Dear Eliza, 34 Months Old

Your artistry is coming to life. You've been spending more time wanting to color, dance, play instruments and sing.

Your favorite subject is mountains. You draw and color them and ask me to do the same. You like to build mountain installations out of pillows in the living room, always finishing the pillow pile with a white blanket on top to represent snow. You cannon-ball-jump into the pile always in the direction of Matteo for some collateral damage potential. 

But with that, you're also starting to understand the life of a struggling artist and the need to find work.

You started asking a couple weeks ago for a "Moana microphone." Your Mom and I realized this would be a good time to introduce the idea of chores and allowance so you can save up to buy the microphone. It's a little early for the financial concept, but you immediately tracked with it. If you help pick up toys each evening, we give you a dollar to put in your blue piggy bank. It's an excellent starting wage as your employers know cost of living in the Pacific Northwest is exploding. You get to put those earned dollars in your blue piggy bank and when you have enough money, you get to give us the money in exchange for the microphone. Your Mom and I are getting a little more help out of you as a result. You've nearly saved up the $10 with eyes on the prize. Win-win.   

You're not entirely forced to earn your own way yet. I just bought new strings for your Silver Surfer guitar and a flowery guitar strap so you can finally play guitar while standing and singing at your current microphone -- a 3-foot garden mister. You're singing a lot of songs but your favorite is "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift. She's definitely your favorite musician to emulate, and you've grown confidence in your dance moves after watching her music videos.

Another more lucrative profession is also emerging: dentistry. You were never one of those kids that we had to push to brush teeth. You love brushing your teeth. You ask to brush your teeth. You insist on brushing your teeth every time you use the potty and wash your hands. We actually had to take the toothpaste away because you were going through a tube a week. We have yet to introduce flossing, so that will be the real test of your dental commitment. I'm loving the trend though. A good outcome is that you have a life of healthy teeth and avoid the crowns your Mom and I had to get this past year. A best outcome is that plus you get into some sort of dental career to help people who need the healthcare, and you'll surely have a steady income. Go big and become a dentist to take care of your old man, OK?

Your Mom also wanted me to add that your language is getting really complete with some cute mispronunciations, including "baffroom," "everybubby" and calling Matteo "bubs". You have also picked up your Mom's classic question, "Isn't that funny?" It's always funny.  

Love, Dad