I love Bob the Builder, and I even have a little wooden toolbox of my very own that I can use to fix my toys. I usually just fix little things because I am a little person. When I broke our big speaker, though, by hitting it when I was playing with my Nerf sword, I got to fix that all by myself.
Daddy asked what happened after he got home, and I didn’t say anything… after all, I know when staying quiet is a good idea. Mama ratted on me, though, so my cover was blown. I jumped in then, saying, “I can fix it! I can fix it all by myself!” I went and got the tape and kid scissors. Daddy helped me cut the tape, then I put the front of the speaker put on just right and put tape all around it to make sure that it didn’t move.
After I was done I stood back and admired my handiwork and was so proud. After all, I had never gotten the chance to fix something without help. I think that I did a great job for a 3-year-old. Even though Mama and Daddy chuckled (and Daddy had to come back to make slight changes to my fix), I think they thought that I did, too.
I am writing this letter to you, Dorian, my beautiful and miraculous daughter. You are over one, and I began this blog to share your life with others, but truly, I began it so that you could have something that you can look back on when you are older. It is a documentation of your life. It is your life. It is you. It is the essence of your personality, which is ever growing. Every passing day, you grow. You get bigger, you get more confident, you show new talents.
You are a bright light, so blinding that I can hardly comprehend it. You are a gift. You are a blessing. You are my life. You are your father’s life. You are loved. You always will be loved and supported by both of us, and you will always know love. Not a day goes by that you have not, and not a day goes by as long as we are living and breathing (and even after, dear, we are still beside you for all of your days).
You are our last. We are raising four beautiful, intelligent, wonderful people, and you are the last of those. We have the privilege to see small people become bigger ones, to become more self-assured, to become… adults. That is why I am writing you. You are now one, only one year old. You will, though, be two before I blink, then three, then four. You will walk. You will speak in complete and well-constructed sentences (I am an English instructor, so you are assured of this as I am a grammatical perfectionist). You will learn history, science, math, English, art. You will have a favorite. You will have favorite teachers and favorite music. You will dream. You will dream of what you can be, and you will yearn to achieve what you wish for most. I hope nothing more than for you to get it. All of it… the world in the palm of your hands. You are a ball of potential, and you have the Earth as a canvas in front of you for you to create what you wish from it. You do, and will, make the world more beautiful because you are in it.
You will hurt. You will fall, you will bleed, you will get bruised. You will cry from that pain, and inside I will hurt each time that you do. You will hurt on the inside, deep down in places where no one can really see, but I will see it, and I will hurt with you. You will be heartbroken, you will suffer loss, you will have disappointment. That kind of hurt is so much more painful than when you fall—and I will want to protect you, but I won’t be able to. I can’t shield you from the world. You have not suffered these things yet, but you will. Your Dad and I will be right there with you, and I can promise that we will hurt more than you each and every time. You may not always choose to see it, but we will be there right behind you, holding you up.
You will grow. Despite your father’s and my best efforts, you will grow faster than I can comprehend. You already are. Your personality shows in everything that you do—you gorgeous and blindingly beautiful girl—and you are well established already in your ability to see the world for what it truly is… and it is a beautiful world if you look through all of the ugly presented to us each day.
Please, my sweet girl, please don’t grow too fast. I look at you every day with joy and happiness, with a love that is so deep and engrained in my soul that it hurts sometimes. Your Dad and I can do many, many things, but one thing that we can’t do is to slow time down. I wish more than anything that we could. My wonder, my life, my child… if I have one piece of advice for you, it is to slow down, when you can, when you know the difference between acting as a child and acting as an adult. Slow down and continue the path of innocence. The life you lead as an adult will be waiting for you, but the life you had as a child you can never, ever get back once you walk past it.
I love you with every single piece of me… not one speck left.
Love always and always and always,
Yesterday, when my Daddy was at work… everyone was busy getting ready for “Father’s Day.” Mama told me that a “Father” was a fancy word for “Dada.” I don’t like that name as much, so I’m going to call it “Dada’s Day” instead. Mama told me that I was going to give Daddy something tomorrow for that day, but I didn’t understand because I didn’t think that I could give anything except for giving the gift of me.
