY!”),

You are four years old today. Finally, finally after weeks and months of anticipating your birthday, your transition into FINALLY being a really big boy, the day is here.

You’ve been telling people you were 3 & 7/8 for quite a while. It was hilarious.

Now, you’re definitely almost a grown-up.

Month 37 (April 2015)

Sometimes I wonder if you spend too much time with the cats

You are a near-constant delight and a near-constant challenge. The older you get, the less I blog about you, because you are becoming an actual person and not a mere extension of me.

You did, however, do your best to live up to the reputation that three-year-olds have for being tiny demon monkeys. There were days that I threatened to sell you on the internet. There were other, much worse days, that I threatened to pin a $20 bill to your collar and just leave you in a park.

But for every day that you drove me absolutely crazy, there was another day that you melted my heart.

First Day of Preschool! Lightning McQueen was for moral support.

First Day of Preschool! Lightning McQueen was for moral support.

You are the stereotypical boy. You love cars and trucks and trains and getting extremely filthy. I think I could bathe and sterilize you and drop you in a clean room, and you’d come out looking like Pig Pen in less than 15 minutes. It’s a gift, really.

Not a clean room.

Not a clean room.

You are inquisitive and smart and not nearly as reckless as I would’ve guessed you’d be. Not yet, anyway. You love playing legos and trains and watching TV shows about lego trains. You have a temper, though. Oh my, do you have a temper.

But you know what? You’ve never lost it in public. Maybe in front of friends, but never in the grocery store, or Target, or anywhere else that would’ve been difficult to remove you from the situation.

The calm down jar is my greatest craft achievement. GLITTER GLUE!

The calm down jar is my greatest craft achievement. GLITTER GLUE!

I was never sure if your affinity for gardening was more about your delight in watching new plants grow or because it gave you one more way to get dirty.

Planting M&M's is not advised.

Planting M&M’s is not advised.

You loved watching your watermelons grow, though. You watered them and talked to them and tickled them almost daily as encouragement to grow. And boy, did they! We ended up with only one edible watermelon (the others cracked early on), but it was a good one. And so delicious!

I carried a watermelon!

I carried a watermelon!

As you know, Halloween is my favorite holiday. It is entirely my goal to make sure that it’s yours, too. So far, I’m a bit skeptical because you refuse to wear all of the costume pieces I painstakingly make and buy and put together so you can live your costumed dream.

Regardless, you’re still the cutest, even if you wouldn’t wear the polar bear head OR the Captain Barnacles hat. I guess blue pajamas and an Octocompass are all you need to be a sea-captain, though.

Together, we are Captain Barnacles.

Together, we are Captain Barnacles.

One of the biggest frustrations for me (and probably for you, too) is your insistence on eating only about five foods. I guess I should count my lucky stars that you will eat just about any fruit, but I’d be delighted if we could expand your food choices a bit. Fortunately, after a serious discussion last week, you agreed that once you turned four, you’d eat what everyone else at the table was eating. It can’t always be grilled cheese sandwiches. (I would happily eat grilled cheese sandwiches every day for the rest of my life if it could be.) It’s always an exciting day when you voluntarily try a new food, and my heart grew three sizes when you agreed to try lefse (and you LIKED it!) at the Scandinavian festival.

Cutest Norwegian gnome ever!

Cutest Norwegian gnome ever!

You had such a fabulous holiday season. I think this was the first year you really got what was going on. You helped me decorate the tree and helped me shop for Christmas presents for your dad. And when it was FINALLY Christmas, you had such a wonderful time. You got so many fun presents and gave so many fun hugs.

Christmas kisses are the best.

Christmas kisses are the best.

You love playing outside and you love parks. I personally am not much of a park person. They’re pretty boring and the other kids look at me funny when I go down the slides. I try to talk you into participating in other outdoor activities with me, but we haven’t really hit on something you like more than just “playing” (boooring).

Not ready to commit to being a tennis prodigy.

Not ready to commit to being a tennis prodigy.

The older you get, the more wonderful you become. I love snuggling with you, and reading to you, and just hanging out with you. For all your childish thoughtlessness, you are still the sweetest and best kid. When I was sick, you brought me cough drops (and even unwrapped them, which was sweet but maybe not as hygienic as one would hope) and blankets and hugs. For my birthday, you insisted that we go pick out a cake for me. You wanted chocolate, but because that’s not my favorite, you got lemon. You are just fantastic. I don’t know what I’ve done right, so I’m just going to keep on keeping on with everything, because you are turning into a great human being.

