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Forty-Five Months


Dear Persephone,

You are forty-five months old today.

It seems like you’ve packed a lot of living into the last month. Especially around the holiday: We had fun making simple skull garlands out of paper and decorating the house. You had a blast on your first real round of trick-or-treating. (Afterward you wanted to wait up on the porch to see some “real goblins,” scratching their heads, unable to find you in costume.) You also enjoyed our Ancestor’s Dinner and now have some idea who at least one of your great-grandparents is. And on Da de los Muertos the whole family visited the neighborhood shrine to Santa Muerte and left some candy.

You’ve been very disciplined about rationing out your candy. We generally limit you to one item per day, after dinner. You’ll often select your desert in the morning and look forward to it all day. But you derive great pleasure simply from sorting through all that candy, again and again. I think you enjoyed that as much as actually eating it.


However, you have gotten even more picky in your general eating habits. I know it’s perfectly natural, even healthy in some ways, but it still bugs me. You wouldn’t even take a single bite of my kumquat chutney.

And then there was the morning when you threw up in bed. No wonder your appetite wasn’t so good the night before. You were quite distressed. I don’t think you’d vomited once since that time when you were nine months old. Three years is a pretty good run. We got you cleaned up, and you seemed to be feeling better. Only, oops, not quite. Let me tell you for future reference: Nothing beats stepping out on your front porch on a Sunday morning with a toddler in your arms who then vomits all over herself and you. Yuck. You had a fever for a couple days, and then, just as you were feeling better, I got sick myself. There’s a stomach virus going around your school and the city.

The biggest development of the past month, by far, is that we dismantled your crib. (Many thanks to the indefatigable R. Stephanie Bruno for the extended loaner.) You slept in your own “big girl bed” for the very first time after three and a half years. We didn’t exactly plan it, but this ended up being on the same night as the time change. We set our clocks back an hour, meaning the natural proclivity we all have to stay up and sleep in a little later gets authorized for a brief humane interval. This worked out very well.

It didn’t take you long to discover that you can now get out of bed all on your own. It’s been a pleasure to wake in the morning to the patter of your little feet running from your room to ours. Once or twice you’ve even managed to get out of bed, go to the bathroom, and get back in bed, without any assistance.

That’s all well and good. What I’m dreading is when you start wandering out at night, when you should be drifting off to dreamland. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. A couple nights ago, as I was trying to fall asleep, I kept imagining that I heard your footsteps. Three times I thought I heard you, but it was just my imagination or a dream. Then I heard your steps again, and I swear I saw your shadow at our door. You weren’t actually there, but I was convinced you were.

So obviously I have some anxiety around your increasing mobility. Just imagine how I’ll feel when you get a driver’s license.

Xy had a conference for a couple days and that meant you had no ride to school. The easiest thing seemed for me to take the days off work, and so we had a couple days together. I thought we could see a movie. Turns out IMAX Under the Sea in 3D was the only G-rated flick in the greater metro area. Amazing but true. We took the streetcar downtown and checked it out. At first you didn’t want to wear the funny glasses, but once you got comfortable with them you had a blast, and so did I. A pulsating jellyfish is a perfect application of this technology. I think the eel garden was my favorite part. And the streetcar ride was every bit as much fun as the movie.

On the next day you joined us for the Mystic Toast of Eleven Times Eleven. I made you a “kiddie” version of the No. 11 Cup cocktail. Afterward we stopped by Goodwill so you could donate a toy pony, a duplicate handed down by a friend. It was your own idea.

You certainly keep busy with activities at school. It seems every day you are coming home with worksheets and art projects. Last week you showed me a brown cone you’d made, exclaiming, “A cornucopia is a horn of plunty!” I was mighty impressed to discover you are now able to draw a decent circle, and I got a further demonstration of your abilities at Where Y’Art last Friday.


Both of these pieces are inspired by the site-specific mural “Forever,” by Odili Donald Odita, now on display at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The top piece was created as an example by one of the art teachers at the Friday night activity table; the bottom piece was created by you, with a little help from me.

I drew some initial guide lines in faint pencil while you positioned and held a ruler. Then we colored it with markers and pencils. It was in making this together that I discovered you can now trace lines with a modicum of accuracy, something you could not even approximate a short while ago. Your fine motor skills and manual dexterity are improving by leaps and bounds at Pre-K3.

Finally, a word on meditation. I’ve been encouraging you to meditate with me some mornings when you’re not rushing off to school. It made me very happy a couple weeks ago, when you said, “Let’s meditate, Dada. I love to meditate!” A few days ago your take was quite different. “I don’t like meditating because we have to sit quietly.” At your age I can hardly fault you for a lack of constancy. To show the variety of contemplative techniques, we’re chanting now instead, a very simple chant based on the four ancient elements. Yesterday’s element was air, today was fire, tomorrow will be water. We just repeat the name of the element while visualizing it. Keeping it simple.

Published inLetters to PersephonePix


  1. Beautiful.

    We miss P., when can she come play with Evan and Syd?

    Also, I had the same fears about nighttime wanderings, but neither of mine have had that issue. Sydney occasionally comes in our bed, but it’s a welcome rarity–and Evan stays put.

  2. Grampa Ray Grampa Ray

    I should know myself but I don’t. You mentioned air, fire, and water. So, what’s the fourth basic element?

    Also, Bart, I remember when you were learning to drive. Those first few times scared the liver out of me. But you seemed relatively calm.

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