Oops. You made thirty-five months yesterday, but I didn’t realize it until I was lying down in bed last night. So this letter is one day late.
As I’m trying to type this, you are sitting on the couch behind me. You’ve got a book you want me to read to you. I’ve explained that I’m writing you a letter, and you wanted to see it, but when I explained it was just words you decided to wait. You’re waiting for me to finish the letter now so I can read you the book.
I’ll admit I’m not thrilled at the prospect. I love to read to you, as a rule, but the book in question is the Disney Princess Music Player Storybook. You love this thing — I hesitate to dignify it with the term “book” — and I hate it. But then, of course, you love everything at this age. We keep getting books and products like this, foisted upon us by well-meaning friends and relatives. I don’t think we would have ever given you a single Disney Princess product if left to our own devices. I don’t want to attempt to catalog my criticisms of the whole phenomenon right now. Suffice it to say that it’s just not our thing. What I don’t like about this particular item? I’m generally opposed to toys that make noise and require batteries, and you certainly have plenty of those; I don’t like the idea of a book that plays music, and I don’t like the music this book plays; and the stories themselves are insufferably cloying. Yes, I realize this makes me sound like a cranky old grouch. I think I will get rid of this one when you’re not looking. You have so much stuff and you’re young enough that I don’t think you’ll ever notice it’s gone. It’s something of a futile gesture against the marketing juggernaut that is Disney.
(As it turns out we never had our story-time session this morning. Your mother came in and asked me to make breakfast, and you helped me beat the eggs (from the community garden) and so forth, and meanwhile the book mysteriously vanished, and now you’re out on a play-date as I finish this letter.)
So, what has happened since last I wrote to you? I guess the biggest news is that we made a trip to Indiana and back. You had your first chance to play in real snow and experience what I still consider to be a “real” winter. We did a thirteen hour drive both ways with hardly any breaks; I was anxious about how you’d fare but actually you didn’t fuss much at all. And you certainly enjoyed visiting your cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles. While we were there, we also celebrated your 25,000th hour of life, which fell on your mother’s birthday. But I was hard-pressed to explain that concept in terms you could grasp.
Earlier this week, just as we were sitting down to dinner, I was trying to explain the concept of MLK Day, and you exclaimed, unprompted, “People was equal!” I was doubly amazed: first, that you had any grasp of the concept; and second, that you’d actually learned something at daycare. We didn’t do anything to commemorate MLK Day; it fell on my birthday this year so we celebrated that instead. I hope next year we can do something more meaningful.
I took you to the park on my birthday. The museum and the sculpture garden and the botanical garden were all closed for MLK, but we had so much fun running around the Peristyle, the playground and the Popp bandstand. Your latest thing is taking pictures with your “camera,” which you conjure into existence by looking through a viewfinder formed by your two hands and, when the moment is right, making a click noise. I guess you learned that from me.