Change in Schedule – Dear Pegasus and Dragon

Dear Pegasus and Dragon,

Your mum and I had a plan. It was a good plan. Until Dragon went to school we’d have your schedule be 11pm sleeptime and 11am wake up. This meant we had more time with you and the grandparents after dinner.

It worked really well and we were getting mentally prepared to change it when the pandemic and first lockdown hit. We decided that since mum was mostly homeschooling Dragon that we’d keep going.

Now that Dragon is going to be going to full time digital school next week (Yikes) we’ll be switching your schedule to 8pm bedtime and 8am wakeup time.

I’m kinda terrified about how it’s going to work. Worried that we’ve messed up your internal clock or something. Hopefully everything will be okay, but I definitely expect it to be a hard first few weeks.

As much as this past year or so has been terribly scary and more than a little frustrating, I’ve enjoyed the extra time we’ve had together. I’m not sure you’ll remember much from this year but between the homeschooling activities and the extra time at night to snuggle, I’m not going to forget.

This feels like a big change for us, but if we do it right you won’t remember it.

Love you both,

Papa (Éric)

Dear Dragon and Pegasus – Easter

Dear Dragon and Pegasus,

You both know by now that I’m not a religious man, but I love Easter. Both for the imagery of spring and rebirth and because of the little traditions.

When I was young my mom, and often brother, would set up a hunt. I don’t remember it all, but there were riddles and maps. It was awesome. It was so much fun.

Yesterday was Easter and we had a simple hunt, a free-for-all type of hunt. It was fun. So much fun that Dragon asked me to do another. When I said I could hide the empty eggs, she was ready to do it right away. It was seriously adorable.

There’s a special sense of wonder and joy that I get watching you both being exited and happy. It makes everything slightly better.

As you get older I’m planning on making the hunts more elaborate. I have so many ideas.

Thank you for your enthusiasm and your joy.

I love you!

Papa

Dear Dragon and Pegasus – Holiday Magic

Dear Dragon and Pegasus,

By the time you’re reading this you’ll know the truth about Santa. At the very least, you’ll think you do.

The winter holidays, in my opinion, are not about Santa, presents, decorations, or sappy movies. To me, they are about being with family and actually spending time with them. Hopefully we’ll be doing that a little all year round, but in December we hopefully have more time.

When I grew up, it meant that my big brother was home and I didn’t have to go to school. I was bullied my entire grade school by students and one teacher, so it was nice to be with my Mom and brother and not need to worry about it. We played video games, watched movies, cooked, and baked. My Mom struggled with depression and the holidays were a time she always seemed to be happier. I hope she was.

The magic was family, a sort of warmth that the holidays had. The holidays never lost their magic for me when I learnt about Santa; they dimmed when my Mom died, but are still magical.

Santa Claus is a myth, a lot of myths mushed together. From all over the world and influenced by many cultures (and ad campaigns). Both Santa and Christmas are tapestries woven from hundreds of myths, traditions, holidays, and ideals. From Festival of Lights, to Saturnalia, to Yule, and of course Solstice.

The spirit of these festivals is to celebrate surviving the long winters (not as long as they used to be now). The magic of them in is in giving and helping those in our communities. From donating clothing or money to giving gifts or even just giving a genuine compliment; that’s how you make the magic happen. It’s not the date, the decorations, or anything like that.

This year, Dragon, you decided to make a gift for Santa, and that’s by far the sweetest thought. You are both loving and generous and I hope that grows in you no matter what happens. I hope when you discover that Santa isn’t a person, that you discover that he’s a parable. That he is the triumph of survival, the warmth of family, and spirit of giving.

I hope that we’ve managed to spark the joy and magic in you during the holidays.

Happy holidays Dragon and Pegasus. I love you!

Papa

Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 4

Dear Little Dragon,

It’s been a big year for you.

Since your last birthday you’ve:

  • Potty trained to a point of no accidents;
  • Learned the alphabet in English (working on french);
  • Learned to count to 10 in English (working on french);
  • Learned to write your letters (better than me);
  • Graduated out of a booster seat at the dinner table;
  • Gone to Disney and your first rides;
  • Been an excellent if over-enthusiastic big sister;
  • Watched a lot of movies
  • Started école
  • and a lot of other fantastic things.
Dragon talking to fantastic FadhiliTheOne for a birthday video chat.

One of my favourite memories from this past year is the long-weekend we spent just you and me. You’ve already forgotten most of it, so you say, but it was fun. It was Halloween and we hung out, watched Phineas & Ferb, went to the cinema, played video games, and of course trick or treated. It was nice to have time just you and me.

On the bus on our way home from seeing Abominable in cinema.

Another great memory is you dictating your Christmas letter to Santa and making sure you told him what Adrien wants. You truly love him and want to take care of him. It’s sweet and I hope that love and the adoration I see in his eyes don’t go away as you age.

One of your favourite things right now is to snuggle into someones lap and play video games with them on their phone. I’m not sure if it’s the game or the bonding you want but I’ll take the snuggles. (You’re already asking for your own phone by the way.)

