Friday, January 3, 2014

Letters to Sylvie: From Daddy *Special Edition*

Hey Sylvie! It's Daddy.  Mom has written you a bunch of letters and it's about time I write you one too.

Today is Friday, Jan 3, 2014 and I just put you down for your midday nap.  I hear you fussing a little on the monitor but I know you'll settle down very soon and take a good 2 - 3 hour nap just like you do everyday.  You are a good little napper.  In fact... sounds like you've drifted off to sleep already!

This morning you woke up at 7:30.  I jumped out of bed, got dressed, splashed some water on my face and got ready to go in and get you.  But before I open your door, I paused for a moment as I always do and say to myself, "Be a good Dad today.  Be patient.  Be attentive.  Remember you'll never have this day again with your sweet little daughter so make it count."

I turn the knob and walk into the darkness.  From the hallway light I can see you standing there in your baby blue sleep sack, hands on the crib railing as always.  You always seem happy to see me.  I scoop you up and we go through our waking up rounds.  First we walk around to the living room and open the blinds to see what kind of day it is.  Then we do the same to the small curtains above the sink in the kitchen and the big curtains in front of the sliding glass door.  If it doesn't look too frigid outside, we step out onto the back step and I let you jingle the wind chime.  Lol... you always seem to get a kick out of that and so do I.  Then it's back to your room to get you changed out of your dirty diaper and pj's and into your clean diaper and regular clothes.  Lately you've taken to throwing your hands over your eyes in dramatic fashion when I click on the lamp.  Also, you rarely let me get you fully dressed on your changing pad anymore... too wiggly!  So we usually finish getting dressed in the rocking chair.  You're also starting to show some preferences for what you want to wear.   Yesterday you INSISTED on the white shoes over your usual black shoes with the skulls and crossbones, for example.  

Once fully dressed, I set you on your feet, give you a little pat on the butt and say, "Go play!"  And off you go. Though lately you've been going straight to your book bin and dragging out a volume or two for us to read.  So read we do.  I pull you up on my lap in the big white rocking chair and we power through a few books.  You rarely let me read every word or even every page - though occasionally you do.  Mostly we like to point things out on the pages, especially little birdies.  You are especially good at pointing out the birdies.  Once you tire of that... its breakfast time!

You have finally started sleeping all the way through the night!  No nursing from Mommy or anything.  And so when you wake up, you wake up with a good appetite which always makes me happy.  I love to see you eat with a little gusto!  Every morning I make you either pancakes or waffles from the mixes that your Mom makes from scratch and always keeps on hand.  That is your breakfast staple and you'll always eat them - with maple syrup of course.  You used to also love eggs but lately you turn your nose up at the them and prefer mandarin oranges instead.  You are generally a pretty good eater though and I imagine you'll eventually come around to eggs again.  
After breakfast, I let you go play while I clean up the kitchen.  However, your play frequently consists of helping me with the dishes.  You especially like unloading the dishwasher.  Believe it or not, you are actually becoming a real helper.  I have you focus on taking out your colorful plastic spoons and putting them in the right spot in the silverware drawer.  And you will actually do it. Though you then like to unload those same spoons and carry them off somewhere else.  Today you decided to pile them up under the Christmas tree.  Later, when I pointed to the empty spot in the silverware drawer and said, "Could you go get your spoons and put them here?", you actually did it!  Of course I had to text your mom and tell her about what a genius her daughter was.  She agreed.

