This is how I pee...

… when I notice I have forgotten to lock the bathroom door and you’re on the other side…

Dear J,

My heart is broken. You don’t love me anymore. It’s bad enough that J2 cries and rejects me when she notices it’s me instead of mama. Now you don’t want to play with me anymore.

You have found a new friend -- our neighbor auntie L

You have found a new friend — our neighbor auntie L

You used to shout “Daddy!” as soon as I entered the door. You used to run to me and ask me to take you to the park or to see trains. But for all of last week, I’ve come home to an empty house. On Thursday, when I came home you were peeking at me from out her window.

Then I popped over to give you a hug and ask you to play, and this was how you treated me:

I even tempted you with your favorite things. I said, “I’m going to see some trains — do you want to come with me?” You said “No” without hesitation.

That’s okay. Because we have two children. I found another one who loves me.

J2 – for the first time since you were born, you let me put you to sleep. You are three months old now. Usually, mama does this. Every night, mama nurses you lying her side, and you slip into dreamland in a matter of minutes.

But that night, J1 wanted mama. So I thought I could give this a try. At first, you fussed a little. Being strong now, you strained to keep your head up. You looked around. I turned off the lights, sang a lullaby and walked you around. You fought to stay awake, whimpering as your neck gave in to the weight of your head. A few times, I could imagine your downturned mouth — I thought you were going to cry for mama because that was how you’ve always gone to sleep.

Then you found your left hand. Slurp slurp suck suck munch slurp chomp. You hooked your right hand around my neck. You felt a little warm so I walked you in front of our fan.

Slowly, I felt you relax. You rested your head on my shoulder. I felt your lumpy body relax and sink. My arms were burning, my back was cramping but I knew I was getting close. I dared not move. Soon, your right arm slid off my neck to my shoulder. You sighed. I could fit your back into the palm of my hand. You are getting meaty. I love you little angel… unlike your brother who abandoned me.

Just kidding. I love both of you. Mama snapped a pic of J2, wearing exactly what J1 was at 3 months:

J1 = J2

J1 = J2

More Js! Js waking up…

J posing even in his sleep…

... with his radioactive truck.

… with his radioactive truck.

And more J2! Julia laughing. Julia spent whole day looking at feet trying to figure out how to eat them.

Mama says Julie is like a ticking clock in bed. She doesn’t cry when she’s hungry. She chases her around the bed, pecking.

Remember how I said mama will say to J2: “Julie, it’s okay mama.” And J will say “Julie’s not a mama Julie’s Julie!” Well, now mama is careful not to call Julie “mama”. But now you notice this and say, “Mama can you say Julie’s a mama?” Just so you can say “JULIE’S NOT A MAMA! JULIE’S JULIE!” And mama slaps her forehead.


A hole in the wall! What's on the other side?

A hole in the wall! What’s on the other side?

Train Tracks!

The other side. Train Tracks!

"Your bike can't come because there's no sidewalk here"

“Your bike can’t come because there’s no sidewalk here”

You loved it so much I almost regretted showing it to you.

That Sunday, I tried to take an afternoon nap while you took yours. I failed. You woke up before me, 1 hour before you normally do. Mama went to get you, and you whispered to her, “I want to go to the SPECIAL place”. Then you jumped up and down and ran to me and jumped up and down saying “I want to wake daddy up! I want to go to the special place!”

Mama said it was my fault I made it too exciting. I said I didn’t! I guess it just blew your mind that we could walk through the wall. And get to the OTHER SIDE. And then back to the OTHER SIDE. And there were TRAIN TRACKS. And power lines, and traffic lights turning green and yellow and red. And to make matters worse… A TRAIN appeared. It rumbled so close in front of us it blew your hat off.

It gave me a new dinnertime parenting weapon: the concept of “special”. You don’t normally like to eat chicken. Maybe you don’t like how it looks, you only eat it if it’s breaded… who knows. So one day mama made some chicken that looked a little different because it had an orange sauce coating it. So I didn’t tell you it was chicken. I asked, “Do you want to eat something special?” You said ya. So I said mama made something special today. I like it. You ate it and told mama you liked it.

Often, what you know holds you back from new experiences.

I tried to give you a taste of your own medicine — you made me feel bad for it.

J – one of the frustrating things with you now is, sometimes, you want impossible things. Like you’ll see a train go by, and then say to me, “Daddy, I want to see another train.” I’ll say I’m not the driver, I can’t make the train come now. The train comes sometimes, and if it comes, we can see it. If it doesn’t come, we cannot see it. And you’ll say, “I want to see the train NOW.”

So anyway, after dinner the other day, you said to me as you fanned out your honey sticks from the farmers’ market, “If you want one you just have to ask me. You can take them if you want.” I said thank you. But you offered again. So I thought this would be a great chance to see what you’d do if I turned the tables.

