Letter to Joel + Bumble Bee Tickling Rhymes

Friday, June 3, 2016

Dear Joel,

Sometimes I want just an entire day to stare at your face, to kiss your soft cheeks, tousle your hair, chase you and your sister around the house, tackle you with tickles and rock you to sleep. Actually, when I think of it, most of our days are made up of moments like this - they're just mixed in with moments of tantrums, whining, slips and falls and many, many tears. I can't have one without the other at this stage, but that's ok. I'll take the pain and growing moments with the delightful ones.

You got your hair cut a couple months ago. It was much needed, as your hair had fallen well over your eyes and was getting full of food at dinner time. I was ready and not yet ready to say goodbye to the baby hair, but when I could see your eyes clearly again without having to sweep your hair to one side, I saw how much expression I had been missing out on, too.

You have so many new words, and I sense that this summer will be one of vocabulary explosion as it was for your sister the summer before you were born.

"Wawa" - specifically water, but useful to refer to any liquid drink that you are pointing to, be it milk or orange juice.

"Ah-poo" - specifically apples, but useful to refer to any fruit that you are pointing to, from bananas to strawberries and, much to my chagrin, even Welch's fruit snacks.

"Mama" - you've had this one for a while, but it's particularly delightful to hear when I appear after an absence from you and you turn to me, arms wide open and stumble-running, inflection changing from high to low between first syllable and last, as if sighing out an entire feeling of peace - "Mama is here, all is well."

"Dah-dee" - you've also had this one for a while, equally as delightful. I'll admit it stung a smidge when you first started calling out for Daddy through cries and tears after a tumble or a bump, especially when I was already holding you. I think, however, it was sweet to realize that you were just imitating your older sister's cry out for Daddy after such events. She also used to cry for me, and then when you were born, she and Daddy grew much closer as it became more difficult to hold two little independent, wiggly bodies in my lap. Still, most days, your preference is still Mama.

"Diddy" - your word for your sister, Zoe. Not to be confused with "Dah-dee", a distinction we, as your immediate family members, can usually make but others cannot. Perhaps because we occasionally call her "Sissy", which I'll admit is easier for the toddler tongue to imitate than the buzz of the "Z" that starts your sister's name. Particularly sweet on the mornings, most mornings, when you wake up earlier than she and must wait around for her slumber to lift, making do with boring old Mom or Dad until the most exciting member of our tribe awakes.

"Nah" - snack, particularly one you have spotted with your little eye or when you come running upon hearing the crinkle of plastic being opened.

"Bee" - blankie, a recently developed comfort object. Thankfully, it can be any "bee" and not a particular one. When you go down for nap or night night, this is your favorite thing to grab as we rock and snuggle.

"Nigh-nigh" - you eagerly head toward nap time and night time, as long as you are sufficiently tired (not difficult when you have your older sister running you ragged all day). The other night, you even kind of asked for it when you stepped down from your chair after dinner, laying your head on the seat. "Nigh-nigh" you sighed, and it was clear you were more than ready. You know when we talk pajamas and brushing teeth and giving night night hugs and kisses that one of your most treasured times of day is coming - snuggle time. My little introvert baby.

"Side!" - always with an exclamation point when you hear that it might happen, always with many tears and gnashing of teeth when it becomes apparent that it will not be happening. Outside is your favorite place, and I am so glad that we are now at the point where I can send you out on your own and watch from the kitchen window, or charge your older sister with keeping an eye on you (she's more than happy to be in charge of you, though I usually try to keep her focused on being your friend and sister, not your keeper).

"Ahp! Ahp!" - when you need to be lifted to our bed, or a couch, or a chair, or up into our arms. As with your sister, this is used interchangeably with "Dow" (down) - the point is, you want whichever position you are not in currently.

"Nnnnnnno!" - your sister told me the other day "Mama, Joel is practicing saying 'no'," as indeed you were. Always the long emphasis on the end, often with an added push away of whatever object or physical touch is being offered to you.

"Bah-bah" - bumble bee. Your grandma introduced me to some precious tickling rhymes that my grandfather, the impish jokester, had used with her growing up, and your dad and I have adopted them and added to them. We get you and your sister while laid out on the bed, while sitting on the couch, or whenever we need to distract you from something, particularly a path leading toward Whinesville. You have recently started tickling us, using your pointed finger to represent the Bumble Bee in the rhyme, circling your arm to make it fly toward its destination. A few examples of the rhymes:

Bumble bee, bumble bee, come from the farm 
to sting little Joel right under the arm!

Bumble bee, bumble bee, come from Quebec 

to sting little Zoe right in the neck!

Bumble bee, bumble bee, from Winnipeg 

come to sting Joel right in the leg!

Bumble bee, bumble bee, come from the jelly 

to sting little Zoe right in the belly!

Bumble bee, bumble bee, come from a rose 

to sting little Joel right in the toes!

Turns out that some Canadian cities make for good tickling rhymes - who knew?

I love that I get to be a mama for a second time. You and your sister and your Dad are such gifts to me from a God who loves beyond comprehension. These days are hard and full and good and I know I will miss them. I already miss them, some days, when you and your sister are asleep and I want to just breathe you in for a little bit.

Love you forever,


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