January 7 - February 7, 2013Dear Carys,
Yet again, you're a month older. And yet, again, I wonder how the heck it happened. I mean, I get it, what with the spinning and orbiting earth and all that, but Einstein was really onto something with the whole "time is relative" theory. Each month I feel like there's less time to get this written!
You are such a BIG girl. Big ideas, big moves, big words, big spirit, big heart, big love. You're a happy kid who goes with the flow (usually) and has a smile for everyone (usually). At not even two years old, you have presence. You have a confidence about you that belies the fact that you're just a small toddler. People notice when you're in the room. And it's only sometimes because you're throwing a fit. Actually, you have yet to throw a big fit in public (knock on wood fingers crossed salt over the shoulder fairy dust). People notice you because of your personality. Also possibly because you will yell "HIIIIIIIII" at them until they look at you and acknowledge your existence. But mostly, because of that sparkling personality. You're just a really awesome little person.
Don't get me wrong: you're almost two. So while you're generally enjoyable, that means that you can have some SERIOUS attitude and SERIOUS opinions. You want THIS coat and THAT toy and mommy to sit RIGHT HERE and no NOT THERE MOMMY THAT'S TWO INCHES FROM WHERE I SAID OMG WHY DO YOU HATE ME YOU'RE RUINING MY LIFE. One time, you threw a fit because I peeled a banana the wrong way. No lie. Complete with dramatic fall to the floor.
You'd never know it, but this is you completely disobeying me.
I am eternally grateful, though, (and I'm probably jinxing myself by saying this out loud) that at least right now you're still light on the tantrums and you're almost always over them in seconds. I know I still have a good number of years yet for that to catch up, though, and to get some good two-hour-long crying fests out of you. I won't be mad if you skip that forever, though. I promise.
At your 18 month appointment, you were just a hair shy of 34 inches tall and 25 pounds. Your head remained 19.5 inches, which is still just insanely huge. Full of brains, right? You still have your gorgeous dark gray-blue eyes and golden, light brown hair. Hair that, if I'm being frank, is pretty much a mullet. A mullet-rat tail. Something that would be the pride and joy of a redneck dude in Alabama.
It's thin, semi-wavy hair (so sorry about that...and the glasses that are sure to come....and the braces....) that has long wisps at the crown but is short everywhere else. It's so tempting to cut off those wisps, but I'm waiting it out to see if the rest of it will catch up before I take scissors to it. Plus, I've taken to putting it up in pigtails or a ponytail, which look ridiculous since you have so little hair, but ridiculous in the CUTEST. WAY. POSSIBLE., and if I cut it off there would be literally nothing to put up.
You have the biggest, cheesiest, fakest fake smile ever. And you have the biggest, happiest, most contagious real smile ever.
The biggest change this month was starting daycare two days a week. It's long been a plan of mine to get you in a daycare/preschool program a couple days a week at some point for some social interaction, routine, and just something different. I think you love it. You went from crying for me at drop-off (but stopping as soon as I was out of sight, you sneak) to going quietly to one of the teachers but clinging to them for a bit to just running in without looking back at me. Now I can barely get a good-bye kiss out of you! When I come to pick you up, I come in quietly and stand back to watch you interact and play until you notice me, then you run to me, give me a huge, and grab my hand and show me around the room; we can never leave right away. I love seeing what you love there, through your eyes.
You dress yourself: an unsnapped pants romper under a blue button down.
My cousin Mo watches you the days I work when you're not at daycare, and you think he's awesome. He's totally unflappable, though he does send me daily texts about how gross your poop is. Is that one of those sentences I'll regret writing about you in fifteen years? The first time I came home after he watched you, you wouldn't come say hi to me. You just wanted him to keep reading to you while you sat in his lap.
You are a fiercely independent little girl, but you still have your moments when you just want to be held (usually, of course, when I CAN'T hold you: cooking, doing laundry, juggling knives, etc.). You're an explorer. An engineer. Nothing is safe around you; it's coming apart. You're feisty. If you think you're about go get in trouble, you'll run up and tickle me, or run away with the forbidden item and giggle, or try to hide it behind your back. I just want to laugh and scoop you up and hug you for being so funny, but I usually manage to wait until after the discipline. Usually. Sometimes I just have to hug you, though. The cute is impossible to resist, for real.