My hand was put in this soft stuff and when it came back out, my hand was there in this stuff called “clay.” It was just like my hand but instead of sticking out like mine does, it was stuck inside the clay. Mama then put it in the oven and cooked it. Instead of being soft when it came out, it was hard. Mama said that Daddy could put it up on the wall, and when I was big we could all see how small I used to be.
This morning Mama got up and made a green colored smoothie for Daddy (and me too, I always get a bunch every day). It’s so yummy that I know that Daddy woke up happy with that and the steamy brown stuff that they call coffee. We then got to give him his art projects that everyone made and the card from Mama with a lot of writing on it and a giant fan on the front. Mama says that she is a fan of Daddy, and I know that is true because she hugs him all of the time and laughs a lot when he is around.
Mama says that’s what love is– you can’t see it, but you feel it. I feel it too, and I know that my Daddy loves me so, so much. He laughs and smiles at me and holds me all of the time, and he feeds me and takes care of me. He is my biggest rescuer when I am sad. When he scoops me up in his arms, I just can’t cry anymore… and I become a ball of happiness instead.
Mama says that Daddies sometimes don’t get recognized as much for all that they do, but that doesn’t make sense to me at all. My Daddy does just as much for me as my Mama. They may do things differently, but my Daddy is who makes me laugh the most, and when he holds me before my nap, I am so peaceful that I sleep and sleep and sleep. My Daddy works so hard all of the time, and he helps with everything that needs to be done– and Mama says that there is always a lot to be done to keep the house nice and to keep the little people okay.
Everyone loves Daddy… my big sister Addie, my big big sister Lilli, and my giant brother Jonah… and of course Mama… Mama is stuck to Daddy forever and ever and ever. Mama says that there are a lot of wonderful Daddies out there and that they deserve to be recognized too for everything that they do. I think that this is true, and I am happy that there is a day for my Daddy just like for my Mama. Happy Dada’s Day, Daddy, and Happy Dada’s Day to all the great Daddies in the world.
Last night Daddy and Mommy took me to a place called Charlottesville with big bumps on the land that Mama called “mountains.” I saw the big mountains at Yosemite, but there must be a lot of different types of those, because these ones were much smaller and really green.
We went to this really big place with a big white cover and got a place to sit on the grass. There were little ant people with lights all around them down at the front that Mama called a stage. These little people were singing and playing music and dancing around. I thought that music only came through the computer or in the giant box with wheels that Mama calls a car, but Mama explained that people have to make the music first, and at a “concert” that music is made right in front of you.
At first I was really, really scared. The sound wasn’t that loud, but when things like “drums” came in and the person singing got excited, it sounded like music thunder. I am scared of thunder and fire engines, and it was louder than either of those. I cried a little bit, but Mama held me and I put my face against her neck… then the world was okay again.
When I came back out, the noise didn’t bother me anymore. Daddy told me that I got used to it. I think that they must have turned the volume button down, though, because it wasn’t scary at all anymore.
Daddy took me and bounced me around on his knee while the little ants down front (Daddy called them “Vampire Weekend”) were jumping around and singing and playing too. I had heard Mama and Daddy playing the ants’ music in their giant box with wheels before, and I have always liked them because their music makes you want to bounce up and down over and over, which happens to be my very favorite thing to do. Hearing them playing right there was different, though, and all of the people dancing around made everything feel full of energy almost like when I get too many pieces of orange and start running around in circles in my little walker box.
Before I knew it, Vampire Weekend faded away into the distance of my dreams. Daddy had told me to take a nap on the way because we were going on an adventure, but I was much too busy singing in the car on the way to be bothered with that. Instead I heard the wonderful bouncy notes of the ant people playing while Daddy held me in his arms with his hand against mine. I think that the very meaning of happiness and safety just might be listening to music in my Daddy’s arms… my protector and my hero.
