Letter to my kids: No. 1

Dear Kid A, YaYa, and Muffin,

You are now 3 years and 3 months old, 20 months old, and 33 weeks in gestation, respectively. I am starting to get used to being a mother. You all have impressed on me deeply that this is really my biggest role now, but, being slow, I've taken a long time to adjust. I think I'm finally getting it. We are a family.

Kid A, you are perhaps the smartest kid I've ever met. Too smart for your own good, since you've started to catch all the little discrepancies in my conversations with you; the ones that I make simply because I would rather not explain things detail for detail. But... you like details. My life with you seems to involve a lot of explaining, lately. You are over three feet tall, now. Welcome to the world of those of us who are over three feet tall! And those of us who dress ourselves, since, being in a state of panic over the idea of dressing three children every day, I have begun to suffer the tedious process of watching you dress. When you have your own room I'll just stick you in it and leave you there while I do other things, just to escape the slowness of it all. "Now your pants, Kid A. No, your pants. First one leg, then the other." Unfortunately right now we are all stuck in a one-room cabin. Not that I don't love it and won't long for the good old days of the one-room cabin when we move. (Ha ha.)

Really, though, you are very, very bright. Brilliant, really, but I hope you don't know it before you can keep from being insufferable about it. It began with you knowing the alphabet by sight at twenty-one months. Now you are reading. It seems that you are a sponge capable of sucking up impressive amounts of information and retaining them. Kind of like your superstar father. (Although I'm never sure if I should be insulted when people mention how smart you are and then in the same breath exclaim, "Just like his FATHER!" It's probably not worth getting insulted over.) And, in addition to your Really Wild Animals National Geographic videos, which you have worn out in insistence that they are the only videos you like, you have now allowed the Peanuts movies into your repertoire. They are to blame for the strange phrases that I hear you muttering all day long. Like, "All I know how to cook is a bag of chips, if that," and, "You sly dog." You've never even eaten a bag of chips. And I don't think you really get what Peppermint Patty is saying to Charlie Brown when she calls him a sly dog. I love you to death and am sappy with nostalgia over the fact that you were my first baby. Now you pretend to be in my belly, curling up against me, and it's all I can do not to shriek with imagined pain at the thought of how heavy you would be.

YaYa, you are wild and sweet, like a little apple in the forest. You've developed this amazing knack for sassiness, which seems odd and foreign in a person your size. I can see that, with you and I, it is about more than just "yes" and "no", it's about a battle of selves. When I say no to you, you look at me with a light in your eyes that makes me want to run and hide. If I wasn't THE BOSS, I would. You seem to have a love for the alphabet that is similar to your brother's.

You love Kid A. You are berserk with love for him. He is the first thing you look for when you wake up, and the last thing you see before you go to sleep. You also love any mention of the baby in my belly, and will pull up my shirt to gaze lovingly at my bellybutton, since this seems to be the place that you believe the baby lives. Do you understand that my belly is not normally this big? Probably not, and I'm not sure that you understand that this baby will actually come and live with us, and since you grow manic with jealousy when Kid A is cuddling with me on the side of my body that you want to be cuddling with, I imagine you'll have to adjust a bit. You love to snatch things from Kid A almost as much as you love him. Both of you love to taunt each other. It has made things, well, interesting, let's say. You are a girly little tomboy, rubbing salve in your hair, playing dress-up, adoring yourself in the mirror, and then eating a fist full of mud when I'm not looking. You were so proud of your pretty dress today, and then ran through mud puddles with Kid A until you were almost unrecognizable. You adore your dad. You love animals. You love to eat. You take my breath away, especially when you are sleeping with the eyelashes everyone has always dreamed of having for themselves on your cheeks and your arms flung up over your head.

Muffin, you are growing. We wait for you with the same strange feeling of limbo that we had when we waited for your brother and sister. I can't comprehend you, your existence and the fact that you are very real and about to be pretty central in our lives pretty soon. I comfort myself with the fact that I couldn't comprehend the YaYa Sister, either, before she was born, and was almost ambivalent about her compared to Kid A, until that moment when I held her slippery body and almost died with love. You are like the secret little gymnast that I have stored in my belly, the one who has squeezed all the room away from all my other organs. Sometimes you wake me up at night with your leaping and twirling, and I wonder groggily how you can possibly have so much energy. I have grown somewhat used to being uncomfortable, now, in my third trimester, but I know it only gets worse from here. We can't wait to meet you.

Kid A and YaYa, we only have a few pet peeves with you, but right now the ones that probably top the list are:

The way your daddy and I will be cuddling and having a tender moment in OUR bed and suddenly we'll have the wind knocked out of us when one or the other of you (or both) decide to leap on us and squeeze your little faces in between ours. Moment over.

Kid A: I know you can't help being stuffed up when your allergies are bothering you, but that perpetual sort of snort/nose breath thing you do when your nose is bugging you is the most annoying thing in the world.

YaYa: Pinching. Just don't.

Oh, and Muffin, try not to kick me in the bladder. Thanks.

As for things we love, they are too numerable to list.

Love, Mama

(I would have uploaded photos, but it wouldn't work with our incredibly slow connection)