On Being One, Third Time’s The Charm

My dear Littlest Prince,

You’re One!  One year old.  One full trip around the sun.  And what an amazing year it has been!

You’ve learned to sit up and crawl and walk.  And jibber jabber.  Oh man have you learned how to jibber jabber.

The Queen and I aren’t entirely sure how we wound up with three boys who never ever ever stop talking.  But, here we are.  You probably picked up it up from your big brothers.  You never stop watching them.  Some of my favorite moments have been watching you watch your big brother while he in turn is watching his big brother.  All of you learning from the original prince.

Oh, what a marvelous adventure this thing called life is.  You are learning that already.  You go exploring and, yes, you accomplish a large amount of that by shoving stuff in your mouth: rocks, sticks, shoes, food occasionally, more rocks, sand, toys…  That’s all normal.  Well, maybe not the shoe thing, but I won’t judge.  Some people are into shoes.

You also love to pick up things and carry them around or throw them.  You grab what you want, toddle around for a minute and then chuck it.  Feet and ankles beware!  You’ve got quite the throwing arm already.  And often we have to go exploring to find where you’ve hidden things: mustard bottles in the cookie sheet cupboard, shoes in with the dried cranberries, toys under the oven.  Well, actually, the toys are kind of everywhere.  That isn’t all your doing though.  Three boys and two cats…  The toys are everywhere.

So it goes.  So it is.  Everything as it should be.

What a year.  All that screaming from when you were first born, so much louder than your brothers, so much more inconsolable than they ever were too, seems so distant already.  I haven’t forgotten.  I’m not sure I ever will.  But, the sharp edges have already worn off.  You still scream of course and, often, the loudest.  But, it isn’t as bad.  I’m sure that will continue to improve and one day we’ll look back and be able to sigh with a smile over the hard early days of your life.

In the meantime, you keep doing you.  Smile.  Laugh.  Cry.  Learn.  Grow.  Blow those kisses and wave to the passing cars.  Watch those big brothers and rush to keep up with them.  I’d tell you to slow down and take your time but I don’t really think that’s an option.  You already want to be where they are.  I can’t see that ever changing.  I hope it doesn’t.

I love you, my Littlest Prince!

Love,

Daddy

Matticus

The Jester

On being eight

My dear Little Prince,

Not so little anymore, huh? 

I say, “You can’t be eight, you look twelve,” not as a joke but because some days I have no idea how you ARE only eight.  You are amazingly good with your little brothers.  You are more self-sufficient than I remember being at eight.  Admittedly, that was a long time ago but still…

You are still amazing on your bike.  And your ability and my trust in you has grown so much that we’ve started going on longer rides, including running some errands that take us on busy city streets.  You are fearless and confident on your bike.  And in most aspects of your life, actually.  That is going to take you far.

You are so inquisitive about everything.  EVERYTHING.  You ask more questions in a day than I ask in a month it seems.  I’m glad I still have the answers to most of those questions.  One of these days though we’ll be looking up the answers together.  Learning, the adventure that never ends. 

I probably don’t tell you enough how proud I am of you.  And I know I’m too hard on you at times, and I’m sorry about that.  I forget that despite how you act most days, you aren’t actually twelve.  I’m trying to curb my expectations and when I push too hard I do always eventually catch myself and apologize.  I hope you can forgive me. 

Given your insatiable inquisitive nature, your confidence, and your determination in all things, it isn’t a joke when I say, “you are going to rule the world some day.”  Perhaps that isn’t quite right?  You aren’t going to rule the world.  You are going to change it.  You are going to shape it, mold it, pound it into something better.  I can’t wait to see what that is.

Love you kiddo,

Daddy/Matticus/The Jester

On being six

Dear Little Prince,

Though you aren’t so little anymore, are you?  With six years behind you.  With most of Kindergarten behind you.  With all of the adventures you’ve had in the last year.  Piano lessons.  Archery lessons.  Snowboarding in Mammoth.  Snowboarding in Colorado.  Growing into the role of big brother, champion of and for the Littler Prince.  I don’t have the right words to tell you how proud I am of you, but that won’t stop me from trying.

