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Monday, September 21, 2015

Letters to Emmeline : Twenty-One Months

August 12 to September 12, 2015
Dear Emmeline, 

You make me smile all day, every day. I cannot imagine life without you. WE cannot imagine life without you.

You're the goofiest little kid - you've certainly figured out how to play to an audience and you do whatever you can to leave us all in stitches constantly.  Carys is absolutely captivated and entertained by you - and she LOVES encouraging you to be silly and loves being silly with you.

You'll just randomly drop and start doing this frog-bunny hop as we're taking a walk.

Yet as goofy as you are, you're equally serious and watch the action around you unfold, quietly taking it in with the tip of your finger in your mouth. In front of family, you're loud and you sing all day and you laugh and you giggle and you do crazy things to make us laugh, but when we get in front of a crowd, you instantly go into wide-eyed spectator mode. It's so interesting to see the two seemingly conflicting sides of your personality come emerge. Will you continue to be the shy goofball as you get older and more comfortable in front of strangers or will your outgoing side shine through more? Or will you continue to be a delightful mix of both?  Interestingly, Carys is very much the same way, though her shy side took a while to develop, whereas you've had it from the start (and it's your silly side that's taken time to emerge).  

Look! It's daddy! He does exist!

You're picking up more and more words and are comfortably putting together two word phrases: "Eat, please." "More milk." "Mama, up!" You've also mastered a number of animal noises (quack, neigh, the elephant bar-umpf complete with arm-to-nose gesture, woof, meow, ssssss for snake, tongue flick for lizard, roar, etc) and body parts (you can identify hair, head, ear, eye, cheek, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, chin, neck, back, elbow, arm, fingers, hand, tummy, belly button, booty, leg, foot, and toe).  You've spotted the moon and any time we see it you get super excited: "Mama! Mama! MOON!" Your favorite phrase is currently "Mama, datch!" which means, "Mama, watch!" It's all day, every day. And it's to show off anything from running across the room (expected response: "Wow, you're so fast!") to hitting yourself in the face (expected response: laughter) to balancing on one leg and putting the other up behind you (expected response: clapping).  You say it while you're in your car seat, while you're going to bed, while you're playing in another room, while you're eating. You've found the key to getting my attention and you use it liberally. Since I know that one day soon this phase will be over and you'll move onto another repeated phrase, I try to watch every time. Your sister already does so many things without my watchful eye (much to my chagrin - PUT MY MAKEUP AWAY, CARYS!) that I've learned to watch as much as I can for as long as I can.

We had the doctor appointment regarding your liver on the 11th, and we don't know any more than we did before - although I did learn that it could be absolutely nothing and just naturally occurring higher liver enzyme levels. Now that I know that, I'm almost positive that's what it is, but they took some more blood and gave you an ultrasound (which actually took place after the time period covered in this letter) and we should find out by the end of the month what the results were from those. You're such a healthy kid that I'll be shocked if they find anything abnormal.

We have done so much stuff this month. In looking back through the pictures, I'm actually kind of amazed at how much we did. How did we fit this all into a month-long period??

Playing in a bounce house (L); at Ft. Atkinson (R)

We went to a place called SkyZone, which is like a giant trampoline park. You're juuuuuuust learning to actually jump (instead of just bending your knees) but you mostly just loved running back and forth over the springy surfaces. 

We had a "Christmas in August" at your great-grandma Blanket's house, where you enjoyed opening presents and running around in a pack of second cousins - and really enjoyed the infamous bear chair, which has been around since I was a baby, and which I plan on stealing for our house the second my grandma's head is turned. Christmastime is always SO hectic, with Christmas celebrations at two great-grandparents' houses, two grandparents' houses, and our house. Grandma Blankets (so named because of her amazing quilts and blankets) decided to split it up a little this year and do the majority of gifts at this celebration, so the little ones aren't quite so overwhelmed come December. SMART LADY.


We had birthday parties and play dates and dinner dates and parades and the zoo (at least four times, at two different zoos!) and a drive-through wildlife safari park and Nana leaving to go back to her "teaching house" (SOB SOB SOB) and long bike rides and short bike rides and a trip to Ft. Atkinson for their living history days (fun until Carys was totally traumatized by the cannon going off) and raspberry picking. Carys had her first sleepover (with a friend staying at our house) and you enjoyed it just as much as Carys did. We also babysat a friend's two girls for the day, and you were so thrilled to have a similarly aged friend around for the day. Usually you are surrounded by babies or three and four-year-olds and are kind of the odd one out age-wise, you poor girl. 

