Arlo and Elliott,
Sometimes life feels like you’re traveling inside a car, cruising down the highway at 70 miles per hour. Things are going great, you’ve got the windows down, there’s a great breeze, good music, the sun is shinning… Sure you hit the occasional bump in the road, or get turned around and head in the wrong direction from time to time, but all in all, things are rolling along smoothly. Then suddenly, you look down and realize you’re pushing 100 mph. You’re not sure how you got going so fast, and before you know it, you start missing important exits. Lately, my life feels a lot like this.
Since I last wrote to you two, so much has happened, and at each step of the way, I say to myself, ‘I’ve got to write to the kids about this.’ But life keeps moving; heads get bumped and require cuddles, books need to be read, and toys must be distributed evenly amongst the troops to avoid a coup.
At the end of July, we moved out of our first home; the home your mom and I bought shortly after we were married. The house we brought you home from the hospital to, Arlo, and then you, Elliott. It’s the house where you both took your first steps, and muttered your first words, but it was time to move on. When we bought the house, we excited it was in a neighborhood we liked, and walking distance to our favorite bars. Priorities changed and we moved 20 blocks away to a house with more space and better schools.
While we were packing up, Arlo, you would walk around the house pointing to toys or pieces of furniture, “Are we bringing this? What about this? We gonna bring this? What about Dexter? We have to bring Elliott, she’s just a baby.”
Our new neighborhood is filled with kids, and it’s not uncommon for me to come home from work to find our driveway scattered with games of soccer, and story time, sometimes both at the same time. Arlo, you’ve become friends with the boys next door and spend a lot of your time with Milo, discussing the bad words you’re not supposed to say, playing make believe, or chasing the older girls around, roaring at them. Recently you told me, “I only roar at them because I want their attention.”
One night, after our neighbor Scarlet read you many books and played with you for a long time, you told her goodnight, and called after her, “I like you!” She responded, “I like you too!” Ever since then, you ask your mom and me, quite often, “Do you like me?” I told you if you didn’t growl at Scarlet so much, she would probably like that even more, to which you responded, “Yeah, and if I’m nice, maybe she’ll give me a…” You trailed off, deep in thought and I began wondering what you were going to say. “Maybe she’ll give me a… maybe she’ll give me a… a chocolate chip cookie!”
Elliott, you love to chase all the kids around the front yard, squawking at them as the run past. The girls in the neighborhood adore you, and carry you around, showing you all the plant in the yard, most of which you try to put in your mouth. You’re obsessed with eating that strawberries that grow along the side of the house, even the unripe ones.
Just a month after moving in, Arlo, we celebrated you turning three years old. Right around this time, you started requiring three of everything. I would be tucking you in and singing you a song, and you would interrupt, “Daddy. Daddy.” I usually just keep singing, because if I stopped every time you interrupted me, you’d be going to bed just as the sun came up. “Daddy… DAD!”
“I need three songs, because I’m about to turn three. And then three books…”
It blows my mind to think you’re already three. The tiny little baby boy we brought home from the hospital is now walking, talking, running, throwing fits, telling jokes, negotiating, taking showers by himself, and being a great big brother. We now have conversations where you’ll ask me to explain different concepts or words, and you actually listen and chime in with your own hilarious interpretations on life. You’re genuinely funny and so sweet, and know that will never change.
Two weeks later, Elliott, we celebrated your first birthday. How a year went by so quickly, I will never know. A month before you birthday you really mastered walking, and quickly turned that into a steady jog, which you know attempt to turn into a full-on sprint. You run in things, bump your head, crash, and you usually just stand right back up and keep trucking along. You giggle often, and squish your cheeks and squint your eyes when you flash your adorable little smile. Your vocabulary is improving daily, but right now you like to point out everything that is “hot”, which is a good word for you to know, since you’re constantly trying to climb the oven.
When you were just a baby, we didn’t bother trying to put shoes on your tiny feet, what’s the point. But now that we have, you’re a bit obsessed. You run and grab your shoes, each morning, and then hold them over your head and let out a big, “EEEEEKKKK.” This is a similar reaction to when Arlo or one of the neighborhood boys takes something you’re playing with; you’ll bunch up your fists, hold them high above your head, scrunch up your nose, and let out a blood-curdling screech.
You’re such a sweet little girl, Elliott, and people often comment on how you always seem so genuinely happy. I love you so much, and can’t wait to watch your personality blossom.
And because your mom and I like to stay busy, a month after Ellie’s birthday, we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. Life has changed so much in that time. We’re busier, have so much more responsibility, our jobs are more demanding, we’ve both changed in countless ways, we have two kids that require a lot of our attention, yet I love your mom more than ever. All of the moving, planning, birthday parties, daily chores… I couldn’t do any of it without her. The most amazing part of the last six years, has been watching the woman I married become your mother. For her, even though she would never say so, it’s been a flawless transition. You’re so lucky to have such a smart, funny, and dedicated mom. You truly couldn’t have asked for a better one, and I’m so lucky to be on this crazy road trip with her.
I like you both, and love you tons,