March 7 to April 7, 2013Dear Carys,
You make my heart sing every single day of your existence. You are truly my light and love, and I’m so grateful every day that I’m lucky enough to be your mom. Of course, you can try my patience most days too, but mostly the singing thing.
There is so much to love about you, and I feel like I discover something new every day. Mostly, I just love how happy and joyful and silly you are. I love your constant wide smile. I love your sleepy faces and bedhead and how, even once awake, you refuse to open your eyes for a solid five minutes each morning (I feel ya, kid). I love the way you tuck your arms in against my chest when you’re tired, sad, or cold. I love the weight of you and the feel of your soft hair against my cheek as you bury your face in my neck. I love the tight squeezes your tiny arms give me so many times a day - and I especially love when you randomly run to me and ask for a hug: "Ug, mommy! Ug!" I love how friendly you are, and I love how shy you (you're seriously like a cat: you love attention when you want it, but shy away from it if you didn't initiate). I LOVE LOVE LOVE TIMES A MILLION when you do Chicken Dance. I love your sweet little voice when you sing, and I love the way the word "mommy" sounds on your lips. Thank god, because I hear it approximately 789,000 times a day.
You are the most ridiculously silly kid. You will try anything to get a smile out of someone. You dance and wiggle and make silly faces and play peekaboo and swing and climb and hang upside down and use bowls for hats and put glasses on upside down, exploding with giggles the entire time. In your mind, you are a RIOT. And you know what, Care Bear? You really are.
You pick up new skills every day. In the last couple months, you started to regularly put together three-word sentences: "Come on, mommy." "Let's go, daddy." “Where’d it go?” And my favorite: "I love you." You also flipped a popular toddler tradition on it’s head: while most kids your age answer “no” to everything, your default is “yes.” It’s so funny grilling you about your day: “Did you go to school today?” “Yes.” “Did you have fun?” “Yes.” “Did you color?” “Yes.” “Did you rescue all the kids when Godzilla rampaged?” “Yes!” You’ve also taken to whispering your answers to questions, which seriously hello I die. I have to get it on video before you stop doing it. It’s the sweetest darn thing EVER. You get a little smile, shift your eyes around a bit, and look up at me through your lashes while you whisper.
You still love to color, but your skills are evolving: instead of scribbling, it’s much more deliberate. You will color a certain part of the picture – obviously not in the lines, but it's clear you’re coloring that flower as opposed to just scribbling on the entire page. You draw lines and loops. And you’ve started telling me that you’re coloring something, pointing to a section of your picture and telling me it’s a doggy.
We’re working on counting and colors. You know one and two, but it’s still rote memorization; you obviously can’t actually count yet. Although, to give credit where it's due, you do know what "one" means, although you like to exploit it - if I tell you one more (insert item here) you'll reach in and take one more handful. Close enough!
You know two colors: black and yellow. You definitely know what a color is and know the names of all the colors, and can match all the green things or all the purple things, but pointing to something and asking what color it is still yields iffy results. Your dad often wears black shirts, so every morning you point first to the Google logo on his shirt and say, “Google!” and then you point to the rest of his shirt and say, “Black!”
Blueberries are your favorite food right now. You ask for blueberries all day long. You ask for blueberries in your yogurt, blueberries in your pancakes, blueberries on your cereal. Your mouth and fingertips are perpetually stained blue. You know where they are in the freezer and love nothing better than getting them out and snacking on them.
You've completely mastered using a spoon and a fork. You've been really good with them for quite a long while, since you've been using them for a year, but you use them with the skill of someone who has been using them for at least TWO years. You drink out of real cups with no problems (however, since for some reason you don’t get physics yet, you still will set them on non-stable surfaces like the couch, so I have to be ready to grab it from you at a moment’s notice).