My lemon birthday cake. He gave me all his money to pay for it.

My lemon birthday cake. He gave me all his money to pay for it.

The last month has been a rough one for both of us. So many changes. We moved houses and you spend half your time in “Mommy’s new house” and half in “Daddy’s old house.” You’re shuttled back and forth with preschool as the go between. You’ve been a lot more emotional as we adjust to the changes. (Although, to be honest, so have I.) When I cried on our first night in the new house, you asked me why I was crying. I told you I had a lot of emotions. You said, “Mommy, just have one emotion at a time. Then you don’t cry as much.” And you hugged me.

Kid, you are the best.

Goofy, funny, smart, sweet, opinionated, terrific, stubborn, and all around the best boy anyone could ask for. I love you.

"Take my picture!"

“Take my picture!”

Maybe stop growing quite so fast, though. I want you to be small enough to hold for a while longer.

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I’m really sad that I don’t get to see you on your birthday this year, but I’m looking forward to seeing you tomorrow and having a great party on Sunday (vanilla cake, chocolate frosting, and a train on the cake, as ordered.)

I love you.

Love,

Mommy

 

Forty-One (41!) Months with Alvie Bean

My dearest Alvie,

This is the first letter I’ve written you since you turned three. I’ve really fallen down on the job, haven’t I?

I decided to write today for a couple of reasons.

  1. You are crazy and I need to write about all the things I love about you so I can look back on this and not sell you to the traveling carnival
  2. You started your new preschool today and did much, much better than I’d feared.
First day of school: Lightning McQueen shirt and introduced himself as his hero: Captain Barnacles

First day of school: Lightning McQueen shirt and introduced himself as his hero: Captain Barnacles

You are crazy. Seriously. You have the attention span of a fruit fly and the focus of a…very focused creature. Your hearing is incredibly selective, and your will is very, very strong.

Everything is orange.

Everything is orange.

You still hate most new foods. You love cheese sandwiches, pizza, cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, tater tots, french fries, cereal and most fruits. You despise anything that even begins to resemble a vegetable. You won’t eat mac ‘n’ cheese because you are obviously insane.

You love to garden but refuse to eat any of the fruits - errr vegetables - of your labor

You love to garden but refuse to eat any of the fruits – errr vegetables – of your labor

You’re obsessed with Octonauts. You generally introduce yourself to new people as “Captain Barnacles. Your teacher at your former daycare gave you a going away card with the Octonauts drawn on it and you’ve slept with it every night.

Thanks, Teacher Sydney!

Thanks, Teacher Sydney!

You are so smart. TOO smart. You like to tell people where their medulla oblongata is. You get frustrated when you cannot pronounce multi-syllabic words properly. You told me the other day that you had a large vocabulary. It’s all true. You’ve begun to memorize your favorite books and are recognizing words that aren’t attached to symbols. You try to write your own name, but don’t get very far, and that frustrates you.

Always with your nose in a book.

Always with your nose in a book.

Everything frustrates you, in fact. Nap time is incredibly frustrating. Bed time doubly so. Foods that aren’t the right foods at the right time. Clothes that aren’t in the right place. Too much help. Not enough help. Everything.

Your life - it is so hard

Your life – it is so hard

You’re a fantastic helper when you want to be. You feed the cats every day, generally with very little prompting. You like to help me pick up (sometimes) or set the table (when you feel like it) or do laundry (unless it’s interrupting some Octonaut viewing).

I help you exercise! I am so strong.

I help you exercise! I am so strong.

You are so very friendly and open, but also endearingly shy from time to time.

This is not one of those times.

This is not one of those times.

You are also very, very three. Oh, the willfulness! The temper! There has never been another human being who has frustrated me so quickly and so thoroughly. There’s also been another human being who has so quickly melted my heart.

I give you a flower because you are pretty and so is the flower.

I give you a flower because you are pretty and so is the flower.

 

I am very much looking forward to you calming down a bit. A lot, actually. But I love reading with you, and our brief snuggles, and how much you know about everything. I love touring the garden with you and I love that no matter how many times I correct you, you insist on calling tomatoes potatoes.

Tiny gardener

Tiny gardener

I could do without the throwing of stuff and the yelling, but if that’s what I have to put up with to get the snuggles and the “I love you, Kwazii Mommy,” I’ll take it.

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You’ll always be the coolest.

Such a cool dude.

Such a cool dude.

Love, Mommy (aka Kwazii the one-eyed pirate cat)

Thirty-six (36!) Months with Alvie Bean

Dearest Bean,

Today you are three. I am blown away both by the fact that you’ve seemed three for ages and that you’re already three.

