Dear Char-Gri-Ha-YOU!: An apology letter to my 4th kid

Dear Char-Gri-Ha-DANGIT!

I guess I should start with saying that I’m sorry that I never call you by your actual name.  I usually just shout out random syllables until I give up and yell at you to stop whatever it is that you’re doing. To be fair, I call your siblings a bunch of random stuff, too, so maybe that one doesn’t have anything to do with being the youngest. But there are some things that are totally different for you than for your brothers and sister. And I know they’re there and I’m sorry. So, here goes. I am sorry for the following things…

Your Medical Care
I’m sorry that we are iffy on your medical care.  On the plus side, we have never driven you 45 minutes to the world class children’s hospital emergency room in the middle of the night because you were vomiting. Just throwing up. No other symptoms. That was your sister.  After the hypochondriac phase of our first child, we swung way back the other direction and assumed we could handle anything. One of your older brothers has a permanent scar from that 2nd degree burn for which we did not seek medical attention, but should have. Oops. No, we’re probably about the right level of emergency response with you, but I have no idea what any of your stats are. I don’t know how much you weigh or how tall you are. Or what shoe size you wear. I don’t remember which illnesses you’ve had or in what order. Sorry. I can probably look it up, but I don’t know. Periodically I quiz myself about what you’re wearing while I’m in the carpool line to pick you up and I’m never right. Which brings up my next topic.

Your First Day of…
I am not all that excited about preschool. I realize that this is your first time in Pre-K, but I’ve been here 4 times. Well, 5 if you count the time I, personally, was in preschool. Whereas I was totally excited to be the Mystery Reader for your sister (Oh, I’ll get to see what her class is like!), I signed up for yours thinking, “I’ll sign up early so I can get it over with.” Oh, I’ll actually love being in there and seeing you, but I’m also thinking, “You go to school for 12 hours a week. I need this one back.” In fact, I posted a really cute first day of school picture of you, but it wasn’t your first day. It was the second. Or third. I’m not sure, Daddy took that picture. I’m sorry. I love you and I’m proud of you, but I do not think everything with your fingerprint on it is adorable and I don’t need ornaments with your picture on them. Speaking of pictures…

Not the First Day of School

Evidence of Your Existence
Daddy takes lots of pictures of you because you are adorable and hilarious. They are very rarely, however, the kind of thing a middle schooler would like to see of themselves in 7-9 years. They are frequently with your lovey, or under a blanket fort, or running away from us. I have almost no pictures of you because I am constantly catching you right before you careen off a cliff or into traffic and thus the pictures I could take fall by the wayside. I also don’t even bother to get pictures where you are smiling or looking at the camera. We have thousands of pictures of 3 kids smiling and you off to the side somewhere doing whatever you felt like at the time. We just don’t care anymore. We got a picture, all of you were in it, we move on. But your wedding rehearsal dinner video is going to be embarrassing because that’s all we have.

The Only Kind of Pictures We Have of Your Face

Your Emotional Pain
While we’re talking about embarrassing things…I’m sorry we laugh at you every time you cry. Its just that you’re the only one that’s still a little bit of a baby and your crocodile tears are incredibly cute. Also, you cry for hilarious reasons. You wanted to drink your milk on the floor. You wanted your monkey to pick you up from school. You wanted anyone but your brother to hand you a plate. But you also cry because no one is listening to you and that’s probably true and I’m sorry that we still think it’s funny. I’m sorry.

You fell on the Appalachian Trail and got a bloody nose. You are crying, however, because I picked you up to comfort you. and you were offended. Hilarious. So I took a picture. Sorry. 

TV and Movies You Watch
I’m sorry that your little voice gets drowned out by bigger ones, especially when you pick TV shows. You have never seen Sesame Street or Caillou. When you discovered Word World existed you lit up in a way that made me really guilty that you’ve never actually watched an age-appropriate cartoon. You do have a pretty good vocabulary from Martha Speaks and you know a lot about animals from Wild Kratts, but you don’t have any idea who Dora is. Sorry.

Your Toys
You don’t have any age appropriate toys. I’m sorry. You have a bunch of brothers that you wrestle like a maniac, but I’m pretty sure you never had stacking rings or that popper thing you pull or blocks. You do know how to read and can name all the months of the year, but that seems to be primarily through osmosis while I gave you random “school work” to do while I taught your brother those things. If you one day really need that phone you can pull on a string, I’ll get you one. I’m sorry.

Your Tiny Legs
We forget you are little. We went to Washington, D.C. during the Cherry Blossom Festival and we decided we didn’t need a stroller. You were 2. We made you walk the whole Mall and when you finally fell asleep in the Museum of American History, I just carried you. We have never given you scheduled naps or let you ride when you could walk. I like to believe it will make you tough. It might, however, just make you have ridiculous expectations for your own kids one day. Sorry, future grandchildren.

The First Ladies’ Dresses were Exhausting

Your Middle-Aged Parents
I’m sorry that you get tired parents. We are a lot older than we were when we started this parenting thing…both in years and in miles. Oh, but we love you. My hardest thing with you is not spoiling you absolutely rotten due to your charm and laugh and smile and general adorable adorableness. Seriously, you’re cute. So I’m sorry that I over-correct and yell at you and give you the mean Mommy voice because I’m raising you to be a responsible man and not a man-child who thinks that charm is a character trait. I’m sorry if that is not always clear.

I hope when you’re a grown man you will be able to see past the forgetful Mommy and distracted Daddy to the parents who deeply love and cherish you. You asked me why God made you this week…and without hesitation I told you it was because God wanted another little boy with big brown eyes who loved life and made everyone around him smile. So you gave me one of your smiles…the one that lights up the world around you…and snuggled into my lap.

You are my treasure and joy and I’m sorry when we forget to tell you. And I’m sorry that the only way I’ll ever remember this is to write it down and put it on the internet. Feel free to ask my estate for therapy money. We probably left your oldest brother in charge of it. Sorry.  

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