Well, this is your second-to-last monthly letter. After you turn two, I'll write to you every six months; trying to cram a hundred million amazing moments into one letter. I love these letters, and I love writing them, and I love looking back at the pictures I've taken over the last month, and I love reading them months (and years) later and seeing how you developed and grew. It also helps with my baby-amnesia since I mostly only write about the good things. (Probably why I want another kid. Too bad I can't get anyone else on board with that idea!) But monthly letters are a lot of work - plus, as you get older, the month-to-month changes are more gradual. So to every six months it is!
Over the last month, you've morphed into the world's most polite one-year-old. Every time I hand you anything or help you with anything or say yes to you, you respond with a dutiful, "Dank-oo, Mommy." I zip up your coat: "Dank-oo, Mommy." I hand you lunch: "Dank-oo, Mommy!" I open a pouch for you: "Dank-oo, Mommy!" Even in the middle of sobbing because you got hurt: I kiss your owie, and you get out "dank-oo" between sobs. It's so endearing.
Also endearing is this sweet little "Oh" sound you make whenever you're told information. I LOVE IT. It might be one of my favorite things that you've been doing. I have to catch it on video - it's like partly said in resignation, partly factually, partly in answer ,and it's just the cutest sound in the entire world. I'm always commenting on how much I love it, and Carys has picked up on it too, mimicking me: "Mom, I just love it when she says, 'oh.' It's so cute!"
You have become obsessed with my phone. In the past, you never paid more than two seconds of attention to it - at the most you'd sit for a couple minutes and watch a show with your big sister - but Dad taught you how to play a Lego game on his phone, and now all you want to do is play games on my phone. If my phone comes out to make a call or text someone, you're reaching for it and grabbing at it, repeating, "Peese? Peese? Peese?" You call it "ow" - not like a ribbon bow, but like "bow-wow". I finally realized you were asking for "owl," which is referencing the Kapu Forest game that has an owl in it. As much as I don't want to give you very much screen time, I'm still impressed by your dexterity in using the touch screen and how quickly you figure out new games. I let you have it every other day or so for a few minutes while I'm doing something I need you away from me during - like standing on a ladder trying to hang curtains (because otherwise you try to climb the ladder after me - and you can climb it - and that's probably not the safest thing).
We've been spending so much time with our neighbors (well, six-doors-down neighbors) over the last couple weeks. Carys has two little friends who are girls exactly her age (one a day older; the other six months younger). Then each family has a little boy, both who turned one in September (I know, crazy, right?). So you kind of bounce between playing with the bigger girls and the little boys. You WANT to play with the big girls but you're always a half-step behind and I have to remind them to slow down and wait for you. When they are feeling generous and include you in their games, you're totally delighted. Seeing you mimic them and run after them is completely hilarious. You'll play with the little boys for a few minutes, but they're not quite at the actual "playing" stage yet, so you usually end up back in my lap or running after the big kids. I wish you had friends your exact age in the area, and maybe we'll find some more friends as we live here longer, but for now you're stuck in the middle.
We went to Dubuque to visit Nana, and you loved every minute of it. I'm so grateful to see the connection that you've built with her despite the distance. We visited a few nature centers, and you parked yourself in front of the fish/turtle/alligator aquarium and excitedly pointed them out to me. We went to an apple orchard, and while your sister played with the two resident dogs, you made an immediate beeline to the swings. You did great on the bus ride there and the car ride back to Omaha, keeping entertained with the Magnadoodles and stickers.
We also celebrated Halloween. We visited a local pumpkin patch and I don't even know what your favorite part was - the dog show? The jumping air pillow? The train? Oh - scratch that. I do know. The caramel apple. Holy shit, did you love that caramel apple. I tried to get you to go on a pony ride with your sister, but you refused - though you loved waving to her as she came around!
For actual Halloween, you did wear your costume, though you all but refused to keep the hood on. I think I got maybe two pictures with the hood on all night. You enjoyed trick-or-treating and if I walked you up to a door, you'd happily hold your bucket out and receive candy...but if I didn't walk you up to the door, you were just as happy to ride in the wagon.
Pumpkin carving didn't really interest you too much. While most kids would love the chance to get elbows-deep in slimy pumpkin guts, you weren't a fan of touching it and getting your hands dirty - although I did get you to pull a few scoops out.
You love putting on your sister's mermaid tail and hopping around in it - and you're surprisingly agile! Maybe you were a mermaid in a past life. You love riding your sister's scooter, and constantly challenge her on ownership of the scooter, telling her, "My scooter! My scooter!" while you try to wrest it from her hands. You also try to take her fake-American-Girl doll (Gracie) and tell her the same thing: "My doll!" Basically, you love anything belonging to your sister or that your sister is interested in.
When you don't want to listen or don't like what I'm telling you, you go into this hilarious "statue" mode where you pretend like you can't see me or hear me. You'll look just behind me, stand completely still, and not move. It's pretty effective until I pick you up and physically move you...after which you let me know your displeasure more vocally and by going limp.
You're a climber, just like your sister. You love to climb up anything you can get your feet on - me, the media center, a fence, your crib. You've recently started climbing out on the wrong side of the railings lining the hallway above the landing - which is something you've seen your sister do many times. Until recently you'd only go out a couple feet, so you were still right above the stairs going down, but I just caught you all the way out. I approached you slowly so I didn't scare you and grabbed you back over the railing. Talk about a heart attack!
You love being tossed in the air (what kid doesn't?) and swinging. You love making silly faces and having us mimic you. You apparently love baked beans, which is a little surprising considering you won't even any fruit that isn't a banana (it's payback for being so proud of Carys being such a great eater). You love coloring, but ONLY with markers. You love our neighbor Laura and will run to her as soon as you see her. You love toy balls. You absolutely LOVE to read. As soon as I say it's bedtime, you immediately start running to your room, calling, "Book! Book!" It might just be a stall tactic, but we could read ten books and you'd ask, "More book? Peese?" You have started to really enjoy dressing up in costumes and wearing silly hats and glasses. You love sweets and will literally fight anyone who tries to keep them away from you. You still completely adore your sister and want to be with her and do what she's doing every moment. You're still nursing, though we've been slowly cutting back on the sessions, especially during the day. You started pointing out "baby" versions of things - if we see a pair of animals, one is always the "baby," and anything that's smaller than the regular version of itself is a "baby" as well. Another thing that makes me laugh - also another thing that's better caught on video than a written description - is when you don't want to eat something. You put your hands over your mouth with these big eyes peeking out behind them and emphatically shake your head "no" while saying (muffled by your hards) "no eat!" So cute - while equally being frustrating since you eat. nothing. at. all. Sigh.
I love you, girl. I love you so much. I delight in kissing your cheeks and neck before bed and making you squeal with laughter. I love demanding "BIG!" hugs from you and feeling your little arms wrap around my neck. I love cuddling you and feeling your weight against me. I can't imagine my days without you, my sweet, silly, darling girl.