You are such a little person! You have opinions (so many opinions) and thoughts and preferences. It’s crazy.

Birth Day!

Birth Day!

You challenge me. Continually. Both with your questions that I cannot always answer (“But mommy, how does the piston work?”) and your behavior which is very demon monkeyish from time to time.

1 month old

1 month old

You are simultaneously fearless and fearful and already Mommy’s kisses are not enough to scare away the bad things in the dark. “Your kisses are broken mommy. I still scared.”

Two months old

Two months old

I look at pictures of you from those first months when you were a squishy lump of love that scared me more than delighted me and I’m amazed at what you’ve become.

Three months old.

Three months old.

I want so much for you and it’s hard to start letting you choose your own adventure. Especially when that adventure is 100% cake based.

Four months old

Four months old

You love to laugh (“Mommy, let’s laugh together, okay?”) and to make others laugh. You are a tiny ham and a miniature stand-up comedian.

Five months old

Five months old

You like to do yoga with me every night before bed. I like to believe that it helps you calm and center yourself so that you can sleep (knock on wood, that’s going really well lately), but I think you just like to stick your butt in the air and wiggle it around.

Six Months Old

Six Months Old

You are so very smart. You recognize a lot of words, regardless of context (Open, stop, exit, your name and the names of all your classmates) and have memorized a couple of books so that you can read them to your Lightning McQueen.

Nine Months

Nine Months

In fact, your intelligence is such that I occasionally forget that I’m talking to a preschooler with insufficient frontal lobe development and try to use logic when there is no logic to be had. I get frustrated almost as much as you do when I’m trying to explain a complicated concept (like why we don’t go to school naked).

One Year old!

One Year old!

You teach me, more than anything, patience. Not just patience with you (although I need that a LOT), but patience with me. It’s easier to be kind to myself when you’re watching.

1 1/2 Years

1 1/2 Years

You love books almost as much as I’d hoped, and only slightly less than you love your trains. OMG your trains! Your favorite show is Dinosaur Train (thanks be to Freya that we’ve moved on from Daniel Tiger) and you know your favorite episodes by heart. You build train loops that stop in the Cretaceous Time Period. TIME TUNNEL APPROACHING!

Two Years Old

Two Years Old

In the last year you’ve grown almost a half a foot (last fall was crazy! you’d wake up complaining that your legs were broken). It’s slowed a bit now, probably because you refuse to eat dinner most nights. The other day you took four bites of the soup I’d made and I almost called the national news to let them know. I hope that means we’re approaching the end of the “I won’t try new things unless they’re fruit or chocolate” days.

2 & 1/4

2 & 1/4

Your memory is amazing, but your sense of the passage of time frankly sucks.  (“Mommy, we went camping at the lake last night and I had a walking stick and we slept in a tent.” “Mommy we went to a party at that building last night and I saw…[exhaustive list of every single person we saw at the party. In December.]”)

2 and 1/2

2 and 1/2

You are amazed at all the wonderful things we can see and learn. You love to look at books that are far beyond your age level and ask questions about the pictures. We looked at a Childcraft book on “Our Bodies” the other day and you asked a lot of questions (“I want to see your bones and blood, Mommy. Take them out.”) and made some very astute observations (“Mommy, those people don’t have penises or vaginas. Are they broken?” “No, just desexed for the kids, I guess.” “Mommy, where are the books with penises? I read those books.”)

Fashionista

Fashionista

You have very strong opinions about your favorite colors (pink and red and orange) and the clothing you wear. You dress yourself (with help) most days. Your fashion sense and mine don’t always mesh, but if it makes you happy to wear your Christmas pajama pants with a Spiderman shirt, who am I to argue?

I grow my hair long so I can have more ponies!

I grow my hair long so I can have more ponies!

When I asked you what you wanted for your birthday, you said you wanted a Dinosaur Train Cake and a beard.

With pink frosting and sprinkles.

With pink frosting and sprinkles. Beard forthcoming. No, really.

These last three years have been amazing and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. At least not today when you’re being amazing.

My favorite kiddosaurus rex.

My favorite kiddosaurus rex.

This morning, you were delighted by your birthday shirt, blown away by the Dinosaur Train cupcakes, and demanded that I sing “Happy Birthday” to you.

I love you like crazy, Bean. When you open your arms and say “Oh, Mommy. I love you. I’m so glad you and me are friends. Let’s cuddle,” I die.

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Happiest of birthdays, my darling.

Love,

Mommy