It’s been 2 and a half years since I last wrote you a letter?
Andrew, I need to tell you something. Do you know…
• Since then, you have given up the crib, learned to use the potty, and have started wearing glasses?
• You’ve added a couple of inches to your height but can still fit in 2T shorts?
• You love veggie subs and will eat all the tomatoes off our salads if we’ll let you.
• You sneak into our bed almost every night, dragging along your raggedy baby blanket, Cuto (Pluto), and Sharky?
• I’ve almost recovered from you giving yourself a haircut that resulted in having your sweet head of soft, blonde baby hair mowed down to a stubbly buzz cut?
Andrew, I need to tell you something. Do you know that at least ten times a day you say, “Mommy, I need to tell you something. Do you know…”
Do you know how much I love that fact about you? And, yes, sometimes how much it drives me crazy, too.
Let me pay you back for a little bit by sharing a few “Do you knows” in honor of your fifth birthday.
Andrew, do you know, when you were almost five that--
You love details. You tell stories, recalling every single word, thought, and movement.
You are hilarious. I know what a pancake feels like—a flat poor-son.
You love to build. Puzzles used to be your thing but then you discovered Legos. For Christmas this year, all you asked for were Legos. Santa called Papa and asked if he could help the elves out by building you a custom Lego table. As Papa says, it is a Drew- proof table. You can, and often do, sit in the middle tray of the table.
You know so many things. Do you know male lions have manes? Do you know that walruses say hello by blowing in each other’s faces? Do you know that pyramids were built with mud bricks? Do you know that tomato juice covers the smell of a skunk’s spray? Do you know if yellow touches red on a snake you’re dead?
Do you know…
You have such a strong imagination. You build and sail on dinosaur ships. You believe that the kid in your class who told you his dad killed a T- Rex. You fly planes to islands and ride trains to the mountains.
We’ve never baby- talked you two, and it does my English teacher heart proud when you ask, “What does that word mean?” Just today you’ve learned hyperventilate and endangered.
A couple of weeks ago, I taught you and Emily the meaning of onomatopoeia. You can say every syllable of this funny word, and you can give me all kinds of examples of onomatopoeia words. Your kindergarten teachers better be ready to bring it on!
You’ve been blessed with great teachers in your life both at home and at school. We’ve been amazed at what the experiences you’ve had since beginning with Ms. Jen, Ms. Hannah, Ms. Michelle, and Ms. Rachel. Your favorite center is manipulatives where I often find you building elaborate structures like cruise ships and dinosaur houses.
Outside of school, you are learning from other great teachers. Aunt Windy and Uncle Tom are teaching you about living in the country, racecars, and riding lawnmowers. Papa says he’s going to straighten you out and teach you how to go anywhere and talk to anybody. I think you’ve got that covered.
Do you know…
Some folks have made off- handed comments about how much we go, how many trips we take, and how spoiled you two are going to be. I have a philosophy that people can’t be spoiled by experiences. We are making memories. You are learning. On your birthday trip to Florida last week, we took a swamp boat tour where you learned about endangered species. You learned that baby alligators stay close to their mamas for three years. You’ve been to at least 5 states and 5 countries in five short years. While you’ve been more places than I went in 25 years, you also understand that money comes from work and that money pays for experiences. For those who wonder if we are not teaching you the value of a dollar, we started you on a piggy bank early. Just recently you brought your daddy two jars of change from your piggy bank and earnestly informed him, “You can use it to take us somewhere fun.”
You love museums. We’ve been to children’s museums, history museums, science museums, and air/space museums. You have yet to meet a museum you didn’t like.
You love movies. Your favorite movie right now is Toy Story (and Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3). Let me confess a couple of other things you might not know about Toy Story and me. It’s kind of ironic because the little boy in the movie is also named Andy. I’ll confess that this movie chokes me up. I sobbed like a baby at the end of Toy Story 3 and decided that you aren’t allowed to give your toys away or go to college. But, then, I remembered what Woody tells the Prospector in Toy Story 2: “You're right, Prospector. I can't stop Andy from growing up. But I wouldn't miss it for the world.”
Andrew Elliott, I can’t stop you from growing up, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.