I said, “I want a green honey stick.”
You looked hard and said, “I don’t have a green one.”
I said, “I want a green one NOW!”

It didn’t quite work as expected. You gave me a yellow one and said, “This one’s green” and nodded to me. I said that’s not green, it’s yellow. You gave me an orange one and said, “This one’s green” and nodded to me. I said it’s orange. Finally you offered, “When we go to the farmers’ market again, we can buy green for you.”

It made me realize how generous you are as children. Parents will say no. But children will always say yes to make you happy, even if it’s impossible.

You want us to be happy. You even force us to laugh at your jokes. You’ll say, “Daddy can you laugh?” Ha-ha. When it doesn’t satisfy you, you’ll say, “Daddy, can you laugh like this?”

I just got a breakthrough – from my experience buying my phone. After I got it, I researched, hacked it, customized it, upgraded it. I also found myself watching videos of it after I bought it to get reaffirmation about how great my decision was. Because like I said, I didn’t feel good about buying it. I was countering buyer’s remorse.

That’s when I realized: almost every business focuses on the sale — they abandon the customer right after the sale, at the peak. The peak of a buyer’s emotions is right after the sale. But yet no one takes advantage of this. They have nowhere to go. No family to welcome them and congratulate them on the start of a new life as an owner of ____. So I’m turning over in my head the idea of a “welcome to the family” system that businesses can plug into their sales process, after the sale, to usher new customers in as new members of a global family.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming: Drop-off diaries…

Many trucks

J was sad he didn’t get to see a train at the special place today.

But everything was okay when we opened the garage door and he heard the garbage truck. He said, “BRRrrrrrRRRRrrr.” Then he scrutinized while the garbage truck did its thing: grab bin with pincer, dump it in the back. J copied it with his arm with a throwing motion.

When the garbage truck went down the street, I waved and the driver waved back with two hands. J liked that. Then it turned the corner. J said I want to see it now. I said it’s helping other houses. We are going to Jump Bunch. The garbage truck is not going to Jump Bunch. He accepted that.

Along the way to school, we saw truck after truck. First 2 car transporters carrying construction vehicles. Then Cement mixers. Then more big trucks. Each time, he said “I want to follow the truck.” And each time I’ll say the truck is going to work to help the construction workers. We are going to school for Jump Bunch.

Each day, he’s getting better at understanding that we can’t make what he wants to see appear NOW.

At school, we said hi to his friend Toyota Forklift again. This time, it was parked next to the handicap spot in front of the main door. So I showed him the wheel, the seat, the steering wheel, the fork in the front… it goes eeeeeeeeeee up high.

Good thing Myra showed up to catch his attention. She said, “Jaw-shoo-aa… Jaw–shoo-aa” and smiled at him from over her dad’s shoulder. I took the chance to follow them in.

When we got there, Myra was sitting on his spot. He didn’t like that. It took a while but he eventually was fine sitting in the chair next to her. I did my goodbye routine, and said that he could tell mama later what you saw this morning. Then he looked up and shouted with big eyes “AND THE GARBAGE TRUCK.”

I waved to him on the way out and blew him a kiss, and he waved back to me with his red car in his hand.

When you pick J up later, ask him to talk about the forklift.

We got to see it in action today. It was outside the cage, so I took some time to show him the action. Here’s what he saw:

A man was taking pieces of wood for the roof off the forklift. He loaded them onto a wheelbarrow. He pushed the wheelbarrow across the parking lot to the side of the school. There was a ladder. Up the ladder and on the roof were his construction worker friends. He passed the pieces of wood up to them. They took the wood and put it on the roof and another construction worker went bang bang bang.

That’s how they fix the roof!

I went through the whole process with him again, so he could connect the dots of the fence, forklift, stacks of wood in the cage, wheelbarrow, construction workers, fixing roof.

In class, Arjun came over and eyed J in a suspicious way. I don’t know what he was looking for but I said “That is Joshua’s bunny. You can go look for something else.” He ran away and tossed himself into some cushions.

I asked J if he wanted to put bunny in the cubby. He said no. So I sat him on the table in front of him. I asked him if he was okay. He said YA. I asked him Do you want milk? He said no. Do you want water? “No.” He touched his belly button and said, “I want… something.” Do you want a kiss? He thought about it and I kissed him and he said, “YA.” Then I hugged him a little and stuff.

After he relaxed, he turned to eat his cupcake and orange with the new girl Kaylee. Just then, the potty train returned and I said bye and that mama and J2 will pick you up and we can see many trains later.

Teacher’s birthday

It’s Ms Ditte’s birthday today. I don’t know when she plans to do it, but she said they were going to have pizza.

J was cute. After he helped me put his things away, he shouted “DIGGERS!” Ms Gina took out a diggers book. He ran to sit on a pillow at the circle and gave Ms Gina all his attention.

