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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Letters to Emmeline : Seventeen Months

While I'm usually a week or so late with these, this one I had written two weeks ago 
and forgot to publish! Is "baby brain" still a thing when your baby is 18 months?

April 12 to May 12, 2015
Dear Emmeline,

Dearest Emmeline. My sweet, tiny Emmeline. I think it's second child syndrome - well, probably more "very probably last child syndrome" - but I'm so enjoying you being little. While at this age with Carys I remember thinking that she was barely a toddler anymore and rushing up to kindergarten status, with you I keep thinking you're just barely out of babyhood. I want to prolong this stage as long as I can!

You're a smart little kid; you really are. Sometimes I don't give you enough credit since you aren't very verbal, but you are so smart. You're like a little engineer for real. You take things apart and put them back together and I mean, maybe all 17 month olds can do this, but you can put clothes on yourself. I'm impressed, at least. In fact, one of your favorite pastimes is pulling clothes out of the hamper and then walking around with a shirt on your legs and a pair of underwear around your neck (I didn't say you put them on correctly, but I'm impressed nonetheless). 

And helping. You love to help. We've been renovating the house (renovating sounds so much better than repainting, which is mostly what it's been) and you grabbed a paint brush and a screwdriver and you've been toting them around and trying to actually use them ever since. You zero in on any exposed metal bit and try to put the screwdriver in it. And you've only painted over my freshly painted walls twice!

You love to put things away - you're utterly convinced that I put the DVDs in the wrong cupboard and you spend all day re-organizing them into a different cupboard. Yesterday I made toaster waffles, and you felt like I didn't cook them correctly, because as soon as I gave it to you, you pulled a chair over to the toaster oven, put the waffle in, and tried to cook it some more. Loading the dishwasher is like a huge special treat and you wish you could load the dishwasher 10x a day (unfortunately for you, even we don't go through that many dishes, and even if we did, I'm not that productive). You know where the dishwasher detergent packets are and you bring me one to open for you, then put it in the correct spot and shut the lid, close the dishwasher door, and try to turn the dial to start it - though you don't quite have the finger strength for that yet.  You love doing that so much that you want to wash dishes about 10 times a day and you've been known to fall down screaming in agony when I wouldn't let you load the dishwasher again. Because, you know, it's currently running. I know, WORST MOM EVER.

You absolutely adore this little scooter bike that we have, and the new house has so much room to ride around on  - of which you take full advantage (I can't find the bike we have online but it's like this or this or this). I hear those little scooter wheels crunching across the tile (that frigging tile...) in my sleep. You just learned to sit on it and really push off in the last few weeks; before that, you would just stand behind it and push it around. Now that I live in a house that I love and put blood (literally), sweat (literally), and tears (literally) into the walls, I kind of have a mini heart attack every time you ram the bike into a wall but I just have to remind myself that this is a house and it's meant for living in and it's okay. (Really, Lara, it's okay, breathe.)

You love to color. But just with markers. You don't want anything to do with crayons or colored pencils. Just markers. The more permanent, the better. You're finally starting to understand what "on paper, please!" means...several walls and a play kitchen and tables and your body later. I am not exaggerating in any way when I say that I don't think you've gone one day without a marker line somewhere on your body. 

You also love babies (and walking around with them on your shoulder saying "shh shh shh"), puzzles, Toby (grandpa's dog), Magic Sand, and pulling dirty dishes out of the dishwasher as I'm trying to load it. You love turning the TV off and on, working the remote, climbing on things, being tossed in the air, and swinging. You love boxes and climbing both in and on them. You love the slides at the park. You absolutely adore your sister and would follow her anywhere. You think swim class is great fun and love splashing and jumping into the pool. You love taking walks and going on bike rides and wearing bowls as hats and playing with Carys's Barbies. You love sweets like WHOA. One of your favorite things is reading book on my lap - particularly these old giant-crayon-shaped books full of tiny things of a specific color that we have (terrible description, I know, but like there's a blue crayon book full of blue things, a yellow crayon book full of yellow things, etc etc.). I was actually so surprised to see all of the things you could point out - shoes and shirts and crayons and flowers and cars and bugs). 

