Friday, September 30, 2016

and then you were three

My dear sweet J2,

You're three years old! And I can't even stand it! It is self-evident that we continue to treat you like the baby---mostly because compared to your sister, you are the baby. It sort of baffles us that you are in preschool making art projects and singing Slippery Fish. We really shouldn't be that amazed by all the things you are doing. You are three after all---and we're not talking mensa level activity or anything.

Your face continues to be about the cutest thing I have ever seen in my whole entire life. And that face continues to get bombarded by smooches from your mama. I have a feeling that face will get you far in life. Or at the very least, it certainly won't hurt.

You are very polite. When asked to do something you don't want to do like say---go to bed, brush your teeth, pick up your toys, etc. You simply say, "no, thank you," as if there is some sort of choice to be had in the matter. You take sadistic pleasure in antagonizing your sister, who in your defense, plays right into it with the dramatic reactions. Nevertheless, you should really try to be nicer to her because she is a really good big sister. She is really really really good to you and, thankfully for you, has the maturity to understand (most of the time) that you are two (now three) and your tendency for irrationality knows no bounds.

I haven't had the opportunity to see you interact with kids and teachers at school. Every time I hear a story about something you did though, I wish I had been there to witness it. Because again, I sort of can't believe that you are old enough to be doing things like actually following directions and sitting still to listen to a teacher. Mostly because you exhibit none of these particular skills at home. At Sunday School, you have been labeled "spirited." The children's minister told me the other day that you are, "quite the experience." I can't argue with that. There is nothing in this world that compares to the bright smile on your face and your uncontained enthusiasm and exuberance.

Some of your favorite things include---destroying things, running away, Ghostbusters, play-doh, Paw Patrol and water guns. Last night, in fact, we were messing around with water guns and you shouted, "let's battle" before you let loose on me. Some of my favorite things are listening to your singing, watching you play with your sister, and hearing you play with your toys.

You are the momm-iest of mommies boys. This past weekend, while hiding from you in an attempt to get a few more minutes of sleep, I overheard you telling Appah, "I want my mommy. I need my mommy all the time." Yes, you and I truly have a special relationship---largely akin to Stockholm syndrome. You are greatly offended when anyone else, including your Appah and sister, show me any level of affection. Like a dog marking his territory, you will figuratively pee on my leg by physically inserting yourself between me and said affection giver and yelling "no, stop. my mommy!" to re-establish your turf. And yet, even in your dogged (pun intended) attempts to isolate me and keep me for yourself, I can't help but want to scoop you up and reassure you that I am always your mommy and I will always always be here for you.

My little boy, I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you. I am THE LUCKIEST.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

a tribute to two

We are in the home stretch of being parents to a two year old. J2 is turning 3 in a little less than two weeks. This kid is one of a kind---equally parts sweet and naughty. I have a feeling he will make some woman very unhappy someday. But that face ... you can't help but love him. Here's to closing out 2 with a bang! Perhaps the terrible 2s are behind us? Next up, the three-nager.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

first days

Both Chunglund children headed to school this month. Little Miss J for another round of kindergarten at a new school and J2 for his first year of 3 year old preschool. We waffled on sending J2 due to his lack of potty training---but in the end we decided it was time for him to leave the proverbial nest, learn some social skills, and start realizing that unlike his grandparents, not everyone caters to his every unreasonable whim.

Even this early in their school careers, we are already feeling the pressure of having two kids in school. Double the back to school nights, different calendars, who gets out when and who does what to whom. Gus proclaimed we needed a calendar. Apparently, he had missed the memo when I set up a family Google calendar years ago and sent him an invite. But whatever, I'm happy to let him think this was his idea, so long as he uses it.

So far so good. Both kids are enjoying school. To date, we haven't forgotten to pick anyone up. We are buried in the reams of paper that get sent home each week, but are slowly finding our way. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

a long long time ago

This photo showed up in my Facebook feed this morning. It was taken a veritable lifetime ago---at my very first attorney job. We took some clients on a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River. The St. Anthony Lock is in the background. It reminded me how far we've traveled physically and psychologically since this day in September 8 years ago.

Since this photo was taken, we've adopted a dog, bought and sold a house, lived in two different states, and had two kids. Sitting on this boat 8 years ago, I don't think I could have ever imagined that this is where life would have lead us.

Leaving Minnesota was an effort in overcoming inertia. The inertia of living in relatively the same place nearly my entire life. When we left, it was certainly time. It was a new start. A warmer start. There was just us. And Little Miss J. It gave us a chance to define ourselves without consideration of previous expectations and commitments. From my perspective, it made us stronger. To have only each other to rely on. Perhaps Gus disagrees.

I won't lie. It's been lonely at times. Being so far from family and friends as we continue to pass milestones like kids' birthdays. But I can't picture my life as anything but it is. My kids will grow up with California as their home---and someday they may feel the same itch to leave and find a new start. And no matter where we or they end up they will always have a home to come back to---with us.