Band-aids and stickers hold your attention for hours. You’ll slowly and carefully peel off each sticker (watching you bend the backing off to get the edge of the sticker to pop up blows my mind – where did you learn that??) and decorate various surfaces. Stickers are a popular restaurant distraction and I try to always have some in my purse. Combine that with water play, and you’d be set all day. I can’t wait until the summer when I can set you up outside with a big tub of water and a bunch of toys, but for now, you’ll sit in the dry bathtub and pour water into various containers for absolute ages. I am always the one to end this game; you have never ended it on your own terms. You might literally stay there all day if I let you.
You had your first school program this month, and boy, was it ever frigging adorable. Your little group of classmates sang "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" (still a favorite) and a song about a bunny hopping. You did great for the first song and half of the second, but then you spotted your dad and me and made a mad dash to us. However, there is one wonderful holdover from the show: you now hop around like a bunny. Or rather, you think you do. Really you just kind of shuffle. But you hold your hands up like a bunny and say, "Hop, hop, hop!" while you shuffle around. How are you old enough to have a school program!?!?!?!
Another sign you’re growing up? We started time-outs recently. We do a very gentle and very quick (we're talking ten second) version of it, and our main form of "discipline" is still redirection, but you immediately understood what time-outs were all about and you quickly...and adorably...and heart-breakingly....started to to say, "Sowwy, mommy. Sowwy. Hug? Kiss?" when in time-out. (That's "sorry" if you don't speak toddler.) You also try everything you can to get my attention and make me happy: smiling at me while chirping, "Mommy! Mommy, hi! Hi!" It's all I can do to keep a straight face. Right now, you probably get about one time out every other day, usually for taking something or getting into something that I asked you to leave alone (you're a master thief) or for biting or hitting (which happen most often when you're tired). Lucky for me, you're a really a well-behaved kid who doesn't need to be corrected very often, so they're rare. (I fear your hypothetical future siblings, because with a first kid this easy, surely the next ones will be hellions.) I also started really highly praising you for listening and for following instructions, and for a while every time you did anything right, you'd turn to me and say, "Hug, mommy!" Yes, I will hug you ALL OF THE TIMES.
March holds both Nana and Uncle Jared's birthdays, so you had lots of family gatherings this month. We kind of celebrated St. Patrick's Day, in that I dressed you up in a cute green shirt and dropped you off at Aunt Jenna's and Uncle Chris's while I went to work. I'm telling you, we lead exciting lives around here.
This month also marked your second Easter, but first one that you really appreciated. Your uncle and his girlfriend, your aunt Kimber, and your Nana and Grandpa all came over to dye Easter eggs. You painted them with poster paints, then dipped them in dye. You weren't quite sure why I wouldn't let you splash the dye everywhere, but you did enjoy painting every bit of the newspaper covering the table. We did two Easter egg hunts: one through your school and one with our family. You held up each found egg proudly, and deposited them in your basket like a pro. For the first five eggs. Then you were over it. Of course, your favorite part: opening the eggs. You somehow got a hold of one on our drive home and ate a bunch of Lemonheads - I didn't know whether to be mad or impressed!
Of course, no letter is complete without referencing the zoo and Children's Museum, which we did again. We are SO getting our money's worth out of those memberships! The last time we went to the zoo, you saw someone with an ice cream cone, and a few minutes later kept saying, "Ickeem!" over and over. Dunce that I am, I didn't realize what you were saying for several minutes (even though you've been saying "ice cream" for several months now), but when I finally realized it and asked, "You want ice cream?" your eyes just LIT UP and you nodded "yes" so enthusiastically I thought your head might fall off. You are a true girl after my own heart when it comes to ice cream. You had a bowl full of ice cream in one hand, and a cone in the other, and told me, "No!" when I asked if you would share. (Spoiler: you did end up sharing, albeit reluctantly.)
We make a good team, you and me, kiddo. You drink the milk (my least favorite part) out of my cereal bowl when I’m done. You share your popsicles with me. You help me vacuum and remind me to brush my teeth. I’m never bored during a car ride thanks to your constant narrative.
I have never been so happy to have undertaken a giant life change. Your dad thinks you are the greatest thing ever. Not just since sliced bread, but ever. I tend to agree with him.
Love you lots, baby.