I guess I can’t talk about this year without talking about Covid-19, or as you call it The Virus. You love being around people and last year you went to conventions with us, parties, and Disney. Then March came and everything stopped. It’s been hard for you and I’m so glad we podded with your grandparents.

I miss going shopping with you, I miss going to the park, I miss not panicking every time you touch a package. You have been great though. I’m not sure how much you get the concept, but you seem to understand it’s important.

One great thing about it, is that you have me home. I still hope you’ll be able to go to école for your first grade but everything is up in the air until a vaccine.

You’ve grown physically, mentally, and emotionally so much since you turned 3. (Oh man am I glad you’re no longer having full-on sensory overload tantrums anymore.) I can’t imagine what you’re going to be like next year, but I look forward to being there and finding out.

Happy Birthday, love you!

Your sappy Papa

Dear Dragon – École à maison

Dear Dragon,

What a wild year. It’s been quite a historic and interesting time. I’ve been lucky to work from home and be with you, your Mum, and Adrien full time.

You’re clever, stubborn, and passionate. You’re also an extremely social kid and this has been tough on you.

Last February you visited your école. This is a new virus and there are all kinds of worrisome side effects being reported. It’s possible the threat of that and the threat to your grandparents is over-exaggerated, but we don’t want to take the chance.

With Mum working from home and the travel business being a little slow, we are in the perfect place to help you learn from home. We haven’t decided exactly what we’re doing. It’ll depend on what the école has planned.

Mum has some fantastic ideas and I hope you get as excited as mum has been about her ideas.

Overall, I’m not too worried. You’re already a little ahead and we mostly need to build on what you already know and encourage you to learn more French. Again, I’m sorry for not speaking to you more in French.

We’ll see what happens. The year is only three quarters done and has lots of surprises left for us.

I love you little Dragon,

Papa

Dear Pegasus and Dragon – Pandemic 2020

Hello My Mythical Brood,

It’s the twentieth of April and we’ve been in a quarantine for a little over a month. I’m hoping that you’re not too scared, and that you’re enjoying all the family time. Your Mum and I have been trying to make this comfortable for you.

I’ll be completely honest, it’s been hard for me. Not spending time with you, that’s been awesome; exhausting but a lot of fun. The worry is what’s been hard. I’m hoping you’re not feeling it too much, but I’m terrified for family and friends.

I’m also worried by a lot of foolish people who might cause a new wave of infections. There are more conspiracy theories than you can shake a stick at.

Worse, this disease seems to have become politicized, with one side wanting to protect lives and the other to protect the economy. Both are worried for humanity, but have different priorities. If our society doesn’t change and we don’t worry about the economy then we’ll have problems that will last a long time and will kill people. If we just let a huge amount of people die, the economy won’t do well. What we need is change. We need to reorder society to prioritize lives. Not just monetizable lives, but all lives. I hope that by the time you read this, we have a better solution.

The next month will tell us a lot about what’s going to happen. I’m hoping those in power do the right thing.

This is obviously coming from a place of privilege, but I hope when you hear about this time in the future, your memories are happy and joyful. I hope that we have insulated you from the worst of it while still helping you understand what is happening.

We’re at the beginning of this thing still and I’m not sure what will happen.

I know that I will love you and do my best to protect you.

I love you both so much.

Your worried Papa

Dear Dragon – École

Dear Dragon,

You’re no longer a baby. On Wednesday we went to visit your future school. You’ll be going to a French Public school and from the look on your face when we visited, you’re going to love it.

I’m nervous about a lot of things; snacks and lunches, you making friends, dealing with buses, you learning more French. I feel I’ve failed you as a francophone parent, but hopefully the school will help and I’ll start speaking to you in French more once you understand. (I spoke to you in both, but once you understood English I just stuck with that.)

One of the teachers took you to get a paper and a crayon when we visited the class and you never looked back. I have a feeling that we could have left and you wouldn’t have noticed. I’m glad you’re so independent. I’m still nervous. You’ve never spent more than a few hours without someone from the family and well… I know I’m being silly. (I’m starting to understand how Marlin from Finding Nemo felt.)

We still have six months before you go to school but when you do, it’ll change our whole lives.

You’ll love the social interaction though. I sometimes feel like we don’t stimulate your socialness enough. Sorry KYD, your parents are introverts.

Every stage you grow is wonderful and scary to me. This one just feels bigger, probably cause it has so much more paperwork.

I love you baby Dragon,

Papa

Dear Pegasus and Dragon – Disney 2020

Hello My Mythical Brood,

We recently came back from a two week vacation in Florida. We rented a house, with Grannie and Granddad, and visited Disney World, A LOT.

Pegasus, you started teething not long before and kept us up at night. (Mum and I mostly.) You fell asleep on rides and mostly seemed confused as to why we were standing around and not letting you crawl. When you weren’t annoyed you spent the time smiling at people and making their hearts melt. You have a way of looking at people, with your big blue eyes, like you’re judging them and then releasing a massive smile. It makes anyone caught by it ridiculously happy.