Today Mama told me what Haiku is and how it works. I love word rhythms, and each one that she told me had a set sound to it. She said that usually they are about nature and help to teach us to appreciate the simple beauty in our world, but I am sure that I can bend the rules a bit.
I bend rules all of the time, like yesterday when Mama walked away for just a second and her fruit smoothie was right in front of me, looking so inviting. I knew that Mama wouldn’t want me touching it and that it was hers, but I took it anyway. It spilled all over the floor and on my little pink walker and even on me, but I could stick my mouth on the glass and taste it. It made a wonderful echoing sound when I shouted “Mama, Dada, Mama, Dada” into it. I couldn’t help but shout I was so proud to have made something so big happen in the house.
My Mama was not quite as proud when she came running back, hearing the splashing sound and the sound of my voice sounding like a microphone. Daddy scooped me up to change me, but Mama went away and was in the living room for a long time. When I woke up from my nap my beautiful smoothie painting was all gone.
So now I am thinking about fruit paintings, haiku, and bending rules. I will try some to see if I can make them work. Mama says that there are always five sounds, then seven sounds, then five sounds. She called them “syllables,” but I have no idea how big words like that work yet.
Little Baby Haiku
By Dorian Annabel Dean
Big, red smoothie glass
Sitting on the table’s edge
Want to drink you now.
My little walker
Lets me see the world a bit
Grab at tree branches.
Oh my kitty cats
How you tease me when you run
One day you are mine.
Little puppy dog
Come lick my face and snuggle
I want to take a nap.
Why can’t I walk yet?
My legs, they work against me
They are like Jello.
Little pack and play
Don’t you keep me in a “cage”
I want sweet freedom.
Mama and Daddy
You are full and full of love
Snuggle with me now.
My Mama is now saying the word “no” a lot as I move around in my little pink walker box. I don’t really know what this means, but she claps sometimes and comes over to get something that I have just grabbed, so I think that it must mean “don’t touch.” I thought that everything that exists is there just to be touched, but I am learning quickly that this is not the case. I feel this unfair, but I love my Mama, so I am trying really hard to listen. My Mama doesn’t seem to understand that this is how I learn more about the world… well that, and putting everything that I hold in my mouth, too.
My favorite things to touch are things with buttons and knobs because they do all sorts of things. I love the stereo remote most, and I have reprogrammed it so that they can never set it the exact same way again. I have also locked Mama’s phone, changed settings on Mama’s and Daddy’s computers, turned the Playstation on and off, and opened up no less than 10 apps on my Mama’s iPad. I am so proud of myself because I can make things happen just by using my fingers, and I already know that moving all of them together across a screen makes magic happen.
Mama thinks that I don’t know what I am doing, and she finds it funny most of the time, but she is wrong. I am changing the world… one click at a time. I am a technology guru.
Today I woke up and snuggled with my Mama. This is my normal routine before eating and getting going with my day, but Daddy told me that today was a day for just her, just for Mommies. I don’t know how many Mommies are out there, but Daddy said that just like there are many kids like me in the world that there are also many, many Mommies that love their kids as much as she does. I don’t know how anyone could do what Mama does because she does a lot for me, but Mommy says that all Mommies and Daddies are some of the biggest heroes in the world. I know that my Mama and Daddy are my heroes. They always save me when I’m crying.
Daddy was really nice to Mama and said that he was going to make her dinner tonight. I love when dinner happens because Mama and Daddy let me taste some, too. Mama says Daddy is a great cook and that she loves it when he makes food because it is so, so yummy. I think that she is right because although I haven’t had that much food yet, his seems to taste best.
I have been trying to be nice to Mama today, snuggling up a lot and sleeping peacefully. Mama says that I am doing the best job ever and that this the only thing she wanted for Mother’s Day. That’s good because I’m giving all that I can give. I’m not really doing anything, but she seems happy just to hold me. I love my Mama so, so much, and I guess that she can tell even though I can’t say it yet, because she seems to feel the peace that I feel when I am in my Mama’s arms. Happy Mama’s Day, Mama, and Happy Mother’s Day to all of those Mamas out there just like her.