(Some of the pics in this post were taking with a broken camera phone, so I apologize for the quality.)
March 12 to April 12, 2015Dear Emmeline,
Sixteen months. Sixteen of the fastest months I’ve ever experienced. Really – I thought time with one kid flew by, but with two kids it’s going ten times as fast. And it doesn’t help that we’re in the middle of moving and packing and painting and I feel like I’m missing out on vital time to just BE with you and your sister (versus giving you toys and snacks and anything I can to keep you busy and out of my way while I paint). Hopefully by this time next month we’ll be settled in and I’ll be able to focus on you two a little more. (And damn that move, because this letter is going to be short and sweet so I can get back to the painting grind.) (But not really damn that move, because we’re moving into a beautiful house with more space than we ever could have imagined in an amazing neighborhood with amazing parks and trails and you’re going to grow up here and it will be the only home you ever remember.) (Now I’m going to make myself sad that you won’t remember our first house.) (STOP ALREADY LARA.)
This was your first Easter that you actually got to participate in and enjoy, and you had so much fun hunting for Easter Eggs (for three minutes and about six eggs). You loved tearing into your Easter baskets and wanted to open every toy immediately - mostly the chalk, because you love to eat chalk. I don't know. I don't claim to understand babies. You're a weird bunch.
Your language is coming along, though I’m still waiting for that language explosion I’ve been told to expect any day. For someone with no words, you talk all. day. long. You are constantly babbling in the absolute sweetest voice (I'm sure some day I'll want you to be quiet, but for now...babble away!). And as I’ve mentioned before, while you might not have words for things, you definitely have a specific sound for everything. And you use those sounds loudly and often. Sometimes REALLY loudly. Like….a pint-sized velociraptor or something. Actually since Velociraptors were only the size of turkeys (WHAT? I KNOW, my mind was blown when I found that out too), not even a pint-size one. Just a slightly smaller-than-average one. But I really do think that you’ll be talking soon – sometimes you repeat words almost exactly (Me: “Let’s go change your diaper!” You: “Diaper!”) but then you won’t repeat them for me, as if you were your own person and not here for my personal entertainment. The last few days, you've talked to yourself in the backseat of the car, just giggling and laughing and babbling away, and it's the best sound on earth and I have to stop myself from pulling over the car just to get out and squeeze you.
You’re learning body parts and people (we video chatted with Nana yesterday and I said, “Where’s Nana?” and you pointed at the screen and she just about died of happiness) and you can follow directions. You eat with a fork or spoon – really well! – and you can drink from a cup, though I still don’t let you on your own because MESS. You walk up and down stairs by yourself (with a handrail), but the little booty scoot down the stairs is still my favorite and I kind of hope you keep doing it for a while. Moms: slowing progress of their second children everywhere in order to keep them little longer.
You love chocolate and sweets. I was so strict with Carys’s sugar intake, and I try to be strict with yours (you guys don’t get juice, for instance) but since I allow Carys a dessert or treat most days, you see her getting that great and by god, you want it. You know where the candy is (on top of the cabinets) and you’ll sit in front of the cabinet and point and whine and point and squeal and point and cry, begging me to get you a piece of candy. If you see anything with a shiny wrapper, you suspect it’s chocolate and you want nothing more than what is inside that shiny wrapper. Even when I open it and show you it’s actually just a dishwashing tablet, you’re still pretty convinced that one was just a fluke and one of those other ones surely has chocolate in it, because HELLO, SHINY WRAPPER. I sometimes get a smoothie to split with Carys, and I’ve had to start pouring you a little bit of it – in the exact same cup as we have (“Hi, can I get a large smoothie and an extra cup, lid, and straw?”), because otherwise you are entirely convinced I’ve pulled some sort of bait and switch and have filled your sippy cup with formaldehyde instead of smoothie. Like, Em, you won’t even try it! Just take a drink; it’s smoothie, I swear!! So basically my entire life revolves around hiding treats and candy and smoothies from you. I’ve gotten quite proficient at opening and eating chocolate in a pitch-black background with the fan running so you won’t hear the wrapper. (Ok, that hasn’t happened.) (Well. Maybe once.)
You still love to be read to and puzzles. You really love the baby doll your great grandma gave you for Christmas, and you’ve taken ownership of one of Carys’s baby dolls as well. You carry them around and pat their backs and put them to bed and give them bottles and it’s so freaking adorable that I don’t know how your dad hasn’t agreed to a third baby just so you have a real baby to play with. Markers are a forbidden favorite – we have to be super careful to put every marker away, because if you find one, you’ve got the lid off, your mouth full of ink, and the wall decorated in about two seconds flat. You also love the car race track that you got for your birthday, as well of the kinetic sandbox, and those two toys can occupy you while you play by yourself for at least three minutes. Sometimes four. Heaven! (That's an exaggeration - you actually play with them by yourself for quite a while; even longer if Carys is playing with you.)
You’re a mover and a climber just like your big sister was, and you’ve finally gotten used to walking on grass. Now we have to get you acclimated to walking on sand at the park, so you don’t just stand on the edge of the playground crying for me to pick you up and get you off of this deadly substrate - although you'll happily sit and play in our sandbox at home. Again: I don't claim to understand babies. You love to swing (just like every single baby ever) and you love slides (ditto). We started swim class again and you're loving it - you're such a little fish in the water. You push away from me, trying to swim on your own, and you love to jump off the side of the pool into the water (where I catch you, obviously). You giggle the entire time.
You and your sister are starting to play together more and more, and the other day the two of you were chasing each other the pantry at the old house and squealing with laughter and it was the best sound ever. It was only about two minutes later that you guys each went for the same toy and were pushing and pulling hair, but it was fantastic while it was happening. And it happens every day. You are so sweet together sometimes and I can't wait to see you play together - really together - more and more.
You have the sweetest blonde curls and your dimples get deeper every day and they give you the brightest, happiest smile. Your eyes are still a clear blue and I'm starting to think they might stay that way?? We'll see. That sweet chubby baby body is turning into a taller, leaner toddler body (that's just as sweet).
I actually don’t even want to write about your sleeping because (redacted) and I don’t want to jinx it. KNOCK ON WOOD FOR EVEN MENTIONING THE POSSIBLILITY THAT IT MIGHT BE IMPROVING PLEASE GOD DON’T TAKE THIS FROM ME.
Sometimes, when I pick you up, you start patting my back and saying, “shh shh shh,” just like I have done to you every night for the last sixteen months. And then I want to cry and cuddle you and love you and squeeze you and keep you a little baby forever. Sometimes, you just lay in my arms when I’m lying on the couch and melt into me just like you did when you were a baby and I’m blissfully happy. Sometimes your sister joins us and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have you two in my life. Sometimes I’m writing a cheesy blog entry about how amazing you are and life is and I start tearing up and oh my god why is everything so perfect and rainbows and kittens everywhere.
I’ll read the above paragraph tomorrow when I’m trying to get even one six-inch section of trim painted without interruption and I’ll laugh and laugh and laugh at myself.
I love you, Emmeline, even when you’re begging me to pick you up when I’m trying to paint. So very much.