Tired girls after a long day at the Lincoln Zoo

At a splash pad birthday party (L); on a (shoeless) walk (R)

At the Omaha Zoo

At a new park that we stopped at during a bike ride

Playing play dough on a play date at our house

Picking raspberries (L); at a dinner party (R)

Popsicles on a play date

At the Omaha Zoo with the girls we babysat

Playdate at our house with the "big kid" neighbor - making berry art

You take after your big sister with your BIG love for babies. We hung out with our friend, who has a six-month-old, and you just loved on her the whole time. And you do the same with your toy babies: carrying them around, wrapped in a scrap of fabric, putting them to bed, feeding them. I love seeing this nurturing side of you.

You stuck a baby in your shirt and did the entire walk with it in there

You're starting to get a little bolder and a little braver and will touch bugs and animals (sometimes), whereas up until recently your preferred animal was "any one not by me." You started liking dogs back when you were at the in-home daycare with a big lab and like Nissa the cat and Toby the dog at my parents' house, but other than that, you were not a fan. Recently, though, you've stepped out of your comfort zone and will sometimes reach out and touch an animal or point to it without any prompting! 

Watching deer at the Wildlife Safari Park

Pointing to a caterpillar on a leaf

You're also taking bigger chances with your climbing and running and jumping (help me!) and talking to strangers more (I always do a double take when I hear your sweet little voice pipe up, "Hi!" and "Bye!" because I'm so used to you being completely silent in public). You learned to ride a scooter!!! And you might be better on C's balance bike than she is. 

You adore your Nana. She left for ask for her teaching house mid-August and has made it back once, but you've started asking for her, which is pretty heartbreaking (for all of us!). Whenever you see me talking on the phone, you think it's Nana and start calling, "Nana! Nana!" while reaching for the phone. When we do talk to her on the phone, you pepper your "conversations" (really just Nana talking and you listening with a big smile on your face) with hugging and kissing the phone. JUST SMASH MY HEART INTO A MILLION PIECES. Video calls are your favorite, though. You just have the biggest smile on your face and you don't want to say goodbye - even after we've ended the video chat, you'll open the computer and ask for Nana. (To be clear, you love your other aunts/uncles/grandparents/great-grandparents too, but I see you with your Nana the most, so it's the relationship that I know best!)


You and Carys are just thick as thieves these days. I can't even get truly mad when the two of you gang up against me because having you in cahoots is exactly what sisters should be doing. So inwardly I'm beaming, even when outwardly I'm doling out consequences. I look back to see you holding hands across car seats almost daily. When re-installing your car seat after taking it out to clean it, Carys BEGGED me to put it back with you forward facing so you could "match" and she could "see and talk to you easier." (Sorry, Carys, it'll be at least another year, if not two!) When we are walking, you'll drop my hand in favor of Carys's, and she is so proud to be your guide.  She loves going in when you've woken up and being the first one to see you - and the two of you will play contentedly in your crib for quite a while before you need me to come get you out. Carys has recently begun asking for you two to have sleepovers and share a bed - be still my heart! You're not quite ready for that yet, I don't think, but I'd love for you guys to willingly share a room and have late night chats and secret play sessions when you're supposed to be sleeping. I say it all the time, but watching this sisterly bond develop is pretty much my favorite part of motherhood. You're such a good team.


I need to take a sentence to claim a moment of victory: you ate cantaloupe! That was a nice change from your fervent desire to only eat sweets and junk food. That's one thing you won't copy your sister one: she'll happily be chowing down on spinach and strawberries and you'll take one look at it and throw it all on the floor. No, kid. You have to eat real food. We eat real food in this house. I hate to say it, but you're going to need to get with the program. 

This is all you would eat if you had your way.

You love to play in water (and dump it over the side of the tub) and I can keep you entertained for as long as I want by turning the water in the sink on in a slow stream. You'll happily play at the sink with nothing more than the stream of water and a cup for probably ten hours if I let you. You love dolls, books (bedtime stories stretch on and on and on as you request, "More! More book! Pees?"), scooters, cars, trucks, climbing, coloring, and hugs. When we have playdates at the neighbor's house, it's 90% you running the doll stroller in laps, 5% asking for food, and 5% playing with the big girls. One of your favorite (and most infuriating) things to do is to climb onto the table and run laps on it. We've somehow started a routine where your dad goes and gets you in the morning and you're ALWAYS smiling when he brings you into the room. You love those precious few moments with him. 

I always gloss over the trying and difficult parts of parenthood in these letters, because, well, why dwell on those parts? Ain't nobody want to dwell on those parts. But you are definitely a toddler. You have your opinions that end in instant tears if I don't meet them exactly (do you want the bar IN the wrapper or out of it?? it can't be both!) and you get tired and grumpy and you gleefully don't listen at times (like, can you just keep your food on the table? does every meal have to end with you looking me in the eye and throwing it on the ground?) and there are days when I just want to scream and/or drink wine and/or go lock myself in my room to gain just two minutes of peace and quiet, but....every day I'm reminded of how lucky I am. I wouldn't change my life with you guys for anything.

And I love being your mom. 


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