Sage: 31 months

Everything is happening so quickly that it gets harder and harder to track the developments each day.

Your memory is getting so good. You remember things for days — weeks, sometimes — that seemed very minor to us at the time they occurred. The other day, when you had a popsicle, I told you that one of these days you and Mommy and I would all have popsicles outside. That was a few days ago now, and every day you’ve asked if today is the day we’re going to do that.

We’re trying to help you understand the difficult concepts of time. We told you we’d have popsicles outside this weekend. I was going to suggest “after church,” but I was afraid that the moment we were leaving church you’d be demanding popsicles.

You seem to be starting to understand the concepts of yesterday and tomorrow, and you’re starting to be aware that you were once a little baby and that you’re going to get bigger and older.

On the way home from somewhere the other day, you asked if I had any pretzels. (I often do, in my car, and you always want them.) I gave you one and you ate it, while jabbering away at me about some cartoon you had watched. Then you announced, “I’m a baby now. I tuhn into a baby.”

I said, “Well, I guess you can’t have any more pretzels, then. Babies don’t have teeth.”

Later, at home, you said to Mom, “When I was a widduhl baby? I haved no hair. An’ I haved no teef. An’ I dint know how ta talk, an’ I dint know how ta walk, an’ you taked care of me. An’ I cwied a wot. An’ I was SOOOOO cute! An’ babies can’t eat pwetzuhs. I eated baby food and a wot of miwk, and I don’t have pwetzuhs, so I cwied a wot.”

You still remind us, regularly and with no context, that babies can’t eat pretzels.

I guess that’s an important thing to know.

Your mom had hernia surgery recently. My parents came out for a week and a half to help around the house, including helping to take care of you. I’m not sure who had more fun — you or them. Every night, you would remind us all to be very careful with Mommy, because “she has a big boo-boo on her tummy.”

One night, you looked at me when I was putting you to bed, and you said, “Daddy, Mommy’s tummy huhts. Take care of her. Okay, Daddy?”

This is the sort of little girl you are. You love, and you care. All the time.

You’ve recently started using the word “famiwy.” As in, “Dis my new dawphin. He come home wiv me to stay wiv my famiwy.”

I asked, “Who’s your family?”

“Mommy and Daddy!”

I love that you know this word.

You’ve been going through a kind of overly emotional, whiny phase here lately. It’s nothing compared to a lot of other little kids that I’ve seen, but it can still get frustrating. You start to cry when you don’t get what you want (a sucker before dinner, for example). It’s something that I expected we’d all have to deal with at some point, but I have to admit that there are days I’m not sure how much more patience I have in me.

Which brings me to my advice for this month.

Practice having patience. The easiest way to have patience with someone else is to try to imagine things from their point of view. If you can learn to do that, you’ll have an advantage over almost everyone else. At times, it can be a little disadvantageous as well — you may sometimes forget to stand up for yourself because you’re patiently understanding the other person’s point of view. It will be difficult, sometimes, when you want to be a diplomat and others expect you to be more aggressive. But I will tell you from my own experience: if you can learn to be patient, and then you can learn to know where your priorities really are, you’ll know when you need to stand up, and when you really have no reason to fight.

I have often regretted being impatient, or acting before I knew all the information. I have often regretted the unnecessary hurt I have caused other people when I have been impatient. I have almost never regretted being patient and trying to understand others.

It’s tough. It’s a very tough thing to learn to do. Start working on it as soon as you can.

(That’s almost a joke, but not quite.)

Sage… be yourself. Be who you are. I’m reiterating that, as always, because at age 37, I’m still learning how to do that genuinely. I’ve learned that sometimes, being yourself causes some other people to reject you, and that can hurt — but the people that accept you, that love you no matter what, and that enjoy who you are? Those are the best friends you will ever have.

And I will accept you, and love you no matter what, and enjoy who you are. I plan to be your father first and friend second, so you may not always feel like I’m holding up my end of the bargain here, but the point is that I will love you forever. It would be impossible for me not to.

Your mother and I love you so much, Sage. So very much that some nights my heart wants to burst with the joy of it. Thank you for being part of our family.

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