Monday, December 22, 2008

Dear Donovan,

A couple days ago you walked into Gemma's room where I was changing her diaper. You had one of your half smirks as you narrowed your eyes, crossed your arms and leaned up against her dresser. "Mom?! Are you finking what I'm finking?" My mind raced as I considered the amount of candy downstairs and your inability to control yourself in its presence. I was quite sure this was what you were "finking" but I tried to stall as I responded, "Maaaaaaaaaybe?" because, honestly, I *was* thinking about candy (who isn't?). But you surprised me by unfolding your arms, standing up tall and saying, "I'm finking about kisses!" And proceeded to sprinkle them all over Gemma's head and face. "And I'm finking you want to kiss me!"

Basically, that sums you up. You are a sweet loving kid. You are the first to notice when I'm wearing new (or old, but new-to-you) earrings. You tell your sisters and me that we are boo-ful, and when you say it I believe it. If I'm upset with you over something, you will simultaneously hang your head and raise your arms and plead, "A hug! A hug!" And you always know that when I say, "You know what I need?" you need to stop whatever you're doing and throw yourself into my arms.

clockwise from upper left: practicing his name, sort of;
drawing a mouse; Rudolph the Red(green?)-Nosed Reindeer

You are honest to the point of embarrassment. I cannot talk to you in the morning until I have brushed my teeth or you will hold your nose and sometimes gag, saying, "Yo mowf is stinky." Under no circumstances am I allowed to be in the bathroom (or, in public, stall) with you if you are pooping. This, actually, is fine by me except for when we happen to be at Costco or Target or anywhere else and you yell, "I gotta poop and it's stinky and I need to be by myself!" I'm sure the men behind the glass at the meat counter appreciate the notification. You have watched, and commented, throughout my body's expansion and downsizing, telling me when I'm "getting huuuuuuuuuge" and "yooking good." On Sunday's when I emerge, ready for church, you will often pause to tell me you like my skirt or dress or whatever. You love to pat my legs in their nylons and giggle at how they feel.

I've known since about the time you came out that you were your own person and would do what you want when you want. I've watched this year as you have taught yourself (with some help from big sister) how to pump you legs and swing higher than anyone else your age. I've watched as you have gone from a stubborn refusal to put your head in water to being able to sit by the side of the pool, dive in, and swim for 10 seconds unassisted. I've watched as you coached yourself through learning how to snap. I've watched, and helped, as you've learned to form the letters in your name. And I've watched as you've helped me make meals, cookies and play dough. And each time, the way your grin has spread across your face and your chest has puffed up a little at the realization that you DID it, has made me cheer silently (and sometimes loudly) on your behalf.

(Donovan generally draws two people: himself and Ainsleigh -
distinguished by the the small patch of hair on Dono's head
and the two strands of hair from Ainsleigh's)
This, obviously, is Ainsleigh:

I've often told others that to you, there are only two kinds of people in the world: your friends, and the people you haven't met yet. You enjoy the company of other kids, but you are equally comfortable around adults.

This year you have become Robin Hood. You jump and dive and leap, sometimes with an imaginary sword, sometimes with a toy ladder or paper towel roll or anything thing that might somewhat resemble a real sword. Yesterday you walked into the office and began banging on our metal filing cabinets with a wooden dowel. I asked you to stop and you turned and said, "Well what can I pat on?" How about nothing. You snorted as if I had just asked you not to breathe. "But I HAVE to pat on SOME-PING!" At least you then chose to walk out and go pat somewhere else.

But that's you. You're loud and energetic and sweet. You are are unapologetic in the way you laugh and love and stink. When I was pregnant with you, I wondered how I would ever be able to love another child the way I loved my first. Every day since your arrival has shown me how fiercely I love and want the best for you. My biggest fear right now is letting you and your sisters down. And so, I try very hard to balance this whole parenting thing in your favor. I look forward to what this next year brings. With you, I know it will be full of excitement and noise and, especially, kisses. I love you, Stinky.