We've been going out for walks lately and today you made your desire to go for a walk crystal clear by carrying my shoes over to me.  (Lol... I had been sitting in the chair, sipping my coffee and watching you build with your blocks.)  So we put on our jackets and hats and out we went.  You need no help going down the stairs in the garage and you'll rarely even hold my hand these days.  You can walk pretty darn well on your own and so I let you go.  We usually mill around in the driveway for a bit then walk up to the corner.  Along the way you check out the frost - It's cold! - and you've learned the hard way about being careful on the ice.  (A couple slips and falls were all it took.)  In fact, there's one spot where there's about an inch drop off in the sidewalk but there's also some ice and you've taken to getting down on hands and knees and crawling over that spot.  Lol... I guess it's safe to say you got the cautious gene.  But anyway... we walk up to the corner and even head down the street for a ways.  You like to watch the cars go by and are interested in everything.  Birds flying by, dogs barking, neighbors waving at us.  And even the littlest things like unusual texture on sidewalk or chunks of ice from peoples shoveling efforts.  Eventually we mill back to the house and head into the backyard.  There's too much snow to do much but you walk on the areas I've shoveled off on the porch, go up and down the steps a few times, and then we finally head back into the warm house.

Today I whipped up a batch of suet to feed the neighborhood birds.  You are never satisfied until I lift you up and let you have a look at what's going on up on the counter - usually when some kind of cooking is going on.  I explain about making the suet and feeding the birds and it's almost like you understand.  After that you pretty well entertain yourself.  Your Grandma and Grandpa Hanson frequently comment on how well you entertain yourself - especially for an only child who always has at least one parent pretty much hovering over her at all times.  I keep an ear out for you and check on you every once in a while.  At one point I give you a chunk of bread - actually a half of a 'hush puppy' your Mom made the other night.  You carry it around for a long time, nibbling on it bit by bit until it's gone.  You manage to get into Mom's bathroom cabinet.  I separate you from the various hair products you're proudly grasping and you only put up a mild protest.  Then you get into the recycling. I let you play with the two empty Coke cans you discover there.  You like the crinkling sounds they make and they are fun to stack up and carry around.  I have visions of you cutting yourself and having to explain to your Mom but it never happens.  For better or for worse, I like to give you as much slack as I can and try not to interfere too much with your explorations.  

Another thing you really like is music.  Everyday you point at the radio at some point and indicate that I should turn it on.  We mostly listen to the Classic Rock station.  You like to bob your head and otherwise move to the music.  You like most everything they play but the song that made you light up the very most so far was 'Abacaba' by Genesis.  You completely loved that one!  

You start to show signs of getting hungry again so I feed you spoonfuls of yogurt as you come and go.  You eat about 1/3 of the container.  Then I pull out your favorite food of late - peas!  You get mad when I put the frozen peas in the microwave.  I hand you a clump of frozen peas from the package then point to the microwave and try to explain about the magic of cooking.  Again, you kind of seem to get it.  Then it's into your high chair where you scarf down most of your peas.  The remainder get scarfed up by your Dad. 

You seem ready for your nap but I glance at the clock and it's still a little early so we go build with your large, Lego-style blocks for awhile.  Mostly I feed you pieces while you mash them together into various abstract shapes.  You just got the blocks for Christmas but already you are much better at mashing them together.

Finally, it's nap time.  You protest mildly as I carry you into your room, change your diaper, and get you back into your pj's and sleep sack.  Then I sing/hum you a few rounds of 'Itsy Bitsy Spider', 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star', 'Row Row Row Your Boat', and 'Give Said the Little Stream'.  My humble musical efforts always seem to mellow you out - or maybe you just fake like you're sleepy so I'll stop.  Lol... either way works, I guess. In the darkened room with the fan blowing and the humidifier humming, I lay you down for your nap then head out and quietly close the door.  Every morning we spend together is pretty much like this.  :-) 

You and your Mom mean the world to me Sylvie and nothing makes me happier than having us all together as a little family.    

All my love,



Kathleen said...

What a sweet Daddy you are, Seth. Also a great writer. Sylvie is so lucky to have you and Karen for her parents. Someday these letters will be priceless to your grown up daughter.

Rachel said...

I sure love love. Sylvie is a lucky little girl.

heidi said...

These ARE really special letters. I got a bit teary telling Paul the parts I remembered (almost all of it, turns out). He highly approved of beginning an early education in musical appreciation! Of Classic Rock, of course.