You've become quite the little daredevil, following in your sister's footprints (as they climb on everything). We had to put the ladders away every time we stepped away from them because we quickly found out that we'd be finding YOU at the very top of them if we even left them unattended for two minutes.

You do NOT love sand or mud or water or anything that gets on you (with the aforementioned exception of markers). If one grain of sand sticks to your foot, you freak the eff out, holding your foot up and wailing at me until I came brush it off. Similarly, you don't like wearing shoes...and sometimes clothes, period. You'd be happy to just be naked head to toe (and in fifteen years you'll hate me for writing this, but little naked toddlers are like the cutest ever with their squishy butts and thigh chub and little round tummies). You also don't like being little, which I know I've said before. You want to be biiiiiiiiiig. You hate when Carys does things that you can't do and you really hate if she has something you can't have, like scissors. I'm sorry, I am a pretty relaxed parent, but Emmeline, you just can't play with scissors at 17 months old.  You don't like it when I leave - or when I make you leave from something you're doing (and you  have a surprising amount of strength. Both of those are guaranteed squeals. And let me tell you - you make it hard to leave when you run and jump on me and cling to me as tight as you can. Heart. breaking.

Em. My littlest one. Holy cow, do you have a temper! It's pretty hilarious, actually. If you get mad, you totally fall on the floor dramatically to cry in a perfect caricature of an angry toddler. And sometimes you throw things, or reach out to pull on shirts or hair. And scream. Your scream is like no other. That's the little sister making sure she's heard, I guess. WE HEAR YOU! And you're in no way afraid to fight back if you feel wronged by your big sister. It's hard to punish you for hitting her when she kicked you first. You do you, Emmeline. Watch out for number one.

You've started talking! You have maybe 5-10 words/sounds that you use regularly. Dog ("da") was your first and most common word, but you followed that up with "ca" for cat, "ba" for ball, "ba ba" for baby, "buh buh" for bubble, "dick-ah" for sticker, and "diaper" for diaper. Seriously, you pronounce diaper almost perfectly somehow. And you won't say hi or bye but you'll say freaking sticker. WTF. I don't understand baby language development. You've said "da da" for daddy for a month or two, but just recently started saying "mama" for me. Although probably 75% of the time "mama" actually means, "Let me nurse!" I'm glad to hear you talking in your sweet little voice, even if you clearly consider bubbles and stickers priority over mommy.

I think you're a thinker and an observer. That might be why you don't talk much. But I often catch you just looking at things, taking them in, considering them. 

You have the sweetest blonde curls and the roundest little toddler tummy and big blue eyes. You have the the biggest, deepest dimples and absolute BEST smile that just lights up your entire face and scrunches your nose. Seriously, your smiles is the absolute most incredible thing. I will never, ever, ever get enough of it. Ever. You've really lost the "baby" look over the last couple months and are residing firmly in "little toddler" territory, much to my dismay. You've been walking for EIGHT months now (??? how?is?this?possible ????) and are trying hard to run and jump. You love to go on the trampoline and bend your little legs as fast and hard as possible trying to get air like Carys. You give high fives and kisses (spontaneous kisses!!!! without asking!!!! where you just lean in and give me a kiss!!!!! and then my heart explodes!!!!!!!!!!) and big, full body hugs. You historically haven't been much of a cuddler, but recently you've really started just resting in my arms (and your dad's arms - you'll just chill in the crook of his arm watching him work for as long as you can). 

You can be so resilient and flexible and have settled into the new house with nary a setback, even when that meant sleeping in a different place every night (from your old room to a Pack and Play in my closet because your room was being painted to a Pack and Play at the old house to your new room to Nana's house). You've made moving with a baby easy and I'm so grateful that your personality is so laid-back and doesn't require a strict schedule. 

You're chock full of contradictions. Laid back but persnickety. A great napper but not sleeping through the night. Independent but clingy. Quiet but loud. Sweet but sassy. Loving but tough. I never know what's around the corner with you and it keeps me on my toes all day long.

I just love you so freaking much and I'm eternally thanking my lucky stars for you. 

Could you just start sleeping through the night now? Please?

Love you so much,

Your sleepy but incredibly in love mama

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