I catch glimpses of the person you are becoming and have no doubt that you will change the world.  You are fiercely passionate and, while that can get you in trouble from time to time, that drive will see you take control of your environment and shape it into what it should be.  You are a leader and will have the charisma to inspire.  You still ask thousands of questions a day, and that curiosity about the world, that drive to understand, will also work for you.  It already is as you grasp new concepts and better yourself, gain knowledge.  You happily tackle new projects.  You want to over-achieve not because you want to be better than anyone else but because you genuinely are interested in things beyond what society has deemed appropriate for your age.  Your passion and your inquisitiveness will help you succeed in whatever you choose to with your life.

You love your brother and want to see him succeed as well.  That too can get you in trouble when you try to be a parent to him but the two of you will figure that out over the coming years and will be friends for life.  That friendship will be more valuable than you know.  You are putting in the hard work now to build that relationship when he is too young to understand more than it is fun to drive you crazy.  Stick with it and he will support you in everything you ever do.  As a younger brother myself, I know this to be true.

We have our rough moments, of course.  You still have so much to learn about being a part of this family and being a part of this world.  Every single day, though, you surprise me with how much you’ve already learned and sometimes that makes me forget how much you still need to learn.  I do my best to be patient and to give you the space and time you need to figure things out and I’m sorry that I sometimes fail you.  We’ll get there eventually.  We’ll figure this thing out together.  I have no doubts about that.  We are both too stubborn not to.

So, I’ll continue doing everything I can to help you become the best person you can be and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year brings for you.  New adventures.  New knowledge.  New wisdom.  I think your sixth year will be even more amazing than your fifth.

Love you,

Dad/Matticus/The Jester

On being five

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Little Prince,

 Now you are five…

 I think some of the earliest memories I have are from when I was five.  At least, that’s the way it seems.  And that shapes how I interact with you to some regard.  You are no longer a baby.  At times that means I am harder on you than you like and we have more disagreements than we used to.  I’m sorry about that.  I am.  I won’t change, though, and I can only hope that one day you will look back and be thankful for the hard stance I took on some of these things in my attempts to help guide you into becoming the good person I know you are capable of… just as I did eventually with my own parents.

 Not that it’s all rough.  Your dimpled smile flashes often and your wild laugh fills even the largest rooms.  You are boisterous and imaginative.  You are insightful and charming.  You can be tender and you dote on your brother, the Littler Prince, far more than I had hoped you would before his arrival.  You’ve stepped into that role happily, lovingly.  The Queen and I are grateful for that, even as you do occasionally encourage him to do things that will get you both in trouble.  I call shenanigans.  You both grin mischievously and laugh and laugh.

 Your understanding of the world beyond our home, beyond the Kingdom, is growing daily.  That makes me proud and sad at the same time.  You continue to be wicked smart, picking up new concepts and skills with ease, and questioning everything.  That means, however, that you are becoming exposed more frequently to the harder truths of being alive.  The world is beautiful but it is dangerous, too.  We find what we seek but sometimes there are unintended consequences even when our intentions are pure.  You are learning.  I have no doubt you’ll get there.

 So, I continue to be proud and excited that I get to help you grow and learn and achieve.  You have a busy year ahead.  Kindergarten and everything that comes with your first official year of “school.”  Your very own season pass for skiing or snowboarding, whichever it is you end up deciding on.  Or both, perhaps.  I can’t wait to have you on the mountain with us.  And other sports too, perhaps?  And another backpacking trip or two?  And more trips across the country?  And…

 We’ll have to see where our adventures take us.

 I’m honored to share them all with you.

 Love you,

 Dad / Matticus / The Jester

Tracks In The Snow

The Little Prince and I
Followed some tracks in the snow
And found this perfect imprint
To prove who had passed in the night

We marveled with a sigh
At the beauty nature can sew
And snapped this shot before we went
To see what other treasure we could find

The Little Prince and I
Followed some tracks in the snow
And this was just one moment
To capture the adventure of body and mind