Dragon, you will probably not remember this trip. At 3 you’re still very young, but if you do I hope you remember the joy and excitement you felt on the rides. The first time you took a rollercoaster, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the fireworks started as we were climbing. It was beautiful. I’ll always remember how you would get super excited to meet a character and then completely freeze, and the smile you would have every time you saw something exciting.

The two of you had your ups and downs (Same with us). Some days were harder then others but you did great being dragged around the parks and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

I also hope you remember the quieter times at the house talking and playing with Grannie and Granddad. Without them, this trip would have been impossible. They are truly remarkable helping with you and everything else required in a big trip. We don’t always agree on everything, but I wouldn’t have wanted to take this or any Disney trip without them.

In the end, Pegasus and I got a cold but years from now I hope we’ll remember the good things.

I had a wonderful time with you, Mum, Grannie, and Granddad.

I love you both very much,

Papa

Dear Dragon – Consequences Suck

Dear Sweet Dragon,

You are a fantastic kid but you’ve inherited every stubborn molecule from all sides of the family.

Our biggest struggle with you right now is how much you love your brother. That doesn’t sound too bad, except for the fact that you never stop touching, pulling, holding, squishing, hugging, or loudly singing/roaring/screaming at him.

You still don’t know your strength and he can not tell you to stop. He will occasionally make noises of annoyance but he’s not consistent enough for you to listen… even if you were inclined to listen.

So our current largest battle is getting you to respect his bodily autonomy and ask before touching him. You need to ask us, since he’s too young to reply for himself. Unfortunately, you refuse to listen or forget to remember… not sure which.

Note: Compared to hitting him or any other kind of mischief you could get into, this isn’t terrible, but it is very frustrating.

So last night you harassed him to the point of him being upset and us having had enough. We told you to not touch him or you were going to bed. Less than a minute later you saw him drooling and whipped around, grabbed his burp-cloth and wiped his face. I thought you’d hit him when I saw his head fall back but mum says he must have been surprised because you’re always gentle.

Either way, your face registered an, “Oh shit” moment and then you pretended not to notice.

We sent you to bed. You were not pleased. You cried yourself to sleep once at 9:30, then at 11:30, then at 2:30, then at 9, and finally you woke up at 10 and cried yourself into puking. Your tummy hurt so much that food was hard to handle.

This is hard on you and I hope you’ve learned to listen and respect others’ bodily autonomy, but I’m not so sure. Time will tell.

Something you might not realize right now, or even when you read this;hers’ really hard on us too. We love you and you’re a wonderful human being. Punishing you is hard.

I love you so much,

Your tired Papa

*Addendum added 2019-10-13* Okay Dragon. I didn’t go into details because I didn’t think it was relevant.

Here’s what happened when you were sent to bed.

  1. You got changed into PJs.
  2. We took you to pee and have water.
  3. We tucked you in and explained why you were going to bed early.
  4. We told you we love you.
  5. We let you try to sleep once you stopped crying.
  6. When you called for us we went up and did 3, 4, and 5 again.

We never leave you alone to cry and we refuse to force you to stop. We’ll comfort you and snuggle you but it’s okay to cry. (even if your crying almost always leads to gagging or puking.)

Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 3

Dear little Dragon,

You’ve grown so much in every way possible. Today you turn 3. The last year has been absolutely amazing to watch. You’ve learned so much.

Since your last birthday you:

  • have learned to speak in full sentences;
  • learned to jump (but not land softly);
  • learned your numbers (mostly);
  • learned to dance;
  • gained a little brother;
  • started going on the potty;
  • played a tabletop RPG with us;
  • and I’m sure there’s more.

It feels like each year of your life we’ve taken a trip. This year we went to Stratford, Ontario for Katie and Mike’s wedding. Everyone loved you there and you really didn’t want to leave. You danced all night and made Katie and Mike really happy. It was your first long car ride and you did great.

You also went to your first Opinicon, the Coderre family reunion held every 5 years, you absolutely loved it. You said hi to everyone, played with your cousins and had a great time. In 5 years you’ll love it even more.

It was another year of conventions that you both helped prepare and are starting to help sell at. You went to Can-Con, Comic Con Holiday Edition, Ottawa Comic Con, and Geek Market. Your Mum and I love that you can hang out with us and help for 8+ hours a day at conventions.

I both love and fear your strength of emotions. When you’re feeling a strong emotion, everyone knows and it’s just like I was at your age. Thankfully you always swing back to happy quickly.

This year Baby Pegasus joined the party and you’ve been fantastic with him. He adores you, choosing to follow you more than anyone else (with his eyes… I can hear you saying, “He doesn’t walk yet.”) he smiles at you and you can calm him. You are a little too affectionate but you’re learning.

You are strong willed, clever, passionate, loving, curious, and you make everyone smile. You frustrate me with your procrastination and your stubborn streak but you also make me proud, every day.

The year coming has so many exciting things and I look forward to sharing them with you.

Happy Birthday Little Dragon and welcome to Level 3!

Papa