You love to be read to and to read to me (it's just babbling, but that babbling is the greatest story I've ever heard). You love to take care of your dolls. You even take care of your friends - when your friend Charlotte was visiting her shoe fell off, and you totally unprompted tried to put it back on for her.
You absolutely love to dance. I'm ashamed to admit that your favorite song to dance to is Macklemore's "Thrift Shop," which is positively RIFE with bad words. And since you've become a parrot recently, I really need to stop letting you listen to it, lest you bust out a "This is fucking awesome" at some totally inappropriate moment.
You parrot not only what we say, but what we do: if I'm cooking, you want to be cooking. If I'm vacuuming you have to help me hold it. If I'm on the computer, you want to be on the computer. When you were sick, you wanted to give me and your babies eye drops and use the Nose Frida on us. When I give you a horsey ride, you had to give your baby a horsey ride.
For the most part, if it's not incredibly dangerous, I'll let you participate as much as possible. You help me cook a lot, and you really love it. Let me rephrase: you "help" me cook a lot. It's messy....very messy...but I figure your joy and learning far outweigh the two minutes of sweeping it wil take to clean up. I fill the measuring cups and spoons, you pour them into the bowl. You have to have your own utensil to stir the concoction I cannot help. I can hardly look at the kitchen without you yelling, "Cook mommy!" That you know what cooking involves is frankly incredible since my definition of "cook" is usually pushing "Start" on the microwave. Which you also know how to do.
You love to dress up, whether in true dress up clothes or my clothes or new clothes or a scrap of fabric you found lying in the street. Most hilarious, though, was when you tried to dress in last month's snow suit as I was packing away too-small clothes.
(Not pictured: the giant wedgie this gave you or the way you had to scrunch your neck to get the hat to stay on, or the way you walked carefully around the house giggling in it)
We've been working on weaning you. I'm trying to keep it child-led, but also give it a nudge. When you ask to nurse, I try to distract you first, and/or offer you water or snacks. That works sometimes, but when it doesn't, I'll let you nurse for a couple minutes and then I'll tell you that I'm going to sing the ABC song, and when it's over, nursing is over. It's surprising how well that has worked - you can anticipate the end and you'll stop completely on your own.
You climbed ont your dad's computer desk, into this cabinet, and hid.
You were sick - really sick - for just the second time in your life. We've been lucky. I don't know if it was pink eye or just a cold that settled in your eye (the doctor just prescribed eye drops over the phone) but you had a rough couple of days there. Your dad loved it, though, because for the first time since you became mobile you spent most of the day cuddling.
We went to the Children's Museum and the Zoo (where you tried to feed the animals through the glass and then I died because adorable) and continued swim class and had some play dates. I love doing these things with you; experiencing the world through your eyes is like being a child again myself. Everything is new and wonderful and maybe a little scary, but nothing you can't handle.
*Like 80% of the time. The other 20% I'm happy for some adult time. Let's be real here.
P. S. Nineteen months is a messy age.
P. P. S. Just for myself and my records (because one day I want to print these letters for you HAHA YEAH RIGHT but seriously), I wrote down a list of words that you will spontaneously say without prompting (you're still calling most animals by the sound the make: a monkey is an "ooo ooo eee eee" and a horse is a "neigh". Although you know what a "horse" is and can point it out, when you're talking about it you use the sound, so I didn't include those). It's probably not close to complete and is just what I could come up with looking around the house as I type. You're not quite reading Tolstoy yet, though. Slacker.
apple (said for oranges)
Google (this isn't as weird as it seems - Chris works there!)
ice cream (i-keam)
patty cake (packey)
Pingu (a show we watch sometimes)
thank you (tankoo)
Where'd it go?
Where is it?
work (usually as in, "Daddy work?"
P. P. P. S. I really love you. A lot.