He was sitting 15 feet from Ms Gina, so I said why don’t you move your pillow closer. I asked him for his 2 cars for the cubby. He shoved them into my hand and shooed me away.

When I returned he was right in front of Ms Gina. I said goodbye and he was bouncing and smiling with excitement at the Diggers book.

Btw on the way in he said “I want to look at the little T-uhyota f-ohklif”. He was trying so hard to say the whole name.


He missed Lion, so I said Lion is staying home with Kimi today to take care of the house.

In the back, he shouted, “Look at me daddy! What’s in my mouth? I have a *rr*o**”

An O?


I looked in the mirror and he had a cereal piece between his lips.

We saw the little Toyota truck on the way in. He wanted to see the TOYOTA name on the front of the truck. I said this is a forklift. You see the two things there, like a fork? It’s like your fork when you eat spaghetti. I made a fork with my fingers. He repeated, “It has a fork like when I eat noodles.” The fork scoops things up like you scoop spaghetti. He was amazed.

He took his cereal into class with him. There was still bagel left so he went to sit. At first he didn’t fit because the chair was against the table. So he got out and pulled the chair out to sit half his butt cheek. I gave him another half of a bagel.

I saw Ms Gina drawing on cardboard with a pen.

She was holding the pen like this:



So I made fun of her and she laughed and said she used to paint but she can’t draw very well anymore.

I said goodbye to J and gave him a big squeeze. He was okay. On the way out, I saw Arjun swoop in behind me (like Kimi) and try to take his cereal. I was about to step in when Ms Marissa and Ms Ditte intercepted him. J looked up at me and I gave him a look that said what Arjun did was not okay.

Ms Ditte shooed Arjun away and J went back to eating his bagel.

Learning the concept ‘Something’

He was unusually quiet in the car today. He just stared into space, twirling his flower in his hand. So, after a while, I tried singing songs he knew.

The grand old duke of york, he had 10,000…
“Daddy can you sing marched them to the left?”

He joined in a little, then went back to being quiet. So I sang..

Row row row your boat, gently down the stream.. merrily merrily merrily
Row row row your boat… if you see an alligator don’t forget to scream
He went AAAAAA!
Row row row your boat… ha ha fooled ya, I’m a submarine.
He giggled.
Then, he sang the alligator don’t forget to scream on repeat 50 times.

He sang the submarine version about 10 times. For the submarine one, he’d stop after “ha ha fooled you…” each time to wait for me to say “I’m a submarine!”

We parked on the curb today because both lots were full. On the way to school we saw fences all around the parking lot. In one of the fenced areas, was a TOYOTA forklift. He was surprised to see yet another kind of Toyota.

GOOD MORNING FRIENDS. I put him down and he walked around with his yellow flower in hand. He wanted to hold my hand today. He started a little clingy. No snacks. Too late. Myra’s mom was there because Myra was having a hard time too.

The radio played “DOWN BY THE BAY… WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW….” I moved J’s hand to the beat and he danced a little.

Ms Gina ran across the room shaking a can, saying, “Who wants to play with Shaving Cream?!” J wasn’t interested, so I said look, the train table is in a different place today. The table is over here and the circle carpet is over there. We went to investigate the train table.

J asked, “Why did you say there is something different? What is the something?” I said the something different is the table in a different place.

(Backstory: he has recently started getting curious about the word “something”. E.g. when we peek at the diggers behind the fence, I’ll say “Do you see something?” And he’ll ask, “What is something?” And I’ll say you call it something when you don’t know its name. So he’s been observing the use of the word “something” in various contexts, and trying to figure out what it means.)

I pulled out the basket of train tracks. He picked up a train, then pushed its button and it went CHOO CHOO. He helped me link a few. I connected the tunnel and he looked at me and said, “The train doesn’t fit in the tunnel…” I asked him, “It doesn’t fit?” He moved his train and showed me. Then he looked at me and smiled.

So I took the tunnel away and made him a circle train track. I gave him a few pieces and he knew how to connect them together, so I felt he had enough to keep himself occupied for a while. I said goodbye and we’ll play later. He said “I will not go outside without you.”

I couldn’t find a safe place for his flower in his cubby so I said I’ll keep it for him and give it back to him later. He nodded.

Our drop-offs are okay now. But not all families are doing as well.

If you want to see a sad place, go visit a daycare every morning at drop off. You’ll see parents exiting with their gaze low and tears in their eyes. Every day is like ripping off a fresh scab.



P.S. – we took a pic at the Farmers’ Market last Sunday:


P.P.S. – we also went to the Children’s Discovery Museum – our first time since J2 was born:

Reading at the Discovery Museum

You love reading. It was great to see your progress. Namely, how you interact and share, negotiate obstacles, love letters and investigate your environment like a little scientist. And of course, you even took us for a ride in your favorite trucks.